# 1992 Eindhoven
Polyethylene (PE) pipeline systems are quickly becoming one of the preferred material choices for the large utilities such as Water and Gas. The material is now enjoying a rapid growth and acceptance as the NORM within the industry, as newer materials are introduced which increase the scope and pressure rating of PE pipeline systems. Its application is growing Europe wide and World wide, driven by the ability to install a fully welded (ie leak free) pipe and fittings system.
Thermal fusion jointing methods of butt fusion and electrofusion are providing a practical vehicle to achieve joints as strong as the pipe. The welded method of jointing also makes the task of ensuring long term performance predictability that much easier by minimising considerations of mixed materials and the associated performance such as is the case with pipes sealed by elastomeric seals.
As well as the introduction of new grades of polyethylene the industry is also being constantly challenged to adopt and introduce larger diameters. As the pipe industry seeks to introduce products of larger diameters, increased performance and an assortment of materials and colours, the fittings industry has to provide solutions to the problems of jointing and the electrofusion method (itself a derivative of socket fusion hot iron method) is enjoying a good deal of popularity with the customer.
Electrofusion, which is the provision of a heating element within the socket of the fitting, is enjoying success because of its ability to achieve speedy installation and good quality welds consistently.
The Designer's problem associated with the provision of solutions is that the product area is an absolute minefield in terms of patents and the protection afforded by different methods and part methods. Therefore the problems of infringement free design and the framework of operational parameters provided by Customer Specifications is the platform for the design of jointing solutions.