Large diameter pipe has been around for a while. It’s not new technology.
There is however a perception that large diameter HDPE is the smart phone of the telephone family.
While HDPE does have numerous advantages that mirror the value of having an iPhone, the perceived youth of large diameter has a narrow world view to blame.
Large diameter HDPE pipe is relatively new in its usage in North America. Countries overseas have been utilizing it for much longer. The cost of shipping large diameter HDPE pipe has made it difficult to justify it as a viable option, so it wasn’t until the pipe was manufactured domestically that the perception began to change.
And change it did.
HDPE Large Diameter Pipe Application
HDPE pipe is used in a variety of applications across a wide range of industries, from water supply and drainage systems to gas and oil transportation. One of the most important advantages of HDPE pipes is their flexibility, durability, and resistance to corrosion, which make them ideal for use in harsh and challenging environments.
There was a time that 36-inch pipe was considered “large diameter”. Today, the standard has moved to anything 63 inches or bigger in diameter, and are becoming increasingly popular in various applications, especially in the water and wastewater industry. Similarly, three inches was the maximum thickness of the HDPE pipe wall, but advances in resins and technology has allowed large diameter HDPE pipe to be extruded with walls that are as thick as six inches.
With ISCO leading the way, HDPE has placed its hat in the ring for large diameter piping solutions in North America in municipal applications, mining, wastewater, desalination, irrigation, culvert rehabilitation, canal replacement, hydro-electric power and other energy conversion.
Advantages of HDPE Large Diameter Pipe
What are the advantages of HDPE in the large diameter form?
They are no different than the advantages of smaller diameter HDPE:
Properly installed HDPE pipe is leak-free.
HDPE is a long-term solution, with a life of 100 years or more, eliminating maintenance and replacement costs and headaches that other systems require.
HDPE pipe is flexible and requires fewer elbows, allowing it to follow a winding course that other piping systems could only do with multiple joints.
In addition, HDPE is resistant to surge and shifting soils or seismic activity.
The installation process is simplified. Trenchless technology minimizes the impact on the site, as does the ability to fuse the pipe above ground before lowering into a trench.
HDPE piping solutions are resistant to corrosion and tuberculation, protecting it from “hot” soils and allowing it to safely carry acidic or other harmful compounds that mining and other applications require.
Smooth interior walls allow a higher flow rate and may allow a smaller diameter pipe than legacy pipe because of that level of efficiency.
From manufacturing to transport to installation to reduced maintenance to longevity – HDPE is the most environmentally-friendly piping solution.
Depending on the application, solid wall HDPE can be used with diameters up to 138 inches. If you have a low pressure or a gravity system, a lighter weight profile wall HDPE pipe known as Spirolite is produced in even larger diameters – up to 157 inches.
While on a much larger scale(obviously), custom fittings can be crafted with large diameter pipe, just like it’s diminutive counterpart. And the ability to perform the necessary welds in the field is no different than small diameter HDPE, thanks in large part to the McElroy Talon.
McElroy Talon Fusion Machine
The Talon is a self-propelled, tracked vehicle designed for pipelining that has the unique ability to lift pipe from the ground with its powerful jaws, align it within the machine, fuse it and move from joint to joint down the pipeline — from one end of the job to the other. ISCO debuted the Talon in Firebaugh, California at Baker Farms, where the corrosion of 17-year-old steel piping developed leaks- necessitating nearly two-and-a-half miles of 54-inch DR-17 HDPE pipe and multiple sidewall connections.
HDPE Large Diameter Projects
In Vernal, Utah an open irrigation canal was losing 25 percent of its water annually to seepage and evaporation, so the Uintah Water Conservancy district brought in ISCO to enclose three miles of the open canal in 78-inch HDPE pipe, the largest diameter HDPE high-pressure water pipe in US history. The Talon and the Italian-made Technodue performed the fusion on site in Utah at Steinaker Reservoir.
The Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Victoria, British Columbia needed of an offshore outfall in water depths of more than 200 feet. The ISCO solution in Canada called for construction of more than a mile of “float and sink” installed 88-inch HDPE pipe – the largest solid wall HDPE outfall in North America.
As far as the future of large diameter HDPE pipe is concerned, it is pure speculation, but it seems likely that advances in resins will continue – improving and increasing wall thickness, and as the standard of large pipe shifted from 36-inch to 63-inch, similar progress may come to fruition.
What is certain about the future is that ISCO will be at the forefront of providing HDPE large diameter pipe solutions, while adhering to our commitment to sustainability.
Whether you dial us up from a vintage phone booth or hands-free from your mobile, ISCO is here to answer your call.