From electricity, fiber-optic cables, telecommunication lines, water and gas pipelines to the network of the sewage system, beneath us lies an important nexus of resources. The potable water and wastewater pipelines act like arteries of the civic body and run into billions of feet across the globe. Sources suggest that the USA alone has approx. 9.5 billion feet of sewer and potable water pipelines, the highest in the world. The following table illustrates the length of pipelines for sewer and potable water.
|List of Major CIPP Markets||
Total Pipeline Network (Sewer, Potable Water)
|The USA||9.5 Billion Feet|
|Canada||1.0 Billion Feet|
|Germany||3.9 Billion Feet|
|France||4.3 Billion Feet|
|The UK||2.1 Billion Feet|
|Japan||3.5 Billion Feet|
|China||1.4 Billion Feet (Sewer Only)|
Ageing pipeline infrastructure has led to frequent instances of water main breaks which cause damages and affect the services, ultimately bringing the life of the region to a standstill. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 240,000 water main breaks per year in the USA and the break rate is increasing substantially. With this mammoth and ageing infrastructure in place and the rising number of breaks, the associated costs for maintenance and rehabilitation have skyrocketed. According to Underground Construction Magazine, the annual spending by the US municipal authorities on the rehabilitation of the wastewater, stormwater and process sewer pipelines reached nearly $8 billion. The demand has also spiked up in China, India & South Africa, they have recently begun to adopt new technologies for pipeline rehabilitation. We can very well estimate the extent of spending worldwide. This unique blend of the dated infrastructure & increased infrastructure spending is set to propel the growth of the pipeline rehabilitation industry to a higher trajectory.Today this invisible infrastructure of many countries, developed as well as developing, is old and ramshackle. For instance, the average age of the US’ sewer pipelines is over 50 years. Germany is not far behind with an average age of 40 years.
The Tug of War: Repair or Replace
When it comes to making decisions, the decision parameters are cost, time, level of disruption, and effectiveness of the solution. In cases of structural damage to the pipeline, replacement is the only option. But in most other cases where the extent of damage is less, repair works out as a better alternative. It saves cost, time, and causes minimum disruption. This comparative advantage is due to the fact that in replacement, excavation & trenching are indispensable while taking more time. This leads to higher cost and significant disruption of human life.
Trenchless Technologies, the new favourites
Today a multitude of methods are available, ranging from the usual ones to the exotic. Chemical Grouting, Sliplining (disruptive due to the excavation required), Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) ideally suited for locations with restricted access, Fold-and-Formed Pipe, Pipe Bursting are commonly applied techniques. The choice is based on cost, time, bottlenecks and the purpose of rehabilitation. Whether structural repair is needed? Or there is an infiltration issue, system capacity enhancement, or a combination.
As the complexity of urban infrastructure increases, there is a pressing need for the use of trenchless methods. Our cities are built on the foundation of concrete beds. Beneath the concrete roads, shopping malls, hospitals & homes, almost ubiquitously the network of potable water & sewage pipelines exist. If we wish to replace a broken or damaged pipe, we will have to excavate in the concrete layer, and transport the large pipes to the site and execute the replacement. The disruption caused is huge, and the cost incurred is high. The trenchless methods, on the other hand, involve a simple insertion of a pipe within the existing one via the manhole or an apt access point. The curing is quick, and its low cost. It is the least disruptive alternative that can extend the life of the pipeline for many decades. No wonder the trenchless technologies are gaining traction these days.
Trenchless technologies, a comparative analysis
Evaluating the available trenchless technologies on various relevant parameters, CIPP emerges as a unanimous winner. This is the reason why the global demand for CIPP is gaining pace.
CIPP in a nutshell
Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) rehabilitation solutions have been around for over a decade. They have found success in extending the life of pipelines, especially in inaccessible areas, where other operations are rendered unfeasible on account of the high cost of excavation and replacement. CIPP linings are thicker, heavier, and its resin impregnated liners, such as felt or glass-fabric, create a pipe within a pipe, extending the pipeline’s life at low cost.
CIPP offers many options like there is a choice of resin to be used to impregnate the liner material. The resin can be a Polyester resin, vinyl ester resin, or epoxy resin. Polyester resin dominates the market at present. In terms of choice of fabric, there are two main alternatives at present, Polyester fabric or glass fabric. Though polyester fabric has the dominant market share, glass fabric is gaining popularity faster, as evident from Germany’s shift in fabric choice.
In Germany, glass fabric-based CIPP has surpassed the felt-based CIPP to become the most dominant material type in the region. Further, there is a choice involved in the type of curing, which can be done via the use of steam, hot water or UV light. At present Steam is the preferred choice for curing, but UV curing is growing marginally faster. Depending upon pipeline’s curvature & bends, the choice has to be made between using Woven fabric-made liners, and non-woven fabric-made liners. At present market is dominated by non-woven made liners, which are preferred for straight pipes.
The growth is also expected to increase on account of innovative uses. Ex. the use of a CIPP pressure lining system to rehabilitate the inter-condenser at NASA’s Ohio testing facility in October 2018. It used two layers of reinforced glass developed by Manufactured Technologies Corporation (MTC). This latest application is an indicator of the various avenues in which this technology will be used in future.
CIPP can evolve in many aspects like advancement in liner materials, intensified automation with robotics application, and the use of artificial intelligence etc. The avenues of its applications are also expected to expand, and its innovative applications are expected in future. CIPP with its non-disruptive, quick and cost-effective offerings, seems to have the lead now; whether CIPP will emerge as the winner will depend on the dexterity with which it negates its Achilles heel.
The Long Strides of CAGR
After analysing a maze of relevant factors & data crunching across products, processes, and regions, Stratview Research forecasts the global CIPP market to grow to $3.0 bn by 2024, at an impressive CAGR of over 5%, for the next five years and more. It is not only the technological advancement that is going to create different boulevards of growth, but also the large-scale application of the existing technology.
The Keynesian Thrust
CIPP market’s growth is expected to rise due to various macroeconomic factors, governmental spending to be a major factor. There would be a total rehabilitation of 103.3 million feet of pipes through the CIPP technology in North America during 2018-2023, signifies a growing demand for CIPP. Together, North America & Europe constitute four-fifth of the CIPP market. A trend of significant increase in the expenditure by North American and European municipalities on pipeline rehabilitation has been observed, along with an emerging trend in Japan, China, India & South Africa. From the overall municipality spending, which will be colossal, a sizeable portion is expected to fall in the CIPP market, giving it a prodigious boost in growth. The innovative application of CIPP is also helping it shift the demand from other alternatives to itself. A further shift in demand will be seen as the awareness of CIPP increases & its product development progresses.
USA leads the global CIPP demand
North America has the highest share of the global market. US Municipalities have a spending plan of about US$ 8.2 billion for the rehabilitation of sewer, water, and stormwater pipes in 2018. Out of this, a sizeable portion is expected to come to the CIPP segment. USA is the manufacturing hub for CIPP with lion’s share of the market (North America) and is about two & a half times the size of Germany, the second largest market. Insituform Technologies, Inc., and Layne Inliner LLC are the major players of CIPP in North America, headquartered in the USA and have a significant presence in the region. In Europe, Germany is leading the change with a drastic shift to glass-fabric based CIPP & has the major market share of entire Europe. With respect to diameters, the sub-one-foot category has found the highest CIPP application. Unsurprisingly, it is the Asia Pacific region that will deliver the highest growth, coming from Japan, Australia and Singapore.
Incumbents gear-up to exploit emerging opportunities
The present industry, with the USA as a manufacturing hub, characterizes a fair market concentration. The top six players: Insituform Technologies, Inc., Layne Inliner LLC, Reline Europe AG, SAERTEX multiCom® GmbH, IPR (Inland Pipe Rehabilitation), and iMPREG GmbH), have captured over half of the market share. There are more than 50 active players in the global CIPP market.
The market seems to have reasonable product differentiation, as there is a variety of fabrics, resins to opt from. Also, the players have differentiated themselves with forward and backward integration. Most of the major CIPP suppliers have the capabilities to supply multiple types of resin-based CIPPs.
In 2018, Granite Construction Inc. acquired the parent company of Layne Inliner. In late 2018, the acquisition by Inland Pipe Rehabilitation (IPR, Conyers, GA, US) of Daystar Composites (Patterson, GA, US), positions IPR to build on capabilities as a national leader in CIPP lining technology. IPR is the largest, privately-held trenchless solutions provider in USA. This strategic acquisition of complementary organizations will deliver meaningful benefits in both the near- and long-term. The addition of Daystar Composites provides a vertically integrated solution and diversifies IPR’s existing portfolio.
The acquisition is an indication of expected growth and aggressive competition in the industry.
The Limitations of CIPP & the Way Forward
Though CIPP has many advantages, it suffers from major lacunas as well. One limiting factor for CIPP is the fact that it can only be used for straight sections, without internal fittings. The ends of the lining or the lip are susceptible to waste build up and the risk of corrosion. For smaller diameter pipes the reduced pipe diameter due to CIPP lining can cause drainage problems. The challenge of very complex and precision installation is also formidable. Looking forward, the ability to reduce the thickness, curing time, and deliver complex installations, will drive the growth of this segment.
The recent spurt in the growth of CIPP in China, India, South Africa is on account of increased awareness in those regions, which has hitherto been dismal. Thus, one major avenue for growth will come from spreading awareness of the CIPP method.
At present, there are few acquisitions in terms of vertical integration. Both backward and forward integration will open avenues for better product development and drive innovation in future.
It is abundantly clear that the market is in its growth phase, leaving a lot to be seen in future. To survive and thrive in the long run, CIPP will have to promote itself aggressively as the most suitable technique, along with working on gradual product developments.