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PVC-O Fittings based on MOLECOR’s Molecular Orientation TOM® technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FITTOM (PVC-O Fittings based on MOLECOR’s Molecular Orientation TOM® technology)

Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2019-01-31

Plastics are rapidly penetrating into the piping market (water systems, large diameter sewerage etc…) replacing metallic materials, the use of mixed materials in pipe systems, PVC and iron causes discontinuities and provokes important breakdowns.
The solution is the use of an integrated plastic system using PVC-O fittings to replace common fittings in ductile iron, as it has already been done with pipes.
The main objective of FITTOM is the development of a new high technological industrial process for the manufacturing of PVC-O fittings, offering a cost effectiveness plastic solution as an alternative to ductile and cast iron fittings. This project will suppose an outstanding business opportunity for MOLECOR

Important technical improvements were done within the FITTOM project to reach an industrialized cost-efficient production. To undertake this upgrading, we went through a technical design and maturation and as a final result Molecor has been able to build, integrate, validate and operate the first industrial PVC-O fitting machine in the world. We have a validated manufacturing system able to produce 7 different geometries in 6 different diameters between DN110 and DN400. In next future we will continue with the design and validation for new figures and diameters according to market requests.
This machine it is currently working.

During the project development, Molecor has been able not only to validate the manufacturing process of the PVC-O fittings but also to test the operative needs to introduce a new product in the market as the stocking, the shipping, and the reception and handling by customers.

The selling price is a key parameter for the Business Plan, Molecor has being able to test the price in real market conditions, and the results have granted additional confidence in our final Business Plan.

The commercial tasks developed during the project have given us the awareness that the market is willing to accept PVC-O Fittings. The impact in the market has been very positive, our stakeholders, distributors, licensees, public administrations has shown real interest and we have begun with the first commercial agreements.

One of the markets keys identified during the project is standardisation and certification. Molecor worked in this field thanks to its pipe business experience .
In order to achieve FITTOM’s maturation of the technology , several different tasks have been carried out within two work packages.

In the first, we identified the most market demanded fittings to be produced. 38 different geometries were selected: bends of 4 different angle (11,25º, 22,5º, 45º and 90º), Repairing couplers, Couplers, and Concentric Couplers in a diameter range from DN110 to DN400.

Once the fittings requirements were defined, the machine manufacturing components were designed and built and with the machine integration the work package finished.

The other work package objective was the validation of both product and machine, including the optimization of productivity. During the machine validation we had to make different tests to ensure the technical capabilities of the product, and therefore authorize its production and further selling. Different problems in each component were found and solved. The test process continued with the product, specified tests were required as appearance tests, dimensional tests, tensile tests, hydrostatic tests and leakage and vacuum tests. During 2018 we have been able to produce and validate all the references selected, the last reference validated was the 90º Bend DN160 in December 2018. Within the project development, we were also working in the machine optimization. The optimization of the production process, fulfil with our output parameters stablished in the definition of the project and considered in our business plan.

Lot of market information was gathered to prepare the Business Plan . We have done more than 500 meetings with all kinds of stakeholders involved in the water distribution business from the 5 continents. With this information obtained during the first year, we prepared an initial Business Plan.

During the second year we continued with the information gathering, and we also started using the validated fittings to test the initial sale price. With the information and with the market test price done, we have validated the Business Model and Business Plan for PVC-O fittings.

One of the most important market barriers for PVC-O fittings market introduction was the legal requirements. We identified the most important certifications for drinking water transport market.
Along with the certifications, the lack of a standard for PVC-o could cause a diminishment in the introduction of the fittings into the market. From the beginning we have been working promoting a standard for PVC-O fittings. The work results it is the approval of the final standards prEN 17176 where the technical Sheet (TS) for PVC-O fittings has been approved (TS TS FprCEN/TS 17176-3) and it will officially published in April 2019.

During the entire project, and intense activity in dissemination and communication has been done and undoubtedly it has been one of our main tools to reach the market. Our staff participated in conferences, congresses, workshops, etc. all around the globe. Our marketing team has done press releases, sectorial journal articles , organize factory visits. We have done an intense emailing campaign, with an overwhelming result, which demonstrates the potential impact of the PVC-O fittings.

In parallel to these technical, market-related and dissemination tasks, we have been working on managing a high-risk high-gain project. We have developed an innovation management plan that will drive the next steps in the technology. We have prepared and follow a quality management plan for the execution of the project. All of those management activities have ensured the achievement of the objectives.

As a result of the project, Molecor owns the first industrial PVC-O fitting manufacturing machine. To exploit the Business Opportunity that fittings represent for Molecor, a Business Plan for the following three years has been developed. The sales goal for the first year has been fixed 127,69 tonnes of fittings.
The ecoFITTOM technology is the first solution able to manufacture PVC-O fittings in a viable manner for this range of products and applications.

For Molecor in the short term it will mean a turnover increase of 1,8 M€ for the third year. According to our initial calculations, the global market of fittings was approximately 92.000 tons per year, 40.000 considering only the ISO European market. Our forecast was that MOLECOR will reach an initial market share of 0,22% (202,40 tonnes per year). We expect that we will be able to overpass the 200 tonnes by the third year. For this production line Molecor will create 9 Full Time Equivalent direct jobs in Molecor.

The impact of the PVC-O fittings in the water distribution market comes from different aspects:
• First solution able to manufacture PVC-O fittings
• Easy assembly
• Plastic solution system with non-discontinuity
• Reduced environmental impact
• 100% recyclable product
• Product of great durability
• Lower energy consumption
• Low installation cost
• Low maintenance cost
EcoFITTOM first step on the market
EcoFITTOM on the route to market