Review of Pipes Conference

Nov 03, 2006

Now that the Plastics Pipes XIII Conference is concluded, review of this landmark event is worthwhile.

It was the first plastic pipes conference of the series to be held in the Americas and the delegate breakdown reflected a strong European participation.

Of the 435 delegates from over 30 countries, the regional split was: North America (52%), Europe (32%), Asia (13%), Latin America (3%). Dr. David Walton, vice chairman of the organizing committee explains: "Conference participation reflected a good geographic spread with a good representation from our European colleagues. This truly international forum has served more than ever as a technical exchange of quality ideas, facts, trends and information critical to the plastics pipes industry."

Over 90 technical papers were presented – evidence enough for a solid scientific base. Deadlines were predictably tight at twenty minutes for each delivery with questions but the tempo did not detract from the quality of the notes. Jean-Michel Cousteau set the scene with his incisive keynote address.

Environmental considerations have clearly entered the industry technical agenda. Mike Osry's paper entitled 'The energy crisis – designing with material and energy efficient PVC and HDPE piping systems' was a case in hand. His comparisons of the amount of energy required to manufacture plastic sewer and pressure pipes with those of ductile iron are seminal.

He says: "It may be considered that plastics pipes use more natural resources in the form of fossil fuels than traditional pipe materials. In fact, as most electrical or heat energy required for the production of the basic raw materials comes from oil or coal, the reverse is true. It takes less energy to produce plastics materials for pipes than it does to make steel, copper, ductile iron or aluminium pipes - these metal products are very energy intensive, as is zinc, used as galvanizing to provide corrosion resistance to steel and ductile iron pipes."

He concludes: "The ‘new' generation PVC and HDPE materials, PVC-O, PVC-M and PE 100, have proven themselves in service and continue to demonstrate cost effectiveness and energy efficiency. It has been shown that the 50 year safety factor depends on pipe material properties and that a high safety factor does not mean that the pipe is safer to use or more reliable. The many benefits associated with their use, including long-term performance, ease of handling and installation, improved flow and reduced pumping power consumption, as well as significant energy conservation and benefits to the environment, are some of the advantages in using these modern generation pipe materials."

Plastics Pipes XVI will take place at the Budapest Intercontinental Hotel in September/October 2008. Uponor's Jeremy Bowman will chair the event. It will not be a disappointment.


Plastics Europe



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