When you mention plumbing, most people think of the small pipes that run through their homes, but the truth is, not all plumbing or pipe runs are like this. In industrial settings, the pipe is often a large diameter pipe with heavy walls and the sections are bolted together with large flanges that have O-rings or gaskets in them. These pipes are not bought off the shelf at the local hardware store. They are custom made for the purpose needed.
Custom Pipe For Specific Purposes
Industrial pipe is often custom made to detailed specifications for the job that it needs to do. If you need a pipe run to carry steam from a boiler to somewhere in a factory or plant, the pipe will need to stand up to the pressure from the boiler. If the pressure in the system drops, the steam will begin to turn back to water. If the pipe isn't strong enough to hold the pressure, the steam can rupture the pipe and the system will fail so the pipe has to be made to contain that pressure. This is the case for many industrial applications.
Replacing a Section of Pipe
Industrial pipes are often joined with flanges that have gaskets or o-rings in them. If a section of pipe fails, the flanges can be unbolted and a pipe flange separator used to break the seal on the flange.The pipe section can then be removed and replaced with a new section or repaired and replaced if possible. Most of the time the flanges will not just come apart so having the right tool on hand is important so you do not damage the pipe on either side of the damaged one.
How Are These Custom Pipes Made
Most of the time, the pipe is purchased in long sections and then brought to the job site where it is cut or bent to fit where it needs to. One the length is right, a flange is welded on to the end of the pipe by a welder and then is can be cleaned and painted to help avoid corrosion. If the pipe run has a bend in it, the pipe can be placed in a hydraulic bender to place a smooth, clean bend in the run. It is important the bend is accurate and smooth so it does not affect the flow of the material inside the pipe.
Maintenance of the System
The pipes should be checked regularly for leaks and damage to the flanges, bends, and even the straight sections. If any damage is discovered, shut the system down and replace or repair the pipe right away. If a gasket or O-ring starts to leak, shut the system down and bring in a hydraulic pipe flange separator to open the flange enough to replace the defective piece. Touch up the paint as needed and the system should run well for many years.
Talk to a manufacturer, like SMP Specialty Maintenance Products, for more help.