Thermoplastic piping company Plasti-Tech is supplying high-density polyethylene (HDPE PE100) stub ends, which have been labelled using a Lynx laser printer using invisible laser-radiation.
“The significance of labelling the stub ends using the Lynx laser machine is that the manufacture, size and pressure rating markings cannot be removed without damaging the butt ends. This leads to the manufacturer of the butt ends being accountable for the quality they produce,” says Plasti-Tech managing member Brad Chamont.
He highlights that the labelling system is important, owing to failures that can happen when installing poor quality HDPE fittings. Currently, when a stub ends fails, owing to manufacturer faults, it is difficult to trace the manufacturer as there are no permanent markings.
“The labelling of the stub ends we are providing conforms to the standards that the Installation and Fabrication Plastics Pipe Association is busy passing into regulations. We are confident that the standard will be passed in the coming months,” he states.
He points out that, internationally, there are standards set out by the European Standards Association that require that the manufacturer’s name and fitting information be applied to HDPE fittings, as well as barcodes for traceability.
These standards and traceability systems are in place to hold manufacturers accountable for product quality and prevent them from supplying stub ends and other HDPE components that are of poor quality and could fail when under extreme pressures.
Moreover, Chamont mentions that these are the first HDPE butt ends in South Africa that are being labelled in this way. The method currently being used across local industry is a white marker that can be rubbed off with regular handling of the butt ends.
He points out that, while Plasti-Tech is not the manufacturer of the butt ends, the company actively searched for, and has found, a local manufacturer that is willing to manufacture and label stub ends that are available in sizes of between 50 mm and 355 mm in diameter with various pressure classes, and then apply the labels.
Chamont explains that these stub ends are used on HDPE pipelines when pipe to pipe welds are not accepted by the project engineers. By welding the stub ends onto two pipes and using steel or aluminium backing, ring pipes can be connected using mechanical means.
“Once pipes are welded, you can’t remove sections or repair them. With a stub and flange system to join pipe lengths, the stub ends are bolted together, so it is a mechanical connection of an HDPE pipe,” he points out.
Chamont concludes that Plasti-Tech is aiming to increase the maximum size of the stub ends that are available to 1 000 mm, from their current 355 mm, to accommodate larger piping systems.