The "Phoenix" Project - A new pipe in the pipeline
It has the ability to arise after several hundred years and from its own ashes, reborn anew to live again. But what are the benefits to keep this same appearance and properties over and over again while the given conditions and demands change steadily? Evolutionary? Probably not – It’s time for a new PHOENIX!
We are facing daily the necessity to adapt the environment also in our pipe business. The requirements for pipes on the market are changing quickly, driven by cost effectiveness, rise in prices of raw material and the needed properties of pipes. Thus the expectations for a pipe system are high: it should have a long life time; low maintenance costs, easy expandability, flexible for movements in the soil, 100% tight to avoid in- and exfiltration. Furthermore the complete range of fittings, manholes, special parts should be available, in all diameters, with short delivery time, high availability, it should be recyclable, saving natural resources, easy and safe to join and install, etc., but maybe the most important aspect are the investment costs of this pipe system.
Even if we are still really successful with our pressure pipe system, we will now focusing on the gravity system. It is time for a new evolutionary PHOENIX.
Our new RnD-pipeline - actually called “Phoenix” - is a pipe production line being able to produce profiled and solid wall gravity pipes with a higher stiffness and lower material costs than normal PE.
Not only in the field of pipes a change of material is occurring, but also more and more in further applications companies started to mix existing with alternative materials to produce a new compound. The mixture of materials can mainly have two different reasons. The first one is to add new properties to materials – for example carbon compounds in airplanes achieve higher stiffnesses, more flexibility, higher thermal resistance, etc.. The second one could be to keep the certain properties of materials (same quality level) while reducing the cost for this material. And of course a combination of both is possible – better material properties and lower prices. We as Krah have already developed for our large plastic pipe production a pressure pipe system which combines the strength of glass fibre with the flexibility of a thermoplastic (polyolefin). Instead of using a ready-made compound, we have developed a direct compounding/extrusion process for our pipes. With this production method the pipe producer is able to react very flexible on the product / material request and he can extrude directly a pipe out of a compound. One complete production step and profit step is skipped for the benefit of our machine user and/or the final customer of the pipe.
First test results of the new compound have shown, that we can reach an E-modulus of approx. 2.000 N/mm² (PE100, E-modulus = 1.000 N/mm²). The pure material costs can be reduced by 22,9% to a compound price of 1.080 EURO/Ton based on the following unit prices: PE100 = 1.400 EURO/ton and 40% CaCO3 = 600 EURO/ton.
Theoretically we can use 50% of the wall thickness to reach the same stiffness, with the new material. So, by using a direct extruded compound the total cost reduction will be 61,5%. In comparison: 1kg pipe (PE100) with a certain stiffness costs 1,40 Euro, now you need only 0,5kg (compound) with the same stiffness the cost is 0,54 EURO. A lot of different “fillers” are available on the market that can be used easily with our machine, so everybody can create his own pipe compound – to reduce the cost of production. Today the material costs are approx. 75% of the pipe costs. Just imagine how your profit will increase by keeping the same sales price level, or how big your pipe market is when you are able to reduce the pipe price by 40%. Other pipe materials like concrete and GRP will definitely be in long term trouble.
Currently we are developing the new production system including new profiles to find out how close we can come with our theoretical approach to a practical solution. During all our developments we are considering the requirements of the complete pipe system, like fittings, jointing, etc…
We are close to rebirth and we will keep you informed about the development…