France-based Corelco develops system to produce insulated pipe
Corelco, a French maker of pipe corrugators, is marketing a system for producing insulated pipe for drinking water, chilled water or other liquids that need to be kept hot or cold.
The company began developing the system about two years ago for a customer in Scandinavia that wanted to make water pipes that wouldn’t freeze. The company now is seeking additional clients that are interested in manufacturing insulated pipes that keep everything from water to soft drinks chilled or heated.
Corelco sales director Joseph Vitello said the pipe has two advantages. “One is for drinking water or tap water to keep it out of the freeze, and the system works also to save energy. When you are transferring chilled water from Point A to Point B, if you use pre-insulated pipe, you do not lose energy. You keep the same low temperature.”
The system pairs Corelco equipment, such as corrugators, with other companies’ extruders and related equipment. The first piece of Corelco equipment in the system is a foam handler that takes a crosslinked PE water pipe and wraps it in a roll of foam insulation. The foam then is heated and melted to form a seal around the pipe.
Optionally, a heating cable can be attached to the pipe inside the roll to keep water from freezing. If the end user wants it, a tube also can be attached to the pipe. The tube can be used to carry a wire that makes it possible to detect underground pipe from aboveground, or can hold a fiber optic cable. The tube and heating cable can be taped to the pipe before the foam is wrapped around it.
Although Corelco does not manufacture the extruder that makes the water pipe, also known as pressure pipe, it can help customers in selecting a manufacturer and model, Vitello said.
After the pipe is encased in foam, it is sent into a Corelco corrugator, which forms an HDPE single-wall corrugated pipe around it. Corelco sells two corrugator models for the insulated water pipe market. The EC 160LV can manufacture a corrugated jacket pipe with an outer diameter ranging from 40mm to 160mm, and it can accommodate pipe with outer diameters from 32mm to 75mm. The EC 260LV can manufacture a corrugated jacket pipe with an outer diameter ranging from 63mm to 250mm and accommodate pipe with outside diameters from 32mm to 100mm.
The corrugator consists of a tube and rotating mold blocks that form the pipe’s ridges as the HDPE melt proceeds through the tube or forming channel.
While Corelco does not provide the extruder needed to feed the melted plastic into the corrugator, it sells the extruder crosshead that feeds the plastic from the extruder into the corrugator.
“What is new is the global process and especially the crosshead,” Vitello said. “There is a specific crosshead we had to design for this process.”
The rest of the system is composed of standard downstream equipment, including a water cooling bath, haul-off, traveling cutting saw and a coiler.
Corelco is developing a data-recording system that would allow its corrugators to record a variety of manufacturing parameters, helping customers track machine performance to improve efficiency and pinpoint causes of manufacturing defects. For instance, once introduced, the recorded data could help an operator recognize and correct a problem like a reduction in melt-flow pressure, Vitello said.
Bruce Geiselman, senior staff reporter
Corelco Extrusion Lines,
Manziat, France, 33-3-85-36-12-58, www.corelco.com