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AGRU Kunststofftechnik GmbH: Providing Reliable Pipework for Decades

The total cost of ownership (TCO) of a piping system depends on several factors, including: material, design of pipes and fittings, and maintenance intervals. For more than 50 years, The Plastics Experts from AGRU Kunststofftechnik GmbH have manufactured cutting-edge pipes and fittings that improve processes and optimize results.
 
The company’s thermoplastic piping systems made from PE 100-RC, PP, PVDF and ECTFE materials have proved their value in industrial plants around the globe. It is therefore worth determining how pipes and fittings affect the total cost of ownership of a piping system.

By Harald Bachinger and Angelica Pajkovic

How to minimize head loss in a piping system

To minimize the total cost of ownership, a pump should always operate at its best efficiency. If a piping system loses hydraulic capacity, the pump will be forced to operate for longer hours to compensate for lost efficiency, which will increase energy costs. Factors that impact the hydraulic capacity of a piping system include: incrustations, e.g. biofilms that grow over time; the roughness of the inner pipe surface; the hydraulic design of fittings; and ineffective deaeration due to failures in pipeline design. 

Incrustations

Biofilms and incrustations cultivate on a number of different piping materials and have a negative impact on the internal diameter of the pipe. If a pipe becomes overgrown from the inside, the flow rate decreases due to the reduced diameter. More pressure, and therefore more energy, will then be necessary to maintain the flow rate. To avoid incrustations, pipe cleaning by the means of pigs is necessary. As the smooth internal surface of thermoplastic pipes and fittings are much easier to clean then conventional pipes, they are ideal for preventing a strong adhesion of lime, shells or other organic materials from impacting a system’s efficiency.

Roughness

The roughness of the pipe’s interior surface determines the friction loss in a piping system. If the pipe’s internal surface is rough, the flow of fluid causes friction against the pipe wall, which results in a higher pressure loss.

Depending on the type of media or liquid being transported, abrasion of the pipe walls can occur. The effects of corrosion and abrasion on the internal surface of a pipe differs based on its material of construction. Metallic, concrete, and stoneware pipes, for example, will develop a rougher inside surface over time, when subjected to abrasive media. In contrast, plastic piping systems offer the advantage of a long-term slick inner surface that reduces friction, and lessens head loss significantly. By reducing head loss, less power is ultimately consumed. As thermoplastic pipes also have a very high abrasion resistance, they are typically less affected by the roughness of the piping system.

Image 1: Each AGRU fitting is an optimized product for the use in pressure piping systems.
Image 1: Each AGRU fitting is an optimized product for the use in pressure piping systems.

Hydraulic design of fittings

An inefficient hydraulic design of fittings can be detrimental to a systems ability to preserve energy. To ensure that the system remains as efficient as possible, it is imperative to have an effective fitting design. After 55 years of research and development, AGRU has perfected the hydraulic performance of its piping systems using its expert fittings design.

AGRU has produced injection moulded fittings since 1966 and has flow-optimized them in every aspect. The company’s extensive product list has a range between OD 20 mm and OD 3500 mm, offers a high pressure resistance (up to SDR 7.4), has superior flow properties, and a vast material range for outstanding chemical and temperature resistance. Proven joining methods such as: electrofusion welding, heated tool butt-welding, and infrared welding, are further key competences of AGRU’s plastics experts. The welding technology and consulting for every material and diameter of their piping components is state-of-the-art. 

Pipeline design

The optimized design of AGRU plastic piping systems allows space saving installation on the job site. This saves cost in industrial operations. The use of AGRU’s products will therefore mitigate the risk of losing hydraulic capacity in a piping system, which will ultimately cut down the total cost of ownership of a pipeline.

Image 2: AGRULINE PE 100-RC piping systems can be installed without cost intensive sand bedding.
Image 2: AGRULINE PE 100-RC piping systems can be installed without cost intensive sand bedding.

A piping system for every application

AGRU Kunststofftechnik offers a vast assortment of piping systems characterized by outstanding operational reliability, easy installation and extremely low maintenance overheads. Be it the leakage-monitored double containment piping system, Poly-Flo, the abrasion-resistant multilayer system, MINELINE, or the nitric acid resistant system, ECTFE, AGRU has the best solution for virtually any industrial application in its portfolio. Below you will find an overview of the AGRU piping systems:

PE 100-RC piping systems

The AGRULINE pipes and fittings, made of the innovative material PE 100-RC, are extremely resilient and resistant to cracks. They are used for water, wastewater, and gas transport and can be installed without cost intensive sand bedding. Universal welding machines connect pipes made of PE 80, PE 100, and PE 100-RC with AGRULINE fittings to create leak-proof joints. All components of the system are available in sizes from OD 20 mm up to OD 3500 mm. Since the pipes and fittings come from one factory, they fit with precise accuracy.

As AGRULINE is a maintenance free pipework, that is homogenous, longitudinally forelocked, and leak-tight, it has a very low cost of ownership. Many AGRULINE pipelines are still intact and in operation 50 years after their installation, meaning the investment intervals for PE pipes are calculated in terms of several decades. AGRU only processes certified materials in accordance to PE 100+ Association guidelines. Because of this, pipes and fittings possess high rupture strength, and extreme resistance to: crack growth, pressure surges, and seismic activity. The use of polyethylene has a further advantage; ease of installation. In comparison to steel or concrete pipes, PE pipes are a featherweight and often allow direction changes without fittings due to the flexibility of the material. The smooth inner surfaces prevent adhesion and offer perfect flow characteristics, reducing head loss of the pump.

Image 3: AGRU offers one-stop-shopping for all components of the PP piping system.
Image 3: AGRU offers one-stop-shopping for all components of the PP piping system.

PP piping systems

AGRU plastic pipes made of PP-R and PP-H and fittings made of PP-R have been proving their value for decades in every industry. PP is characterized by its superior strength, stiffness, hardness, and its temperature and chemical resistance. This thermoplastic is used in a temperature range between -5°C and 95°C. PP piping systems also play an important role in reverse osmosis, which is applied in desalination plants. Long-term resistance to corrosion, salts and minerals, as well as the smooth inner surfaces, ensure decades of maintenance-free operation. As high operating pressures are typical in these types of plants, PP – with its high creep strength – is the most popular material. AGRU provides pipes, Multi fittings, extended fittings, short spigot fittings, segmented fittings, socket welding fittings, electrofusion welding fittings and valves in various dimensions for industrial use.

Fluoroplastic piping systems

PVDF is a thermoplastic homopolymer with excellent media resistance, a high level of mechanical strength, and maximum purity without additives or stabilizers. This makes it physiologically safe and suitable for use in ultra-high-purity applications. It also offers high mechanical strength, excellent chemical resistance, and works well at temperatures between -20°C and 120°C. ECTFE consists of an alternating arrangement of ethylene and chlorotrifluoroethylene, which makes it ideal for applications involving temperatures between -30°C and 140°C or extremely aggressive media. When transporting aggressive media like concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3) or oxidizing agents such as: hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), and concentrated alkalis, ECTFE is the only resistant plastic with an excellent price-performance ratio. Even when these media are transported under high pressure or at high temperatures, the AGRU ECTFE piping system remains permeation-resistant and leak-proof. The excellent surface quality and abrasion resistance make fluoropolymers the ideal materials for use in the petrochemicals industry, life sciences and the food industry. 

Image 4: Abrasion-resistant MINELINE is designed for tough applications such as slurry transport.
Image 4: Abrasion-resistant MINELINE is designed for tough applications such as slurry transport.

Electrically conductive (antistatic) plastic piping systems

Electrostatic charges in the pipework must be prevented When flammable media is being handled. If the pipeline passes through a potentially explosive atmosphere, a single spark can cause an explosion. ESD (electrostatic discharge sensitive) plastics, such as HDPE-ESD-el, offer safety by dissipating electrostatic charges in a controlled manner. These materials are electrically conductive due to the addition of carbon black whilst retaining the known benefits of polyolefines, such as: chemical resistance, and easy processing and installation.

Double containment piping systems in PP-R and PE 100-RC

The pipes and fittings used in the reliable Poly-Flo double containment piping system, are extruded seamlessly using PP-R or PE 100-RC granules. The system has a compact design, with a small annular gap and low weight, which allows for easy and quick installation, even in confined spaces. Poly-Flo doubles the operational safety of the systems by simultaneously extruding media and protective pipe. It also monitors leakage of the annular gap after installation. AGRU offers prefabricated double containment pipes up to OD 800 mm made of PE 100-RC, PP, PVDF and ECTFE in various pressure ratings.

Image 5: Electrically conductive pipework is mandatory in explosive areas.
Image 5: Electrically conductive pipework is mandatory in explosive areas.

Abrasion-resistant piping systems

The three-layer MINELINE piping system was developed to transport very abrasive media (e.g. slurries). Economic operation due to a longer service life, minimal thermal expansion because of the white surface, and high operating reliability are the system’s most important properties. An abrasion-resistant layer inside the pipes and fittings protects the pipework against fast and heavy abrasion. Designed for the toughest use in mining, MINELINE is also the best choice for other rugged applications.

Quality driven

No matter what type of liquid or media needs to be transported, AGRU has a system that will exceed the user’s expectations. With a goal to continue expanding and optimising plastic production, the plastic experts ensure a uniquely high grade product that will operate for decades. For more information about AGRU piping systems please visit the website www.agru.at

Image 6: The Poly-Flo media pipe and protective pipe are extruded seamlessly in a single step.
Image 6: The Poly-Flo media pipe and protective pipe are extruded seamlessly in a single step.
 

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