Individual solution required found


Neenah Paper Inc.


Stevens Point (WI), USA




Chemical transport


aquatherm blue pipe


To install a durable piping system suitable for transporting aggressive liquid inks.


Around 5800 metres of aquatherm blue pipe, connected to around 4250 fittings and valves, were installed and passed the pressure test first time.

Paper mill uses aquatherm blue pipe for ink transport

Neenah Paper Inc (NPI) is a premium paper company in the USA. After NPI took over the paper mill ‚The Whiting Mill‘ in Stevens Point, the production capacities had to be expanded to meet the demand for colour-intensive papers. Therefore, the company was looking for a solution to store more than 24 different liquid printing inks and to transport them from one of the four delivery tanks to the numerous distribution points in the mill. Finding the right pipe material was a top priority and numerous different options were considered.

“However, stainless steel, as a possible alternative, was not the right choice because, firstly, it is not necessarily cheap and, secondly, some of the aggressive colours would have caused corrosion problems. This would have necessitated a mixed installation, but that would have limited the flexibility to move the colours back and forth between the different tanks,” explained Kevin Calhoun, engineer at NPI.

The challenge was to find a uniform solution that was cheaper than polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or stainless steel and had lower linear expansion than chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) or polyethylene (PE) pipes. Also important was a higher chemical resistance than stainless steel or CPVC. The aquatherm blue pipe system made of polypropylene (PP-R) was the clear front-runner in all points.

The exceptionally good chemical resistance of polypropylene made it a suitable solution for this very special application. In the end, however, two factors were decisive for the application at NPI: the fibre composite technology, which results in a very low linear expansion, and the higher pressure ratings and flow rates of the aquatherm pipes compared to other plastic pipe systems.

Another challenge of the project was the tight schedule.

»NPI boasts unparalleled customer service and very good product availability. If we had missed the specified start of production, it could have led to business interruptions for our customers. So the installation had to be done quickly, professionally and without any problems,” Calhoun emphasised.

5800 metres of pipe, 4250 fittings / valves connected and installed without difficulty.

Brad Murphy, clerk at Columbia Pipe & Supply, who were aquatherm dealers on the project, confirmed:

“When the pressure test was done after the work was completed, Neenah Paper could not find any leaks at the joints.”

What made the task more difficult was that the workers had to endure extreme conditions in very high temperatures.

“The work was carried out in the hot summer months and on the lower floors of the paper mill with minimal air circulation. Thanks to aquatherm blue pipe, the work was completed quickly and easily despite everything.”

said Tony Heil, project manager at installation company August Winter & Sons, Inc.

“And in a direct cost comparison between stainless steel and aquatherm blue pipe, we saved about 58 percent installation labour and 51 percent material costs.”

Since it was the first installation with aquatherm products for August Winter & Sons, Inc., the installers received intensive training before they began work, and after only a few days, employees were able to weld the pipes with ease.

„Und im direkten Kostenvergleich zwischen Edelstahl und aquatherm blue pipe haben wir rund 58 Prozent Installationsarbeit und 51 Prozent Materialkosten gespart.“

Tony Heil, Projektleiter beim Installationsunternehmen August Winter & Sons, Inc. 
aquatherm GmbH
Biggen 5
57439 Attendorn
Phone: +49 2722 950 0