IRVING, Texas – The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI), has  published a new document about adding or replacing cables in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conduit.  Available free on PPI’s website, TN-59 “COMPARISON OF HDPE CONDUIT AND FABRIC DIVIDER INSTALLED AS INNERDUCT discusses options for sub-dividing larger conduit.  PPI is the major trade association representing all segments of the plastic pipe industry.

“This is an important technical piece as it focuses on comparing each technology’s installation techniques, advantages, and protection capabilities, along with cable installation considerations,” explained Lance MacNevin, P. Eng., director of engineering for PPI’s Power & Communications Division (PCD).  “It is intended to assist specifiers, contractors, and others with useful selection criteria when determining which technology to employ, especially when considering the need to add additional fiber into conduit in the future.” 

Published on PPI’s website directly at https://plasticpipe.org/pdf/tn-59.pdf, TN-59 is one of several PPI documents related to the design and installation of PE conduit which are published as a service to the industry by PPI’s Power & Communications Division. 

High-density polyethylene innerduct or micro duct, and fabric dividers, sometimes referred to as fabric innerduct, are three options for sub-dividing an installed empty or occupied conduit for current and future installation of additional fiber optic cables. Both HDPE conduits and fabric dividers can be installed into empty or occupied conduits. Occupied conduits are in-situ conduits, typically where one or more cables are already installed. When HDPE conduit or fabric divider is installed into occupied conduits, the process is referred to as an override.

  • “The comparison indicates that fabric divider does not provide the wide range of physical properties and performance capabilities inherent in HDPE innerduct or micro duct,” MacNevin continued. “As one example of the differences, cables can be jetted into HDPE innerduct and micro duct over long distances, significantly lowering cable installation costs, whereas fabric dividers require the cables to be pulled or winched into place, resulting in shorter installation distances; jetting is not an option. 

 “Diverse installation methods combined with superior affordability makes HDPE conduit a more versatile end-to-end design solution. HDPE innerduct and micro duct provides designers and end-users the greatest flexibility when designing, installing, and protecting fiber optic cable networks for both current and future needs.”  

HDPE conduit, also known as PE conduit, is the preferred material to house and protect electrical power and communications cables in typical applications such as power utilities, telecommunications, CATV, SCADA, FTTH, ITS, highway lighting, and other underground utilities.  Benefits of HDPE conduit, according to PPI, include availability in long lengths without joints, high strength, flexibility, proven reliability and installation toughness.  PE conduit is widely used in trenching, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and plowing installation methods.

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