The Flowtite filament winding machine represents the most advanced state-of-the-art technology in use, and is the foremost method of manufacturing glass fibre pipe. Simply put, this manufacturing machine consists of a continuous steel band mandrel supported by beams in a cylindrical shape. As the beams turn, friction pulls the steel band around and a roller bearing allows the band to move longitudinally so that the entire mandrel moves continuously in a spiral path towards the exit assembly.
As the mandrel rotates, all composite materials are metered onto it in precise amounts. Electronic sensors provide continuous production parameter feedback so that the various feeding systems apply the right amount of material. This ensures that the amount of material needed to build the different layers is applied throughout the manufacturing stage. Firstly, mould release film, followed by various forms and patterns of glass fibres, embedded in a polyester resin matrix.
The structural layers are made of glass and resin only, whereas the core layer includes pure silica. It is the continuous application of these materials onto the mandrel which forms the pipe. After the pipe has been formed on the mandrel, it is cured and later cut to the required length. The ends of the pipe section are calibrated to fit the coupling.