Compressed air is a fundamental component of many industrial facilities across various industries, and having a reliable, safe, and efficient piping system to transport compressed air is critical. Copper pipe, black pipe, and aluminum blue pipe are all piping options that can be used for compressed air transport, but each option has its pros and cons. Below we explore how the different options measure up, comparing each in four important categories. For additional information, download the pipe comparison infographic.
The installation complexity of a piping system for compressed air transport is an essential factor to consider. An important consideration when installing compressed air piping is the invasiveness of the installation on your business facility. The more invasive the installation process, the more complex (and costly) maintenance operations become in the future, notwithstanding the potential disruption and financial impact to daily operations to accommodate installation.
Requires 35 hours of time to install and must be installed by a skilled craftsman as it requires soldering or brazing. This long installation time results in your facility being shut down for multiple days.
The most time-consuming process, black pipe requires threading and specialized tools, and takes 40 hours of installation time by a certified plumber. For a sizable facility, it’s not uncommon to be forced to shut down for a business week to accommodate the complex process of black pipe installation.
Aluminum Blue Pipe:
With its simple and easy-to-use push-to-connect fitting system, aluminum blue pipe doesn’t need to be installed by an expert. That significant reduction in installation time and complexity reduces installation time to just 6 hours, ultimately limiting facility shutdown for installation to as little as one business day.
The ease of installation for aluminum blue pipe makes it a top choice for businesses that require a fast and straightforward installation process.
* = Based upon installation costs for 500 feet of compressed air piping system.
Installation of compressed air piping for your facility represents a significant investment for your business. This choice will affect your business for the long-term, so it’s important to get it right.
Copper Pipe: $6,449
Not only is copper pipe the most expensive of the three options, it also requires additional fittings and costly specialized tools for installation. These additional costs can drive up the overall price tag.
Black Pipe: $5,538
The second most expensive option, black pipe has been a popular choice for compressed air transport in the past, but its corrosion resistance and maintenance costs reduce its longevity and increase expenses.
Aluminum Blue Pipe: $2,997
With relatively inexpensive materials, as well as less specialized equipment and training required for installation, aluminum blue pipe is nearly half the price of black pipe and less than half the price of copper pipe.
Copper Pipe: 35 hours
(583% more than FastPipe aluminum blue pipe)
Black Pipe: 40 hours
(667% more than FastPipe aluminum blue pipe)
Aluminum Blue Pipe: 6 hours
Speedy installation time enables your facility to get back to business as fast as possible
Pipe System Maintenance & Longevity
While learning the upfront investment cost of a piping system is critical to making your selection, identifying estimated maintenance requirements and an estimated length of system life is just as important to consider when selecting a long-term compressed air transport system.
Think of the copper coating of a penny. It’s easy to tell if a penny is old or new based on the buildup of the blue-green patina color. This color is the result of the coin’s corrosion over time and will eventually overtake the coin, rendering it worthless. Just like a penny, copper pipes corrode over time. When this corrosion occurs, leaks develop, especially in areas where the pipe is exposed to moisture or corrosive chemicals.
Over time, black pipe is the most prone to corrosion compared to copper or aluminum blue pipe. Pitting can form within black pipe, which can serve as an accelerant to corrosion since it acts as a place corrosion can compile. This leads to leaks and increased maintenance costs.
Aluminum Blue Pipe:
With a surface made of corrosion-resistant material, aluminum blue pipe is an ideal option for transporting compressed air. The smooth, non-porous surface of the aluminum blue pipe also ensures that there is no build-up of contaminants, minimizing the need for cleaning and maintenance.
The longevity of aluminum blue pipe is another reason why it is a popular choice for businesses that require a piping system that can last for years without the need for frequent repairs or replacements.
The Bottom Line
Aluminum blue pipe for compressed air transport in industrial settings leads in cost-effectiveness, ease of installation, and low maintenance requirements. Its durability and corrosion resistance ensure that it can handle the rigors of industrial use without the need for frequent repairs or replacements.
When selecting a piping system for compressed air transport, the overall benefits of an aluminum blue pipe system include:
- Saving time and money during installation;
- Reducing the need for maintenance and repairs; and
- Providing reliable and safe compressed air transport for your operations.
Copper pipe, black pipe and aluminum blue pipe are all options that can be used, but each option has its pros and cons. Aluminum blue pipe stands out for its exceptional performance, advantages over copper pipe and black pipe, and ease of installation and maintenance.
Contact Rapid Air
Whether you’re building a new facility or upgrading an existing one, aluminum blue pipe delivers long-lasting performance and value. The experts at RapidAir Compressed Air Products provide solutions for businesses’ compressed air needs, including aluminum blue pipe. If you’re looking for an aluminum blue pipe system for your business, contact RapidAir Compressed Air Products today for more information.