As many as eighteen papers dealing with the commercial and technical aspects of PVC pipe systems were delivered at the recent Plastic Pipes XVII Conference and exhibition in Chicago.
Subject matter varied from the molecular to the ‘spectacular’ with in-depth analysis of PVC raw material and additives, breakthroughs in pipe design and installation methods, upward market trends for PVC-O pipe systems as well as recent findings in the sustainable nature of PVC pipe materials compared to non-plastic pipe systems. Furthermore, the Chicago conference marked the 25th anniversary of recycling PVC pipes and fittings.
Set up in 2003 in Brussels, PVC4Pipes is a non-profit trade association promoting the use of sustainable PVC piping systems in the global market. One paper delivered in Chicago by Jean-Francois Greiner from ALIAXIS described how a sales training package developed by PVC4Pipes was changing perceptions for stakeholders representing the sewer, drainage, soil and waste markets.
Designed to communicate the benefits of PVC pipe systems in a consistent way, the package is already being used successfully in several countries across Europe. “We tested this tool kit thoroughly in the Spanish market,” said Greiner. “Feedback from customers and stakeholders was very positive and we therefore decided to roll out the package in seven European languages.”
Tony Calton, General Manager of the European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA), provided evidence to confirm of the installation benefits of PVC pipe systems. A recently completed trial project commissioned by TEPPFA compared the installation time of PVC sewer pipe systems with that of concrete pipes and fittings. “Our experienced contractors laid a concrete pipeline and then a PVC pipeline. They employed commonly used equipment and techniques for standard pipes, fittings and manholes,” explained Calton. “Both installations were 100 meters long and with identical internal diameters. Our continuous video footage demonstrated that our PVC sewer pipeline could be installed 30 percent faster (3 hours 19 minutes vs. 5 hours 12 minutes for concrete).”
Professor Steven Folkman presented another notable paper in which both historical data and new work by the University of Utah showed that PVC pipes will last well over 100 years in service. Monica de la Cruz from AseTUB (Spanish Association for Plastic Pipes) generated further interest for her paper on ‘Cost savings through quality installations.’
Key messages arising from the conference were those of durability and sustainability, as the conference, held in late 2014, marked the 25th anniversary of recycling PVC pipes.