Epoxy Ceramic-based pipe linings reduce the potential of unplanned downtime and maintenance by making wear manageable and predictable, as well as vastly improve the lifespan of pipes, Writes MATIMU MAHUNDLA.
Corrosion is the main cause of premature wear of steel pipes within two years of installation, according to article The Key Causes of System-Dependent Corrosion in Piping Systems published by Corrosionpedia.
This speaks volumes why, as a result, industries keep re-investing large sums of funds, which could have been channeled elsewhere, into the maintenance and endless replacement of damaged pipe infrastructure.
For this reason, it self-evident industries should take a proactive mindset to this common problem by using tried and trusted techniques. Pipe enhancement materials such as Epoxy Ceramic linings are amongst some of extensively used products in pipe corrosion protection in industries.
The cost of pipe corrosion
Pipeline linings are not a luxury but a necessity. This is because downtime to a pipe due to corrosion can be very costly to mining operations, considering that they are used in conveying the following: air for drilling and ventilation, drinking water, slurries for backfill support systems, and for removing excess water and mud. In general, the loss in productivity arising from pipeline downtime is incalculable.
The inevitability of corrosion
The occurrence of pipe wear is always a case of “when not if’ case. Explaining this point, B.E.A. Jacobs, author of Design of Slurry Transport Systems, provides insights on why usually pipes give in to abrasive processes.
He states that the rate of abrasion for various slurries is determined by factors such as the density of the particles, size distribution of the particles, hardness of fragments, liquid temperature and viscosity.
When abrasive material is transported through piping, either as pumped slurry or via pneumatic conveyance, the abrasive material quickly erodes the pipe from the inside out. “In more extreme cases, the impact of this would result in pipe leaks, failure, and the ultimate significant costs of downtime for maintenance or pipe replacement,” notes Jacobs.
Due to the inevitability of pipe downtime because of corrosion, and its potential impact on pipeline productivity, it is sensible for industry to take preemptive measures through corrosion protection measures
Epoxy ceramic lining is counted among cost efficient techniques that can reduce maintenance and prolong pipe life span through providing high resistance to abrasive slurries.
Citing the benefits of ceramic, Jacobs explains: “Because ceramic is inert, it does not react with most materials that come in contact with metal components. Ceramic coatings resist harsh chemicals and withstand temperatures.”
It is paramount that only the right specification should be used for an application to have the desired output, Jacobs advises, clarifying: “The size of the ceramic material—powder or bead—used in the wear-resistant coating directly corresponds to the size of the particulate that will ultimately damage metal components.
For instance, for large particulates and stones, maintenance professionals should use coatings with the largest available ceramic beads. But for fine slurries or wastewater, fine powder ceramics are sufficient to inhibit damage.”
Epoxy Ceramic-based pipe linings reduce the potential of unplanned downtime and maintenance by making wear manageable and predictable, as well as vastly improve the lifespan of pipes.
So, how does all this translate into cost savings? Well, as the cost of material degradation represents a sizable proportion of the overall operating costs of a typical mine. And so, a reduction in these costs will normally lead to a greater profit.