Like many people, you may have a tendency to consider all pipes as being part of plumbing systems. When it comes to process piping, however, these structures serve very different purposes. As such, they are often comprised of very different materials. To make things more confusing, in many manufacturing facilities, both plumbing and process piping can exist together as part of comprehensive and carefully integrated solutions. Fortunately, the difference between these two forms of equipment is actually very basic and easy to recognize. It lies in their purpose. Plumbing pipes exist to carry water or other materials to and from a building, and to service various plumbing fixtures and appliances. Conversely, process pipes are pipes that are used specifically for routing materials into manufacturing operations. For instance, water that is being used to produce a fruit-flavored beverage would travel through process pipes, rather than plumbing pipes.
There are instances when distinguishing the two can be a bit more difficult. For instance, manufacturing operations that use water to cool their equipment, often route this same water to special onsite cooling tanks. This is essential before releasing heated water into the natural environment so that the ecological impact of this activity is either minimize or neutralized. While the pipes that move friction-heated water to the cooling tanks are an essential part of the facility’s operations, they are not actually a part of the production process. As such, these pipes are plumbing pipes. This is also a prime example of how plumbing pipes and process piping can be seamlessly integrated to support specific industrial operation types.
Compliance And Quality Control
Compliance and quality control play key roles in determining which type of piping is appropriate for specific purposes and activities. Process piping is often comprised of materials that can withstand high levels of friction and pressure, excessively high or low temperatures, and other forms of exposure and extremes. These pipes are not prone to degrading with high-demand use and thus, they are less likely to contaminate food products, health and beauty products, or other items that companies are manufacturing and selling. Compliance requirements for these piping systems often entail regulations pertaining to environmental sustainability, safety, and resulting product quality among other things.
In industrial facilities, plumbing pipes and process pipes have one very important thing in common. They both must be diligently inspected and maintained. If your system needs new process pipes or if your current process piping needs to be upgraded and streamlined to better suit your operations, we can help. Call us today at 408-295-2182