World leader Veolia enhances industrial safety and durability with high performance piping

A world leader in the design and building of industrial water and wastewater treatment plants has adopted an Australian-manufactured polymer pipe system to help enhance durability, safety and corrosion resistance in an $80 million refurbishment project.

Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies is using the tough but lightweight Calair Pro-Pipe II to carry compressed air, water, flocculants solutions and highly corrosive ferric chloride at the upgrading of water treatment facilities at Australia’s largest electricity generating company, Macquarie Generation.

The contract – in which Calair reticulation systems service Actiflo™ very high rate clarifiers – upgrades water treatment facilities at Bayswater Power station to state-of-the-art performance and increases their capacity to reduce salinity and increase water quality in Lake Liddell. Recycling 160 million litres a day, cooling water is recycled and treated to ensure no contaminants reach local waterways. The eight Actiflo™ clarifiers on which the Calair systems are installed are part of a Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies portfolio of water and wastewater solutions designed for industrial customers. These technologies focus on reuse and desalination processes in industries such as power, mining and metals, pulp and paper, food and beverage and pharmaceutical.

“We were looking for reticulation systems that would be tough, non-corrosive and clearly colour-coded so contents would be easy to identify for safety,” said Mr Paul Hutton, Site Manager (Bayswater Power Station), Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies (Australia) Ltd.

“When you are dealing with aggressive substances such as ferric chloride, you can’t have metal anywhere near it. We looked at PVC, but it’s much more brittle and easy to damage if someone drops a hammer on it, for example, or accidentally strikes it with a forklift. In these situations, the Pro-Pipe would compress but not rupture.”

The Bayswater project typically involves multiple runs of more than 100m of pipe up to four 40mm internal diameter. Three types of Calair product were used to service the eight Actiflo™ units involved, including AQUA for compressed air, GREEN for water, and VIOLET for acids and alkalines. All Pro Pipe II products are permanently colour-coded for safety in accordance with AS 1345-1995).

“The colour-coding is great for safety, especially in a complex industrial site where you might be using a variety of pipes to carry different substances of different hazard levels. You don’t want maintenance personnel having to wonder and waste time wondering what they are dealing with, or cutting into the wrong line,” said Mr Hutton.

“The Calair product saves time because you don’t have to paint it or put colour tags on it every 10 metres or so. The job is done for you to a very high standard - what we particularly liked about the Calair product is that it has an extra, permanent colour layer on the outside.”

The Calair system integrates readily with the existing metal piping of older plant, requiring no specialist tools and no specialised skills (such as welding) to install. The system can also be easily reconfigured as production and process needs change. Being only one eighth the eight of equivalent steel piping, the job can be more quickly and safely handled by existing staff.

The system is also 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.

The system is also designed for high security of product and minimal losses. A combination of plastic welded fittings and threaded connections was used where appropriate to ensure maximum durability for the pipe systems, which typically carry flows of up to 115 litres an hour (chemicals) 120 litres an hour (water) and operate at pressures of up to 10 bar (air).

“Durability was a big plus of the Calair system - you can blow out the lines and not get any corrosion. Parts of the system have been in service for a year now without any problems,” said Mr Hutton.

Calair Pipe Systems Managing Director Mr John McNab says 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.

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

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.

Mr McNab says Pro-Pipe II systems are highly suitable for use in aggressive environments involving dust, chemicals or primary products, ranging from power generation to 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”