Pipe relining solutions making inroads into Africa

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First introduced in 2012, patented Nu Flow pipe relining solutions have gained traction in South Africa, and the company, which has the master licence for the technology in Africa, is now returning a keen eye to the rest of the continent.

Leak detection specialist SA Leak Detection Distributors, based in Benoni, Gauteng, already exports Nu Flow products throughout the continent, but the company is aiming to take it a step further by placing at least one licensee in all the major African countries.

Head of marketing at SA Leak Detection, David Wade, says the company believes there is potential for growth in African markets, where mining companies, municipalities, property managers, building maintenance engineers and plumbers could make use of Nu Flow’s noninvasive pipe restoration technologies.

In South Africa, where the first relining job using Nu Flow technology was completed at Sun City in December 2012, SA Leak Detection has provided sublicenses to ten licensees, which offer Nu Flow pipe relining solution to the local market.

Wade says Nu Flow is considered the leading technology in small diameter pipe relining, owing to its unique ability to fix pressurized and nonpressurised piping systems, using existing access points.

“Nu Flow offers the most viable and least disruptive option for pipe renewal,” he says.

Citing an example of a relining job at Anglo American’s Landau colliery, in Mpumalanga, Wade explains that the mine had to replace a corroded 110 mm galvanized steel drainage pipe running beneath a lime water tank, but notes that the client’s major concern was downtime.

To circumvent the time-consuming process of replacing the pipe by opening up the bottom of the tank, Nu Flow cleaning the corroded pipe to return it to its full diameter and then relined it by pulling an epoxy saturated liner into the pipe.

Within the liner is a rubber bladder, which is inflated when the liners is in position. The bladder is removed once the epoxy has cured, leaving behind a “new pipe” within the host pipe.

Piping Solutions

The Nu Flow pull-in-place structural liner process creates a long-term, structure pipe inside the host pipe. The process rehabilitates a pipe to a better-than-new condition, with an increased flow rate. It also eliminates weakened joints, seals cracks and lessens the chances of groundwater pollution.

The blown-in epoxy coating process is also patented and involves draining water out of the piping system and running dry, heated air through the pipes to ensure the removal of the moisture in the pipes.

The pipes are then sand blasted to remove corrosion build-up and to create an anchor tooth for the epoxy to adhere to.

Once cleaned, an epoxy coating system is applied until the pipe is fully coated, creating an internal barrier coating between the water and pipe, eliminating future corrosion.

“Our epoxy coating product and system is the results of over 7 000 hours dedicated to finding the perfect viscosity, air temperature, cure time and equipment needed to achieve optimal pipe adherence that provides a longer-lasting piping solution.

Once our epoxy coating is applied to the interior of the pipe, it will seal and protect the system from further deterioration, dramatically extending the system’s life,” says Wade.

The process can be used on various of pipe materials, including galvanised steel, cast iron, copper and lead. Nu Flow is originally from Canada, where the structural lining technology was developed.

The epoxy coating technology was developed in Japan and was fine-tuned and patented in the US. Nu Flow began licensing its technology to third parties in 2001, growing from ten licensees in 2001 to 250 by 2008.

Head of marketing at SA Leak Detection, David Wade, says the company believes there is potential for growth in African markets, where mining companies, municipalities, property managers, building maintenance engineers and plumbers could make use of Nu Flow’s noninvasive pipe restoration technologies.

Nu Flow supports licensees by providing initial and ongoing training, supplying installation equipment and epoxy, as well as job support on complex projects.

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