Look around compressed air systems, new and old, and you will see a variety of materials used for pipework. Installations could be using galvanised steel, stainless steel, crimped pipe, and even plastic.

Traditionally galvanised steel gets used for compressed air systems for a few reasons:

Contractors are familiar with the material, so it gets included in specifications

  • Material costs are low
  • The pipe and fittings are common, making them easy to get
  • It’s rated for high pressure

But aluminium pipework is becoming another option and it’s considered a superior material. It solves some of the disadvantages of traditional pipework systems.

So, what are the benefits of swapping aluminium pipework into your installation specification?


Reducing installation costs

Aluminium pipework systems are much easier to install, and change compared to steel or copper systems.

Steel needs to be threaded to join pipes and install fittings. This process has to be carried out by skilled workers which automatically increases labour costs. It is also more difficult to modify and maintain a system made with steel pipe. Steel is a heavier material so would again need more labour.

In comparison, aluminium pipe comes ready for use. The only preparations required are cutting, deburring and chamfering. There are no special tools needed to prepare the pipework. As aluminium pipe is calibrated, it strictly controls the diameter. This means quick connect components fit more securely, making installations quicker and easier.

Aluminium pipe is also much lighter, reducing installation and modification costs. With particular aluminium brands, such as Teseo, there is also the ability to hot tap. Modifications can happen even when the system is still under full working pressure.


Minimising pipework leaks

Threaded connections will unavoidably leak with 8-10% of the compressed air escaping. Compressors have to run harder and for longer to make up for the leakages, which increases energy costs.

Remember the fittings used with aluminium pipework fit more securely? This reduces compressed air system leaks and improves energy efficiency.

No corrosion

Steel pipework has the risk of corroding. This happens when moisture inside the system causes pipes to rust from the inside out. This causes several problems:

  • The rough inner surface created by rust restricts airflow
  • Loose scale can block a line or damage connected equipment
  • Corrosion affects air quality and can make the air unsuitable for many applications.

Aluminium pipe is corrosion resistant so provides better air flow and air quality. By delivering cleaner air, aluminium pipework systems can help to achieve the requirements for ISO 8573-1:2010 air quality.

So, what is the disadvantage to aluminium pipe?

Well the material cost for aluminium pipework systems are higher than galvanised steel.

Pipework is a vital component in a compressed air system. You should consider the benefits of using aluminium pipework, including reduced risk of contamination and pressure drops. For example, Teseo aluminium pipework is covered by a 20-year warranty which shows the level of quality assured.