Stainless steel tubing – fast and reliable
Following the devastating Christchurch earthquake in 2011, Pacific Canneries needed to relocate their plant into a new, purpose-built Paua (Abalone) processing facility next door to their existing operation.
They continued to operate in their existing plant while the design and construction of the new building took place, so they could meet their customers’ needs.
They planned to use existing capital equipment such as their retort cooker and canning lines. This meant the new building would need to be complete with all the water and compressed air lines installed and ready to connect the equipment, minimising the plant down time.
The project was overseen by PauaCo’s operation manager, Johno Leitch. The plant required more than 500 metres of tube for their hot and cold water supplies, and compressed air lines for their cooker and wash down hoses.
The majority of the pipework was located internally. However, there was a need for some water lines to be outside, needing specific consideration for the hot water line insulation.
Being a food processing facility, all materials such as the pipework used in the project had to meet food safety standards.
Reducing fire risk by minimising the use of flames from welding on site was also important for Pacific Canneries, as the building was constructed out of insulated sandwich panels.
Johno reviewed a number of tube options for their pipework before selecting Kembla’s KemPress stainless steel press fit system. Being made from 316L grade stainless steel, it met their food safety requirements. The press fit system eliminated the need for on-site welding of the tube, as well as speeding up the installation.
He says: “Using steel pipe was an option for us, but despite those materials being cheaper, the speed of installing the KemPress meant the overall installed cost was a better for us.”
The system was installed by their specialist contractor who was trained by Kembla prior to the job commencing. The same contractor was also involved with the installation of equipment in the plant as it became available, meaning the tube installation was interrupted a number of times.
Johno said “The installation was quick and simple, and would have been quicker had we not had to stop and start while we moved onto other jobs as new equipment arrived on-site.”
Nexus Thermobreak was used to insulate the internal hot water lines, with its split length making it easy to install on the already installed pipework. Its low chloride content minimises the chance of pitting corrosion occurring on the tube should condensation be present. No Clad was used on the external lines. No Clad is made of the same low chloride insulating material as Thermobreak, with a harder outer covering, making it resistant to birds pecking at it which would reduce its insulating properties.
The KemPress was successfully installed with no leaks, helping Pacific Canneries achieve its plant commissioning schedule on time.