Russian sewer and utility networks used to be dominated by non plastic materials. According to Ype Vink, Pipelife’s general manager in Russia, the aging state of these networks has prompted a complete change: “Ease of installation of these plastic pipes coupled with the spiraling cost of metal is driving out the old heavy and porous methods. Market demand for our plastic pipes in Russia has now surpassed all expectations.”
“Our most recent production line is capable of producing 20,000 kilometres of co-extruded PVC foam sewer pipe. We are currently making 110 mm and 160 mm diameter pipe lengths and will tool up to produce 200 mm diameter in the near future.”
“These pipes have a middle foam layer that can be made from recycled PVC. It originates from old pipes or other products that have reached the end of their useful life. The result is a pipe that will last at least a hundred years - at which time it may be recycled as many as five times. Order books suggest that we can reasonably fulfil all of this capacity and more.”
The new factory was opened by Pipelife, a Solvay/Wienerberger joint venture in April 2007. It produced its first lengths of PE pipes for the water sector in September that year and started up a second line just one month later. PE production for gas distribution is expected within the second half of 2008. Meanwhile, full production of the company’s PRAGMA sewer pipe system commenced in February 2008.
Situated 120 kilometres from Moscow, the manufacturing facility employs 65 people. Prior to its opening, Pipelife had been operating through a sales office in the Russian market for more than five years. Ype Vink points out that the Russian facility is quickly drawing attention from a wide range of stakeholders. A recent visitor to inspect the new production line was the vice governor of the local Kaluga region.
Based in Vienna, the Pipelife Group with over 2,800 employees in 30 countries generated EUR 875 million net sales in 2007.