Reduction of material build-up in brine and brine/acid lines

The Challenge

As the brine water and acid solution was being transported by the initial HDPE pipeline, salts were sticking to the pipe walls, reducing the inner diameter. Due to the low ambient temperatures, deposits of calcium sulfate formed on the inner wall of the pipes and on the elbows.

The matter was critical since the problem forced complete halting of work at the plant as well as lot of maintenance and reduction of production capacity.

The Solution

SQM decided to replace its HDPE pipes and elbows with Pexgol’s. Due to the especially smooth internal surface of Pexgol’s pipes and elbows, the replacement of HDPE pipes with Pexgol eliminated the problem of chemical deposits. This resulted in fewer work interruptions and improved production capacity.

The production and transportation of Pexgol’s pipes in coils also reduces the number of joints and possibility of clogging. As a result, it reduced maintenance costs and brought the end of frequent forced halts in the work processes at the plant.

The original mean time between failures (MTBF) of the HDPE pipes was one month. Since changing to Pexgol in 2010, no sign of failure has been detected.


SQM,Pedro Valvidia Mine
Chile | 2010

Working conditions:

Ambient temperature -5°C to 0°C (32°F to 23°F). High level of material build-up and corrosion inside the pipe. Working pressure: 15 bar.

Pipes used:

Pexgol and elbows 160×14.6, Class 15.


Brine and acid transportation.


12 meters.

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