The rehabilitation technology uses an epoxy resin to coat small bore water pipes from the inside which provides both an increase in strength and longevity to the original asset.
As most pipes have a recognised lifespan of 25–50 years, the application of the Nuflow technology can result in up to an additional 40 years in pipe performance. For most water pipes, the epoxy coating will last considerably longer.
For example, currently Nuflows pipes that were recoated 50 years ago in Japan show no sign of deterioration.
Bringing the technology Down UnderArticle continues below…
Nuflow Australia owner and Managing Director Ed Ahern has been in the industry for over 30 years. He was one of the first in Australia to embrace CIPP technology for the relining of sewage and large diameter pipes. However, there was nothing as equally cost-effective and operationally efficient for small bore pipes other than to replace or patch.
Mr Ahern said he has been monitoring the product for some time and felt the time was right to bring it to Australia.
“Initially what attracted me to the product was the fact that the US Navy had been involved in its development,” said Mr Ahern.
The US Navy originally developed the product to prevent corrosion problems aboard aircraft carriers.
“These vessels experience severe corrosion and erosion of piping in their collection, holding and transfer systems.
“To repair and replace these pipes was both costly and highly ineffective due to the need to dry-dock these enormous vessels. The US Navy engineers had heard of pipe coatings before and looked to see if the current technology was suitable or could be adapted to solve their problems.
“As a result tests were carried out and none of the commercial coatings were found suitable, however the Nuflow coating presented the best solution. After further testing and tweaking of the coating formula a solution was found that passed the US Federal Register 57 governing the application of the process and its effect on water quality,” said Mr Ahern.
In 1983, the USS Midway was relined and the application was so successful in terms of its performance and longevity that the Navy, in addition to relining all existing vessels, now relines all ships as they are built from new.
“Here in Australia, like all other parts of the world, we have ageing infrastructure of both a commercial and domestic nature. Many of these facilities are operating with pipe assets that may fail at anytime.”
Nuflow says its aim with this technology is very simple, to provide an ability to secure the asset and its operation and prevent future problems from occurring.
The process involves cleaning the existing pipes using a sand blasting technique before ‘blowing’ the pipe with the special epoxy resin that coats the pipe from the inside.
“The outstanding thing with this is that the existing pipes can be down to as little as 20 per cent structural integrity and we can still apply the process successfully, extending the life of your asset exponentially.
“There is no digging, no wall breaking – it is all down to the entry and exit points of the pipes,” said Mr Ahern.
The technology has been used successfully in a variety of applications including hospitals, highrise apartments, factories, fire suppression systems and domestic homes.
The other great thing about this product is that unlike conventional repair and replace options that can often cause a whole site to be shut down whilst work is done, this process can be managed to ensure minimum disruption to operations.
“We see this as a preventative measure that provides peace of mind in terms of the assets function.
“It is also an environmentally sound solution - there is no digging and disturbing of the environment, but also the epoxy means that there is no corrosion occurring and therefore no metal leaching into the water supply,” said Mr Ahern.
Nuflow will be providing site audits and assessments in order for customers to accurately assess their level of risk.
Nuflow is a leading Australian company within the pipe technology and rehabilitation field and part of the worldwide Nuflow group.