Five months after announcing it had entered the pipe market with a nylon 6/6 product for new shale gas and oil production, Invista is moving the manufacturing operation to a former plastics business in McPherson, Kan.
The Wichita, Kan.-based company is converting a facility that previously housed a Vanguard Plastics Corp. facility into a plant for its Raptor-brand nylon pipe — a product that the unit of Koch Industries Inc. says is the only nylon 6/6 single-wall line pipe to withstand temperatures up to 200° F and pressure up to 500 pounds per square inch.
The McPherson plant should be running by early spring with about a dozen employees who will extrude 1,000-foot sections of the pipe to be sold in coils.
Invista officials never said exactly where in the Midwest commercial production was to be launched, but they did indicate a different site was under consideration to serve customers in its largest sales regions of Texas and North Dakota, and to increase capacity.
Establishing a production facility in Kansas reduces delivery time to targeted oil production basins and lets Invista tap into a skilled workforce, according to Kurt Burmeister, Invista executive vice president. McPherson has at least 17 plastics-related manufacturing businesses.
“With demand for our product increasing, we need to increase our production capacity,” Burmeister said in a news release. “This is especially true as the current price of oil has led to increased interest in our Raptor nylon pipe, given its performance benefits and potential cost-savings.”
The pipe is used to connect wellheads to battery tanks, multi-flow lines, low-pressure natural gas gathering and water transportation. Invista says it installs quickly and offers better abrasion resistance than steel and high density polyethylene (HDPE) and better impact resistance than fiberglass, HDPE and composite pipes.
In some cases, the nylon pipe can save customers up to $25,000 per mile, Invista Marketing and Communications Manager Greg Standifer told Plastics News in an email interview.
“Our toughness provides installation flexibility for customers,” he said. “Some customers have found high value in the fact that Raptor nylon pipe can be surface laid vs buried, which is where an immediate cost savings comes into play. Because some incumbent pipes are vulnerable to impacts when laid on the surface, they need to be buried, which includes the process of trenching, prepping the bed with sand and backfilling. This adds significant cost [about $5 per foot, or approximately $25,000 per mile] to the total job.”
Installation time can be saved, too, Standifer said, which means the operator can get product to market sooner.
“This provides another level of value,” he said.
The installation cost savings vary on a number of factors, such as pipe size, length, type and installation method, he said.
“This savings could be 20-25 percent or more of the total job for flow line installation,” Standifer said. “That's a significant savings when you consider some operators may install more than 500 miles of pipe a year.”
Last year's commercial launch of Raptor nylon pipe followed a year of research and testing. Invista says initial market feedback has been positive for the 2- to 4-inch pipes and a 6-inch pipe should be available in the second quarter.
A product development staff also will work at the McPherson plant.
Invista ranks as the world's largest producer of nylon 6/6 resin and it makes nylon and polyester fibers. The company operates in more than 20 countries with about 10,000 employees.