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Debunking myths: performance facts about mechanical joining

A new mechanical joining solution from Victaulic is offering new performance capabilities for high density polyethylene pipes.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) is light-weight, corrosion-resistant, flexible, long-lasting and economical, so it’s an ideal material for underground buried and outdoor exposed pipelines.

While HDPE poly has been available for over 50 years, recent adoption of the piping material is quickly replacing steel, concrete and ductile iron piping. It is the fastest-growing piping material in civil works and water transport infrastructure applications, with adoption expected to increase by 5 per cent per year.

In response to this trend, Victaulic, a global producer of mechanical pipe joining solutions, has developed the Refuse-to-Fuse system, a mechanical joint for HDPE piping.

“For years, butt fusion and electrofusion have been considered the top joining methods for HDPE piping. There are common misconceptions about the performance capabilities of fusion; until now, it has been widely accepted as the easiest, most efficient method for joining HDPE pipe. We’re excited to tell you otherwise,” said David Sharkey, Victaulic VP-GM of South Asia Pacific.

Victaulic outlines some of top myths about the performance of fusion compared to mechanical joining.

Myth one: fusing is faster

The Refuse-to-Fuse system cuts crew downtime on-site so projects can be finished ahead of schedule. It can be installed up to 10 times faster than fusing, while providing a consistent joint every time. Through the simple act of tightening two bolts and nuts, there is no need for expensive fusing equipment, power sources or certified fusion installers. There’s also no need to spend time heating and cooling pipe ends. Finally, without the need for complex equipment, mechanical joints can be quickly installed in tighter spaces and places that traditional fusing gear can’t reach.

Myth two: fusing is stronger

Refuse-to-Fuse products meet or exceed HDPE pressure ratings. That means an HDPE pipe is likely to fail under pressure before a properly installed Refuse-to-Fuse joint. The pipe can be pushed, pulled and dragged like any fused solution. The solution is specifically designed with strength and durability in mind and meets other common job site requirements, such as allowable tensile load and minimum bend radius.

Myth three: mechanical joints can’t be buried

Victaulic mechanical joints for HDPE pipe are designed for buried services, and are perfect for underground civil works and water transport infrastructure applications. With a range of industry-accepted coatings, the Refuse-to-Fuse system is protected from the harsh underground environment.

Myth four: mechanical solutions are expensive

While fusing may require hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of equipment – depending on the size range of the project – the Refuse-to-Fuse solution eliminates the need for capital purchase and maintenance of these tools. Plus, because mechanical joining is faster and easier to install, projects can save on labour costs with fewer man hours required and no need for specially-certified workers. According to Victaulic, comparative studies of mechanical and fused projects have shown the Refuse-to-Fuse solution to be a competitively priced option.

“As leaders in the mechanical joining business, we are extremely proud of the Refuse-to-Fuse solution. At Victaulic, we’re passionate about educating the market about the benefits of our mechanical joints,” Mr. Sharkey said.

“Our solution exceeds HDPE pressure ratings, cuts down installation times, eliminates the need for expensive equipment and specialised workers and works in a range of underground buried and outdoor exposed conditions. What more could you want?”

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