HUNTINGDON Fusion Techniques (HFT)has added a pancake stopper to its inflatable pipestopper range, which is used to block pipes in order to carry out routine maintenance and repair work.

The pancake stopper was added to HFT’s pipestoppers division to cater for applications where an insufficient length of pipe is available for the regular cylindrical or spherical stopper.

HFT chairman Ron Sewell said with their low profile, the pancake stopper can fit into a pipe end that may be directly on an elbow or just inside a flanged neck on a casting.

Other applications include blocking pipe ends to keep gases inside or to keep debris and vermin out, according to Mr Sewell.

“When used in a vertical mode, these pancake stoppers have already been used to prevent machine swarf or tools from falling into pipes, into an unrecoverable and dangerous situation, in a nuclear power steam turbine.”

Manufactured from tough, robust fabric, the pancake stoppers are available in sizes from six to 96 inches and provide excellent grip inside the pipe, with an effective airtight seal, the company said.

Each pancake stopper is fitted with a standard Schrader Valve connected to a 1.2 metre hose, and is easy to inflate using a foot pump or compressor and is heat resistant up to 90 degrees celsius.

HFT’s pipestoppers inflatable stoppers range comprises cylindrical and spherical stoppers, petrochem stoppers and inflatable rubber plugs.

The pipestoppers division also manufactures a range of mechanical stoppers and plugs for industrial and domestic plumbing operations, water drainage systems as well as offshore operations, HFT said.

These mechanical stoppers are negatively buoyant for subsea work and can be used in all kinds of pipes and other vessels where there are orifices to be sealed or blocked, HFT said.

HFT’s pipestoppers division also provide pipe freezing systems that make ice plugs inside pipes, to stop the flow of liquids so that maintenance can be carried out on valves.

This technique avoids the draining of a complete pipe system that might have an expensive product inside, ranging from heated water to expensive petrochemical fluids, the company said.

HFT products are distributed in Australia through welding products company Smenco, based in Victoria.