Image by sigma via Flickr
Piping systems technology have come a long way from being a heavy piece of metal that are connected with other metal parts. With the availability of HDPE and MDPE pipes in the market, newer technologies enable us to work with these newer pipes. In this particular case, the ability to electrically weld or joint two pipes is now known as electrofusion. This method is extremely handy as it provides a quick and easy way to combine two ends of a pipe together.
The process is scientifically easy, but if utilised by untrained hands, this system can and will fail. Recently, there had been talks about this system failing more often, but this fact has been debunked with expert explanation and theoretical evidence. Conducting a successful electrofusion jointing is not rocket science but careful preparation and the tools required are essential for a perfect weld.
The electrofusion system is done by using a specialised fitting that has a built in electrical heating source such as an electric copper coil. The pipes that are to be joined are first measured in length towards the area to be trimmed (half the welder length per end) and cleaned thoroughly before being fitted into the welder. The welder is then connected with two leads which is powered by the electrofusion machine/generator with a given specification from a scanning utility prior to welding.Then, the electrofusion machine in turn heats the ends of the connecting pipes (essentially melting them) and thus creating a joint from this melting-weld process.
If you are new to the process of electrofusion jointing, a good way to experience this system first hand is to go to a piping exhibition in your local or neighbouring area. You can of course see the process through videos online, but it is encouraged that you visit the expo in person because you can see the different manufacturers and different types of PE pipes being welded.
In addition, it is also a good opportunity to scout for other pipe products that might be new or on sale. Any questions you might have can also be answered wholly by the manufacturer or supplier of the electrofusion kit. If they allow it, you can even have a go at the jointing process at these exhibitions which only gives you a reason to attend them more if you are keen on electrofusion fittings.
Successful Electrofusion jointing
Having a successful electrofusion jointing is essential if one wishes to have a firm weld of two pipes. The recent debate regarding this system being flawed is primarily due to the mishandling of the welding process. The individual who is doing the welding needs prior experience in welding pipes together. In addition, another aspect that is often ignored is that the ends of the pipes must be clean and spotless. This means no dirt or oil is present on the surface and inside the electrofusion fittings and all components must be dry.
Another factor to a successful welding process is that the pipes should not move at all during the heating period. This is why many larger pipes are supported with clamps to hold them in place which will decrease the risk of imperfections in the jointing process. The key thing to a successful electrofusion jointing is patience and cleanliness throughout the whole jointing process. After the process is completed, a period of cooling is necessary to allow the joints to settle in and completely weld.
Once you know more about electrofusion jointing or if you’ve had a go at it, it might be a wise investment if you deal a lot with pipes. This modern way of joining two ends of a pipe together is a practical and quick way if you have damage pipes that needs servicing and if you cannot replace them. Remember to visit local expos if they are currently on show and ask questions regarding this fine modern way of welding pipes.