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Three Ways Baker Hughes's Composite Pipe Improves Mining Operations

Posted by Baker Hughes on Jun 29, 2022 2:37:29 PM

Common pipe materials in mines, HDPE and steel come with liabilities. Baker Hughes Composite Pipe is designed to counter the three largest problems with steel and HDPE. 

PolyFlow Yard (2)-1HDPE and steel are standard pipe materials in mines, but they have drawbacks. Their short stick lengths, multiple connections, hot fusions and welds, and associated cooldown times and inspections translate into long installation times, higher costs, and a greater potential for delays. Steel’s susceptibility to corrosion and erosion and HDPE’s inability to handle higher pressures can cause performance and maintenance issues. 

Baker Hughes’s Composite Pipe is a modern solution to old standards. It is engineered from multiple high-performance materials, each chosen for its specific abrasion and corrosion-resistant characteristics. The result is a superior product that is robust, reliable, flexible, and easy to install and maintain.  

Our pipe design combats the three major drawbacks to steel and HDPE: long installation time, corrosion and erosion, and poor pressures.


1. Quicker Installation 

The keys to the quick installation of Baker Hughes’s Composite Pipe are its longer lengths, fewer connections, and spoolability. Because the pipe is flexible and light, it comes on reels that only take about 2 minutes to unspool. Lengths range from 330 feet to over a mile per spool, depending on the pipe diameter. This means you can get longer runs with fewer connections in substantially less time than steel or HDPE.  

One mile of 8” spooled pipe needs just 16 connections. The same distance of HDPE or steel would require 265 connections.  

Each one of those connections takes time. For example, an HDPE connection can take up to 30 minutes to fuse, plus an additional 60 minutes of cool-down time before another stick can be fused. Steel requires welding, weld inspections, and pressure testing, which can take several hours or longer depending on weld quality.

IMG_3754By contrast, Baker Hughes’s Composite Pipe does not require welding or electrofusion. Our connections are swaged. Depending on pipe size, swaging takes between 15-60 minutes per connection. Therefore, it would take 16 hours or 2 workdays to fuse one mile of our 8” pipe. It would take 400 hours or 10 weeks to do the same length of HDPE and likely longer for steel. That is two workdays versus ten work weeks.  

Given the flexibility and length of Baker Hughes’s Composite Pipe per spool, an installation can take even less time because a more direct route can be taken, opposed to what is possible with rigid sticks, which reduces the amount of pipe and the number of connections required.  



2. Corrosion and Erosion-Free

Composite Pipe by Baker Hughes is engineered to provide corrosion and abrasion-free operation. The base layer is a corrosion-resistant liner that acts as a barrier to the transport fluid. This liner is manufactured to match the required application and can be composed of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyethylene of Raised Temperature (PERT), Polyamide Nylon, or Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS). For operating conditions that possess low levels of corrosive fluids, the HDPE or PERT layers act as the pipe liner. For operating conditions that require medium to high levels of corrosive fluids, the liner is composed of Nylon. For applications with corrosive fluids such as Carbon-Dioxide or Hydrogen Sulfide, the liner is composed of PPS.  Pipes with liners composed of Nylon or PPS are manufactured via a coextrusion process in which the liner material, the base layer, and a thin bonding layer known as a Tybond layer are extruded simultaneously. Baker Hughes is the only company on the market that offers coextruded layers, which prevent permeation and provide better chemical resistance. 


3. Better Pressures

Our 8” pipe can handle 750 psi. It needs only one booster pump for a flow of 29 km (18 miles) at a static head of 200m. For the same length, 10” HDPE DR9 would require five booster pumps and 16” would require three. Additionally, both 10” and 16” HDPE can only handle pressures up to 250 psi. 

Even if the HDPE pipe had the structural capacity to handle the head pressure, power and energy are one of the biggest expenses on your mine site—and pumps need both. Achieving the same results while eliminating pumps means substantial savings in upfront cost, energy, and maintenance.  


Ready to Learn More? 


Baker Hughes’s Composite Pipe offers savings in time, materials, and energy. It’s a smart solution to improving operations at your mine.  

Baker Hughes’s Composite Pipe is a modern improvement over traditional piping material. It’s backed by over 25 years of research and development, material science, and installation experience in composite pipe systems. To learn more about how you can improve your mining operations, contact us below. 

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