Total Cost of Piping Systems | Understanding HDPE and PP Pipes

Total Cost of Ownership of Piping Systems

The total cost of ownership (TCO) of piping systems depends on several factors such as material, design of pipes and fittings, and maintenance intervals. The Plastics Experts from AGRU manufacture pipes and fittings at the cutting edge of technology by improving processes and optimizing results for over 50 years.

Thermoplastic piping systems in PE 100-RC and ECTFE have been proving their value for decades in industrial plants around the world. In this article, we determine how pipes and fittings affect the total cost of ownership of a piping system.

Reducing total cost of piping systems by minimizing head loss

The first step in minimizing the total cost of ownership of piping systems is ensuring pumps are operating at their best efficiency. If a piping system loses hydraulic capacity, it will result in longer pump hours and increased energy costs. Factors that can 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.

Biofilms and incrustations occur with all 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. As a result, more pressure and energy will be necessary to maintain flow rate. Pipe cleaning by the means of pigs is necessary. In this case, thermoplastic pipes and fittings are much easier to clean than conventional pipes because of their very smooth internal surface, which prevents a strong adhesion of lime, shells, or other organic materials.

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 fluid flow causes friction on the pipe wall, resulting in a loss of pressure. Depending on the transported liquid, abrasion of the pipe walls can occur.

Unlike metallic, concrete, and stoneware pipes, which develop a rougher inside surface due to corrosion and abrasion over time, thermoplastic pipes have very high abrasion resistance. Additionally, plastic piping systems offer the advantage of a long-term slick inner surface that reduces friction and therefore head loss significantly. Reduced head loss means less power consumption, cutting down the total cost of ownership of a pipeline. The optimized design of AGRU plastic piping systems allows space saving installation on the job site, offering another avenue for cost savings.

Another aspect is the hydraulic design of fittings. The hydraulic performance of AGRU piping systems is mainly based on the expert fittings design built upon 55 years of research and development. AGRU has been producing injection molded fittings since 1966 and has flow-optimized them in every aspect. The extensive product range between OD 20 mm and OD 3500 mm offers high-pressure resistance of up to SDR 7.4, superior flow properties, and a vast material range for outstanding chemical and temperature resistance. Furthermore, proven joining methods such as electrofusion welding, heated tool butt-welding, and infrared welding are key competences that AGRU shares with customers. The welding technology and consulting for every material and diameter of their piping components is state-of-the-art.

total cost of piping systems

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

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 ECTFE system, which is even resistant to nitric acid, 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

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 the highest accuracy. Additionally, AGRU technicians consult you personally on your project. Since AGRULINE is maintenance-free pipework—one that is homogenous, longitudinally fore-locked, and leak-tight—you will experience very low costs 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. Polyethylene has a further advantage: ease of installation. In comparison to steel or concrete pipes, PE pipes are 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. AGRU only processes certified materials in accordance with PE 100+ Association guidelines. Because of this, pipes and fittings possess high rupture strength, extreme resistance to crack growth, pressure surges, and seismic activity.

total cost of piping systems

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

PP piping systems

AGRU plastic pipes in PP-R and PP-H and fittings in PP-R have been proving their value for decades in every area of industry. PP is characterized by its superior strength, stiffness, and hardness as well as its temperature and chemical resistance. PP is used in a temperature range between 23°F and 203°F and 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 plants of this type, 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 for industrial use in various dimensions.

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

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 ultrahigh-purity applications. It also offers high mechanical strength and excellent chemical resistance, working well at temperatures between -4°F and 248°F. For applications involving temperatures between -22°F and 284°F or very aggressive chemicals, ECTFE is a better right choice. ECTFE consists of an alternating arrangement of ethylene and chlorotrifluoroethylene, making it the ideal material for applications involving high temperatures and extreme media. When transporting aggressive media like concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3), or oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) as well as 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.

AGRU fluoropolymer piping systems offer excellent chemical resistance.
AGRU fluoropolymer piping systems offer excellent chemical resistance.

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 polyolefins, such as chemical resistance and easy processing and installation.

Electrically conductive piping systems

Electrically conductive pipework is mandatory in explosive areas.

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

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

Double containment piping systems

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

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 inner 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.