After trouble with leaks using other methods, Koppers Performance Chemicals decided to give Viega a try when piping a section of its facility. Koppers recycles scrap copper, so understandably the company wasn’t in the market for ProPress. Instead they found MegaPress Stainless to fit the bill for their needs.
Koppers recycles copper-clad materials and scrap copper at its plant in Michigan. The company delivers a copper powder to its plants in Tennessee and South Carolina where it’s turned into a product used to pressure-treat lumber. Copper is one of the major components used in pressure treating, a process used to help prevent lumber from rotting.
“We get all kinds of copper scraps, even the copper trinkets that you might get at a tourist place. If it’s scrap, we’ll take it,” said Phil Sturos, Project Engineer with Koppers.
During the process, the copper slurry is de-watered through a pressure filter which creates a “copper cake” that is processed through a flash dryer and dust collector system. Sturos explained that the existing equipment was under capacity, causing a bottleneck at the end of the process.
To increase the output capacity of the plant, additional de-watering and drying equipment was installed, and that’s where Viega came in. MegaPress Stainless was used to provide process water for the cooling process.
“We didn’t want to thread the pipe, and welding was an option we looked at, but it’s time consuming,” Sturos said. “We’ve also used grooved pipe fittings in the past here, too. Viega was appealing because of the ease of installation. We were looking down the road for our maintenance guys, too, to use this product.”
Aire Care, a plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor, has been working on the general maintenance at Koppers for more than a decade, so it was Aire Care’s crew that installed the MegaPress Stainless products at Koppers.
Aire Care installed about 600 feet of 2″ Schedule 10 stainless steel pipe, connecting it with Viega MegaPress Stainless 90- and 45-degree elbows, as well as tees. The new pipes went online in the fall, with production ramping up after that.
After a demo of Viega products, Koppers was ready to move forward with the MegaPress Stainless product, and after it was successfully installed, they considered more products. The company recently ran 11⁄2″ carbon steel lines, complete with MegaPress fittings, for an ammonia-based solution Koppers uses.
Koppers purchased a RIDGID® press tool to be on hand at the plant. With so much existing piping at the location, having the tool there will make for quick and easy access for maintenance or future work.
“We’ll use Viega there at Koppers again in the future. There was no reason not to,” said Eric Haataja, Engineer with Aire Care. “It was easy to use.”