Air Springs Supply was selected as a finalist in the environmental category of the 2016 Mining Prospect Awards, for its inflatable multi-size Vari-Plug stoppers.
The stoppers are used for for rapid and safe deployment in testing and maintenance of concrete, steel and cast iron pipes used throughout industry.
The Prospect Awards are the largest national mining awards, and recognise industry leaders in safety, technology and innovation. This year they will be held at the Doltone House in Pyrmont, Sydney.
"It was great to be recognised amongst industry leaders for our innovations – especially in the increasingly competitive environmental category," says James Maslin, National Sales and Marketing Manager, Air Springs Supply.
"Pipeline stoppers may seem small compared with large mining equipment, but their ability to swiftly and effectively block flow through pipes has a range of emergency, maintenance and other applications in mining and industry more broadly," he said.
The inflatable multi-size Vari-Plug stoppers – each of which can fit several pipe diameters between 45-1200mm – feature flexible and strong vulcanised construction that moulds into the inside circumference of pipelines as the stoppers are pressurised, providing complete tightness and high safety thanks to large contact areas and circumferential rings.
Available without or with bypass so that pipelines can remain functional during maintenance and testing, Vari-Plugs offer wide compatibility with most pipe contents and come in weights and shape that allow rapid deployment for tasks such as:
- Intervention to prevent leaks
- Repair of pipeline sections
- Tests of seals
- Air tests
- Downstream repair with continuous flow
The broader and cost-competitive ranges of Vari-Plugs build on the successful application of complementary ranges of Pronal stoppers in this country by national companies concerned about spills of potentially hazardous or harmful liquids. Increasing volumes have reduced costs and increase cost-competitiveness.
For years, inflatable stoppers have provided professionals in many different industries with the ability to do their jobs both safely and effectively. When content flow needs to be stopped, inflatable stoppers are an efficient solution. By creating an airtight seal within the pipe, they effectively stop the water flow and allow users to resolve the situation.
In addition to stopping water, they can also be used in testing air and water pressure, locating leaks, and can even allow the injection of chemicals into a pipeline. 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.
The Vari-Plug® range is purpose built and designed for multi sized pipe stopper applications, with just four models being required to plug pipes ranging from 200mm to 1200mm, for example. The smallest examples weigh from just half a kilogram with the greater part of the range weighing from .9-19 kg for easy handling and rapid insertion. Even the larger models, fitting pipes up to 1200mm, weigh under 70kg.
Pronal produce a range of inflatable stoppers for varying applications. These include Inspection Stoppers, Joint Testing Stoppers, Anti-Pollution Stoppers, Medium & High Pressure Stoppers for Off-Shore Use and self-contained Stoppers for hazardous and nuclear use. These light and strong products from Pronal are absolutely top quality," says Maslin.
With more than 40 years experience in specialist elastomers, Pronal, is the company that manufactured the massively strong elastomer bags use to lift sections of the ocean liner Titanic from 4km down in the Atlantic Ocean.