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FUCOLI-SOMEPAL teamed up with INEGI to innovate with a product to seal water distribution systems

11 October 2021
With the specialized support of INEGI, the company FUCOLI-SOMEPAL has developed a new product to join multi-material and multi-diameter pipes, for use in large diameter pipes under high pressures. The innovative character of the solution has already resulted in a patent application.

The energy consumption of fluid distribution systems is directly linked to the sealing capacity in the union between the pump pipes that transport them. This happens, for example, in the public water supply system, which in Portugal consumes more than 400GWh per year.

Given the scale of this consumption, with a relevant economic and environmental impact, the company, specializing in cast iron products for water networks, among others, challenged INEGI to create a solution to improve the efficiency of these distribution systems.

Additive manufacturing accelerated product development and time-to-market

This collaboration gave rise to a device that, as António Baptista, responsible for the project at INEGI, describes, "ensures the complete sealing of the union between the tubes, and also guarantees the retention of any axial movement derived from the pressure of the fluid inside it".

Additive manufacturing was a key part of the product development cycle, allowing us to accelerate the carrying out of tests and functional validations of prototypes, and eliminate the added cost associated with the manufacture of new metal molds.

The next steps include the industrialization of the solution, which, as António Baptista explains, promises to result in "less head loss along the distribution branches, minimizing the pressure difference at the exit of the pumping station and points of use, and corresponding energy required to maintain pressure”.
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