Making HDPE the Best It Can Be
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Making HDPE the Best It Can Be

May 13, 2022
Video Length:  1:04:49
Presented By:  Gregg Sorensen

Pipe installation may not always be at the forefront of your mind during the design stage, but it’s one of the key drivers of your irrigation plans reaching their full potential in the real world. Gregg Sorensen of Landscape Unlimited will provide insight into HDPE systems from the installation crew’s perspective. Gregg will go over some important considerations for developing your written specs and anticipating a few potential issues that commonly pop up during installation. You’ll hear the pros and cons of different pipe fusion techniques and learn a few tips and tricks for handling everything from mobilization to different weather conditions.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro
  • HDPE Overview
  • Mobilization With HDPE Pipe
  • Pipe Protection
  • Fusion Machine Considerations
  • Additional Considerations

0:00 – 3:05: Intro

3:06 – 23:11: HDPE Overview

Review of basic fusion principles and techniques (3:06)

  • Prepare/clean
  • Align
  • Heat
  • Fuse – apply pressure


4 commonly used types of fusion in irrigation (5:09):

  • Butt fusion
  • Electrofusion
  • Sidewall fusion
  • Socket fusion


Butt fusion examples (6:59)


Electrofusion examples (8:28)


Sidewall fusion examples (10:00)


Socket fusion examples (11:44)


Pros of each fusion type (13:03):

  • Butt fusion
    • Most common
    • Inexpensive materials on small sizes
    • Visual identification
  • Electrofusion
    • Easy to learn
    • Machine does most of the work
    • Fairly common
  • Sidewall fusion
    • Inexpensive materials
    • Visual verification
  • Socket fusion
    • Better for small spaces
    • Inexpensive tooling
    • Quicker process
    • Visual verification


Cons of each fusion technique (19:00):

  • Butt fusion
    • Expensive tooling and machines
    • Lots of training
  • Electrofusion
    • No visual verification
    • Need larger generator
    • Expensive materials
    • Lots of preparation
  • Sidewall fusion
    • More technical, more training
    • Fairly expensive tooling
  • Socket fusion
    • 3 hands needed
    • More expensive fittings

23:12 – 25:04: Mobilization With HDPE Pipe

  • 40' and 50' sticks – unloading and moving
  • Stacking pipe lifts

25:05 – 29:51: Pipe Protection

Why protect the pipe? (25:05)


Protecting the pipe (27:07)

29:52 – 39:38: Fusion Machine Considerations

  • Different brands = different familiarity.
  • Different fusion machines wear differently.
  • Manual vs. hydraulic (understanding site conditions).


Butt fusion machines: wear parts (31:39)

  • Jaws
  • Gauges
  • Generators
  • Hydraulic parts
  • Facer blades
  • Heater plates, elements


Fusion machine issues (34:02)


Electrofusion processor considerations (34:54):

  • Wear parts:
    • Barcode scanner
    • Power cable and power plug
    • Barcode stickers
  • Generator sizing issues
  • Must be calibrated regularly


Sidewall & socket tooling: wear parts (38:14)

  • Heater plates
  • Gauges
  • Handles
  • Cords
  • Heater bags

39:39 – end: Additional Considerations

Data loggers: The good & the bad (39:39)

  • Logs site conditions
  • Records machine conditions
  • Can't assure any fuses
  • Extra operator training needed
  • Adds costs


Discussion of ASTM standards for HDPE (41:57)


Lateral sidewall saddle installs: Cleanliness is key (44:11)

  • Designed specifically for gold course irrigation.
  • HDPE hole saws keep pipe clean.
  • Portable vacuums work great to clean out pipe debris.


Fusing different dimensional ratios (DRs) (46:44)

  • Dimensional ratio has to do with pipe wall thickness.
  • Not recommended for large differences.
  • Only fuse one size difference together.
  • Longer heat time, lower fuse pressure.


Discussion on connecting HDPE to PVC pipe (49:02)


Discussion on connecting HDPE to ductile iron pipe (51:10)


Remember the training! (... and spec considerations) (52:56)

  • Needs to be hands on.
  • Do it at the beginning of the project.
  • Regular training, even to those who have already been trained.
  • Many times required.


Fusing in challenging conditions (53:44)


Things to watch out for (55:44)

  • Fittings manufactured too short
  • Defective pipe
  • Molded vs. fabricated fittings
  • Defective fittings
  • Over-pressurized pipe blowouts


Discussion of pipe flexibility and how tight of a turn it can allow for (57:00)


Discussion of specific situations that can be causes for concern with HDPE fusing (58:43)


Discussion on heating pipe for a tighter bend (1:00:19)


Discussion on warranties/guarantees (1:00:43)


Training (1:03:14)


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