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Encoma enters HDPE pipe market using KraussMaffei's QuickSwitch

Jul 19, 2023Jul 19, 2023

QuickSwitch operators can change pipe dimensions and fine-tune the wall thickness and centering with the push of a button.

Encoma Ltd. has entered the high density polyethylene pipe extrusion market with a new factory in Elm Creek, Manitoba.

The plant is equipped with technology from KraussMaffei Extrusion GmbH that enables plant operators to change pipe dimensions without retooling.

Founded in 2020, Encoma began producing multi-layer HDPE pipe for water, geothermal, cable and under-floor heating applications in fall 2021 at a 63,000-square-foot facility about 50 minutes west of Winnipeg

The family owned manufacturer is the first in North America to use KraussMaffei's QuickSwitch system, which automatically adjusts pipe dimensions. The core component of each line is an adjustable calibration basket that can be set to new pipe dimensions at the touch of a button without having to stop the production line.

Encoma is producing pipes with diameters ranging between 25 and 63 mm (1 to 2½ inches) for commercial, residential and agricultural customers on the first of three lines to be installed at the Manitoba site.

KraussMaffei installed a three-layer QuickSwitch line covering the entire production process from raw material to semi-finished product handling. The downstream equipment is integrated into the control system and automatically adjusted as well.

"For us as a newcomer in this branch of industry, it was extremely important to have a competent partner at our side who would be able to set up a turnkey plant on our premises and also provide training and support," Encoma Plant Manager Derek Hofer said in a news release.

The waste produced during the "quick switch" period is limited to a cone-shaped piece of material, which improves efficiency and sustainability, particularly for hose production, the release also says.

Encoma has ordered two more lines, including a second QuickSwitch line and a five-layer polyethylene of raised temperature (PE-RT) line specifically designed for underfloor heating pipes.

The QuickSwitch line on order will extend the pipe maker's dimensional range up to 168 millimeters (6.6 inches). Hofer said the company can make a wide range of pipes, even in small quantities.

Encoma's product offering includes HDPE conduit with 3/4- to 2-inch pipe diameters and an option for a co-extruded silicone inner layer to reduce friction; HDPE geothermal pipe manufactured from virgin PE-4710 material that is guaranteed for life against rot, rust and electrolytic corrosion; HDPE water pipe produced from PE-4710; and a PE-RT five-layer tubing branded as Heatflex for radiant heating, cooling, snow melting, and distribution piping.

Encoma says its Heatflex tubing offers strength, temperature resistance and long life without cross-linking.

The company also supplies pipe fittings, such as elbows, caps, tees, bushings and couplings.

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