PIPA Standard

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Industrial Guidelines for HDPE Pipes
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    Industry Guidelines POLYETHYLENE (PE) PIPES AND FITTINGS FOR COMPRESSED AIR ISSUE 6.9 Ref: POP002 14 AUGUST, 2014    POP002   ISSUE 6.9   Page 1 Disclaimer In formulating this guideline PIPA has relied upon the advice of its members and, where appropriate, independent testing. Notwithstanding, users of the guidelines are advised to seek their own independent advice and, where appropriate, to conduct their own testing and assessment of matters contained in the guidelines, and to not rely solely on the guidelines in relation to any matter that may risk loss or damage. PIPA gives no warranty concerning the correctness of accuracy of the information, opinions and recommendations contained in the guidelines. Users of the guidelines are advised that their reliance on any matter contained in the guidelines is at their own risk.    POP002   ISSUE 6.9   Page 2 POLYETHYLENE (PE) PIPES AND FITTINGS FOR COMPRESSED AIR This document contains guidelines for the use of PE pipes and fittings in compressed air applications and should be read in conjunction with POP001 and POP003. For the use of other plastic pipe systems in these applications, reference should be made to the manufacturer. ATTRIBUTES PE has a number of attributes which make it ideally suited to compressed air applications: Fracture resistance High resistance to fracture propagation limits the extent of fracture in the event of external damage. This feature means that PE, unlike some other thermoplastics, will present minimal hazard in the event of accidental damage and the pipe system would not normally require additional protection. Ultraviolet Light Resistance Black PE materials may be used if exposed to UV radiation, but consideration may need to be given to temperature effects. For coloured products, PE is specified to contain UV stabiliser. However, UV stabilisers are not as effective as carbon black, and the advice of the manufacturer may be appropriate. Corrosion resistance Unlike metallic pipework, PE will not corrode. Chemical resistance PE has excellent chemical resistance and is suitable for use in contact with compressor oils, whereas some other thermoplastics have limited or poor resistance to compressor oils. Some synthetic oils, including aromatic, polyester, and di-ester types, may not be suitable. If in doubt, the advice of the manufacturer should be sought. Impact resistance PE has high impact strength compared with other thermoplastics, which maximises resistance to external damage. Colour and identification marking May be coloured for identification purposes. The manufacturer may be contacted to determine what options may be available. In the context of compressed air installations there is often reference made to  AS 1345 “Identification of the contents of pipes, conduits and ducts” . Whilst this Standard nominates specific base identification colours as part of the identification marking requirements, it must be understood that this does not mean that the entire    POP002   ISSUE 6.9   Page 3 pipe is required to be the nominated base colour. The Standard initially states …”The natural or as -manufactured colour of the pipe need not necessarily comply with this Standard, except where a potentially hazardous conflict might arise, e.g. the use of a green pi pe to carry a corrosive substance”. It then goes on to nominate  a series of options for marking including applying the base identification colour to the entire pipe length, using base colour identification bands at intervals along the pipe, use a pipe marker identification block in the appropriate base colour or some combinations of the above. Low noise/vibration transmission Vibrations can cause problems in compressed air systems. PE pipes with their flexibility will not transmit vibrations to other structures. Light weight The light weight of PE pipe facilitates quick and easy installation. Combined with the benefits of prefabrication, this enables installation costs to be reduced. Light weight enables the PE compressed air system to be fixed into or onto cable trays, further reducing costs. The pipelines can be secured with pipe clips or cable ties depending on the pipe sizes. Since plastics do not conduct electricity, it is safe to install them in cable trays alongside electrical cables. MANUFACTURING STANDARDS PE  –  PIPES  AS/NZS 4130 Polyethylene (PE) pipes for pressure applications PE  –  FITTINGS  AS/NZS 4129 Fittings for polyethylene (PE) pipes for pressure applications PE pipe for compressed air has dimensions to Series 1 pipe requirements of  AS/NZS 4130. PRECAUTIONS Compressed air systems contain substantial stored energy, which, if released suddenly, could cause injury. It is recommended that pipe system design, installation and maintenance be conducted by those with appropriate knowledge and experience. Care is needed to avoid unplanned overheating of the system. Air compressors will produce air which may be considerably above ambient temperature. Connection between a piston compressor and receiver should not be in plastics due to the likelihood of unacceptably high temperatures. Industry best practice of shielding equipment and pipework from direct heat sources, e.g. sunlight, should be adopted to prevent excessive heat buildup. It is also recommended that oil traps be fitted immediately downstream of the compressor.
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