Over the past decade, Australia’s water utilities have become increasingly reliant on trenchless methods of pipeline installation and rehabilitation. There are many benefits to be gained through the use of trenchless technologies, including substantial cost savings, reduced environmental impacts and minimised disturbance to communities when compared to the traditional open trench methods of installation.

Iplex Pipelines, recognising the growth opportunities and the market’s demand, have focused on their trenchless portfolio to become a leading Australian manufacturer and distributor of pipeline rehabilitation and installation products, including microtunnelling, horizontal directional drilling, bursting, slip-lining, cracking and reaming technologies.

Trenchless pipeline construction technologies have favoured polyethylene (PE) pipe, due to its ability to be fusion-welded on site into long strings. This trend has in turn resulted in demand for a higher performance, long-life PE that will provide reliable service.

This motivated Iplex to look toward the evolution of PE100 pipe materials that can withstand the inevitable damage that will occur in trenchless applications, where undetected surface damage and rock impingement may occur during construction. This has ultimately resulted in the development of Iplex Millennium®.

Iplex Millennium®is a high stress crack resistance (HSCR) grade of PE100 pipe that provides up to ten times greater resistance to slowcrack growth than conventional PE100 pipe.

It has the same pressure burst strength of conventional PE100 pipe, but is specifically designed for use in critical or high-value pipeline assets where the risk of premature failure from slow crack growth is possible.

In trenchless applications requiring a jacked pipe solution, Iplex Pipelines was an Australian pioneer. Back in the 1980s, Iplex first introduced Hobas GRP pipes into the market and drove the growth and market acceptance of GRP pipes in the Australian water industry.

Over the past decade Iplex’s Flowtite® continuous spirally wound range has expanded into jacking pipes. To date many hundreds of projects have been supplied in Flowtite® GRP pipe, including the recently completed Amaroo project undertaken by John Holland for Yarra Valley Water.

At 7.5km in length, this installation is the largest jacking pipe project undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere.

To remain at the forefront, Iplex keeps up to date with technological developments from around the world. The properties of PVC pipe are well known and appreciated by water industry asset owners to an extent where the material has been significantly adopted as the default material of choice for the construction of Australian urban pipelines.

In the US, research into the formulation of a weldable PVC compound in concert with the development of specialised equipment and process conditions has enabled PVC to make significant inroads in trenchless applications.

Iplex recognised the opportunity for this product in Australia and has entered into a licence agreement with the owners of the patented weldable PVC pressure pipe technology, Underground Solutions Inc., to manufacture and fuse PVC pipe within the Australian territory where it is trademarked, NovafuseTM.

Whilst Fusible PVCTM could be successfully used in place of polyethylene pipe in most installations, it is Iplex’s intention to focus on projects that will benefit most from the pipe’s higher tensile strength and lower weight, to permit longer shots and smaller bore holes.

As the welding process demands specialist skills and equipment, Iplex provides a fully welded string of pipe to site and monitors the installation process, reducing project risk.

The innovation of Fusible PVCTM represents an opportunity for engineers to design trenchless pipelines in diameters and lengths at a cost that was not previously possible.

Adding further to their trenchless PVC pipe range, Iplex has developed RestrainTM PVC-U Sewer Pipe, specifically for gravity sewer applications utilising trenchless techniques for the installation, repair or replacement of underground drainage infrastructure.

Restrain is a rubber ring jointed PVC-U pipe, with a threaded spigot and socket, which provides immediate axial capability during installation and is compatible with both solvent-welded and rubber ring jointed DWV PVC-U sewer pipe and fittings.

As the Iplex Pipelines portfolio of trenchless products is so diverse, their application specialists are available to provide honest and professional advice on the best product fit for every trenchless pipeline project.

This partner content is brought to you by Iplex. For more information, visit www.iplex.com.au or call 13 10 86.

Elisa is an experienced industry journalist and is a regular contributor to a range of energy and infrastructure titles. She has a unique knack for quickly finding the angle in any story her audience is most interested in learning more about.

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