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Straub pipe couplings see an uptick in African orders

OUTDOOR PIPE COUPLING Straub open flex pipe coupling attached to a pipe above ground

ENCLOSED AREA PIPE COUPLING The Straub open flex pipe coupling attached to a pipe in an enclosed or underground area

2nd February 2024

     

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According to a recent press release, the recent spike in union-related mining strikes near the end of 2023, coupled with a decline in workforce numbers, meant that the mining industry had to find a way to work smarter to ensure production levels remained steady.

Pretoria-based pumping equipment supplier Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) has reported a notable increase in its pipe coupling business during this period, which can be attributed to the flexibility offered by the Straub pipe coupling range as well as the company’s push for a bigger share of the African pipe coupling market, says MRS MD Franscois Steenkamp.

“When faced with a reduced workforce you need to find a way to maintain productivity without having to sacrifice quality or neglect other parts of your operation. The Straub pipe coupling system eliminates the need for any pipe end preparation, which under normal circumstance can be highly time-consuming and labour-intensive. The Straub system can replace welded, flanged, threaded or grooved pipe joints in a matter of minutes,” said Steenkamp.

Having proven itself the world over to be the best pipe-coupling product on the market available today, Straub couplings have benefitted from growing demand for innovative couplings in Africa.

“Straub pipe couplings have been used in more than 40-million pipe connections worldwide, and we are seeing a growing demand that necessitated new African partners joining our expanding network. In early January, we received multiple orders for our Straub Open Flex coupling, which proved to also help eliminate the vibration on pipelines, which, in turn, reduces the vibration on the pump and bearings as the Straub Open Flex coupling can absorb 15 mm radial movement on the pipe,” he adds.

Thermal expansion and contraction, deflection, seismic movement and vibration are all phenomena that can be accommodated by the Straub Open Flex coupling pipe, which permits linear and angular movement. This was a critical requirement for one of MRS’s Zambia-based clients, for instance.

In addition to the advantage of reduction in vibration, another advantage of the Straub Open Flex coupling – unlike the multiple bolts required for each individually replaced flange – is the fact that only three bolts are required to secure the coupling. This makes the Straub coupling six times faster to install than flanging.

The removal of a suction pipe for pump maintenance or repair usually requires that either the flange bolts are manually removed, which is highly time consuming, or that these are removed using a cutting torch, which entails acquiring the necessary permits to conduct welding, flame cutting, soldering and similar operations in a plant.

Not only does the paperwork and acquiring of the appropriate signatures for permits lead to increased downtime during a breakdown, having to transport the usually bulky equipment to site further contributes to a loss of productivity.

Using Straub couplings such as the Straub Open Flex cuts pipe disassembly down to 15 minutes. This represents a “massive increase in productivity”, when compared to the lengthy removal process employed when removing 20 to 30 bolts – either individually by hand, or by cutting torch – which could take up to two hours every time maintenance needs to be conducted.

Apart from the immense customer benefits of minimising downtime and ease of installation, the Straub range of pipe couplings further offers a progressive sealing effect whereby, when pressure in the pipe rises, the contact pressure on the sealing lips also increases owing to the flow through the pressure equalisation channel.

Straub pipe couplings are used in a wide variety of situations, industries and plants, such as construction, water supply, wastewater, mining, shipbuilding, or offshore pipe repair.

As a South African agent of Straub products, MRS can procure, install and commission the right Straub connection to meet the project-specific requirements.  

Straub couplings come fully assembled and ready to install. A torque wrench is the only tool required to do the job. Lightweight and with a low profile, Straub couplings are “easy to handle” and can be installed in the “tightest of spaces”. Its unique lip seal design seals on even rough pipe surfaces.

Straub’s range of couplings are used to join virtually any plain end pipe or tube, including steel, stainless steel, ductile iron, fibre-reinforced polymer, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated PVC, C900 – the American Water Works Association standard for cast-iron-pipe-equivalent outside diameter PVC pressure pipe – concrete pipe, copper and cupronickel or copper-nickel piping, up to an outer diameter of 5 000 mm.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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