Behind the scenes at Polypipe

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Our Digital Editor Tom spent the day with Polypipe to see how its products are manufactured – before heading to the Professional Development Centre to look at the underfloor heating training on offer.


If you ever head to Doncaster, you’ll notice the amount of Polypipe lorries heading in all directions – the company, which is the Yorkshire town’s biggest employer behind the NHS and the local council, has more than 20,000 products across its divisions.


Among its many offerings are drainage, pipe, underfloor heating, ventilation, water management, sewer systems and cable protection.


Where the magic happens


Last week I headed to the Polypipe Building Products factory to see how some of the products are made.



First, I was shown the moulding department. The attention to detail was clear to see from this first stop – every hour, the products being moulded are tested for size, shape, weight, colour and moisture content.


There are 36 machines in this department for different products – but the moulds in each can be changed to make different products, meaning that no machine is sat dormant unnecessarily.



After this, I was shown how the pipe is made. Training Academy Manager David Lowe told me that 350 million metres of pipe are made every year – 22 metres per minute!


Polypipe is able to manufacture pipe in any colour – they’ve even made leopard print in the past! A pigment is added to the plastic granules to create the colour.


Each pipe has a print mark on it, so that if it was found to be faulty out on site, it can even be traced back to the line it was made on within the factory.


In the video below, you can see how the pipe is stored temporarily – it’s made oversized and shrinks over two days on these coils.



After seeing the pipe being made, I was then shown how fittings are made. Again, attention to detail was incredible. Nuts are screwed into fittings to a specific torque to test them.


Every socket of every fitting is photographed – should a fault be reported and the defected item returned, they can check whether the problem originated at the factory.



After seeing the fittings being made, I was shown the testing department. The staff here have many different tests going on simulating a variety of different environments and temperatures – up to 95 degrees with elevated pressure, far beyond what you’d see in a house.




Training centre


A short drive away is Polypipe’s state-of-the-art £250,000 training facility, the Professional Development Centre.


The glass-fronted building houses the training bays and is home to the technical design team – so any of your queries about designing a system will be answered here.


I was first shown the range of underfloor heating controls, including the new Smart Plus which comes out in January.



I was then shown a taster of the underfloor heating training you can take part in on Polypipe’s two-day course.



The staff, like Nigel, are really friendly and approachable and the training is nice and clear.



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Nigel Kennedy, UFH Estimator/Training Support, gives us a glimpse of what you can expect to learn on a Polypipe training course. #cpd #training #underfloorheating

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To book yourself onto Polypipe’s training courses, click here.

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