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Case Study Plastics InstallAquatherm North America (NA) has published a fresh-off-the-press case study about how noncorroding Aquatherm Blue Pipe® saved the day by eliminating a plant’s future downtime. Because even a half-second loss in production time can cost an injection-molding facility tens of thousands of dollars, the stakes are high when it comes to replacing piping systems.

The Berry Global injection-molding facility in Lawrence, KS, had begun to incur losses because its existing carbon-steel piping was experiencing excessive corrosion; however, replacing 300 ft of welded steel in a manufacturing process that virtually never stops was not going to be easy. Add to that the project’s ever-shrinking installation window – down from three days to just 24 hours on Good Friday before Easter – and the mechanical contractor’s project manager had a challenge on his hands.

To find out how the project’s problems were solved and see photos of the piping installation, check out the Aquatherm website.

 

Aquatherm hires Larry Hope colorAquatherm North America is pleased to announce Larry Hope has joined the polypropylene piping company as an Area Manager covering Alberta, Canada. A part of the plumbing and heating wholesale industry for almost 20 years at the Red Deer, AB, branches of Crane Supply and the Westlund division of EMCO Corp., Hope has worked with the Aquatherm product line since 2006. Prior to working for EMCO, Hope was an equipment operator for the Alberta Provincial Government.

When first introduced to Aquatherm, Hope had a strong interest in the products’ industrial applications, but since then he has been involved in many residential and commercial projects for domestic and heating systems in Canada.

Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, Hope and his wife and their three children like to travel, explore, and spend as much time together as possible. They enjoy boating, camping, and hiking and appreciate their communities of friends.

“I am very pleased and excited to become part of the Aquatherm family and look forward to greater successes not only with Aquatherm but also with our partners to see businesses growing to excellence in the PP-R industry,” Hope said.

Aquatherm North America (Aquatherm NA) publishes Technical Bulletins to update partners, customers, and the public on the latest announcements concerning Aquatherm polypropylene-random (PP-R) piping systems.

Recently, the company updated and revised two Technical Bulletins regarding mixed systems and compressed air. “Aquatherm Piping for Compressed Gas Systems (Air and Inert Gases) and Using Compressed Gas for Pressure Testing” explains that a compressed-gas system failure can be extremely violent and dangerous because of the amount of energy applied to compress a gaseous media combined with the energy used to pressurize a system. The bulletin then provides Aquatherm’s recommendations on how to safely test with compressed gas.

The other bulletin, “Integration of Other Systems or Components With Aquatherm Piping for Pressure Pipe Applications,” explains how care must be taken when integrating Aquatherm piping systems with other non-PP-R systems or components to ensure the operating parameters for PP-R won’t damage the other material or vice versa. All system parts must be verified as compatible with the carried medium prior to installation. The bulletin specifically delineates Aquatherm’s recommendations for domestic-hot-water-recirculation systems.

If you have any questions, contact our Engineering Department directly; call or email Senior Applications Engineer Clifford Holmes, PE, GPD, at 801-642-4145 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To keep current on Aquatherm NA’s Technical Bulletins, check out http://www.aquatherm.com/technical-bulletins.

 

 

By this point, it’s probably not a surprise to most of us that the skilled trades are facing a labor shortage. Not a week goes by that the topic doesn’t catch the attention of either the trade or news media. Now that hurricanes Harvey and Irma have laid down their own paths of destruction, the need for tradesmen will skyrocket even further, and who knows whether the nationwide shortage will slow rebuilding efforts.

Between the number of baby boomers retiring, the construction workers who found new fields after the real-estate bubble burst, and the incredibly slow trickle of new students entering PHVACR trade schools and programs rather than seeking university degrees, the need for skilled labor is urgent. The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (PHCC) Educational Foundation asserts 100,000 new workers are needed to replace those who are retiring. According to Reuters, 2.3 million skilled construction jobs were lost during the 2007-2009 recession, but the field has recouped less than half a million. And in a recent survey, the Associated General Contractors of America found that 70 percent of contracting firms were having difficulty finding skilled craft workers to hire.

Facing this rapidly growing labor shortage, where can contracting firms and other employers look for answers? Some see the answer in fresh faces, urging trade education programs. Public schools and workforce development agencies across the U.S. have introduced pre-apprenticeship programs and skills training for the construction trades. Per Plumbing Perspective CareerSource Pasco Hernando in Florida’s Tampa Bay area this year launched a “fast track” plumber training program that moves quickly into an apprenticeship training program. In an interview with Contracting Business, Bob Clark, assistant professor of the HVACR Business & Technology program at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, passionately advocates for technical classes to be returned to the middle and high schools. Clark insists that the U.S. Department of Education should require all high schools to have at least one general education overview class on career and technical education.

While furthering education in the trades sectors certainly is an answer for future generations, other options are necessary for firms that are stretched thin now. “There aren’t enough skilled laborers in the workforce, which is why Aquatherm North America’s Design & Fabrication Services department is making such a difference on piping jobs from coast to coast,” said Aquatherm VP of Marketing Barry Campbell. “The department’s capabilities have been massively expanded with the new Revit files, and their expertise in BIM and project management have been benefitting customers on a regular basis.”

Aquatherm North America (Aquatherm NA) offers its experienced, professional staff and warehouse of world-class fusion welding equipment to deliver custom polypropylene-piping-system design and fabrication services. Because Aquatherm NA recently launched the newly updated Autodesk Revit Library, MEP engineers, designers, and contractors can see their facility and its components in 3D, annotate the model with 2D drafting elements, and access building information from the model’s database. The Revit software files “drastically increase the design and BIM capabilities of customers using the Aquatherm product line, and we look forward to continuing to assist customers in designing and using Aquatherm efficiently,” said Aquatherm Chief Technology Officer Jim Paschal.

Once Aquatherm’s team meticulously fabricates a custom detailed spool, large-diameter elbow, or complex manifold, the assembled system then is carefully shipped to any jobsite in the U.S. or Canada so that the installer can basically just plug it in, typically resulting in significant material and/or labor savings.

 

 

“Everybody’s life is on the curb now.”Houston flooding1

Michael LeBlanc, Aquatherm Regional Sales Manager for the Gulf Coast Region, experienced firsthand the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. A resident of northwest Houston, TX, LeBlanc was one of the fortunate few to escape catastrophic flooding. “Water came within 150 ft of my house, and only within 1 ft of my son’s house,” LeBlanc said. “Most of the houses in my neighborhood had 6 in. to 4 ft of water.”

Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since 2005, designated a Category 4 when it struck land on Aug. 22 but downgraded to a tropical storm the following day. With many areas in Southeast Texas receiving 40 in. of rain in four days and peak accumulations reaching more than 51 in., hundreds of thousands of homes were flooded and tens of thousands of people were displaced. Because Harvey’s havoc happened so quickly, thousands of people also had to be plucked from the flood waters and rushed to safety.

“We had a Biblical proportion of rain,” LeBlanc said. “We had a year’s worth of rain in just a few days.”

And while “the federal and state response to the situation has been outstanding,” according to LeBlanc, the crisis is so large, companies like Aquatherm have been assisting in any way possible. In fact, Aquatherm donated to the Houston Food Bank, which provides food, water, and other supplies to those in the area most in need.

Additionally, private citizens like LeBlanc have been jumping in to help – literally, in some cases.

“This part of the country has a can-do attitude,” LeBlanc said. “They want to do for themselves.”

As an Eagle Scout, LeBlanc has had his fair share of survival training. He also grew up in Lafayette, LA, where he was no stranger to hurricanes. “I had family members in Hurricane Katrina that lost everything – personal and business,” he said.

Therefore, once the rain began to let up, LeBlanc, his son Jason, and Jason’s friend Bill Hightower used Hightower’s five-ton, eight-wheel, military-type truck as a makeshift search-and-rescue vehicle to move stranded flood victims to higher ground. For example, the three men moved tenants from a flooded apartment building to a gas station marked as a drop-off spot; from there, official rescue workers would pick up and transport the residents to shelters.

Most dramatically, Michael and Jason LeBlanc and Hightower saved the life of a man floating down a flooded road in his car. As the men were driving through LeBlanc’s neighborhoods making sure they were clear of people who wanted to leave, they saw a man in a boat yelling and pointing.

Suddenly, “we saw this white thing bobbing in the water – and then we realized it was a car,” LeBlanc said. “We still have no clue where it came from! I don’t know if the driver was disoriented or in shock or what.”

They maneuvered the truck as close as they could to the car. As the flood waters rushed by, Michael and Jason jumped from the truck to the car’s hood where Michael knelt on the hood holding the car next to the truck so the car would not float away while Jason carefully slipped into the water next to the driver’s window. “You got anybody else in the car?” he asked. As the man reached out for help, Jason pulled the man out of the window; the man was in the water for about 10 seconds before others on the truck lifted him to safety. Jason LeBlanc even asked if the driver needed anything from the car before he and Michael climbed back on the truck to relative “dry ground.”Houston flooding2

“Our part has been such a small portion of what has been going on around the city,” Michael LeBlanc said. “The bulk of what has been getting people out of this situation is a huge undertaking of volunteers using personal watercrafts to pitch in and help out. Everyone is cooperating, working together, trying to find a new normal.”

LeBlanc estimates his crew rescued and transported 100-150 people to safety. “Whatever little bit we can do is important,” he said. “Do your good turn daily. I try to live by that motto.”

Flying in all the way from Germany, Aquatherm Worldwide executive leadership as well as state and local government officials and an enthusiastic crowd of more than 75 guests helped kick off Aquatherm North America’s grand opening ceremony and open house celebrating its new 82,000-sq-ft headquarters and fabrication facility on April 4 in Lindon, UT.