Industrial strength welcome hammers home the point for safe and durable Calair high performance piping

Australian high performance Calair polymer pneumatic piping got one of the toughest welcomes possible for industrial pneumatic systems recently, when it was literally put under the hammer to prove its safety and durability.

The United Group Infrastructure team working on the refurbishment of Sydney’s North Head Sewage Treatment Plant was seeking a non-corrosive alternative to metal piping that would stand up long-term to an aggressive environment while also being subject to the bumps and scrapes of everyday service on a busy site.

Senior Project Engineer Branimir Ivanovic said the team also wanted a product that was permanently colour coded for safety during maintenance and that could be easily cut into and reconfigured for changing needs without the need for specialist trades such as welding

“It was quite a tall order, but our group had some experience with the Calair product on the Epping-Chatswood rail link, so we gave (Calair Managing Director) John McNab a call to see if his company could meet our product and backup service needs.

“John said he would come out personally and arrived immediately – we could see he was passionate about his product, We knew it had been used on thousands of projects worldwide, but we still asked him if he could demonstrate its impact resistance to us.

“We called in all our fitters and supervisors and he started to bash the piping with a two kilogram hammer.  That didn’t make much of an impression, so he asked if anyone else there would like to have a go. None of us could do much damage, so he passed that test.

“He explained the different threaded, welded and pressure jointing for different applications, and demonstrated the simple cutting, chamfering and fitting features we already know about from previous projects.

“We established that he had good stock in Sydney and asked him what would happen if we called him in the morning and needed product in the afternoon? And that really did happen during a commissioning operation – and he came out with stock and didn’t even ask for a production order, he was focused on the job. 

“We found as the job progressed we could ring him in the morning and he would be out before noon – he would just laugh and he would be there. We liked the idea that we weren’t dealing with a greedy supplier profiting from occasional urgency, but rather with a partner who would roll his sleeves up and get into the job with our supervisors and fitters.”

Calair Pro-Pipe was used in runs of up to 100m of 50mm (inside diameter) piping to power instruments and actuator valves, a role highly suited to its  permanently smooth, energy efficient and corrosion proof interior. The same qualities are invaluable for factories and processing plants.

“It was light and easy to put up. One man can do the job by himself, unlike steel.  It doesn’t sag and the impact resistance has been demonstrated when  it has been struck accidentally and didn’t crack or splinter,” said Mr Ivanovic.  

“We also like the permanent colour coding which makes it easy to pick which pipes carry which substance during maintenance – very important on an industry or infrastructure site where pipes may be carrying a host of substances, some aggressive and hazardous.”
The Calair product used at North Head was coloured AQUA for compressed air. Other piping in the Pro-Pipe II family is coloured  GREEN for water, VIOLET for acids and alkalines, BROWN for oil, BLACK for waste, BEIGE for gas and RED for fire services). All Pro Pipe II products are permanently colour-coded for safety in accordance with AS 1345-1995).

John McNab says the colour-coding is essential for safety, especially in a complex industrial site involving a variety of pipes carrying different substances of different hazard levels.

“Busy maintenance personnel don’t need the stress of having to wonder and waste time finding out what they are dealing with, or cutting into the wrong line.

“Our permanent colour-coding also saves installation and maintenance time because you don’t have to paint it or put colour tags on it every 10 metres or so. The permanent colour layer on the outside also contains UV protection for longer life.”

The durability and 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 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, such as those at North Head.

“It’s great for salt-laden areas, such as those near the sea, or aggressive processing environments where chemicals are used for washdown, for example, or for mineral and organic processing operations,” he says