PIC (Pipe in Coil)


Pipe in Coil

   PIC mean Pipe in Coil, and is wound up a pipe in coil.
   Normally, if you hear the word "pipe", you will image that it is straight hollow bar.
   We can get a pipe of ultra long length, if we can wind up a pipe.
   The big growth was felt in the ultra long pipe which wasn't supplied to the market until that time.
   Next two points of technical development was necessary to put a product to practical use on the basis of this splendid idea.
   First, how to produce a coil from high quality pipe.
   Second, how to improve the efficiency of a down stream manufacturing process.
   This is a inside story of the "Pipe in Coil" that the field of new demand was established.
   This product was developed in Hikari works of Nippon Steel.
   Since, Hikari Works has small diameter electric-resistance welding pipe mill with hot stretch reducer and also wire rod mill, they added coiling apparatus from wire rod mill to the pipe mill.
   As for production process of small diameter pipe, forge welding process (FW) took the place of electric-resistance welding (ERW) process because of high productivity and low cost, in 1970's.
   Welding quality as welding steel tube was superior in ERW, but FW was usable without a problem for common use.
   All small diameter pipe mill in Japan, except Hikari, reconstructed new FW Mill instead of ERW Mill at that time.
   FW Mill would be very difficult to wind the pipe to coil, because of their low finishing temperature.
   Production technology of PIC that it wasn't possible to imitate for another company, was completed.

PIC as piping market

   Generally, length of a steel pipes was fixed by official specification. For example, length of water service pipe, gas pipe are fixed as 5500 mm.
   So, if you need a long feed line, you should use coupler or welding for connecting pipes.
   Such a purpose, pipe in coils should show it's great advantages.
   However, PIC is coil, it needs to straitening, cutting and bending at the construction site.
   We developed simple straightening machine, and made the system which we lend the machine to the site.
   We found the two area of suitable usage for long pipe feeding.
   There are for skating rink freezing pipe line, and for warm water pipe line for snow melting on the road.
   The freezing pipe line for skating rink need long length, usually it has to weld pipe end to pipe end.
Inevitable some bulge are formed at inside welding part owing to the welding.
   The sludge have easily adhered to the welding part by long term use, and frozen ability of the rink having come off.
   PIC was applied to the freezing pipe line for reducing welding number of point.
   It has the excellent temperature controllability, and free from maintenance.
   This technology is used for a link of Nagano used for Olympic game.
   As for snow melting on the road, it melts snow on the ground by flow of subterranean water.
   PIC is used in place of reinforced rebar for concrete slab.
   It is able to reduce the number of welding point.
   I think this use will be spreading in future in heavy snowing district.

PIC as redraw use

   I didn't anticipate much demand for above mentioned long pipe use at first, and thought about hollow machine part as new demand.
   Usually, the seamless steel tubes was used for the machine parts from a point of quality, and the cold draw process was applied from a point of the size accuracy, the flatness of surface for this market.
   For the cold drawing of a steel tubes, it needs to hold a plug at the die position during drawing, and the plug has to set up the front end of the support bar that is in the inside of a pipe from the rear.
   However, as PIC is coil, it couldn't apply the supporting bar.
   So, it needed to develop a new technology for non-supporting plug process.
   After many examination, we developed new process using floating plug for PIC materials.
   We explained this idea to the users, but they didn't agree to use PIC as their materials at first.
   There ware two reasons, first was that they should install new facility for PIC, and second was that they had a great doubt for floating plug drawing.
   Then we install a test equipment in Hikari Works, (we needed 70 millions yen) and we showed floating plug drawing at just in front of their face.
   However, there was still no answer, but one president said " it's very interest, I want to examine this process by own factory".
   He had a test plant in the near from Hikari Works, and they succeeded the test operations.
   Now a days many companies begin to use PIC product with this as a turning point.
   It needs almost 10 years from idea to realize.
   I think, we often say "Challenge the new things", but only saying is easy, to realize this, we should break a custom and carry out with logic and sensitivity while always evaluate originality.

You can see the photograph of PIC here.