In the latest Supplier Profile Aoife Kinsella talks to Padjoe Barry, National Sales Manager at Pipelife, to explore how the organisation’s history of innovation has made it a leading manufacturer and provider of plastic piping and extrusion systems.
Formerly Quality Plastics (QPL), Pipelife was established in 1970 and since then it has been committed to producing quality plastic goods for the construction, agriculture and plumbing
sectors. Specialising in the extrusion of polyethylene (PE) pipes, Pipelife offers industry leading products for the heating & plumbing, water pressure, electricity, cable ducting, gas and agricultural sectors.
Pipelife Ireland Ltd is part of the Pipelife Group which is one of Europe’s leading producers of plastic pipe systems. The group employs almost 3,000 people in 29 manufacturing facilities in 28 countries, including 60 employees in their Irish plant based in Cork (with plans to grow the workforce to 70). Pipelife has grown to become a key supplier of innovative products in the plumbing, water, gas, energy & power distributions, telecommunications, and industrial applications sectors.
Drawing on almost 50 years of manufacturing experience from their production plant in Cork, Pipelife has been to the forefront in developing innovative products and has been an industry leader for many years. “Quality and innovation continue to be the terms that define our philosophy, and this is reflected in the range of products and systems that we manufacture to this day”, explained Padjoe Barry.
As well as being a leading-edge manufacturer (ISO 9001 2015) of pipe for the Plumbing and Heating industry, Pipelife has developed a true expertise in the design of heating systems to maximise the potential of their new Qual-PEX Plus+ Pipe. Many systems are straight-forward and are simply adapted from traditional metal pipe plumbing systems, but new methods of heating buildings are now being opened up with the use of thermoplastic pipe in applications such as wall heating, ceiling heating and particularly Underfloor Heating.
Pipelife attributes a lot of their success to their dedicated team including their Renewables Department and Sales Technical Support teams. “The experience and expertise of our Renewables Department coupled with the security of our design indemnity insurance, top quality materials, and comprehensive before and after sales technical support ensures
that we continue to offer an industry leading service in this growing segment of the residential and commercial market”, added Barry.
- The manufacturer has celebrated several key milestones in its history, including:
- The first PEX pipe in the world to gain BS 7291 certification in the UK.
- The first PEX-B pipe in the world to gain drinking water certification for the Scandinavian market.
- The exporting of PEX pipe to more than 30 countries worldwide.
- The first gas pipe in the world to gain the new BS PL2 certification in the UK.
“First and foremost, Pipelife is committed to designing bespoke energy efficient heating and domestic hot water systems that perform. But what sets us apart is the way we work with our customers”, explained Barry.
Pipelife’s customers are supported by their experienced customer service team and specialist service engineers. Their in-house designers work with homeowners, contractors,
architects & consulting engineers across the country in projects ranging from residential homes, hospitals and nursing homes to warehouses and car showrooms.
Supporting Irish Jobs
After 50+ years of innovation and product design Pipelife has developed a wide range of products that can be implemented into any project whether it’s commercial or residential,
including their new Qual-Pex PLUS+ “Easy-Lay” Pipe, which is manufactured to the most stringent standards allowing customers to install with confidence, and comes with a 50-year guarantee, which is vital when the pipe is being buried within the floor structure for the lifetime of the building.
Their Qual-Pex Plus+ “Easy-Lay” Pipe range is 100% Irish made, something which the company prides itself on in supporting Irish jobs.
Before Timmy Mullins joined Pipelife as its Marketing Executive two years ago social media and online presence wasn’t a key focus, however since then they’ve grown an active presence on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. For Facebook and Instagram they use a mix of industry/product information along with some more light hearted posts to build brand awareness and engagement. For LinkedIn however they concentrate on more
relevant product information while reaching out to corporate contacts and potential buyers.
With their UK presence, including an office and a warehouse there is a concern about the possible fallout from Brexit after October 31st, particularly how it will impact pricing and
transport. “Brexit will definitely have some impact in regard to items produced in the UK” explained Barry. Competition continues to be a fierce challenge for all those in the sector,
Despite these challenges the company remains optimistic about the future as they prepare to celebrate their 50th anniversary next year for which they have some “big plans” in place.
Looking beyond 2020 Pipelife also has plans to expand their sales force by another five across commercial and technical roles.
Pipelife Renewable Training Centre
To keep their merchant customers up to date with their product selection Pipelife Ireland now offers extensive product training at their new Renewable Training Centre in White’s Cross, Cork.
The courses are free to attend and are led by members of their Technical Team who have a wealth of practical knowledge and installation practices, and feature a unique tour of the Pipelife manufacturing facility where visitors are given the opportunity to see first-hand where their products are designed and produced.
The free courses are available to installers, service engineers, plumbers, merchants, architects, local authorities and BER Assessors. “By offering a valuable insight into each of our heating technologies, those who attend our courses are equipped with the best product knowledge and installation techniques, ensuring that our customers are fully satisfied.”,
“We have always had a strong focus on providing a great service to all our customers and with the launch of our new Renewable Training Centre this will allow us to support them
with hands-on product training and installation techniques. Along with the additional sales staff that we are adding to our team for 2019 these are truly exciting times for Pipelife.”