Increased infrastructure spending will boost demand in the U.S. for large-diameter pipe for water and wastewater through 2016, according to the latest reports from The Freedonia Group. U.S. demand for water and wastewater pipe is expected to rise 9.2% per year to $17.8 billion in 2016, with plastic being the fastest-growing pipe material as it continues to take market share from competing materials.
In a second report, The Freedonia Group projects large-diameter pipe demand in the U.S. to rise 6.2% annually through 2016 to 197 million ft, from the repair and replacement of wastewater infrastructure as these projects move forward after being put on hold during the recession over municipal budget concerns. Sewers, which include both storm and sanitary sewers, will continue to be the leading market for large-diameter pipe through 2016, accounting for one-half of total demand.
Two KWH Weholite 700m3 stormwater detection tanks consisting of DN/ID 3m pipe, installed in Finland.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates will provide opportunities for growth, as regulations regarding combined sewer overflows have become more stringent, the report notes. As a result, many locales will be required to replace combined storm/sanitary sewer systems. The drainage market will experience the most robust growth in large-diameter pipe demand through the forecast period, benefiting significantly from a rebound in building construction, particularly in the South and West as the U.S. population migrates to those regions.
The need to expand oil and gas transmission lines, especially near shale plays and other unconventional wells, will also spur growth, said the Freedonia Group report.
Steel and HDPE remain tied for the most widely used materials in large-diameter pipe, each accounting for 31% of total demand. HDPE will post above-average gains as it continues to replace other materials in many applications. For example, corrugated HDPE will continue to replace concrete pipe in many drainage applications, benefiting from its ease of installation and light weight. The Freedonia Group report projects an annual growth rate of HDPE of 6.9% through 2016. PVC pipe will see an annual growth rate of 5.7% through 2016.
Large-diameter HDPE pipe in Europe, South America
Large-diameter pipe is in big demand in Europe and South America as well. The KWH Pipe Ltd. Group of Vaasa, Finland and Armco Staco S.A. Industria Metalurgica of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil announced the granting of an exclusive license by KWH Pipe to Armco Staco for the manufacture and marketing of Weholite pipe in Brazil.
The Weholite pipe product line was developed by KWH Pipe in the 1980s, according to KWH Pipe, and consists of HDPE pipe, fittings and fabricated assemblies.
Among the unique features of the structured wall, the HDPE Weholite pipe is available in diameters through 3500 mm. Armco Staco plans initial offering of pipe through 3000 mm ID. According to the release from KWH, the Weholite pipe is used extensively worldwide in low-pressure/gravity service applications with potable water, storm water, sewer and other liquids.
The Weholite pipe’s smooth surfaces enhance flow rates compared with steel, cast iron, or concrete, according to the company. With its extra large diameters, Weholite pipe also provides an enclosed channel to conduct liquids over long distances. The lightweight HDPE pipe is continuously extruded and thus furnished in any shippable length, which also facilitates fast installation.
KWH Weholite licensees have manufacturing operations in nine other locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in addition to KWH Pipe direct-owned factories in Finland, Nordic Countries, Europe, North America and Asia. KWH Pipe had a 2011 turnover of US$299 million, and has been producing plastic pipe since 1955. The company also manufactures solid-wall HDPE pressure pipe through 1600 mm OD.
Weholite production operations for Armco Staco will be carried out at newly constructed facilities now underway at Resenda, Brazil, with products expected to be available during the second half of 2013.