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Joining Pipes Using Electrofusion

HDPE Pipeline
Several methods are available for connecting high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, including hot tapping, flanged jointing, butt welding, and electrofusion. Electrofusion is among the most advanced, safest, and cost-effective jointing techniques for both above ground and underground pipes.
If you are looking for a suitable method for joining pipes in-house, read on to learn more about electrofusion.
Electrofusion Basics
Electrofusion is a welding technique for connecting thermoplastic pipes such as those that transport water or gas.
The process entails inserting prepared pipe ends into electrofusion couplings and clamping the connection. Electrofusion couplings are essentially fabricated socket fittings consisting of an electrical heating coil. 
Using an electrofusion welder, the operator transmits electric heat through the coupling's coil for an amount of time. This heat transfer process melts the pipe wall and the surrounding surface, which results in a homogeneous joint that is stronger than the pipe.
Electrofusion Advantages
Electrofusion delivers several advantages over other types of HDPE welding methods.
Accessibility
Joining or repairing underground pipes or pipes installed in a constricted area can be physically challenging and costly. Electrofusion solves this problem by using compact automatic welding machines that can fit in areas with too little space or locations that are too difficult to access.
As such, electrofusion welding can help to manage costs in projects that entail joining and installing HDPE pipes in challenging terrains.
Versatility 
Other welding methods, such as butt fusion, are only suitable for joining pipes with the same wall thickness. However, electrofusion lets you join pipes of different thickness, grades, and materials. For example, you can easily connect medium-density polyethylene (MDPE) to HDPE pipe using electrofusion welding. 
This benefit is an important consideration because gas and water facilities often utilize different types and sizes of pipe within the same network due to factors such as pressure variances, soil conditions, and environmental factors. The ability to join different varieties of pipe improves project turnaround times and can save costs.
Simplicity
Because electrofusion is automated, the welding process is comparably easier, faster, and minimizes costly errors common in traditional pipe welding processes. Electrofusion leaves both the inside and the outside of the welded pipe smooth, which allows an uninterrupted flow of fluid throughout the piping network. 
The seamless joints also prevent the formation of scale, which can disrupt fluid flow and result in costly downtimes in gas and water supply networks.
Electrofusion Tips 
While electrofusion is an effective pipe joining technique, poor practices and installation can result in potentially dangerous and expensive water or gas leaks. In particular, poor preparation of the joint, pipe misalignment, and joint contamination can increase the risk of leakages.
Here are a few tips to ensure the integrity of welded joints:
  • Use the right tools: The success of electrofusion welding depends on the tools and equipment you use. Be sure to rent pipe preparation and fusion equipment from a reputable vendor.
  • Maintain cleanliness: Perform electrofusion welding in a clean environment. Use clean equipment and eliminate any contaminants that can affect the integrity of the welded joint.
  • Prepare the pipes adequately: Clean any dirt from the pipe and use the appropriate scrapping tool to remove rust from the surface of the pipe. Be sure to clean the fittings too.
  • Adhere to the cooling time: The heat transfer process requires a specific amount of time to ensure the pipe ends bind completely. After that, allow sufficient time for the joint to cool.
  • Inspect: Inspect the quality of the joint after welding for quality control.
With proper welding and installation, pipe networks welded using electrofusion can last many years with low lifecycle costs.
If you want to rent electrofusion welding machines in Corpus Christi and beyond, get in touch with the experts at Fast Flow Pipe & Supply, Inc.