FRP Pipe Industry Leaders

frpBeetle Plastics has a rich history of strength in engineering and technical support. Overtime, our image in the industry has changed, as is so often the case for long lived companies. However, since Midwest Towers purchased Beetle a concerted effort has been made to rebuild our engineering base and great strides have been made to be an active player in the technical aspects of the industry.

We now have 3 individuals, Keith Sherman (Beetle Engineering and Design), Bill Daugherty (Beetle Engineering Design and Fabrication), and Tom Toth (Senior Structural Engineer @ MTI) that are directly involved in national committees developing standards and certifications. One particular committee that is of importance to end users, engineering firms, and manufacturers is the ASME Committee on Nonmetallic Pressure Piping Systems. This committee is comprised of respected engineering minds in the fiberglass industry and Tom, Keith, and Bill are active members.

Of particular interest is the development of a new FRP piping standard. The new standard will include design, material, manufacturing, fabrication, installation, installation, inspection, testing, and examination requirements and will affect nearly all users of FRP piping systems. Since this standard will be applied to the pipe, along with bolting, gaskets, valves, fittings, and almost all other components related to FRP piping, we are very excited that three of our own people will have a hand in shaping this industry standard.

We are excited to again be at the forefront of the technical side of the industry and look forward to providing our readers with the newest in industry updates.

The Large Diameter Composite Pipe Market Continues to Grow

Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) is our passion here at Beetle, which is why we were very pleased to see a recent article published by Reinforced “Large diameter composite pipe is gaining market share at the expense of pipe made with commodity materials, in general-purpose as well as specialty applications, ” Ben E Bogner in the article “Large Diameter Composite Pipe: Lasting Function in a World of Growth.” It’s no secret that FRP pipe isn’t the most glamorous of FRP applications, but functionality and durability have allowed the large diameter composite pipe industry to gain in strength as pipe made with iron and concrete lose market shares.

When we talk about large diameter pipe, we’re generally referring to, “pipe that is at least 12 inch in diameter. At the higher end, the sector includes composite pipe in diameters as large as 14 feet.” This sort of pipe is generally used for a number of applications, but the most common, according to the article, are:

  • drinking water projects such as raw water supply lines for potable water systems;
  • irrigation systems for agriculture;
  • feed lines and penstock for hydroelectric power plants;
  • circulation for cooling water systems, primarily for power plants;
  • sanitary sewer projects for pressure as well as gravity sewer systems, and
  • pipeline rehabilitation as ‘slip liners.’

There are a number of features that have contributed to the increased market share controlled by composite large pipes. One of the most attractive features of FRP pipe is that is it resistant to corrosion, even the corrosion you see with sulphuric acid. Composites are also a cost effective  alternative to other kinds of raw materials like pig iron and steel. Even though all kinds of raw materials costs have been steadily creeping upward, the cost of composites hasn’t increased nearly as much.

“Another reason for the increased market share is the fact that FRP pipes for the last 30 years have proven to be a reliable alternative. More than 60 000 km (37 280 miles) of composite large diameter pipe are in operation worldwide to prove that the material will perform long-term as predicted.”

To read the full article, click here.

Corrosive Chemical Storage Problem Solved Using Fiberglass Tanks

When the team at a chemical processing plant needed a new solution for corrosive chemical storage they reached out to a number of tank suppliers and asked them to solve a few core problems.  The existing rubbr lined HDPE tanks were being used to protect against the corrosive nature of the material being stored but were not meeting the needs of the customer.  The rubber liner erodes after a few years and required re-lining causing significant downtime and added costs.

corrosive chemical storage tankThe HDPE leached acid and could not meet the pressure and vacuum requirements. The solution needed to safely store chemicals with very low pH for an extended period at a high temperature.

The tanks needed to be built for an ambient temperature range of 20 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, allow agitation, and not require an internal coating that needed to be repaired or replaced.

“We chose Beetle based on their experience and expertise with this type of corrosive material storage tank.  The fiberglass solution they provided was the best investment in terms of cost and avoiding downtime.  The fiberglass chemical storage tanks from Beetle were delivered on time or even early and the installation and after sales service has been excellent.”

The tanks Beetle supplied were 12’ diameter by approximately 16’ tall and were designed to integrate into the customer’s processes.  One tank was a flat bottom and the other design a conical bottom both of which were custom made to fit the customer’s specific process needs.

Beetle Plastics, founded in the 1950’s, designs and manufactures custom fiberglass pipe, large diameter fiberglass ductwork, fiberglass tanks, fiberglass vessels, other equipment and services relating to fiberglass products. 

Beetle Plastics is a subsidiary of Midwest Towers, Inc., a world-class manufacturer of evaporative water cooling towers. Beetle Plastics operations include our headquarters and plant facilities in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and a nationwide network of sales and representative offices.

Soaring to New Heights with Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer

fiberglass reinforced polymerIn the September-October 2012 issue of Composites Manufacturing we found an awesome rundown of some of the most impressive buildings the world over that are using  fiberglass reinforced polymer, FRP, to achieve their staggering height. “FRP Reaches Record Heights,” (pages 6-7) showcases six fabulous buildings incorporating, or planning to incorporate, FRP composite reinforcement to add the strength necessary to not just break height records, but also to repair damage and withstand earthquakes.

First on their list is the Tokyo Skytree, the second tallest structure in the world. This 2,080 foot tall tower is a telecommunications tower and observation deck that makes use of FRP for its earthquake withstanding strength. The tallest structure, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, uses FRP in its concrete system to reach its 2,712 feet. The Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia is the largest clock tower in the world, and the fourth largest structure, includes, “over 40,000 square-meters of FRP panels and cladding” in its exterior structure.

The article also lays out three future projects that are planning on relying on FRP, one of which is Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia which is slated to be the new tallest building in the world when it completes construction in 2017. “Although the specifics of the project have not been announced, it is anticipated that the building will use similar advanced reinforced concrete and tools to those used in the making of the Burji Khalifa.” One World Trade Center and Wood Innovation Design Center in British Colombia are two more future building projects planning on using FRP to reach farther and stand stronger.