I.S.T (Innovative Sewerage Technologies), Germany, a leading producer of sewer rehabilitation products, has launched the world’s first polyurethane-based cure-in-place pipe (CIPP) repair system for the trenchless technology market.

With a working time of up to 24 hours between liner impregnation and installation, plus snap cure capabilities, the solution is a major breakthrough in CIPP system technology, offering utility companies and contractors significant time and cost-savings in the repair of broken or fractured sewer pipes.

The new I.S.T solution comprises a traditional needle-felt liner and a polyurethane resin called VITROX – a unique isocyanate product developed by Huntsman Polyurethanes, one of the world’s major chemical companies.

VITROX resin is a two-component system with an exceptionally long pot life. Its increased working time window has the potential to revolutionize CIPP working practices. Traditionally companies repairing sewer networks have had to rely on epoxy resins with a relatively short pot life. This meant impregnating hose liners on site, prior to insertion, often under unfavorable conditions.

Using VITROX, far more time is available between resin application and installation. As a result, liners can be prepared off site, the day before application, at a suitable indoor location. This reduces the risk of mixing faults, which can occur on outdoor sites because of inclement weather conditions. It also means actual repair work can start on site as soon as the team arrives each day – saving time and money.

A further benefit is the speed at which VITROX resins can cure. With a unique snap cure mechanism VITROX resins will harden on demand when the system reaches an elevated, predefined temperature. For the CIPP market this has been set at just two hours using water-curing techniques (>75°C) and less than one hour using steam methods. VITROX resin can be used with standard CIPP equipment and after curing is resistant to temperatures of up to 120 C.

I.S.T. managing director Jörg Vogt said: “Estimates suggest that 4.75 million km of sewers exist across Europe but that only 0.5 percent of this figure is renovated annually – mainly because of prohibitively high costs or practical factors associated with accessing pipes underground, for example digging up roads. In the last decade the pipe rehabilitation market has started to take off – particularly in the area of trenchless technologies. We have been working in the business since 1998, creating systems based on top quality materials and resin formulations. Until this year we had never seen a product with the flexibility of VITROX. It is an extremely exciting development for the CIPP market and we are delighted to take it to market as a core part of our offering.”

Huntsman Polyurethans business development manager Dave Burge said: “VITROX is a unique chemistry that can be fine tuned for application across different industry segments. Within the CIPP market – and working with I.S.T – our aim is to penetrate the European sewer repair market. Longer term we see obvious opportunities for the technology in other territories and markets where pipelines need to be maintained – for example the water, and oil and gas industries. We are pleased with the initial reaction that VITROX resin has received in the CIPP market and look forward to working with I.S.T on its roll out across the trenchless technology sector.”

VITROX resin has been tested extensively in the field by I.S.T and is currently undergoing German national certification from Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt) Berlin – a third party institute.

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