The industrial piping industry is growing fast. Some estimates say the market will hit $21.7 billion by 2023. But as the industry advances, the destructive forces pipes are up against aren’t budging.
Here’s where modern manufacturers are stepping up.
More and more, manufacturers are finding new ways to protect pipes in this booming industry. Here’s a look at the latest pipe support trends and the industry’s top innovations:
1. Advances in Composite Pipe Supports
There was a time when metal was the only way to go in the piping industry. However, in recent years, a growing number of piping industry experts have started to use high-quality composite pipe supports to reinforce their systems.
There are a few reasons composites are becoming a popular pipe support material:
Dissimilar Metal Corrosion
Metals don’t always get along. When two dissimilar metals with different chemical properties are connected, it can jump-start galvanic corrosion and destroy pipes. By using a nonmetallic support, such as a composite pipe shoe, to lift pipes off metal surfaces, manufacturers can isolate metals that would otherwise cause damaging reactions.
If you’ve ever seen a car’s muffler scrape against a concrete speed bump, you understand the pain that comes along with surface abrasion. In piping systems, the same problems occur when the ungiving metal of pipes scrapes against concrete or other metals. This doesn’t just lead to worn-down pipes. When metal surfaces wear down, it leaves small pits where corrosive substances can slide in and eat away the metal.
Advanced composite pipe supports can now reduce abrasion damage. They cushion heavy pipes when the pipes move, and they lift pipes off hard surfaces. One popular trend is to use ProTek Composite Wear Pads, which sit directly on a pipe and protect its surface. At the same time, composite pipe shoes, such as ProTek Composite Pipe Shoes and CryoTek Pipe Shoes, carry this same concept onto a bigger scale. These pipe shoes are built to support massive weight loads and elevate pipes without using metal.
2. Increasing Sophistication in Temperature Control
Anyone who has worked with a cryogenic system or piping that runs hot understands the damage extreme temperatures can cause. Metal is highly conductive, which means it will naturally pass heat to surrounding metals. Unfortunately, that can cause problems:
- Energy can escape from your pipes, reducing their efficiency.
- Thermal expansion can cause pipe movement that leads to erosion.
- In cold systems, ice can form and damage pipes.
That’s why advanced composite supports, such as CryoTek Pipe Shoes, are becoming a go-to for cold systems. They stop heat from jumping from one metal to the next as they support pipes. They can also hold up to temperatures as low as minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit and are extremely durable.
At the same time, manufacturers are making big strides in protecting metal supports as well as composite supports. Finishes with PTFE or xylan coatings can now be applied to pipes or supports to add an extra layer of strength. These coatings can stop surfaces from cracking or corroding in high temperatures.
3. A Renewed Focus on Corrosion Resistance
Corrosion is no new problem. According to the American Galvanizers Association, in North America, the cost of pipeline corrosion is around $9 billion annually. However, manufacturers are finding new solutions to combat corrosion. Here are a few:
Advances in Friction Reduction
Even small scuffs in metallic surfaces can be all the opportunity corrosive materials need to slide in, do damage, and spread. Advanced manufacturers are using the latest technology to stop these problems before they start. For instance, thermoplastic coatings or advanced linings are being applied to supports to reduce friction, wear, and the resulting corrosion.
Pipes are filled with rushing gases and liquids, which means movement is inevitable. Unfortunately, when pipes aren’t controlled, they can crash into objects, rupture, or erode. Innovative pipe restraints are stopping this unwanted movement. Restraints such as VibraTek Hold Down Clamps let pipes move naturally, along an axis, without hopping up and down. This reduces the dangers of breaks, but it also stops point-loading by spreading out stress.
Even without friction or worn spots, pipes still have to fight harsh environmental conditions. Salt-heavy air, chemicals, moisture, and microbes can all corrode pipes. In turn, manufacturers are now incorporating chemical-resistant finishes, advanced sealants, and waterproof coatings to keep corroders from damaging metals.
Learn More About Innovative Pipe Supports
This is just a taste of how manufacturers are building products to improve piping system performance. And there are more ways to use the latest pipe supports to improve your system.
Read our Complete Guide to Pipe Shoes to learn about some of the most innovative supports and how they fit into your piping system.