CIPP, Insituform Celebrate 40th Anniversary

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | January 2011 Vol. 66 No. 1
Insituform recently completed one of the largest North American CIPP projects to date in Sacramento, CA.

This year the cured-in-place pipe rehabilitation process and Insituform Technologies, the company that created it, celebrate a significant milestone: Insituform’s 40th birthday and the anniversary of the completion of the first commercial CIPP project, a 12-inch sewer.

Likely no one on that job recognized the significance of the project, but with the development of CIPP technology, Insituform started an industry that was to change the way pipes are rehabilitated.

The CIPP process involves inserting a resin-saturated, coated felt tube into a section of damaged pipe; using hot water or steam to cure the resin to form a tight-fitting, jointless, corrosion-resistant pipe within the old pipe; curing the resin-coated tube; and when curing is complete, using remotely-controlled robotic cutting devices to restore lateral connections.

The primary impact of CIPP has been on gravity-flow sewer infrastructure, but the benefits of the technology are expanding into other markets.

Insituform controlled use of the CIPP process until basic patents expired in 1994, allowing other companies to enter the market. Even so, Insituform has retained its leadership in the market, while making significant advances in the CIPP process and expanding into other markets.

“There are many unique facets to the Insituform story,” said Joe Burgess, president and chief executive officer. “We invented the technology and intellectual property rights allowed Insituform to lead the market we created, and we retain our position of leadership today.

“Look at any industry today, and I believe it is unusual that the company that created a new industry 40 years ago still leads that industry. It is very rare to retain the leadership position over that period of time, especially in a technical market.”

The Insituform CIPP process has reconstructed more than 19,000 miles of underground pipe infrastructure throughout the world. Today Insituform’s products and services are utilized in more than 36 countries worldwide, with pipeline operations on six continents.

Beginnings
Insituform CIPP was developed in the United Kingdom. Eric Wood applied for the first CIPP patent in 1970, and the first test installation -- in an egg-shaped Victorian sewer -- was completed later that year in London.

In 1971, Insituform Pipes & Structures Ltd. was founded and proceeded to use the new process to rehabilitate aging pipes in the UK, licensing the process to construction companies elsewhere. Early licensees included firms in Denmark, Austria, Germany, Finland and Sweden.