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The Composite Pipes Market

Summary of MENA Pipes Conference and own Market Data

Dr. Martina Ortelt 25.06.2010

With contributions from:

• Sachin Arte (Gulf region) • Pete Toohey (USA) • Vladislav Yaroslavski, Dirk Fuchsmann (Russia) • Free Zeng (China) • Mahnaz Gholami (Iran)

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Executive summary

Non-metal (plastic) pipes are approx. 90% based on PVC / polyolefins and approx. 10% based on composites Composite pipes are by 90% GRP / GRV based and by 10% Epoxy (GRE) based Epoxy composites are used for large diameter pressure pipes (≼300mm; ≼6bar), where higher chemical resistance is needed Epoxy composite pipes are approx. 10 times more expensive than GRP / GRV pipes and represent a niche sector within the composite pipe market For the last 30 years thermoset based pipes have proven to be a reliable material and have increased its market penetration taking market share from ductile iron and steel pipes The growth rate of composite pipes is 10-15% Hardener components for epoxy composite pipes are amines and anhydrides Main amines used are MDA (several thousand tons) and IPD (2009: approx. 1.000tons); due to toxicological reasons, there is a trend to substitude MDA Other amines used are PACM and polyetheramines (e.g.D5000)

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Classification of Pipes Pipes

Non-metal Pipes

Composite Pipes (approx.10%)

Unsaturated Polyester Pipes (GRP)

Vinyl Ester Pipes (GRV) Epoxy Pipes (approx.10% of comp.pipes) Thermoplastic Pipes (approx.90%)

PVC Pipes

PE Pipes

Metal Page | 4

The Application Fields for Composite Pipes Increasing pipe diameter + pressure Metal, concrete, PVC, polyolefins

Fiber reinforced pipes (FRP)

Composite pipes are used for large diameter pressure pipes: pipes ≼ 300mm diameter and ≼ 6bar pressure.

Increasing need for higher chemical resistance Glas fiber reinforced polyester GRP

Glas fiber reinforced vinylester GRV

Glas fiber reinforced epoxy GRE

Epoxy composite pipes are used for higher chemical resistance FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Composite pipes (FRP pipes) General market information worldwide Large diameter FRP pipes are mainly used in the following market segments: drinking water projects, e.g. potable water for raw water supply irrigation projects feed lines and penstocks for hydro power plants circulation cooling water sanitary sewer projects; pressure sewer as well as gravity sewer projects rehabilitation (slip liners) Within these market segments, FRP pipes have a market share of around 15–20%. Pressure pipes in the range of 6 to 32 bar account for 60% of the FRP pipe supply. This represents a dramatically change over the last 15 years: In the past, sewer pipes were the largest market segment. Today, FRP pipes are considered to be a general purpose pipe,competitive with any other type of pipes in the field of gravity as well as pressure application. FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Pipe Segmentation and application fields for FRP • Pressure pipes • potable water, gas


• Hot and cold pipes • water supply within building • Gravity pipes • soil and waste (within buildings) • drainage and sewerage


• Industrial pipes • irrigation • industrial water supply • desalination and chemical plants FRP: fiber reinforced plastic;

GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy


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Composite pipes – comparison of different systems Composite Pipes

GRP Pipes

GRV Pipes

GRE Pipes

Chemical Resistance




Pressure/Heat Resistance




Room Temperature

Room Temperature


Curing Temperature Cost


• Sewage

higher than GRP pipes

• Chemical industry

10 times higher than GRP pipes 1)

• Oil field

• Water treatment

• Pressure pipes

• Chemical industry

• Desalination


• Chemical plants

FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; 1) Source: Kemrock, India

GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy

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Composite pipes Reasons for market growth

Even if price of thermoset resins and glassfiber has increased during the last 18 months, FRP pipes has increased its market penetration taking market share from ductile iron and steel pipes. Cost of pig iron and steel has increased even more than what has been the case for FRP pipe raw materials. Another reason: for the last 30 years thermosets have proven to be a reliable material. More than 60.000km of FRP pipes showed that the material will preform long-term. They are far more durable than concrete piping material. It is also important that ISO as well as the European Union have issued standards for the use of FRP pipes for sewer and water applications.

FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Composite Pipes Trends – growing opportunities

Water scarcity is a global crisis in the near future (2025). Desalination is the key to gain enough water. Today 18 billion mÂł drink water is desalinated. In 2020 it is expected to be 3.5 times more. Water scarcity will be the key-driver for the growth of the pipe industry. Opportunities for composite pipes will be seen in the increasing installation and design of desalination plants. The advantages of composite pipes make them superior to traditional materials like iron, concrete and plastics. Their excellent mechanical and anticorrosion properties, low conductivity, longer life cycle make FRP pipes a natural choise both for general purposes as well as in specialty applications. With increasing cost of iron and steel, FRP pipes has also emerged competitive in large diameter pipe market, high-pressure areas and in elaborate pipe networks.

Source: MENA Pipes Conference 2010, Kolon presentation

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The worldwide composite pipe market Main manufacturers Epoxy composite pipes

Epoxy composite pipes Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

Epoxy composite pipes

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Composite pipes Main manufacturers worldwide (1/4) Saudi Arabian Amiantit Company Aramco (owner is saudi) = Bondstrand (GRE) + Ameron (GRV, GRE (NL), Steel) + Amiantit (Saudi Arabia: GRP, Oman: PE,PVC) The Group comprises 30 pipe system manufacturing plants, 6 technology companies, 4 materials suppliers, and 8 supply and engineering subsidiaries, in a number of countries around the globe. In addition, an extensive sales and service network caters for the needs of customers in more than 70 countries around the world. Amiantit is the world largest producer of FRP pipes. FRP pipe plants in 18 countries with 26 product lines for Flowtite continuous filament winding. Only GRP pipes. During 2007, Amiantit group supplied nearly 3.000km of large diameter pipes with a sales value of USD 600 mil. Amiantit has seen market increase of approx. 20% / year over the last 3 years. Market research indicates, that the trend of growth shall continue for the next 4-5 years. FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Composite pipes Main companies worldwide (2/4) Hobas Group Second largest producer of large diameter FRP pipes (no GRE pipes). Process: Centrifugal casting production method. Applications: Mostly gravity sewer and low pressure applications. Plants in: Germany, Austria, Turkey, Czech rep., Egypt, USA, Spain Turnover: USD 300 mil. Smith Fibercast Small and large diameter pipes; Plants in: 5 in North America, 2 in China FIBERCAST offers both centrifugally cast and filament wound piping. These systems are available in vinyl ester and epoxy resins Ameron Small and large diameter pipes Plants in: Texas, California / US, NL (GRE), Asia Pacific, South America Turnover: USD 76 mil. FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Composite pipes Main companies worldwide (3/4) Future Pipe Biggest producer of GRE pipes worldwide. Plants in: NL, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon Process: Continuous winding similar to conventional continuous filament winding. Turnover: USD 150 mil. SEKISUI Chemical, Japan Large diameter pipes; Has developed its own FRP pipe technology; 2 continuous winders Plants in: Japan, China (operates at least 12 discontinuous helical winding machines in China), India, Russia Purchased several plants for manufacturing of helically wound pipes (delivered by Sarplast / Italy). Kurimoto, Japan Large diameter pipes Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Composite pipes Main companies worldwide (4/4) Others:

Farassan, Iran: 5 production lines (continuous winding), turnover: USD 75 mil. Farassan Company is located in Shiraz (managing director: Mr. Zahier Emami) They are one of the big producers of FRP , FRP Tanks and Fans for cooling towers and mainly producing GRP pipe systems.

Superlit, Turkey: 2 production lines, turnover: USD 35 mil.

Sarplast, Italy: market in Italy, North Africa (mainly Libya).

Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Production processes for pipes

Centrifugal Casting Process Continuous filament winding Discontinuous filament winding Helical filament winding

Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Productions processes for pipes Centrifugally Cast or Filament Wound Centrifugally cast pipe offers better corrosion resistance, physical properties and better mechanical properties and is therefore recommended for the most severe applications in both above-ground and buried services. The Centrifugal Casting Process First, fiberglass fabrics are positioned in the mold tube. The mold tube is then rotated at precise speeds while a controlled amount of resin is injected into the tube. Very high "G" forces of the spinning mold tube drive the resin through the glass fibers, thoroughly encapsulating them. Also, these high "G" forces centrifuge the air out of the laminate. The amount of resin injected is in excess of that required to encapsulate the reinforcement. This additional resin produces a 100% pure resin corrosion barrier on the inside of the pipe which is integral with the reinforcement. After all of the resin has been injected, rotation continues and the high "G" forces are maintained until the resin has cured. A precisely controlled heat-cure enhances the pipe's strength and corrosion resistance. Page | 17

Continuous filament winding process (1/3) Filament winding is the process of impregnating fiberglass reinforcement with resin, then applying the wetted fibers onto a mandrel in a designed pattern. Repeated application of wetted fiber on the mandrel result in a multilayered structural wall thickness. Filament winding results in the highest fiber-to-resin ratio when compared to other FRP pipe fabrication method such as centrifugal casting or hand lay-up. Filament winding is the only wet process that can produce composites parts having mechanical performance competitive with prepregs.

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Continuous filament winding process (2/3)


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Continuous filament winding process (3/3)

In this case, in addition to the continuous filament winding procedure, liquid resin with glas fiber chops is sprayed on the surface

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Discontinuous filament winding process (1/3) This process manufactures pipes in standard lengths (usually 12 m) on a rotating mandrel. By adjusting the relative speeds of mandrel rotation and glass distribution head movement, helical reinforced pipe is formed. The pipe properties also depend on the raw materials ratio, which can include high purity silica sand in considerable percentage (up to 70%), according to performance required. Main characteristics of this process are the following: - bell and spigot joint - bell and spigot ends, monolithic with the pipe wall - by changing the winding angle different axial and hoop characteristics can be obtained Pipes manufactured by Discontinuous Filament Winding are used for: - gravity - medium, high pressure - any underground and aboveground application

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Discontinuous filament winding process (2/3)

DISCONTINUOUS FILAMENT WINDING PLANTS FOR PIPES This traditional type of the filament winding equipment allows the manufacture of GRP or GRE pipes with integral bell and spigot joints complying with A.S.T.M. code D 2996 Standard Specification for Filament Wound Reinforced thermosetting resin pipes) type 1, grade 2, class E. The winding of the filaments is performed on a fixed length, rotating mandrel. The raw materials are distributed by a carriage moving horizontally alongside the mandrel. After the construction of the required pipe thickness, the pipes are subject to curing and are then removed from the mandrel. The pipe properties depend on the raw material ratio, which can include silica sand, and on the winding angle of the fiberglass ranging from 35째 to 90째.

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Discontinuous filament winding process (3/3)

DISCONTINUOUS FILAMENT WINDING PLANTS FOR TANKS AND SILOS This traditional type of the filament winding equipment allows the manufacture of vertical and horizontal tanks (above and below ground applications) and silos.

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Helical filament winding process

In contrast to the continuous filament winding process (hoop winding), in the helical filament winding process the filaments are situated criss-cross over the surface including the end domes.

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Raw materials for epoxy composite (GRE) pipes

Two different hardener types: Amines and anhydrides

Epoxy resins: Standard A resins A resins with reduced viscosity sometimes reactive diluents

FRP: fiber reinforced plastic; GRP / GRV / GRE: glass fiber reinforced polyester / vinylester / epoxy Source: MENA Pipes Conference, AOC presentation

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Amines for epoxy composite pipes

NH 2

Actual main amines in usage

MDA1) and IPD


NH 2

NH 2

Special topic MDA

Other amines in use or under discussion

H 2N

• •

Due to its toxicological properties (can cause cancer) MDA is regarded as a SVHC-substance (substances of very high concern) There is a trend for substitution

PACM, Dimethyl-PACM (Laromin C260) Sometimes polyetheramines (T400, D5000)


3 different qualities are used: • Crude MDA (contains oligomeric parts; lower reactivity) • Liquified MDA (mixture with other amines) • Cristalline MDA Info from Atul / Dr.Soni: 7kt MDA are used worldwide for epoxy composite pipes

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Properties of amines used



Purity [%]


Mass [g/mol]

Hactive Equiv. weight


Viscosity [mPa*s]

Amine number


[g/val] NH2

VESTAMIN IPD Isophorondiamin

≥ 99,7





≤ 15

≥ 99,3













PACM 20 Bis paminocyclohexylamin, Methylen-bis-(4aminocyclohexan)

MDA Methylenedianiline

H 2N

H 2N

CH 2


NH 2

NH 2

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Comparison Amines and Anhydrides Epoxy / Anhydride Systems Positives



Water sensitivity prior to use

Not considered Toxic

Low resin fracture strain

Potlife of several days (resin pot doesn’t have to be cleaned out frequently

Need to be heat cured, such as, with a bank of heat lamps

Can sometimes be used in higher heat applications

Epoxy/epoxy reaction is favored when acid catalysis is used

Amine vs. Anhydride Advantages



High fracture strain



Short pot life

Tg reduction by water


Low cost

Low fracture strain


Low toxicity

Water sensitive before cure

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Comparison Amines and Anhydrides

Anhydrides • Cheap • Good pot life and cure • Need higher curing temperatures than IPD • Easy to use • Little waste Aromatic (MDA) • Long pot life • Cheaper than cycloaliphatic (IPD) • Higher strength and acid resistance Cycloaliphatic (IPD) • Company has to re-tool to cure cyclo’s rather than aromatics, due to pot life and cure issues. • Higher cost • Higher waste due to higher reactivity (gelation) • Higher waste generated by frequent cleanout of the immersion pots

Source: Pete Toohey, Martina Ortelt

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Evonik Composite pipe market worldwide 2010