Staying true to its name, the market leader in plastic drainage systems just got more advanced.
Hilliard-based Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., which sells more than $1 billion worth a year of corrugated high density polyethylene pipe, is launching a new pipe product that features an entirely new pipe-wall design and is made from a completely different polymer.
This newly designed and patented triple-wall corrugated pipe made from polypropylene will launch in spring 2009. Chief Executive Officer Joe Chlapaty said the product will open up billions of dollars in new sales opportunities in the storm water and sanitary sewer markets.
The triple-wall construction and PP makeup will foster better competition against the so-called traditional pipe materials - concrete and steel. While some engineers have questioned the service life of HDPE pipe - ADS' core business - there is no debate regarding the merits of PP pipe, which they say is already a proven technology in Europe.
PP pipe is very resistant to stress cracking, ADS officials said.
The new product is called N-12 HP, and will be specified through a new ASTM International standard currently under development, ADS officials said.
While ADS makes and sells a lot of pipe - the firm runs 42 plants internationally - there are still significant portions of the market to try and capture, and entire new markets to tap.
The North American storm sewer market is about $5 billion, ADS officials said.
``[PE] probably participates in less than $1 billion of that,'' said Bob Klein, ADS executive vice president of sales and customer relations, in a telephone interview. ``This new product line can penetrate that other $4 billion.''
The pipe also will penetrate the sanitary sewer market, which ADS serves, along with the agricultural, storm-water drainage and sewer markets.
The company extrudes corrugated pipe in diameters ranging from 12-60 inches. The new pipe will be available in the same diameters.
ADS also injection molds massive HDPE leaching chambers for septic systems.
While ADS officials are confident that their existing corrugated HDPE products are equally adept at performing the drainage functions of their concrete and steel counterparts, language in certain codes and standards have set a 5 percent deflection limit in various applications.
The new triple-wall PP pipe will have even greater stiffness than the existing product line, ADS officials say. ``This is not just an incremental change,'' said John Kurdziel, ADS director of technical services and marketing development. ``It's not only the triple wall, but changing the [resin]. It makes a very big leap from anyone currently manufacturing pipe in the field right now.''
Tom Fussner concurred.
``I do think you get a quantum leap forward by marrying the technologies,'' said Fussner, executive vice president of engineering and international business.
Higher stiffness and integrity, combined with a smoother exterior wall will help installation crews bury the pipe faster, cheaper and more easily, Kurdziel said. The new pipe is gray, which will ease post-installation inspections, officials say. The backfill requirements are less stringent than those currently required with traditional products, said an ADS news release. The pipe has a smooth interior wall that incorporates a dual-banded extended bell, and a spigot with two gaskets.
``This is not meant to be the equivalent to the current products that are out there,'' Kurdziel said. ``It's meant to be better. From joint performance, to structural performance and from an installation standpoint, we wanted to create the best product possible.''
``I believe this is going to be good for our entire industry,'' Klein said. ``It's going to raise the level of awareness and raise the level of acceptance of pipe made out of plastic. Folks who would not use or specify HDPE in the past, will now be much more confident using N-12 HP in the future.''