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Maintrain demonstrates benefit of pneumatics

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article image External use of the large diameter CalAir pneumatic piping at the compressor installation.

A STATE-of-the-art maintenance facility designed for efficiency in the toughest industrial cleaning and refurbishment environment has itself been equipped with one of the lowest-maintenance pneumatic reticulation systems available.

The NSW Maintrain Presentation Shop in Sydney - designed to handle up to 1500 locomotives and carriages a year - has been equipped with a compressed air reticulation system comprising more than 800 metres of CalAir PropPipe II lightweight polymer piping.

Designed to remove the operating grime, grit and graffiti from State Rail trains and return them to service in pristine condition, the new Presentation Shop incorporates one of the largest installations to date of the CalAir Pro-Pipe II second generation polymer piping.

The Australian-made piping, manufactured from an especially formulated CXPP40 high performance block co-polymer polypropylene, exhibits outstanding pressure capability characteristics at elevated temperatures while imposing lower friction loads on airflows, says CalAir Pipe Systems north-west sydney manager Neil Foley.

In addition to being more than a third stiffer than standard polymer piping, the new Pro-Pipe II can carry air, other gases and water at temperatures from -20°C up to 100°C.

"This means we could economically design a flow-efficient pneumatic ring system for Maintrain that not only could withstand extremes of service, but which also needed fewer fasteners to ensure rigidity throughout its service life," Foley said.

Driven by an Ingersoll-Rand compressor at 700cfm, the Maintrain reticulation system comprises a ring system of more than 300 metres of CalAir A8 (90mm outside diameter) piping around the circumference of the new facility, with about 150 metres of CalAir A6 (63mm OD) servicing under-floor maintenance plants.

Another 180 metres of CalAir A4 delivers compressed air at 700kPa to spray booths, while 180 metres of CalAir A2 descends through pneumatic drops to tools such as impact wrenches, angle grinders and other air-operated tools.

Foley said the system had to be easy to install and reconfigure - and it had to avoid energy wastage by curtailing leakage.

CalAir markets a full range of permanently colour-coded pipe systems used for compressed air, water, acid and alkaline liquids, fire services, process gases and FRAS (fire-retardant, anti-static) reticulation.

With more than 4,500 commercial and industrial installations of CalAir product since 1989, the company's latest ProPipe II is far easier and faster to erect and reconfigure than metal alternatives and doesn't require expensive skilled labour to do the job.

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