Polyethylene (PE) pipes have been produced in Australia and New Zealand since the mid 1950s. Whilst initially in small diameters for industrial and agricultural applications, PE pipes are now available in diameters as large as 2000mm. The first Australian Standard was released in 1962 and Iplex Pipelines commenced production in the early seventies. Usage has grown rapidly with over 40,000 tonnes of PE pipes being produced annually in Australasia. Polyethylene has become one of the most widely used and versatile of all plastic pipe systems.
POLiplex pipes are used for all types of liquids and gases. Common applications are:
- Mine water supply
- Irrigation supply
- Mineral slurry pipelines
- Domestic water supply house service connections
- Vacuum and gravity sewer systems
- Submarine pipelines
- Sewer rising mains
- Trenchless pipelines installed by directional drilling, slip lining and pipe bursting methods
- Process pipe work
- Compressed air services
- Electric and telecommunication cable conduits
- Natural gas transmission and reticulation
POLIplex PE pipes may be joined economically using thermal butt-welding equipment. However diameters of up to DN 110 are more commonly joined using Iplex compression couplings complying with AS/NZS 4129. These fittings provide an system for making joints quickly and easily, which can be undone and reused when altering the system layout. An alternative form of welding PE is the electrofusion system where heating elements are embedded in PE sockets. These sockets form part of a coupling or other fitting and require a controlled electrical input from a welding machine to produce a welded joint.