A new technology has been developed in the fusion of HDPE pipe that brought a new facet to both the HDPE industry and the construction industry as a whole and that has made a significant change in the welding of polyethylene pipe. This technology is called Fast Fusion, and its primary design was to have a safe operator platform with an all weather-controlled cab to eliminate weld failures. The use of Fast Fusion increases daily production and also brings an economic gain in the reduction of cost in the welding of the HDPE pipe.

It is not acceptable to install a product that will leak or fail and it is the responsibility of all who design and invent to make improvements that will eliminate failures. Fast Fusion LLC’s primary focus is bringing new innovation and technology to the HDPE industry and construction industry. The technology is considered an auxiliary-added piece of equipment to already known, industry-accepted and used pipe fusion equipment.
The use of Fast Fusion does not change the procedure in the welding of the pipe or any of the pipe manufacturer or regulatory standards used. The technology is based upon worldwide standards, guidelines and procedures of the welding of HDPE pipe.  

Fusion equipment manufacturers have primarily been focused on improving the field reliability of the fusion machines. Objectives with this technology are to implement changes in the way the pipe is handled, weld bead temperature is controlled, what environment that pipe welding occurs and the elimination of human error or poor decision-making — which are all contributing factors to fusion weld failures.    

As the construction industry entered the economic downturn, it became important to design new equipment that would allow a higher utilization of already-owned fusion equipment. As an example, the Cool Pack uses the same labor and equipment needed for conventional fusion but it doubles the fusions made per hour using the same labor and equipment, significantly improving the timeline in the completion of fusing the pipe with a direct cost-savings.

The use of HDPE continues to grow in the applications of fresh water, wastewater, energy, agriculture and mining. The needs of a water line in an underdeveloped country vs. one in a developed country separates the meaning of a “need” or a “want.”

Ongoing projects in varying weather conditions from frigid to extreme heat have long been a challenge to the construction industry to meet the HDPE pipe manufacturer’s guidelines in the welding of the pipe but also being able to utilize the economic gains of year-round pipeline construction. The innovation brings higher utilization gains for the economic improvement of the construction industry.

The HDPE industry has been a product of choice in the energy development market in its practical use in lower pressure pipelines but has expanded in the mitigating community issues in reducing the impact caused by the amount of water trucks that have traditionally been needed to transfer water for drilling.

Completion operations are being replaced with HDPE temporary water transfer pipelines that include the reclaiming and reusing of these large amounts of water needed but also eliminating the overall impact caused by heavy truck traffic. As the rigs are moved to another location, these temporary pipelines are picked back up and move with the drilling rigs to the next location are re-welded and put back into use again.
Having the improvement in how the pipe is welded and increasing production per hour has also resulted in more applications of use of HDPE and in the expansion of project design scopes of less days needed for completion timelines of the project so that the end user will have their newly constructed pipelines in service much sooner than they could before.

As an industry, the scientific and technical expertise, fusion equipment and advancement of technology for HDPE is and has been in a constant mode of change and betterment of the product for its uses and applications. Most of us are just horrible marketers and have done a very poor job in communicating the changes made in the HDPE industry to the construction industry.

Installing a pipe product correctly to its design factors and procedures for it use is far more important than being the less costly provider.  

In today’s construction business environment, the shift to educate is imperative to create the availability of projects. The planning and designing of projects worldwide has changed and companies like Fast Fusion that invent, design and manufacture equipment have to be innovative in supporting the construction industry’s needs. Fast Fusion is fortunate to be able to support both the HDPE industry and the construction industry as a whole.

As any small company that becomes a small global company, we have being able to make needed changes based upon a geographic region’s specific want or needs that has to be accomplished. By far the ability to deliver fresh, clean water worldwide is the priority. The difference between a water project in central India is far different than in western Colorado. As an equipment manufacturer, we have to be designing equipment that be improved, changed and adapted to those needs worldwide including the realization of the cultural impacts and how important we have to be cognizant of that.

The most challenging is the customer want of information instantly. I am old enough to have not completely understood the changes the Internet has brought to the marketing of a product and the ability of a person of any age group to access both general and technical information on an immediate basis. We also are now experiencing the change made that once they see and access that information, that they want to talk to a person direct. Someone answering the phone is important to the customer again.

As mentioned earlier, I would like to emphasis how important it is that we continue to educate our respective industries to the changes that will continue to happen today but also those that we have to be seeing develop that will affect all of us several years ahead.

It has been a tragic occurrence in the Gulf. This event has affected every person in some way and as an industry we have to continue to reach out and improve and expect more from each of us. Maintaining quality, perfecting equipment and training of personnel completely has to remain the most important factor in the construction industry. All of us that manufacture utility construction equipment have invented and developed equipment that makes a process safer, improves quality and at times reduces a cost but economics alone cannot be the factor used to determine the value a product brought to the construction industry. Having the most qualified with the best equipment developed has to be far more important than the lowest cost of an installation. Over a span of 50 years or 100 years, what is a small percentage cost factor compared to doing it right.

Dick McKinley is owner of Fast Fusion LLC, Palisade, Colo.

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