Multinational glass-fibre-reinforced polyester (GRP) pipes manufacturer Flowtite celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the local launch of its impact-resistant Grey-brand pipes last month.
The pipes facilitated rapid, easy installation for heavy-duty water uses and the use of native backfill and larger crushed rock for trench backfilling, lowering the costs of installation, said Flowtite Africa regional manager Dominic Sikuka during the anniversary celebration and factory tour.
GRP pipes are resistant to delamination; bacterial, acid and flow corrosion; cracking; stray currents; ultraviolet light; and external pitting. They also do not require cathodic protection, have low maintenance requirements and are durable, with a design life of 50 years.
The Grey-brand pipes are resistant to external impacts as well as moderate amounts of abrasive materials carried along water and sewer pipes, such as sands and gravel.
Sikuka highlighted that GRP pipes were suitable and competitively priced for use in applications that required a pipe diameter of 300 mm to 4 m and up to 32 bar pressure, with a surge allowance of up to 40%.
Above 32 bar pressure, clients should install steel pipes instead, he added.
“We can install up to 96 m/h of 1-m-diameter GRP pipe along trenches using a small crane, one pulley, two straps and four people. It is easy to cut and join without the need for special equipment and reduces material waste.”
The pipes are made from filaments wound up to 12 m in length in Flowtite’s newly upgraded and International Organisation for Standardisation-certified South African factory, in Germiston, which has produced 70 000 km of pipes and six-million couplings since 1992 as Fiberpipe Holdings. The factory also has a newly installed machine to produce the Flowtite Grey pipes.
“While we can produce pipe sections longer than 12 m, our pressure test rig cannot accommodate longer pipe sections. The 12 m size also fits well onto 12 m trucks and the GRP pipes can be nested within larger pipes on the trucks to reduce transport costs,” said Sikuka.
GRP pipe was also used for the 240 km-long north–south water carrier, in Botswana. Flowtite is also installing pipes for sewer applications in Sebokeng, in southern Gauteng; for water applications in Xai-xai, in Mozambique; and in Lusaka, in Zambia. The company also replaced older pipes with GRP pipes in eThekwini, in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in Zambia and Zimbabwe.