How to Lower Your Pipeline Cost
With the current tough economic climate and challenging 2010-15 price settlement, water companies and contractors are under increased pressure to find opportunities to lower pipeline costs, which form a major part of their capital expenditure.
As material costs can contribute to a significant part of the pipeline costs, there is an increased temptation for to opt for the cheapest pipe. There are, however, opportunities for designers to reduce costs without compromising on quality.
The past 40 years have demonstrated that, time and again, polyethylene delivers the best value in comparison with other pipeline materials. The attributes that make PE systems the most cost-effective material have been discussed at length in other articles and can be summarised as follows:
♦ Lifetime (in excess of 100 years)
♦ Absence of corrosion
♦ No lining to deteriorate
♦ Fewer leaks, cracks and failures
♦ Joint welds stronger than the pipe itself
♦ Pipes absorb stress caused by ground settlement
♦ Jointing options (without anchor blocks)
♦ Light and flexible for easier handling
♦ Long pipe lengths handled by excavator – fewer joints
♦ Narrower trenches
♦ Trenches closed quicker
♦ Compatibility with no-dig methods
♦ Smooth bore maximises flow and reduces fouling
♦ Consistent pressure and flow characteristics
♦ Minimal maintenance
As demonstrated in the Whole Life Costing Model, for larger sizes, PE not only has lower initial costs than traditional pipe materials, it also has lower cost when all project life costs are taken into account, including future operation, maintenance and repair.
Specify Realistic Pressure
With PE, one of the key opportunities for designers to reduce costs lies in the greater strength of pipes produced using modern grades of PE100 high performance polyethylene. Compared to earlier materials, PE100 allows pipes to achieve their required pressure ratings with a thinner pipe wall (higher SDR). The reduction in the weight of material reduces the installed cost and increases productivity by making it more economic to transport and easier to handle on site.
Significant savings can be achieved by specifying the pipeline for the realistic pressures expected and not simply by adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Polyethylene’s strength is its flexibility and toughness, making it extremely adaptable to ground conditions. The pressure ratings of PE100 pipes include generous and realistic safety factors, designed to comfortably cope with pressure surges of twice the steady state pressure without any detriment.
Additionally, flow efficiency does not degrade over time with the polyethylene remaining smooth throughout its life; this means that unlike cement-lined pipes, increased pumping energy is not required over time, saving money and the environment. The philosophy ‘value from optimum pressure’ can be applied to ensure that the most cost effective design and supply solutions are implemented for capital schemes, leading to major savings.
Varying diameters and wall thickness can make substantial savings. For example, the use of SDR21 8Bar pipes as a standard on capital schemes could provide savings in the order of 20% over thicker-wall SDR17 10bar pipes. Similarly, choosing SDR21 and SDR17 in place of SDR11 produces savings of 45% and 30%, respectively.
Get Advice from a Manufacturer
As a manufacturer, PARSETHYLENE PE Pipe Systems offers advice to pipeline designers to help them optimise design, specifying the most efficient and cost effective pipeline configuration possible. In addition, our technical staff is able to provide assistance throughout design, construction and commissioning. Water engineers will benefit from a long record of innovation and over 100 years of expertise in the development of plastic piping.
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