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Environmentally effective pipeline stoppers introduced to Australia

Supplier: Air Springs Supply
05 May, 2014

Broader ranges of environmentally cost-effective Pronal pipe stoppers are being introduced to Australia by Air Springs Supply following their successful application in this country by national companies concerned about spills of potentially hazardous or harmful liquids.

Pronal inflatable pipe stoppers are used for maintenance, testing and emergency tasks in applications as diverse as oil and gas delivery, industrial and municipal water and waste water, and pollution prevention in mining, energy and industrial projects where sealing and testing operations need to be conducted not only with complete safety and environmental security, but also with considerable speed, to maintain flows of liquids and gases.

The stoppers - most recently put into service Down Under with national food and beverage,  defence manufacturing and chemical processing companies - can be rapidly deployed, easily transported and widely applied in remote, temporary and permanent industrial situations. They are are suitable for all types of pipelines including concrete, cast iron, steel, stainless steel and PVC.

Air Springs Supply national marketing manager James Maslin says,"Their local and global success means that increasing volumes and types are available at even more competitive installation costs than previously. Advantages of scale are also producing a broader range of stock types and sizes to fit pipelines up to 2115m metres inside diameter and custom-produced models over 3000mm."

"The expanded ranges and greater cost-efficiency are particularly timely for Australian industry because of the current focus on preventing industrial spills by both State Environmental Protection organisations and national bodies such as Safe Work Australia, which has introduced its Code of Practice for Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the workplace.

Pipelines are a particularly important component of risk management plans where companies may be handling increased quantities and types of hazardous materials associated with production and process engineering, cleaning, vehicle maintenance and plant upkeep, for example. In addition to potential hazards to people in the workplace, environmental authorities are particularly concerned about possible spillages of contaminated waste water into nearby streams, rivers, seas and groundwater systems.

The common factor with maintenance, testing and emergency situations is that they need stoppers that can be rapidly and securely deployed to provide primary or secondary safety and environmental security as required by both by Safe Work Australia and State Environmental Protection Agencies.

Sometimes stoppers are permanently located in pipelines for instant remote inflation with compressed air or other gas where there is a risk of toxic runoff at different stages of production, or where spillages occur. In other instances, they are used to seal off sections of pipe where leaks are occurring, serving the dual role of enabling pressurisation of that section so leaks can be detected, then protecting the men in the pipeline from any product flows while they work to fix the problem.

They are extremely strong and durable in service, being hot vulcanised in a mould to give outstanding service life. The enormously strong stoppers are the result of the global experience of elastomer products specialists Pronal, the company that produced the inflatable bags used to lift sections of the liner Titanic from nearly four kilometres underwater in the Atlantic Ocean.

The material used  in the stoppers and the production method (customised dilatability) means they are extremely versatile. External surfaces are also customised to particular needs, such as exposure to gas or petroleum products or where long term installation is required. Naturally (as with any rubber-based product) direct or prolonged exposure to petroleum-based products is not recommended, but even so they have strong emergency use applications in such industries, where speed of deployment is vital.