Recent years have seen an increase in the use of glass reinforced polyester (GRP) pipes for irrigation projects in New Zealand. GRP pipes are available in diameters up to 4000mm and present a strong alternative to traditional materials due to their competitive up front cost and reduced whole of life costs.
Local and international standards with rigorous type and batch release testing exist for the protection of the consumer. These standards have been developed by the GRP pipe industry and are based on experience over the last 50 years with buried GRP pipes and flexible pipes in general.
The worldwide capacity to produce continuous filament wound (CFW) GRP pipe has increased significantly in the last 10 years. Copied production lines, without the robust technical backing of established manufacturers, have entered the global market in low cost economies. This is of concern as a lack of knowledge on materials and process will reduce product quality.
In the competitive irrigation piping market there is high demand for low cost options but the consumer and asset owner needs to be aware of how to evaluate the options being offered. Through knowledge of the requirements of the standards and the significance of consistency of raw materials the consumer will better be able to evaluate the long term performance and overall cost of asset ownership of GRP piping systems.