Home Improvement

The huge cost of damaged pipes

It may not seem that a three-millimetre hole would cause much damage. A three-millimetre hole at 40 psi pressure in a metal tube will cause a leakage of 8,450 litres in 24 hours. Pipes are used to transport fluids in factories and plants, so any damage can be serious.

Everywhere you look, there are pipes. Pipes are used in manufacturing facilities, hospitals and other institutions to transport substances such as oil, steam, water or chemical solutions. The failure of piping systems can lead to the complete shutdown of a facility. Water leaks cost European companies around 80 billion per year.

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Age is the most common reason for pipe damage. This is an issue that is common in older plants, where the infrastructure hasn’t been updated in decades. Vibration, heat, corrosion, rust and bends are all common causes. Most companies replace burst pipes immediately, but small leaks are often ignored. The companies wait until the next scheduled maintenance period to fix the pipe instead of shutting down the plant and fixing it immediately.

These small leaks can have a big impact on an enterprise. By not repairing a pipe for example, employers put employees’ health and safety in danger by increasing the risk of slips and falls. Slips and trips are not only a concern for employers but also pose a threat to the productivity of their workforce. In Europe, each year, 210 million working days are lost to accidents at work, which affects output and morale.

What should plant managers do in this situation?

Plant managers can repair a leaking pipe using a variety of products without having to shut down production. Pipe repair tape can be used to cover a leak, allowing normal production to continue up until the scheduled shutdown. The leak can be quickly and easily fixed by using self-amalgamating flexible tape that is resistant to heat and pressure. Any member of staff can apply the bandages. You might also consider installing Pipe protectors, found at meterbox.co.uk/pipe-protectors

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When choosing a pipe-repair product, facility managers should consider their needs. In a food-processing plant, for example, it is important to fix pipes quickly so that chemicals do not contaminate food production lines. In order to ensure food safety, any product selected should be food safety approved.

It may seem that a small pipe leak is not a problem to be concerned about, but it can have serious consequences, including workplace accidents, contamination and loss of productivity. Plant managers can avoid costly mistakes by performing pipe repairs while the system is running.

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