Pete Crossen explores the options available to plant engineers in terms of pipe repair kits and how preparation can protect businesses from the problems of downtime
One of the best things about winter being over has to be waving goodbye colds and sniffles, putting runny noses and chesty coughs firmly behind you. You can leave the house without being weighed down by four packets of tissues, cold and flu remedies and emergency painkillers. But just as you think it’s all over, there’s a sudden cold snap or you’ll hit that soul destroying week where everyone has a ‘summer cold’ and you’re left wishing you’d hung onto an emergency pack of tissues.
Navigating the traditional options when it comes to pipe repair can be even worse than choosing from the overwhelming selection of cold and flu remedies. For instance, you can opt to keep your operations online, managing the leak while you wait for a scheduled break in production. Of course, this increases ongoing health and safety management requirements as well as the risk of catastrophic failure. Option number two would be shutting down operations immediately and completely replacing the pipe. However, such unscheduled downtime will result in loss of production and potential disappointed customers.
Whichever avenue you choose, once the problem is handled it is easy to put worries about further leaks out of your mind. However, leaks will happen without warning and the best way to reduce stress the next time around is to think like a Scout and be prepared with a pipe repair kit stashed away, like the emergency paracetamol in your desk drawer.
However, some pipe repair kits on the market can be large and unwieldy, often also requiring measuring equipment to ensure ingredients are mixed to exacting instructions or expensive cartridge systems with wasteful mixing nozzles. This makes them cumbersome to store and await the next leak, as well as being tricky to use when the time comes.
This is where compact repair solutions, such as NCH Europe’s Mega Pipe Repair HD range, come in very useful. Epoxy stick repair kits are easy to carry around, store and prepare, and pipe repair bandages or stretch and seal solutions require minimal preparation.
In the case of the latter, bandages can even be applied directly over the leak while the pipe is still online, as is the case with NCH Europe’s bandages. The flexible, dense weave of the Mega Pipe Repair HD bandage allows it to hug the contours of pipe bends and joints, which means it can even be applied on difficult pipe bends. It has a service temperature of up to 250°C, making it useable in a wide range of industrial applications, including ones that involve high-heat.
Ultimately, pipe maintenance is an ongoing process, and you always have to be prepared for that unexpected leak. Anything that can make it more convenient and proactive will help you maintain a healthier pipe system. Just as you keep a store of headache relief tablets on hand in case of emergency, if you’ve got a compact pipe repair kit in your arsenal you’ll be able to easily manage the headache of a leaky pipe and keep your operations running smoothly.
Peter Crossen is VP of NCH Europe’s Maintenance and Partsmaster Innovation Platform.