Nearly 200m of tough but lightweight large diameter (110m ID) CalAir Pro-Pipe II has been used by GrainCorp’s Ports Division as an alternative to metal piping in a refurbishment of the compressor plant at feeding pneumatic equipment used for materials handling equipment and aeration of grain.
The clean, low-friction polymer piping was selected after easily complying with a rigorous specification issued by GrainCorp to protect the long-term durability of pipelines feeding from the new Kaeser compressor plant, said CalAir Northern NSW Manager Mr Victor Pultar.
“The military-standard spec meant that gal piping would have to be extensively treated to provide the corrosion protection required – it would not only have to be sandblasted, but to receive multiple coats of epoxy to seal it.
“Then there was the problem of what to do with the joints – it would have been hard, in a high purity food environment, to weld them in place then to blast and coat them to the same standard as the pipes. And if you didn’t do that, the rust would start to show through the joints within a year or two in such an aggressive environment in a port facility.”
CalAir’s solution was to use its permanently colour-coded Pro-Pipe II product in the areas of particular corrosion concern, connecting this with existing pipelines operating throughout the facility. A combination of plastic welded and pressure joints (stock items prepared outside the grain facility) was used to ensure security of air supply. Elimination of leaks was further complemented by the low internal friction of the polymer pipeline, which reduces the amount of energy required from the compressors to push air through the system at 7 bar.
“The ease of assembly of the system was a big plus in this job, because we had to work around other trades who were doing their part of the upgrade. Because the polymer system is so easily assembled, without specialist trades, and so light (eight times lighter than steel) it was far easier to stage our work around the project’s needs,” said Mr Pultar.
The performance of CalAir product in aggressive environments had been demonstrated by its selection for MainTrain service facilities and meat processing plants, for example, and for the new Epping to Chatswood rail link in Sydney, where CalAir’s halogen-free flame-retardant product has been specified for safety reasons.
“The product is brilliant for primary product processing and handling applications because it is naturally a high-purity product that can’t corrode externally or degenerate internally to drop particulate into sensitive pneumatic tools and processes.
“It’s great for salt-laden port areas or aggressive processing environments where chemicals are used for washdown, for example, or for mineral and organic processing operations.”
The CalAir pro-Pipe II polymer piping system chosen for the application is totally recyclable. Unlike metal welded systems – which frequently have to be junked when production facilities change configuration or location – CalAir has founded its business on systems that can be dismantled, cleanly packed away and reconverted to a new use.
Besides energy savings resulting from the pipelines’ low friction, non-corrosive interiors, their cleanliness also helps ensure utmost purity in the reticulation systems serving pneumatic and liquid services (ie, they do not rust externally or clog up internally to foul tools and processes). Polymer is also less sensitive to ambient temperature changes, so its better insulation values inhibits condensation buildups that are the natural enemy of production processes.
CalAir Pipe Systems Managing Director Mr John McNab says Pro-Pipe II systems are highly suitable for use in aggressive environments involving dust, chemicals or primary products, ranging from product preparation and processing of timber, paper, food and beverages.
“These are pretty dynamic industries and frequently their air, gas and liquid reticulation systems have to be expanded substantially and quickly to fit in with tight deadlines as the busy companies involved try to maintain production – or to build profits from new plants as rapidly as possible”
All were attracted by the speed with which the polymer Pro-Pipe II reticulation could be installed, its easy handling as well as its clean, non-corrosive nature and permanent colour-coding for safety in accordance with AS 1345-1995). Pro Pipe II pipe systems are permanently colour-coded pipe systems in accordance with AS 1345-1995.
GrainCorp’s Carrington export terminal is one of nine such facilities along Australia’s East Coast operated by its Ports Division. The company operates 268 receival sites with more than 25 million tonnes of storage capacity, servicing about 30,000 grain producers in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The Port Terminals provide receival, stock management and bulk container export handling facilities for a range of grain and non-grain products including woodchips, sugar, cottonseed, frozen orange juice concentrate and mineral sands.