What is Industrial Plumbing?

Industrial Plumbing

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While we are all familiar with plumbers, most people don’t realize that there is more than one type of plumber. If you have ever called a plumber to fix your draining sink or install faucets in your bathroom, you have been dealing with what’s called a residential plumber. Residential plumbers are responsible for providing plumbing services to households.

The structure of a house is usually pretty straightforward, and the work required isn’t too complicated. Houses typically have a couple of bathrooms with average usage. Compare this to an industrial site or an office building. An industrial site with multiple stories and dozens of toilets requires a much more experienced plumber.

In technical terms, we call this an industrial plumber. In this article, we are going to discuss everything there is to know about industrial plumbing.


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Industrial Plumbing Vs. Residential Plumbing

We have already established the difference between an industrial and a residential plumber. However, exactly how big is this difference? A plumber working on an industrial site must possess the knowledge and experience to deal with the problems that may arise since the stakes are very high. There is not much that can go wrong if your sink ever breaks or your toilet overflows.

However, if the same thing happens in an industrial setting, it could very likely disrupt the whole system (if it was not developed properly). Various factors must be considered when comparing industrial and residential plumbing. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Usage and Materials: 

It is no surprise that the usage of water-related sources in an industrial setting would be far greater than any normal household. There would be dozens of pipelines embedded in the site, and these would have a high usage making them prone to damage and leakage. In case any pipeline malfunctions, the cost of repairs can skyrocket. Unlike in a household scenario, the damages can be repaired without racking up bills, and in the worst-case scenario, the damages could spread to the other rooms. 

However, in an industrial setting, an offset could potentially spread to other floors, thus disrupting the system and damaging the architecture of the site. To prevent this from happening, industrial plumbers use heavy-duty, durable, and expensive materials right from the beginning. 

  • Complex Architecture: 

When it comes to setting up a proper drainage system and laying out pipelines, considerable work may go into creating the most efficient plan for the site. In a household setting, since the blueprints of a house are fairly straightforward, it is simple to plan out a layout for the drainage system and the pipelines. However, when it comes to an industrial site, the dozens of toilets and sinks and multiple floors can make the job extremely complicated.

There is also a thin tolerance for any error, as any future malfunctioning could be disastrous for the site. Therefore, an experienced industrial plumber capable of drawing out an efficient, flawless plan for the building and managing the complexities involved in the process is required.

  • Equipment and Techniques: 

We talked about how the materials and fixtures used by an industrial plumber are high-grade. Similarly, these plumbers require different equipment to work with the materials and complexities of an industrial site. An industrial plumber must know the various equipment and techniques required for the job. These techniques are seldom used in a household setting due to the simple structure and low usage of household systems.

An example of high-grade equipment used in industrial plumbing is a booster pump. These pumps are designed to boost the flow of water, especially between floors. Another example of an industrial plumbing technique is water-jetting, which is used by industrial plumbers to blast through a blockage. 


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How to Become an Industrial Plumber?

Plumbing is a skill-based job with lots of demand and great pay. Unlike career-based jobs like doctor or engineer, plumbing doesn’t require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In most cases, a high school diploma would be enough to land a job. You will, however, require basic maths knowledge, communication skills, and customer service skills. If you are starting from scratch, get a vocation training for plumbing and then try for an apprenticeship.

This will increase your chances of getting licensed. Once you have your license you can continue to get more experience and make your way to an industrial plumbing title. Getting a college degree can be beneficial when opting for industrial plumbing, as it is much more complicated than residential plumbing. However, the degree is not a necessity. When getting an apprenticeship, make sure you apply for industrial plumbing.

This pathway is generally tougher than common apprenticeships and can span over 4 years to get it done. After that, you are eligible for a journeyman test which will earn you a license. Depending on the state and country, the test and requirements may differ. Once you get the license, you can gain more experience in the field and later apply for a master plumber license which will boost your credibility further. 

It is essential to realize, however, that plumbing is less about doing theory work and more about getting your hands dirty. If you are looking forward to advancing quickly and getting bigger paychecks then make sure you are spending more time on the field gaining valuable experience instead of sitting at home learning from books.


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Industrial Plumber Job Description – What to Expect

Industrial plumbers are responsible for all the water-related services in a large-scale industrial project. They have to be available from the early planning stages, all the way until the job’s completion. Industrial plumbing services generally include drainage and sanitation, water plumbing design, portable water lines, hot tapping, poly-pipe welding, backflow prevention, torpedo pipe cleaning, to name a few.

1. Setting up Pipelines:

 Industrial plumbers set up portable water pipelines across the site. These pipes are made up of stainless steel, polythene, nickel, copper, or uPVC.

2. Connections

Industrial plumbers use a technique called hot tapping to connect pipelines to live mains without interrupting the flow. This is usually done by drilling a hole through a valve that is connected to the external wall of the source.

3. Cooling/heating Systems:

 Industrial plumbers may be hired to set up water cooling or heating systems. They use devices like water jackets, cooling lines, and heaters to regulate the temperature of the water.

4. Welding pipes: 

Industrial plumbers generally use poly pipes that are stronger and more durable than others. To connect these pipes, plumbers use a technique called poly pipe welding, which is effective for both existing and new installations.

5. Pipe Cleaning:

The plumbers may be hired to clean or maintain a pipe. The pipes are prone to scale and bacteria growth and require regular cleaning. Industrial plumbers use a process called torpedo pipe cleaning, which uses an air pressure-driven projectile to clean the inner surface of a pipe. 

6. Design: 

Perhaps the biggest and most essential responsibility of an industrial plumber is designing a layout for sanitary, drainage, and water supply. These designs may include plumbing designs to accommodate mining camps, installation designs for the sewage system, designs for oil-water separators, etc.

7. Contamination Prevention:

Industrial plumbers may use techniques to prevent risks of contamination in the water supply source. A popular method is backflow prevention, which involves reducing pressure zones and non-return valves to prevent contaminated water from going back into the mains. Despite these job descriptions, chances are you may experience a different set of responsibilities as an industrial plumber; this is because industries and their requirements differ greatly.

An industrial plumbing company will usually work based on the projects they receive. SANA ME, which provides industrial plumbing services in Nigeria, provides services such as installation, designing, repairing, and maintenance of plumbing fittings and fixtures. Nevertheless, you will require the same skills in each project.

One of the most crucial parts of being an industrial plumber is remembering and adhering to the building code standards and industrial safety. These standards have been created for everyone’s safety, and ignoring them can prove to be detrimental and costly, not to say dangerous. That’s why you must go through proper practice and licensing before getting on the field.


The Bottom Line

As you can tell by now, industrial plumbing is not an easy job. However, for some people, it is the perfect dream job. Working on-site among people and fixing problems for industrial sites is exactly what some people want. Furthermore, experienced industrial plumbers get paid a decent sum of money for their work. So, if you love plumbing and the outdoors, industrial plumbing might be the job for you. We hope you found this article useful and to see you soon on the field!

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