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Novel Project to Deliver Defect-free, Plastic Pipes Welding

Thu, 14 September, 2023

Consortium partners PinWeld Ltd, who is also a TWI Innovation Network Member, the Joining 4.0 Innovation Centre (J4IC – a partnership between Lancaster University and TWI), ATS Applied Tech Systems Ltd and Rainbow Engineering Ltd have recently secured funding for the DIGIPIPEWELD project: Digital Platform for Defect-free Plastic Pipes Welding following their winning proposal to an Innovate UK Smart Grant competition.

The project is set to address the pressing issue of premature failure in plastic pipelines during installation and/or in service, that sees contractors obliged to carry out costly, destructive and non-destructive testing (NDT) on a percentage of operational joints on-site, or in worse case scenarios, due to poor installation and welding practices, as a way of ensuring quality management. The DIGIPIPEWELD system will enable a joint to be welded while simultaneously testing the results against known parameters and avoiding possible failures, offering manufacture and self-test of pipe welds in a right-first-time package. It will also be autonomous, helping to eliminate risks that can be associated with human error..

The technology behind DIGIPIPEWELD is a controlled, digitally intelligent, Pinweld plastic pipe welding system for joining polymer pipes without defects. The incorporation of sophisticated machine-learning algorithms, advanced sensing and data processing will enable optimisation and recording of pipe joints, whatever the application and climate, accurate process monitoring, autonomous quality inspection after welding and real-time leakage detection.

The system will able to produce a new joint that has the same physical properties as in the original pipe, with added capacity to monitor and report through built-in sensors, offering a robust, safe and secure process than can be used across a range of sectors. This will give operators and contractors a greater level of control in plastic pipe installation than is currently possible as well as greater speed and efficiency, and lower energy consumption.

Project Lead PinWeld Ltd will be giving an online workshop designed to showcase the technologies behind DIGIPIPEWELD to the UK water industry on 24 October 2023. Kindly co-hosted by Sutton and East Surrey Water, and the Water Research Centre, the workshop will gather together an invited audience comprising pipe manufacturers and installers, water company representatives, industry sector players and experts, and policy makers, providing a valuable forum in which to discuss DIGIPIPEWELD’s potential to help reduce water leakage in UK water pipelines.

DIGIPIPEWELD has secured an Innovate UK Smart Grant under Grant Agreement no. 1005500.

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