Houston-based thermoset pipe maker Hobas Pipe USA is now offering non-circular profiles to the North American sanitary sewer market.
The longtime manufacturer of centrifugally cast, fiberglass-reinforced polyester pipe is targeting the aging infrastructure market with its trenchless pipe rehabilitation technology.
Hobas Pipe USA is a subsidiary of Basel, Switzerland-based Hobas Engineering + Rohre AG, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The non-circular profiles are being custom-shaped and filament-wound to order at a Hobas facility in Germany, but production will be moved to the Houston facility as North American demand calls for it.
The profiles feature a gasket-joining system that eliminates the need for adhesives to attach the pieces. Workers grout any gap between the new pipe and the existing line.
The key selling point for the non-circular line is its ability to be made into any shape, which limits capacity loss to virtually nil.
That's the reason this technology is being embraced, Kim Paggioli, Hobas' vice president of marketing and quality control, said in an Oct. 23 telephone interview. A lot of people are making round pipe; in non-circular lines, you lose a tremendous amount of cross-sectional area by rehabilitating with a round pipe. Although the smooth interior compensates for the decreased cross-sectional area, sometimes this isn't enough and a matching profile is required.
Pipe deterioration can result in poor flow conditions. The fiberglass-reinforced polyester creates a low coefficient of friction, which typically compensates for any lost capacity, she said.
Hobas non-circular profiles can match the shape of any existing sewer line, Paggioli said.
A hole in the ground is an asset, she said. Trenchless technology minimizes surface impacts. If you can utilize an existing asset, reducing disruption along roadways and to places of business, it's a social benefit as well as a practical one.
Plastic pipe makers have long been faced with the task of convincing engineers and those specifying construction materials that their products are as good, or superior to, the so-called traditional materials typically concrete and metal in pipe applications.
At least for Hobas, the sell is getting easier, Paggioli said.
To utilize newer technology, it's perceived as a risk. But it's getting better.
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