Electrofusion Done Right

Electrofusion Done Right

There has been a lot of discussion this year about the newest evolution to the Federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulations relating to the installation and operations of polyethylene (PE) piping systems. For an overview of these changes, be sure and check out our article from October here. These new requirements have been made, in part, because of updated materials and technologies that allow for greater safety and pipeline capabilities. This is particularly true in the area of electrofusion. PE piping materials and fusing technologies have improved in recent years and allow for stronger and more accurate fusions, greater tracking capabilities, and more secure systems.

GROEBNER continually works to ensure we have the specialized supplier network to obtain the most current materials, equipment, and services you need for meeting PHMSA regulations. Our electrofusion suppliers have the expertise and experience to develop and offer you the latest in technology. GROEBNER has the industry knowledge to not only keep you on top of the latest changes, we have the supplier connections you need to comply with those changes. Here are a few highlights of the team we work with to give you what you need to get electrofusion done right.

Getting the Basic Components Right

For pipeline, our suppliers offer several pipe options, depending on your particular needs. All polyethylene (PE) pipe is flexible, non-toxic, and safe for the environment. Plastic pipe offers high corrosion, chemical, and abrasion resistance. Choose from pipe sizes from 1/2″ up to 48” in either a medium density polyethylene (PE2708) or high density polyethylene (PE4710). Our supplier, Dura-Line, also offers a unique high performance bimodal medium density option, PolyTough1, which has a high crack-resistance for longer life and lower construction investment.

While using quality pipe is imperative, the fittings and connectors must also be superior. GROEBNER works with industry-leading suppliers for these items, such as Georg Fischer Central Plastics (GFCP). GFCP’s expertise has been developed through producing PE and PVC fittings for over 60 years. They provide a complete range of electrofusion fittings:

GROEBNER partners with such experts as Dura-Line and GFCP to ensure you have access to the industry’s best quality pipe and electrofusion fittings. And their expertise also means you can be confident their materials meet all PHMSA standards.

Getting the Installation Right

Fusing pipe and fittings used to meet PHMSA requirements means you need installation equipment that supports proper fusion and assists you in maintaining the documentation needed.

The pipe and fitting surfaces need to be prepared properly before the actual fusion process. This ensures that the joint is strong and reliable. GROEBNER teams with several providers to make certain you can obtain the best tool for your pipeline. GFCP and Cumberland Products both provide multiple styles of scrapers to suit the pipe you’re using. GROEBNER will work with you and our suppliers to determine the best type of scraper for the pipe size and application.

For example, we can provide rotary scrapers designed with a low profile and floating blade for consistent scraping in tight spaces on pipe sizes 1-1/4” to 12” – GFCP Rotary Peeler and Cumberland Razorback Rotary Scraper. Cumberland Products also offers a Mainline Scraper where each tool scrapes a range of pipe sizes from 1-1/4” IPS to 12” DIPS for scraping pipe ends for electrofusion couplings and mid-pipe for tap tees and branch saddles. And mandrel scrapers for smaller 1/2″ to 2” lines – Cumberland Products Mandrel Pencil Scraper and GFCP SurPeel CA Scraper.

Another very necessary, though less technological, type of equipment that’s required for a good electrofusion joint is clamps. GROEBNER’s supplier network provides multiple clamp styles, to make certain that no external forces act on pipelines and fittings to interfere with the electrofusion joint.

Cumberland Products and GFCP provide service line clamps that come in a variety of configurations to meet your range of needs – multi-sized, mini, reducing, and vice grip styles. They also offer mainline clamps, which accommodate multiple pipe sizes, to hold pipes from 1-1/4” CTS to 12” IPS. For installing electrofusion tap tees or branch saddles, our suppliers GFCP and McElroy have the clamps, test caps, and punch tools you’ll need. GROEBNER’s team will help you determine the best clamp for your particular needs.

Once the surface is prepared and the pipe and fitting is clamped, the electrofusion joining can take place. The latest PHMSA rules require that utilities record the materials used in their systems and map the location of all their assets. PE materials have standardized markings to aid in collection of consistent data. GROEBNER works with GFCP to provide the latest in electrofusion processor technology – MSA 340 (AC powered) and BOSS III (battery powered). These EF processors can store thousands of records of fusion joints made. In each record, the operator, location, date and time, fittings being joined, size, material, parameters, and pass or fail criteria can be stored.

Getting the Maintenance Right

New PHMSA standards incorporate a requirement for utility operators to maintain their EF processors to the manufacturers’ recommended standards. That generally means inspection and/or calibration on a one- to three-year basis. This industry “best practice” is now formalized and requires documentation. With our team or one of our electrofusion service partners – GTS (a division of DUSA) and GFCP, we can help you make certain you are meeting the latest in PHMSA requirements.

Our broad range of inspection, maintenance and repair as well as the electrofusion calibration services we provide are done by trained, experienced technicians to make certain your equipment is properly diagnosed and serviced. If your EF processor needs manufacturer attention, don’t worry — we will coordinate that process for you.

Our team also provides fusion equipment training so your staff can be confident in their own abilities to use EF equipment properly. This training will help your staff recognize potential issues that can negatively impact a fusion.

Depending on your equipment and staff needs, both maintenance and training are available on-site with our mobile services or in-shop at one of our warehouse locations.

Don’t forget about our rental options as well. There are times when you need an EF processor for a short term project or to supplement the equipment you already own. We have the latest in EF processor technology available, to make certain your teams are always up and running properly.

GROEBNER Helps You Get It Right

The natural gas industry and PHMSA have worked together to develop updated regulations that help ensure public safety, but are also attainable by utilities. Getting it right is important to you and so it’s important to us. We at GROEBNER work with our select supplier network to ensure you can meet those new rules with high quality equipment and service providers. You can trust the expertise of the GROEBNER team and network to make sure you’re in compliance, getting it right in all aspects of the PHMSA rules and doing electrofusion right. Contact us today so we can help you with all your electrofusion needs.