Alex Hairabedian, General Manager for Pipelife in Bulgaria explains: “Plastic pipe systems have been used for various applications in the region since the 1960’s. However, EU infrastructure funds have created huge opportunities to modernize our antiquated sewer and rainwater networks. In Bulgaria, for example, with just over three percent of our villages connected to a sewage system, the need for tangible improvement has been recognized. EUR 600 million has been earmarked by government to modernize or create hundreds of kilometers of water and sewer networks over the next three years.”
“Our PRAGMA® range has appeared on an ever-growing list of projects throughout the region. Two schemes in Bulgaria will include the new one-meter pipes, namely an infrastructure project in Blagoevgrad in the south-west and a second in Devnia. Export opportunities for the one-meter are equally promising. Orders have already been booked for major schemes in Russia and Macedonia.”
For Alex Hairabedian, the decision to start production with the one-meter pipe was customer related. “This two layer pipe has many advantages for installers and service providers. Its corrugated outer pipe wall withstands all the loads above ground during handling and all the loads below ground due to soil movements. Its smooth inner wall provides superb flow properties that that accelerate run-off. This is important when heavy rainfall needs to be moved quickly to mitigate flooding.”
This PRAGMA® concept was originally developed twenty years ago in Scandinavia where civil engineers were quick to recognize its inherent benefits. The pipes are heat resistant to 100° C for intermittent flow in the transport of sewage. They are also chemical resistant even in aggressive situations. At the other end of the thermometer, their impact resistance is equally good since they can accommodate the very low temperatures that prevail during winter conditions in the region.
The one-meter diameter pipe will be accompanied by the local production of the entire PRAGMA® range of diameters in 160, 200, 250, 315, 400, 500, 600 and 800 mm at the same new site. Staffed eventually by around 100 commercial and production employees, this location represents a significant investment in that region. By early 2011, the factory will offer all plastic pipe systems, which are needed by the market, most of them by own production.
Pipelife is a joint venture of Wienerberger and Solvay and is based in Vienna. Active in 29 countries and with 31 production sites, it employs 2,450 people worldwide. Pipelife sales for 2009 amounted to EUR 699 million.