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Chemicals and minerals are essential elements found everywhere in our daily life: they are present in electronic devices, (electric) cars, and even in toothpaste and deodorants. For the industries producing all those hazardous products, safety and purity are top priorities. With its multi-material portfolio of products, Aliaxis offers complete system solutions, as explained by Amedeo Macchiavello, our Global Segment Director for Chemical and Mining.

How important are the chemical and mining industries on a global scale?

Amedeo Macchiavello: “We often don’t realise that chemicals and minerals are incorporated in almost every product we use. When putting on our clothes and jewellery in the morning, switching on our mobile phones, brushing our teeth, using deodorant or driving an electric car, we are inevitably using products containing some chemicals and minerals.

  • The growth of the electric car market has sparked off a revival in the mining of lithium, cobalt and manganese. Most modern electronic devices even contain over 35 minerals.
  • The demand for gold and diamonds is increasing all over the world.
  • Due to the expanding world population we will need to increase food production dramatically. That won’t be possible without fertilizers, which are composed of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.
  • In the textiles industry, clothes undergo a range of chemical processes for dyeing and printing.
  • Protective clothing and shields used by security forces and firefighters worldwide are all composed of polyurethane and polycarbonate materials based on chlorine.

The list of manufactured products in which chemicals and minerals are used is endless, so it is obvious that the chemical and mining industries together form a crucial and growing part of the world economy.”

What are the main priorities for these industries?

Amedeo Macchiavello: “For most of their branches, purity is priority number one. Piping and jointing systems have to be able to hold and convey chemical substances in such a way that the end product stays very pure.”

“On the other hand, many end-user products are solids, liquids or gases which can be flammable, explosive or corrosive to most materials. These chemical products are hazardous to both personnel and the environment. Their infrastructure and installations must be able to operate in a harsh and corrosive environment, in a manner that preserves the safety of the working place and reduces environmental risk. Reducing the risk of cracks and leakages and ensuring a high corrosion resistance are crucial objectives in this segment.”

What are the benefits of plastic piping systems for the chemical and mining industries?

Amedeo Macchiavello: “Traditionally, chemical and mining companies have always used metal piping, fibreglass-reinforced piping and lined piping for their installations, since any leakage of chemical substances could have disastrous effects. However, plastic piping systems do not only provide the same resistance and reliability as traditional materials but also offer additional advantages, such as being completely corrosion resistant. This means a longer operating life, lower maintenance and material replacement costs, and also reduced energy costs due to the lack of friction when fluids are being pumped through the system.”

“What’s more, solvent welding plastic systems are very easy to install. They do not require specialist tools or equipment during the installation. This factor reduces the installation time and mostly has a very positive impact on the project cost. They are also lightweight and easier to handle on-site, which again reduces risks to the installers.”

What are the main areas for which Aliaxis is offering solutions?

Amedeo Macchiavello: “We are playing a key role in surface treatments, including the main technologies of galvanisation, electrodeposition, pickling and acid regeneration and painting lines. The global trend here is very positive and driven by the automotive industry. Another large segment is chemicals production where, in some applications like chemical batching and blending, thermoplastic piping systems are used and appreciated. For mining and hydrometallurgy, Aliaxis offers a range of suitable products such as plastic pipes, injection fittings, valves and connections, and also customised solutions.”

“Another important area for us is chemical usage in the manufacturing industry. Some industries, like the tanning industry, battery production and photovoltaic industrial sectors are already using plastic pipes in their processes. We also offer a top-quality range of products for auxiliary services in industrial buildings, like fire-fighting, chemical drainage systems, water cooling systems and electrical conduits.”

What is Aliaxis’ strength in this segment?

Amedeo Macchiavello: “First of all, we offer these industries complete solutions, not just components. Our piping systems are composed of pipes, fittings, manual and automated valves and instruments. Our main strength is our multi-material global portfolio. We offer solutions in different thermoplastic materials such as U-PVC, ABS, C-PVC, PE100, PVDF and combinations that provide the best solution for chemical resistance in various applications in the chemical and mining industries.”

“Aliaxis’ global presence is an important advantage for chemical and mining companies. Most of them are operating on an international scale. Product specifications, for example, are drawn up at the main Engineering company Head Office and procurement is run by other stakeholders in various countries. Having a partner with a global presence to count on, like Aliaxis, is definitely an important advantage.”

Does Aliaxis only offer products and solutions for these industries?

Amedeo Macchiavello: “No. We focus on providing services to share our technical expertise with engineering companies and consultants, and to support our product offer. For us it is important to build up a strong relationship with each of our customers. This means offering a high level of technical support and service, and listening carefully to their needs.”

“This past year, the team developed the Industrial Solutions app with more than ten available tools. These can be used to identify the appropriate material for chemical fluids being conveyed and to calculate various technical aspects such as operating pressure and temperature, spacing and support of industrial plastic piping systems. That is how we can help our customers and showcase our products, and it’s actually a win-win situation.”