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A tight fit for PipeMate

Distrupol : 30 September, 2002  (Application Story)
Leading materials-supplier Distrupol has played a leading role in helping East Midlands moulder AAC bring time and cost savings to the heart of the building site with PipeMate
PipeMate is the invention of West Midlands builder Dave Higgs who took the idea to Sutton-in-Ashfield based moulder AAC. The company then developed the project to full scale manufacture. The PipeMate device employs a similar principle to a giant-sized pencil sharpener. In this case, however, the application puts bevels onto 4in plastic building pipe, thus creating leak-proof joints and fittings.

The truly revolutionary aspect of the PipeMate technology is that the work can be immediately carried out on site – stopping building and materials delays and allowing customised cutting and fitting of drainage products and plumbing products there and then. The body of PipeMate is made up of a number of tough all-weather injection moulded fittings produced on a number of Negri Bossi moulding machines from 50 to 150 tonne locking force. The interior cutting edge of the tool is composed of a square block of solid carbide.

Distrupol helped AAC select and fine-tune the grades of materials needed for the various PipeMate components of the outer moulding. Marketing director Jo Boughton says that ‘Distrupol was an existing supplier of ours and we chose them again for PipeMate primarily for the excellence of their technical know-how, service and knowledge of the acetals, polypropylenes and abs’s that we were considering using. We were not disappointed on any count.’

Distrupol’s John Brenchley notes that being involved in the project right from the conception gave a distinct advantage; “Working closely with AAC, discussing design, materials, tooling and production, helped to avoid many of the usual pitfalls. We’ve worked with the company before on a number of metal replacement and technical projects and it’s a great partnership, combining lateral thinking, technical understanding and practical manufacturing requirements.”

Since investing over £100,000 in taking PipeMate to production this year, AAC has exhibited the product at three trade exhibitions, beginning with the Hirex exhibition and culminating in June at Interbuild at the NEC, Birmingham. This marketing has paid off and PipeMate has received very positive acclaim throughout the building trade. Following the NEC exhibition nationwide builders stockists Jewsons now supply PipeMate as a standard item in their retail outlets. The main consumer markets are ground workers, roofers and plumbers, and the device typically sells for just under £60.00.

AAC is also negotiating with leading suppliers of building plastics ware and equipment suppliers to the trade to supply PipeMate under their own brand name. The company is now aiming to produce nearly 100,000 PipeMates per year.
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