Uponor relies on inline millimeter wave technology from SIKORA for the measurement of plastic pipes

Uponor Corporation was founded in 1918 and is nowadays based in Helsinki, Finland; since November 2023, the company has been part of Georg Fischer AG. Uponor offers its customers sustainable building and infrastructure solutions within its three business segments: Building Solutions – Europe, Building Solutions – North America and Uponor Infra. Today, Uponor employs more than 4,000 professionals in 26 countries in Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. At the production site Vaasa, Uponor Infra Oy uses SIKORA’s CENTERWAVE 6000 to continuously monitor the quality of its plastic pipes during extrusion.

A continuous monitoring during manufacturing is not only requested by Uponor’s customers, but also necessary to receive the best product quality and to optimize production processes. Therefore, Uponor Infra Oy uses the CENTERWAVE 6000/1200 for measuring its drinking water pipes, pipes for wastewater applications, radiant heating and cooling systems, jacketing pipes and industry pipes. The measuring system, based on millimeter waves, is suitable for pipes from 450 to 1,200 mm (17.7 to 48”) diameter. “When we were looking for a suitable measuring device for our extrusion line, we compared different systems on the market,” says Anders Beijar, Production Manager at Uponor Infra Oy. “At different production sites, we tested both a system with fixed sensors and the CENTERWAVE, which has a rotating sensor instead. The fixed sensors did not cover the whole pipe, whereas we were able to measure the complete circumference of the pipe with the CENTERWAVE – gapless! This measuring principle convinced us at once,” explains Beijar.

Installed early in the process, the CENTERWAVE 6000 measures the wall thickness and pipe diameter directly after the first vacuum tank. This lays the foundation for material savings. “The start-up of CENTERWAVE 6000 is easy, you just switch it on and it starts working fast and reliably. You do not waste any time for presetting etc. The immediate monitoring of the manufacturing process helps us to significantly reduce scrap,” says Beijar. In times of increasing raw material prices and material shortage, material savings are essential for Uponor Infra Oy. “Scrap can be used for producing pipes again; however, if you produce a pipe overweight, it is delivered to the customer and cannot be used again. You simply do not get it back. Our pipes weigh from 50 to 350 kilos per meter and raw material is expensive. Thanks to the CENTERWAVE 6000, we can produce closer to the tolerances in a sustainable way by manufacturing economically and saving scarce resources at the same time.”

The investment in the CENTERWAVE quickly paid off for Uponor Infra Oy. “We had a special project where the CENTERWAVE was running about a year. Here, we saw a lot of savings so that our investment paid off within just a few months,” resumes Beijar. Uponor is also satisfied with the service provided by SIKORA. “The communication with the SIKORA Service during installation and support afterwards was good. We are very pleased with SIKORA’s quick and reliable ongoing support,” states Beijar.