What is TR Flex® Pipe?
Let us start with a brief description of what TR Flex is. The TR Flex Restrained Joint is an internal pipe restraint system trademarked by the United States Pipe and Foundry Company in 1982. Some of the applications for this type of pipe include:
- buried installations
- bridge crossings
- pipe through casings
- unstable soil conditions
- pipe bursting
- horizontal directional drilling
- and any other application where restraining the Ductile iron pipe connections is needed.
TR Flex® Is Becoming the Standard
While there are many available internal and external methods for restraining Ductile iron pipe, TR Flex has become a standard. The joint is manufactured directly into the pipe during the pipe making process.
This technique helps assure that the pipe manufacturer has sole control of the restrained joint's quality as opposed to using other non-internal pipe restraint products supplied within the system. With the advent of TR Flex fittings, you can make a "one restraint type system."
Changes Over Time
McWane Ductile has offered a variety of restrained joint pipe options over its lifetime. Some include:
- Ball and Socket
- Mechanical Joint
- Flanged, and so on
While all these products are great in their own right, many were manufactured in different facilities throughout McWane plant locations. This limited access in certain parts of the country to only some of the pipe products McWane offered.
Standardizing the Manufacturing Process
In an effort to standardize the restrained joint pipe and fittings that McWane Ductile facilities would produce nationally, some of the historically used restrained joints were phased out. Those included: Super-Lock and Thrust-Lock.
In May of 2005, U.S. Pipe granted McWane Inc. a trademark license to manufacture the TR Flex Joint. In the years that followed, McWane Ductile began switching their manufacturing facilities over from Thrust-Lock and Super-Lock to the TR Flex Joint. This was a huge effort that helped standardize Ductile iron pipe restraint systems throughout the waterworks industry.
As part of the licensing agreement, McWane Ductile is required to follow U.S. Pipe’s dimensional production properties in order to maintain compliance with the deal. This assures that both U.S. Pipe manufactured TR Flex and McWane Ductile manufactured TR Flex remains identical in design.
McWane Ductile has been offering TR Flex to its customers now for approximately a decade. It has been proven to be a strong, reliable option in internally restraining Ductile iron pipe.
In summation of some municipalities' recent question, the answer is No—both McWane Ductile and U.S. Pipe manufacturer the same TR Flex joint.
If you have further questions about the TR Flex Restrained Joint Pipe or anything Ductile iron pipe related, please feel free to contact your local McWane Ductile Sales Representative. I also recommend seeing another Iron Strong blog by my colleague Dan Flaig where he details TR Flex, and it’s assembly.
Need Assitance with Your Waterworks Project?
We have team members who have managed small and large water utility systems, served in engineering consulting firms, and bring decades of experience in solving field issues involving pipeline construction and operation. From design to submittal to installation, we strive to provide education and assistance to water professionals throughout the water and wastewater industry.