A: PVF is pipes, fittings, flanges, and valves. In our industry, we provide all the pipes, valves, fittings, and flanges you need. We carry it all—for your downstream, midstream, upstream and custom pipe fabrication.
Whether your industry is oil, gas, pipe fabricators—actually, pretty much any industry—you deal with PVF supply. As Houston mentioned, PVF encompasses pipes, fittings and flanges, and valves—and each one of those plays an important part.
When you combine all of these pieces of the puzzle together, they make the components for substance transfer. Whether that substance is petroleum products, chemicals, or masses of small solids—it needs PVF to get from one place to another.
That’s right from the gas in your car, to the waste from your home, PVF plays a critical role in your life. Pipes, valves, and fittings come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and materials depending on what they’re being used for.
Let’s dive deeper into the PVF industry, how it all works, and why it’s so valuable to the industrial sector.
What Makes Up All The Parts Of PVF?
Pipes, valves, and fittings are usually lumped into the same generalized bucket—that’s why we say PVF. However, they all are unique in their own way and serve a specific purpose.
Pipes: These hollow tubular pieces are used for substance transfer such as gases, liquids, or small solids. They are made out of a variety of materials both metal and non-metal. Although sometimes they are mistaken for tubes, pipes have very significant differences. Mainly, that difference is their shape—pipes are always round. Tubes, however, come in different shapes—most commonly square or rectangular. Pipes are also usually slightly beveled on the end to make them easier to attach fittings, while tubes have flat ends.
Valves: These mechanical devices control, regulate, or direct the flow and pressure of liquid, gas, or small solids within a system of pipes. They operate by obstructing substance flow through the pipes either partially or fully. Different methods are used to accomplish this task and different valves are used for different purposes.
Pipe Fittings/Flanges: These are essentially connectors that join sections of pipe together and can change the direction of piping as well. They can also help pipes adjust to different shapes, sizes, and regulate or measure flow.
Variations of PVF
PVF is such a broad category of items that they vary in both function and material. Completely dependent on the application, PVF components can be made from different metals or non-metals. The materials used are carefully considered to ensure safe operation and efficient functionality. It is also dependent on specifications such as the substance being moved, pressure, rate of flow, and temperature guidelines. Usually, the pipe material dictates the fittings and valves material as well.
Pipes are the lifeline in the PVF industry, the centerpiece if you will. They will determine the material selection for other components. Piping is available in various shapes, sizes, and materials. Which variation of pipe you use is determined by the environment and function variables of the intended application. The most common variations of pipes used within the PVF industry are:
Steel pipes are renowned for their durability and are often used in subterranean applications such as water, gas, and sewage. Even within this type of pipe, there’s different manufacturing methods for different steel piping such as seamless and welded.
- Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel pipes differ from regular steel as they are coated with zinc to help rust and corrosion resistance. They can last up to 100 years in most conditions and are usually used in construction. They are used as water supply lines and also outdoor and are also used in subterranean applications.
- Stainless Steel: Yet another variation of steel pipe is stainless. These are often used in applications where corrosion is unavoidable. Additionally, they’re great for applications where sanitization is important. Industries such as foodservice and healthcare are common users of stainless.
Steel is not the only type of metal used although it is quite common. 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 due to corrosion and extreme temperature resistance. It comes in two different formats—soft copper or rigid. Rigid is most often used for water lines since it is not flexible, therefore can’t be bent. Soft copper is more ductile and is used in refrigeration for coolant lines. It’s also broken down by copper thickness—the most common types being type L, M, and K.
- Type K is the thickest walled copper and is used in water distribution and oil.
- Type L has a medium thickness and is the most common variation. Usually, it’s found in plumbing applications both commercial and residential.
- Type M is the thinnest of them all and is usually used in waste, drain, and vent lines.
- Aluminum: Aluminum pipe comes in the form of many different alloys which makes them one of the most versatile pipes in PVF. Since these pipes are highly resistant to corrosion and they’re very workable— tons of industries use them. Some of the most common ones are automotive, aerospace, and the medical industry.
Plastic pipes are used in a wide range of applications and are made out of different polymers depending on usage. The most common types of plastic piping are PVC, HDPE, and ABS.
- ABS pipes are almost exclusively used in industrial applications such as oil fields and the chemical industry.
- PVC pipes are durable, chemical-resistant, and are most often used as drain lines as well as in residential plumbing.
- HDPE pipe is constantly gaining popularity in the PVF industry. They are popular for water distribution because of their flexibility while remaining durable in the long-term.
Valves, much like pipes are available in a wide variety based on size, style of valve, and pressure ratings. The application they are being used for will determine the type of valve you need and selecting the right one is critical. Some of the most common valve styles used include:
- Ball Valves: A unidirectional valve that opens and closes by applying pressure on a ball in a cup-shaped opening to control flow.
- Butterfly Valves: Isolates and regulates the flow of fluids.
- Check Valves: A safety valve of sorts that closes in the event of backflow to prevent it from going back through the system.
- Diaphragm Valves: Control fluid flow and can also be used to start and stop the flow completely.
- Float Valves: A valve that controls liquid levels—very simple design.
- Gate Valves: Mainly used as a shut-off valve, not meant for regulating flow.
- Globe Valves: A valve for flow regulation within a pipeline system.
There are many more variations, in fact, more than we can cover in one article. However, these are some of the most common types found in the PVF industry.
The materials used for pipe fittings vary and usually follow whatever material the piping system they’re a part of is using. Common material fittings are made from
- Steel (stainless also)
- Cast Iron
Pipe fittings come in various sizes, styles, and shapes depending on what they are connecting or being used for. Some common ones used are:
- Elbows: Makes angle turns in piping possible as well as changing the flow direction of the fluid.
- Cross Tee: Makes line connections at a 90° angle and changes the flow.
- Plugs/Caps: For closing off the open ends of piping systems.
- Couplings: for connecting two pieces of pipe of the same size in a straight line.
- Nipples: Small pieces of pipe that are threaded on both ends to make close, tight connections.
- Unions: Connects two pipes and makes dismantling much easier.
- Ferrules: Binds one part of piping to another.
Is Your PVF Supplier TPC?
If you’re not using TPC for all of your PVF supply needs you are missing out. With world-class customer service, incredibly fast turn-around, and a highly organized inventory stock—we set the standard for PVF supply. Contact us today and let us help with just one project—we guarantee you’ll be on board for all your projects after that.