Refuse-to-Fuse for HDPE pipe: allowing installation in all weather conditions

In the unpredictable Australian environment, a new mechanical pipe joining solution from Victaulic solves the installation dilemma of waiting for the perfect weather conditions

As the oil and gas industry evolves, solutions are being developed to create more efficient products and techniques. High density polyethylene (HDPE) is the fastest-growing piping material in oil and gas applications, with adoption expected to increase by 5 per cent per year. HDPE is light-weight, corrosion-resistant, flexible, long-lasting and economical, so it’s fast becoming the preferred material for buried and outdoor exposed pipelines on oil and gas sites around Australia.

HDPE poly has been available for over 50 years and until recently butt fusion and electrofusion have been considered the top joining methods for this piping material. But fusing requires the perfect weather conditions to proceed, a challenge which oil and gas sites have continued to battle in Australia’s often unpredictable and volatile climate.

“Mechanical pipe joints completely overcome the environmental challenges that typically affect traditional fusing processes.

“Unlike fusion, where weather conditions can affect both the time required to complete a joint, as well as the integrity of the joint itself, mechanical joining ensures installations proceed as planned regardless of the conditions.

“For oil and gas sites located in some of Australia’s harshest environments, the ability to complete projects without weather delays will ensure both operational and cost benefits,” said David Sharkey, Victaulic VP-GM of South Asia Pacific.

Victaulic, the world’s leading producer of mechanical pipe joining solutions, has developed a Watermark™ Approved mechanical joint for HDPE piping. The solution is set to increase installation efficiencies and overcome the current reliance on specific weather conditions for fusing to proceed.

With no need for fusion tents, no concerns about contamination of pipe ends, and no extra heating or cooling time during extreme weather, pipe installation processes become streamlined and hassle free.

In traditional fusing practices, the expense of fusion equipment, the shortage of skilled installers and the reliance on the perfect weather conditions can slow the pace of installation. As the current fusing practices can only be performed in specific weather conditions, if there is a run of poor weather the work may come to a complete standstill.

Mechanical joints eliminate this potential delay from the equation allowing projects to continue uninterrupted. The mechanical joints further remove the need for expensive fusing equipment, power sources or certified fusion installers, allowing skilled workers to be deployed to more demanding areas of oil and gas projects.

“As leaders in the mechanical joining business, we are extremely proud of the Victaulic Refuse-to-Fuse™ solution for HDPE pipe. We understand the oil and gas industry is looking to create efficiencies in their workforce and operations, and mechanical joining answers this need. We’re excited by the potential benefits and savings that can be achieved by switching from fusion to mechanical joining in oil and gas projects,” Mr. Sharkey said.