- The Dead Sea’s hot environment and corrosive conditions make potash mining difficult.
- Golan Plastic introduced PEX-a corrosion-resistant pipes in 1985.
- Pexgol pipes have cut costs and maintenance time for the Dead Sea Works.
Situated just beside the Dead Sea in Israel, the Dead Sea Works is a veteran potash production plant. The Dead Sea is a huge body of water with highly concentrated brine, carrying potash salts and many other minerals.
The facility hosts a massive processing plant that uses crystallizers in high temperature and evaporated ponds that extract the potash from that brine. This process involves the transportation of very high-temperature media and corrosive brine.
The environment poses challenges, too — namely, direct sunlight and temperatures as high as 48°C (118.4°F) in the summer and as low as 10°C (50°F) in the winter.
The Dead Sea Works was established back in 1930, but only gained a reputation in 1936. Today, this facility is the largest producer and supplier of potash products. They also produce a variety of other minerals.
In the 1980s, the Dead Sea Works was experiencing continuous pipe failure. After struggling with a variety of pipes — rubber-lined steel, stainless steel and even titanium — they started looking for an alternative.
The Evolution of PEX Pipe
At that time, Golan Plastic Products was primarily manufacturing plumbing pipes, made out of PE-Xa material, for hot water. In collaboration with the mining industry, Golan Plastic increased the size of their pipes to produce a high-performing industrial pipe.
This was unheard of at the time with the existing manufacturing capabilities.
Then, they tested this new pipe material (called Pexgol) for several applications in an attempt to reduce the overall costs and expenses of pipes, and to improve their reliability.
After a few years of testing, installations and trials, the first real project using Golan’s Pexgol pipes started in 1985. The installation was on a crystallizer at temperatures of up to 114°C (237°F).
Those pipes installed in 1985 are still in service today, with an average maintenance shutdown time of three days per year.
Reliable in Corrosive Conditions
Considering the unique environment and plant conditions, the Dead Sea Works has proven Pexgol’s reliability over time. Moreover, the pipe has saved the plant a lot in capital costs, breakdown costs and shutdown costs caused by failed pipes.
While plant operators using metallic pipes fear corrosion and wear, Pexgol can handle high pressures and temperatures with ease.
You can now see these piping solutions installed in other potash facilities across the globe.
To see more examples of Pexgol’s applications, read one of our case studies.