The Ridgistorm XL pipe range is a £3M investment by Polypipe. Its new factory in Loughborough can kick out 6m long sections up to 2.1m in diameter.
The technology comes from German manufacturer Krah and is being used with much success by PPA Krah in Spain.
“We are proud to use it,” says PPA Krah commercial manager Cesar Lorido. “Three years ago, nobody had heard of it, now we have nice projects.”
The system is unique, with the pipe’s strength and stiffness characteristics tailored exactly to site requirements, eliminating - or at least minimising - waste through overdesign.
The 6m lengths reduce the number of joints required in a pipeline. Where joints must be created, sections of pipe are electro-fused using Krah’s patented system which significantly reduces leakage and ground water pollution.
“The main point is asking the customer: ‘what do you need?’” says Lorido. “Because we have a solution, no matter how heavy or how stiff. So the pipe will a) work properly and b) not waste material. So it is more economic and more environmentally friendly.”
“To have, say, 10 types of pipe on a project would be crazy for installation, but we provide two types, maybe for under a road, where a smaller deflection is needed.”
The system, with its electro-fusion is also fast to install. “Butt welding can take two to three hours per joint. With electro-fusion we can do six or seven in that time,” says Polypipe’s Smith.
“Concrete may be cheaper to buy, but when you factor in speed, less labour, less plant, this is better,” says Lorido.
“We can do 72m in eight hours. You can spend two hours on a single joint in other systems.”
The challenge, says Lorido is getting information about ground conditions out of contractors. “It is a gear change in the UK for people to give us detail up front for us to do the value engineering.”