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Pipes and fittings: Price rises force change on galvanised pipework users

Malcolm Crossley, managing director of Legris, insists his company’s product is quicker and easier to install than galvanised steel pipework and, with the cost of galvanised pipework rising, it is time for even the traditionalists to look for alternatives
Pipes and fittings: Price rises force change on galvanised pipework users
After facing price rises of well over 50% in the last year alone, users of galvanised steel pipework are understandably looking at alternative methods to transport processed and cooling water.

Not that price, of course, should be the single reason for looking elsewhere. With galvanised steel inconvenient to install and inefficient in operation, it is little wonder that new products are constantly entering the market to challenge traditional thinking.

For the heating and ventilation sector, where cold water air conditioning systems are growing in popularity, making the most informed choice for conveying that water is becoming increasingly important.

The need is to find alternatives which have positive benefits in three key areas - system installation, modification and use - and not simply those which replace the disadvantages of galvanised pipework with downsides of their own.

Most of the new systems on the market major on the fast installation of pipework through various connection systems. Before their introduction, the installation of traditional water supply networks which use galvanised steel pipe, copper or even plastic tubing has been a lengthy exercise, with extensive downtime and a consequent loss of productivity.

Metal has had to be threaded or welded for each connection, while plastic had to be glued and left for anything up to 24 hours to cure. If either system has to be modified, the process is equally lengthy and usually requires the purchase of new components.

Without doubt, the new systems have had a significant effect in helping to reduce installation time. But, however rapid the method of connecting the pipework, they have not overcome the traditional problems that can remain after installation and when in use - especially over time.

Galvanised steel and copper tubing are prone to corrosion and head loss through the formation of sludge. Plastic or nylon systems - however connected - tend to sag, again causing head loss. An added disadvantage of plastic pipework can be deterioration through exposure to ultra violet light.

An important lesson learned by Legris when it pioneered the rapid fit pipework concept for compressed air was to develop the system from the ground up - and not to use materials that had been created for other purposes. The Legris Transair pipework system is today acknowledged as a leader in rapid-fit compressed air transmission.

As market demand for the conveyance of cooling water through a similar form of rapid fit pipework began to grow, so it became necessary to develop a system which would tackle the shortfalls of traditional tubing in that particular area.

The result has been Transair Plus, a system designed specifically for cooling and processed water around the key principles of corrosion resistant pipework linked by a leak-free coupling technology for rapid installation and modification. Not only has Transair Plus cut the labour time necessary to construct a cooling water network, all of its components are both reuseable and recyclable.

Stainless steel pipework

Transair Plus comprises stainless steel pipework and a range of connectors in both metal and engineering grade polymer. Because of its ultra-smooth bore, an installed system provides high water flow rates and low head loss.

The Transair Plus pipework is available in 42mm, 60mm, 76mm and 100mm diameters, with a range of connectors and reducers available for the rapid creation of system extensions and secondary circuits.

Once installed, a Transair Plus system can be modified by the user with no specialist knowledge, making it particularly suitable for the changing needs of locations where new supplies of processed or cooling water must be introduced to different areas of the workplace with the minimum of downtime.

Pipework is supplied in three- and six-metre lengths, lugged and ready for immediate installation. Its light weight allows for pipecutting and safe, easy system preparation at ground level.

Lengths of pipework are joined by simply slipping a connector on to each pre-lugged end and either screwing or tightening it into place according to the pipe diameter. Because it is a mechanical connection, there is no need for crimping. Typically, each connection can be made in less than a minute, while disconnection - perhaps to adapt the system further - is equally rapid.

The Transair Plus system includes elbows, tees and a range of reducers to connect pipework of smaller diameters, together with a lightweight tool to create lugs on pipe ends that have been cut to size.

Maximum service pressure is 10 bar, with working temperatures between -200C and +600C. All Transair components are guaranteed for 10 years.
1 January 2006

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