The PVF industry (pipe, valve, and fittings), is an industry that moves at a breakneck pace—you have to keep up. However, fast-paced projects tend to focus more on deadline completion rather than material and layout considerations.
While everyone wants to meet deadlines they’ve accepted, what good is meeting those timelines if there are critical mistakes? You can finish a project in record time and have one critical PVF error that requires starting over. A worse outcome is finishing the project and an error gets overlooked until it causes a problem later on.
Now, you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and possible litigation for negligence. Yet, all of these problems can be avoided by taking inventory of project specs, key considerations in the design, and choosing the right components.
Here are the top two critical errors we have come across in the PVF industry. Learn from these mistakes and make sure your project gets done right the first time.
Choosing The Wrong Material For PVF Applications
When choosing pipe material, you’ve got to remember that there’s some critical factors that will shape this decision. For example, if you choose two different pipe materials that will be connecting to each other—they must be compatible.
Different pipe materials can often have a chemical reaction with other materials which leads to accelerated corrosion. The best solution is to choose the same material as what already exists on your project to avoid this issue. Even when taking on a new build, keep the material choices consistent and do not mix reactive metals.
You also have to apply these same rules to pipe supports, flanges, and valves. If they will be touching the pipe, the metals need to be compatible. Additionally, pipe supports must be able to endure all climates, depending on the application, to avoid bending, flexing, or freezing.
When it comes to choosing pipe material for PVF applications you have a lot of options to choose from. Most are metal based, but there are a few options made from non-metallic substances. Each has its own unique characteristics and offers specific advantages for different PVF applications.
Pipe Material Options
Pipes are the lifeline in the PVF industry. They will determine the material selection for all other components. The most common variations of pipes used within the PVF industry are:
Steel pipes are known for their durability and are available in different variations based on application usage.
- Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel pipes are coated with zinc to help rust and corrosion resistance. Lifespan is up to 100 years in most conditions and is usually used in construction.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless contains at least 11% chromium for rust resistance. It’s often used in applications where corrosion is unavoidable. Additionally, they’re great for applications where sanitization is important. OTHER METALS
While steel is a very common choice, it is not the only type of metal used. There are other metals used as much as, if not more than steel in some applications.
- Cast Iron: Cast iron is usually found in water distribution systems and sewer systems. They are very heavy—the heaviest of all pipes and often used underground.
- Copper: Copper piping is commonly found in water supply and refrigeration applications due to corrosion and extreme temperature resistance. It comes in two different formats—soft copper or rigid.
- Aluminum: Aluminum pipe comes in the form of many different alloys which makes them one of the most versatile pipes in PVF.
Plastic pipes such as HDPE, PVC, and ABS are also common in PVF applications. Often you’ll find them used in applications where chemical resistance is important. Additionally, they are frequently used in water distribution and plumbing.
Just as important as material selection for PVF projects is the layout of the entire system. For example, the spacing of pipe supports will vary based on the environment and application the system is used in. The spacing of pipe supports plays a pivotal role in system functionality and preventing failures. Just like temperature can affect pipes and cause sagging, so can incorrect pipe support spacing.
Not only does pipe support spacing matter, but also the weight of the pipes themselves. It can greatly impact the support needs in terms of spacing, load rating, and more. When you are designing your system you have to consider the following:
- Application— This means taking into consideration what the system is meant to accomplish. It includes considering material being transported, distance from beginning to end, and volatility considerations.
- Environment— Ambient temperature, ground shifting, and terrain all play a significant role in determining design layout. A chemical plant in the plains of Kansas will have different requirements than a plant in frigid Alaska.
- Substance— Just as the application your system is being used for, you have to consider the substances you’re moving. For example, it is far easier to transport water through a system than it is viscous oil. That is going to impact the design in terms of elevation, distance, and even pipe and pump selection.
Avoiding System Failure
Granted, these common mistakes aren’t an all-inclusive list of things that could go awry with your PVF project. However, they are the most common and are usually the catalyst for other missteps and miscalculations. The best way to avoid these issues is to make sure you have a dedicated PVF engineer on your project. They will know the ins and outs of all components involved—what works, and what doesn’t. They know what metals react with each other and which pipe material is compatible with the substances you’re moving.
Additionally, you will need to make sure you have a reputable PVF supplier that carries a wide variety of products. Your supplier should also be able to get a product out to you on short notice and with expedited shipping. Not all PVF problems are seen early on, many times it’s last minute, and you need a distributor that has your back.
Make Sure You Have TPC On Speed Dial For Your PVF Needs
When it comes to PVF distributors that come through in the clutch for any project—TPC sets the standard. With our expansive warehouse that’s fully stocked and ready to ship at a moment’s notice, we should be your first call every time.
Contact us today and let’s build something great together!