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Building a nickel processing plant from the ground up: pioneering piping solutions

  • Products provided: Customized “P” Series and “H” Series corrosion resistant piping and spools; butt & wrap joints; tapered adhesive joints

  • Services provided: Design engineering, stress analysis support, drafting, bonding procedure specifications, and more

  • Industry: Mineral Processing

  • Location: Canada


In 2010 RPS Composites began manufacturing what would be our largest piping job to date. It spanned over 5 years and in addition to FRP pipe and fitting manufacture, included maximum shop assembly, design engineering, stress analysis support, drafting services, bonding procedure specifications, on-site bonder training, bonder qualification, hydrostatic tests and registration in accordance with CSA B51.

The large hydromet facility would be built on the east coast of Canada to process nickel concentrate. Electrowinning and solvent extraction would be used and RPS supplied various classes of piping for each line type. The class of piping and resin selection was based on the temperature, pressure and process conditions observed by each line, and the more than 30 process streams included acid and caustic services (electrolyte solutions and reagents such as barium hydroxide, boric acid and sodium hydroxide), organic streams, diluted and concentrated hydrochloric acid, and chlorine services. Pressure ranged from 100psi to 150psi, and temperatures ranged from less than 80ºC up to 100ºC.

From the internal chemical barrier through to the external coating, RPS Composites designs and fabricates piping systems to your specifications.


The scope of the project included:

  • 56,000+ meters of FRP piping (roughly the distance between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD) in compliance with ASME B31.3
  • 22,000 fittings (FRP elbows, tees, reducers, etc.) with a CRN (Canadian Registration Number) per CSA B51. Obtaining a CRN requires submittals such as design calculations (done to an acceptable code), proof of a quality control program and drawings stamped by a professional engineer.
  • 22,500 FRP flanges
  • 7 FRP stacks
  • 48 FRP HVAC plenums
  • 10,000 shop butt and wrap joints
  • 33,500 shop tapered adhesive joints (a tapered adhesive joining system is preferred over a straight socket style adhesive system to eliminate poor fit-up, maximize corrosion protection, and increase load carrying capability. For more on the RPS Tapered Adhesive Joint click here and here).
  • 192,000 manufacturing and fabrication hours

This massive project became the impetus behind our proprietary SpoolTracker technology, designed to better monitor the real time status of in-process shop assembly. There would be close to 110 full truckloads of material heading down the highways from our Maritime fabricating plants, so this tool would be invaluable to our Project Management team, and has since become the backbone of our tracking system.

The opportunity also prompted several additional improvement initiatives such as field bonder training for broader use of our tapered adhesive joining system; exploration of FRP for various services including replacement of failing rubber-lined carbon steel with abrasion resistant FRP; and new offerings of FRP grating and structural components in locations where traditional materials were not performing or were difficult to install.

The RPS Chemical Resistance Guide

We’ve developed a number of piping systems, which have been designed to provide outstanding resistance to a wide range of chemical environments. Download our Guide to explore the RPS family of HPPE (High Performance Pre-Engineered) piping systems.

Reach out for more information about the wide variety of products and operational expertise RPS offers our customers.