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Pipe Liners A Bonus For Local Councils

New Zealand councils and water authorities will soon be able to replace old sewer pipes and water mains without having to do the costly job of digging them up.

Autex Industries Ltd of Auckland has begun making and selling sleeves that can be inserted into old pipes, extending their life at a fraction of the cost of digging up and replacing them.

"We call it 'trenchless technology'," Autex sales director Bill Paton says. "It's been used overseas for some years, particularly in the UK, because they were faced with the problem of replacing old pipes - maybe 100 years old or more - at huge cost.

"We imported the technology from the UK because we felt we could make the liners for New Zealand and because councils here needed to have the manufacturer on the spot."

The liner consists of a mixture of polyester felt that is made to the required wall thickness, and a polyurethane coating. The liner is then saturated with a resin and fed into pipes from access covers on the street.

Technology New Zealand - part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology - invested in the project that enabled Autex to build prototype equipment.

"Technology New Zealand's investment gave us the impetus to do the research. We make synthetic felts, carpets, bedwear and insulation, so this opens up a new area of work for us," Mr Paton says.

"We intend to replace the imported product and market it in New Zealand at first, then Australia. It will mean new tooling up in the factory, and I certainly hope it will lead to more jobs and new skills - not just for Autex, but also for contractors and others involved in the work." The project was the first for which Autex had sought Technology New Zealand funding.

"We didn't know at first that we could apply for assistance with funding to get a technical assessment of overseas technology and build our own prototype," Mr Paton says.

-ends-

Contact: * Bill Paton, Autex Industries Ltd, Rosebank Rd, Avondale, Auckland. Ph: (09) 828-979. Fax: (09) 828-5810. Email: bpaton@autex.co.nz * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525, ian@idcomm.co.nz


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