UU trials pipe liner on long-pull

The time has arrived for a pipe rehabilitation system that has been around for over two decades. Steven Barnes, MD of Swagelining, reveals how trials in North-west England have proved its value today

Technology from pipeline rehabilitation specialist Swagelining has transformed aging water pipes during a trial for a UK utility. United Utilities commissioned the project to allow it to compare various technologies available on the market, before refurbishing an 80km long aqueduct, which transports drinking water from Oswestry in Shropshire to Liverpool.

The pipeline is a key water source supplying over 900,000 people in Cheshire and Merseyside. The patented Swagelining technology was developed from a concept originally created by United Utilities and British Gas.

Swagelining installed a thin polymer lining into a 1.35km stretch of the 100-year-old 990mm-diameter cast iron pipeline.

Bespoke software
Stephen Barnes, managing director of Swagelining says: "The scope of the trial was to specify, design and insert a semi-structural liner into the large diameter pipeline. This trial allowed us to prove the effectiveness of our unique technology and highlight the benefits which it offers, as well as our extensive expertise.

"We use a bespoke designed software prediction package as a foundation that supports lining system designs to be tailored for clients. The software enables the optimum liner size to be selected to achieve maximum pull length, whilst not compromising on the pipeline volume capacity. For this trial we were able to design a thin liner which meant the overall flow capacity was maintained.

"One of the main advantages of our unique technology is that it provides the ability to achieve long pulls of polymer liner with minimum excavation, which can lead to considerable cost savings. This trial saw us Swageline the section of the pipeline in two pulls - one being 750m and the other 600m, although pulls of over 1km can be achieved."

Swagelining is becoming a widely recognised technique for the rehabilitation of pipelines within the water, mining and slurry and oil and gas industry. The technology, with its ease and simplicity of operation, delivers a costeffective and method of rehabilitating pipes and can overcome the problem of failing pipes in inaccessible or inconvenient areas, such as beneath busy high streets.

Swagelining technology was developed in the 1980s as a trenchless technology rehabilitation solution providing an effective method of overcoming the problem of failing pipes in inaccessible or inconvenient areas, such as beneath busy main streets.

It was further developed in the 1990s for the protection of new pipelines in the subsea industry complemented by a new connection system the WeldLink, for use in high pressure, carbon steel, and water injection applications.

In November 2009, the company, which is based in Glasgow, acquired the intellectual property rights to the established Swagelining technology.

With the belief that the technology was yet to realise its promise despite its acknowledged track record, Swagelining wanted to push the boundaries of the technology to extend its benefits from niche application to wider use in the pipeline industry globally.

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