Labelled the ‘pipe of the future’, corrosion-resistant, glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) pipelines can save mining companies millions on reoccurring pipeline breakdowns due to corrosion.
Fiberglass-reinforced plastic pipes are now considered exceptionally advantageous in the mining industry where highly-resilient materials are required to withstand corrosive chemical used and harsh environmental conditions experienced in the mining process and in particular metals processing plants.
Roger Rusch, CEO at IWC, experts in GRP manufacturing and installations in South Africa and Africa, says “GRP pipes are well-priced, do not require maintenance and are designed to have a lifespan of around 50 years, which is a huge saving on the lifecycle cost over a 50-year period, especially in the mining industry where conditions are harsh.”
In response to the growing demand for fibreglass equipment and piping, in 2012, Industrial Water Cooling, IWC, officially launched a glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) manufacturing facility in Isando, Ekurhuleni, which is one of only two GRP plants of this kind in South Africa. Before IWC launched its GRP facility, the biggest local supplier of industrial fibreglass was based in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Our facility offers a range of services and products including on-site GRP piping repair work as well as the manufacturing and design of corrosion resistant linings and fittings for pipeline systems.” says Rusch.
IWC’s GRP manufacturing facility undertakes the design, manufacture and installation of GRP piping and fittings from 25mm up to 2500mm in diameter Polypropylene; PVC and HDPE vessels and piping; and GRP corrosion resistant linings.
Fiberglass-reinforced plastic is constructed by weaving together individual strands of fine glass fibre to form a flexible fabric, which is then placed in a mould and combined with resin. This process is then repeated in order to create many layers of the fibre glass and resin, which then becomes a high performance material of exceptional strength and versatility. The resin most commonly used in GRP is unsaturated polyesters dissolved in styrene. Polyesters can be tailor-made to specific industry requirements.
Owing to its strength, durability and non-corrosive properties, GRP pipe systems have a longer life expectancy when compared to a variety of construction materials, making it massively economical over the long run.
Furthermore, glass reinforced plastic pipes are considerably less expensive than those manufactured from materials such as stainless steel or more exotic materials that are required in the metallurgical processing industry
Due to its unique physical properties, glass-reinforced plastic can be easily moulded and manufactured to meet almost any industry specifications. With GRP, there are few constraints on size, shape, colour or finish.
Pound for pound, GRP is stronger than steel and sheet metals, has a high resistance to environmental extremes, and is resistant to ultra violet light, extreme temperatures, salt air, and a variety of chemicals including most acids.
The advantages are of GRP are unmatched and with years of experience and their own plant, IWC consistently undertakes custom GRP piping and fitting solutions, from the simplest, to the most challenging applications in the African mining industry.