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Our valued customers asked, and Ultra Tech engineers delivered! We are proud to announce the new Ultra Tech XLE (Extended Life Elbow).  

Ultra Tech has been solving problems related to pipeline transport of abrasive materials for over 30 years. In that time, some of the best solutions have come from collaboration with our valued customers. We have consulted on pipeline design to lessen abrasion trouble spots and engineered our UT 600 AR pipe to be one of the best-performing solutions in the market. Our experience has taught us that some challenges require new solutions. Below is a case study that provides a quick snapshot of how Ultra Tech came to develop the new Ultra Tech XLE. 


Valmet sand foundry in Waukesha, Wisconsin, has been an Ultra Tech customer for over five years. Pneumatic sand transport is one of the most difficult applications for any pipeline system. It involves abrasive material moving at high speed, which creates both sliding and impact wear. Ultra Tech has successfully converted numerous sections of their foundry sands pipeline to UT 600 AR steel pipes, resulting in significantly improved durability and cost savings.  


Despite the overall successful pipe conversions, there remained a few short, 90-degree elbows where our UT 600 could not be installed. This is because it is not possible to form an induction-hardened pipe into a short, 90-degree bend 


The Ultra Tech R&D team, led by John Schantz, decided to tackle the problem with a new solution. Through research and internal testing in our state-of-the-art Metallurgical Lab, we identified a steel chemistry with high manganese content as the ideal starting material. The benefit of this steel chemistry is that it actually hardens over time as it absorbs impact! Our engineering team designed a 90-degree bend that fits within most existing Schedule 80 pipeline layouts, but it is cast with maximum wall thickness on the extrados of the pipe to improve durability where needed most. When paired with standard 150# split flanges for easy installation and reusability, the new 4” Ultra Tech XLE (extended life elbow) was ready for field testing.   


Ultra Tech XLE was installed at Valmet at the top of their silo pipeline that receives sand deliveries. It was in place for a full year and transported over 4 million pounds of sand! When inspected at the one-year mark, it still had over half of its wall thickness in place. 


Ultra Tech is excited to bring this product to market in 3”, 4”, 5” and 6”, Schedule 80 sizes. If you have an abrasive material pipeline challenge, please contact Ultra Tech to learn how we can solve it for you.

Learn more about the Extended Life Elbow!

Video Transcript: 

My name is Scott Taylor, I’m the facilities manager here in Valmet Waukesha. We are a sand foundry, we make primarily parts for the paper industry. My job is to oversee the maintenance department, we have an on-sight maintenance team. They essentially keep the machines, keep the up time as good as it can be and help production run and make parts. 

Sand is obviously very abrasive and basically the machines try to eat themselves alive as we move sand around the building all day. We may be moving 80 tons of sand around the building through the process back to recovery to re use. 

If we have a failure in the sand transport system it can shut the entire process down. If we can’t deliver sand to molding, we can’t pour parts. So up time is very important.

We’ve been using Ultra Tech here for probably around 4 years. Shortly after we started we switching over on a couple different products. The XLE was the latest one but we’ve been using a more rounded sweep elbow for a number of years. And a hardened pipe, which has helped tremendously with the life. So we’re seeing several years out of our transport pipes where in years past, going through the records there were pretty frequent leaks, pretty frequent change outs and just a standard seal pipe. 

The elbow we use I think definitely better expectations. it fit right in to the application, so the sizing was a direct fit. We used that on one of our new sand silos where we take sand deliveries.  

But certainly everything seems like that would be good for the product when we had gotten probably a year and a half to 2 years of service out of it, which is pretty considerable when you think about how much sand is going through it.