Designing, engineering and delivering equipment for pipe blasting and coating has been one of our specialties for years. Large, small, thick and thin: we have seen it all. Even pipes for water transport no longer hold any secrets for us. At least, that is what we thought. Until some customers came with very specific requirements and presented us with a considerable challenge. We solved it with our usual creativity and through vertical cooperation.
The customers in question not only needed equipment that could handle pipes up to 5 meters in diameter, but also wanted to boost production volumes with a new process line. The long drying time of the coating and the cumbersome handling of the pipes resulted in low production volumes. In addition, the pipes to be treated already had a cement layer on the inside that had to remain intact. To speed up the drying time, liquid polyurethane (PU) was the obvious choice. This highly flexible substance has been around for a long time and can be sprayed on just about anything.
Applications vary from a thin layer for corrosion protection to, with a few extra ingredients, a nice foam layer for building insulation. We found some PU producers willing to develop their PU-spray in such a way that it would dry faster. This now takes only a few minutes instead of hours. With both mechanical and software adjustments to our existing coating equipment, we in turn were able to speed up the handling considerably. In the factories in question, this used to be done tube by tube by placing them on a roller bench, then applying the spray after which the treated tube had to be picked up again with a crane and put away to dry. Quite laborious, in other words.
Factories in Mexico and the US
After extensive testing, including the drying time required before force can be applied to the coating, we translated everything into a factory design. In addition to engineering and commissioning this also involved permits, energy supply, production capacity calculations and software and mechanical-technical coordination. Not long after the first implementation of this solution at manufacturer Tubacero in Mexico City, we built the first fully “accelerated” plant in Texas. Recently, we added a second fully equipped plant for ASWP (American SpiralWeld Pipe Company) in South Carolina.
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