Save time, money and valuable water with pipefreezing

80mm stainless steel freeze to replace damaged pipe

Servicing all areas in Australia and New Zealand, Victorian headquartered Pipefreezer is offering a specialist service that is providing major savings for mining companies in reducing costly downtime and improving water management.

The Australian Mining Review recently spoke to pipe freezing specialist Richard Griffin about what makes the company’s services so valuable for companies with a pipe issue.

AMR: How would you talk a potential client into using pipe freezing?

600mm pipefreeze underway
600mm pipefreeze underway

RG: The main advantage of pipe freezing is that we can maintain a system’s uptime and the client doesn’t have to shut that critical pipeline down. Essentially, if people need to work on a pipeline, for example they may need to change out a faulty or damaged valve.

The only way other way this can be achieved is to drain the pipeline down and dispose of the contents to safely complete the task.

What we do is we freeze the contents of that pipe – and it can be oil, it can be diesel, it can be water, whatever – if it’s got a hydrogen atom in it, we can freeze the pipeline and make a temporary block with a cryogenic ice plug. Usually with a valve changeover we will freeze either side of the valve and only the water in between the two freezes is lost instead of the whole pipeline’s contents. The client can then replace the valve without having to drain the water, refill or purge the air from the system. This saves water and crucial down time.

For example, say it is a bore line that might be 100 kilometres long– you are talking about millions of litres of water which they will have to work out how they will deal with it. By freezing just, a small section of the pipe we can keep all that water in the pipeline yet still achieve the job that they need to do.

AMR: How large is the area that you are freezing?

RG: It depends on the size of the pipe, the larger the diameter, the longer the plug we develop.

However, with Pipefreezing it is essential that there is no flow or air in the pipe and the pipeline contents is below 25 degrees, preferably lower especially on larger pipes. In our job planning we work with the client to determine the best approach for their specific requirements.

AMR: What are some of the benefits your service is providing to mining companies?

80mm Steel pipe flange attachment
80mm Steel pipe flange attachment

RG: The key benefit is maintaining system uptime. By pipe freezing we only need to isolate the exact area where work must be carried out. This allows the continued use of the wider system. For example, we recently completed a project at a large South Australia mine site.

Our work is focused on the ring main that services the safety shower network in the smelter.

There are only two pipes that are faulty, so they only need to replace a small amount of pipe work on these two lines, by using pipefreezing the other 50 odd showers on that line, are live and ready to use.

The other alternative would have required draining the entire system resulting in having the safety showers inoperable for whatever length of time it took, then to do the repairs and finally refill the lines to get the system back up and functioning.

Obviously, you cannot operate a smelter without safety showers, and they are not the easiest plant to shut down – Pipefreezing maintained the uptime of the plant and continued production.

Another example is the fire protection infrastructure for a power station. That power station provides about 40% of South Australia’s power and there was a requirement to replace a valve on a fire protection line. Now there are probably around twenty valves of that size in this plant, but there is no other way to isolate that section as the valve is the isolation point.

If we didn’t freeze that pipe, they would have to drain that line down which we calculated was carrying close to 200,000 litres of water. If that line is shut down, then there is no protection for the plant.

AMR: There must be a great deal of expertise and experience in operating a critical service like this. How long have you been doing this for?

RG: I’ve personally been involved for over 15 years and our technology partner in Sydney has been in the business for over 35 years now. We’ve successfully completed well over 350,000 pipe freezes between us.

600mm DICL pipe freeze to allow valve replacement
600mm DICL pipe freeze to allow valve replacement

We would be biggest dedicated pipe freezing group in Australia.

We are also the only Pipefreezing company in Australia that has all the relevant ISO certifications, we are certified to ISO 9001:2015 / ISO 45001:2018 / ISO 14001:2015.

AMR: Finally, why would mining companies hire Pipefreezer?

RG: Mining is all about maximising production, any downtime or loss of production for a mine site is extremely costly, by utilising our services we either minimise this or ideally there is no downtime at all.

At the same time, water is a very big component of a mining operation and where we can also add value is with water conservation.

The miners don’t want to be dumping millions of litres of water in the desert or cart it away to another location.

There are new water conservation guidelines coming through so this is going to become more and more important, and on top of that we are now entering an El Nino event with much harsher and drier conditions over the coming years.

Our purpose at Pipefreezer is to provide a cost effective and environmentally friendly method of pipe isolation on projects requiring pipe modification, pipeline maintenance or pipe repairs.

We add value for our customers by understanding their needs. We deliver quality, technical innovation, and a responsive service.

By partnering with us on your fluid isolation project, we significantly minimise system downtime and consequently reduce the impact of any pipe repairs or pipeline maintenance. One of the key benefits we can bring to the table is allowing your plant and equipment to continue normal operations with minimal disruption.

600mm pipe freeze set up
600mm pipe freeze set up

Pipefreezer’s passion is to provide a superior, value-add service to its clients in the mining, HVAC, plumbing, fire services and building management industries by offering cost-effective and first-rate solutions to costly and time-consuming system drain downs.

Our aim is to keep our impact on the environment at a minimum and we always put safety first in all of our practices.

Our processes and procedures are innovative, well planned and client focused – designed to create value through saving time and resources.

Why should they choose pipefreezing?

• It maximises system uptime
• There is absolute shutoff – no leaks
• Its cost effective
• It saves time
• Its environmentally friendly – there is no wastage of water, chemicals, glycol, or other pipeline contents
• It provides isolation for leak detection
• We partner with you to tailor the best solution for your requirements

Pipefreezer contact details below

P 1300 747 373 or 0404 555 552

Email –  [email protected]

Website –