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NSF International Consolidates Labs, Expands Plastic Pipe Testing Capabilities

NSF, Willow Run facility
The new 20,000-square-foot location in Ypsilanti, MI, brings together all of NSF’s plastics testing and certification capabilities, including advanced chemical and structural testing of plastic pipes, fittings and valves, PVC ingredients, and plastic materials for global applications.

Global public health and safety organization NSF International has completed consolidation of two of its plastics laboratories in one new 20,000-square-foot location in Ypsilanti, MI. The expanded location brings together all of NSF’s plastics testing and certification capabilities, including advanced chemical and structural testing of plastic pipes, fittings and valves, metal fittings and components, manifolds, solvent cements, thread sealants, PVC ingredients and plastic materials for global applications.

NSF International is the leading independent testing and certification organization for the plastic industry, including PE, PE-RT, PEX, PP, CPVC and PVC pipes.

NSF's new Willow Run Laboratory in Ypsilanti, MI, tests plastic piping to verify the required durability, performance, and safety criteria of standards are met for use in a variety of commercial and residential applications. Image courtesy NSF International.

The plastic testing laboratories have been relocated from Canada in Aurora, ON, and from within the NSF International global headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI. The new facility, known as the Willow Run Laboratory, is about 15 miles from NSF’s headquarters. It has remained fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic to fulfill NSF International’s public health and safety mission as it relates to product safety, said the organization.

“By bringing NSF’s laboratories under one roof, we are offering greater ease to our global clients, providing advanced plastic pipe, fitting and material testing, and establishing southeast Michigan as the heart of the plastic piping testing industry,” said Dave Purkiss, Vice President of the Global Water Division at NSF International.

Plastic products are tested to verify they meet the required durability, performance, and safety criteria of 150 methods and standards used in commercial and residential applications. These applications include drinking water, radiant heating, gas distribution, sprinkler/fire safety, electrical conduit, and geothermal systems.

Separate from testing for certification, the new lab also conducts custom plastic testing as well as research and development. This includes evaluating non-standard components using routine tests. It can also include evaluating routine components using non-standard tests and simulation of in-service conditions. One example is applying a test typically designed for rigid piping products to a flexible hose in an atypical environment to potentially determine failure mechanisms or estimated lifetime.

The new facility offers nearly 2,000 test stations, including stations for long-term pressure/stress testing and hydrostatic design basis and minimum required strength ratings, as well as short-term burst and other pressure performance requirements.

The Willow Run Laboratory tests up to 18-inch-diameter pipes under sustained pressure and up to 4-inch-diameter pipes for chlorine resistance. The lab also evaluates the long-term impact of disinfectants such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and chloramines on plastic material performance. Other specialties include slow crack growth validation and rapid crack propagation testing.

The lab is part of NSF International’s global network of ISO/IEC 17025–accredited laboratories throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

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