In 1998, Hyosung became the first in Asia to develop a product for PP-R pipes. The product name was ‘TOPILENE R200P.’ This is our special PP product. As we continuously innovated this technology, its exemplary quality has been widely recognized, and its sales have increased remarkably. I will introduce the power of TOPILENE R200P. Its share of the European market, the home of the PP-R pipe, is getting bigger every day.
Targeting the European PP (polypropylene) market for the first time in Korea
‘We are looking for PP-R, the raw materials for heating pipes.’ This is what a certain fax, received by the Warsaw branch in 1997, stated. It resulted in our manufacturing of the PP-R (PP Random Copolymer) product. At that time, PP-R was not very well-known. It was not sold either in Korea or in the East Asian market. But Hyosung had already started the PP/DH business in earnest in 1991. In 1996, we increased the annual PP production capacity to 200,000 tons. We introduced new methods and continuously developed technologies to reinforce our competitiveness qualitatively and quantitatively. In 1997, we were working feverishly to develop new products and new markets with the aim of discovering a breakthrough for the growth of the business. That’s when we received this fax. This fax made us realize that production of the PP-R product was both a new challenge and opportunity to create revenue in the fiercely competitive Asian PP market.
The 3rd in the world and the 1st in Asia to successfully develop it
The PP-R pipe is one for transferring cold and hot water. It is mostly used in cold and hot water supply pipes, heating pipes, pipes for radiators and industrial pipes. It does not any generate endocrine-disrupting chemicals. It can be easily recycled, and it is robust against internal pressure. Ultimately, it means that the PP-R manufacturing process is difficult. Due to the mandatory durability certification and the characteristics of the durable goods market, newcomers cannot help but have difficulty entering the market. Accordingly, our PP-R product R&D was a journey of overcoming challenges. But as the future of the PP/DH PU depended on it, all departments participated, pooled together ideas and shared difficulties. As a result, R200P was spawned in 1998.
Hyosung was the third in the world and the first in Asia to successfully develop the product for PP-R pipes in 1998. And immediately afterward, we began to supply it under the name of TOPILENE R200P to leading pipe manufacturers in Korea and abroad. R200P grew to become a product representing our PP brand TOPILENE, and then secured the world’s best quality and the largest share of the global market.
As R200P is highly durable, it can be used for more than 50 years, and as it is flexible, it features outstanding workability. Its excellent performance enabled R200P to penetrate the European market, the home of pipes, surprising the world. Hyosung was the first in Asia to export the PP-R pipe to Europe.
Qualified as a World-class Product for 11 years since 2006
To export R200P to Europe, Hyosung chose the Czech Republic as the first target market, and stabilized its sales in the Czech market after a great deal of effort and headaches, and sought to sell it to Germany’s Aquatherm GmbH, the world’s largest PP-R manufacturer, starting in early 2001. To ensure the top quality of PP-R products, we repeated research studies and pilot production, and finally succeeded in producing improved products. As a result, Hyosung acquired the international quality standard (ISO) and the German standard (DIN), forming the foundation for the ensuing sale of PP-R products.
Back in 2003, Hyosung acquired the final quality certification from Czech’s EKOPLASTIK, the second largest PP-R pipe manufacturer in Europe. We acquired PP-R quality certification in succession from countries like Slovakia and Poland. We took advantage of the experience we gained in the European market to become the PP-R product supplier with the No. 1 share of the Chinese market.
In the mid-2000’s when Hyosung began to sell R200P in earnest, we established the ‘R200P Quality Improvement TFT,’ including the PP Technology Team, PP Production Team, Market Development Team, Polymerization Process Research Team 2 and Overseas Sales Team of Yongyeon Plant, and the Shanghai Branch, and began to conduct quality improvement activities on the full scale. These efforts were recognized, and R200P was selected as a World-class Product by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy in 2006, and has maintained the status for 11 years.
Superior technology that attained the world’s best pressure resistance grade
R200P earned the PP-R 112 grade just like our leading competitors in 2011. In 2016, it became the first in the world to receive the PP-R 125 Quality certification, the world’s best pressure resistance grade, from Sweden’s EXOVA, an independent pipe testing institute.
As a result, we proved that R200P could withstand pressure in excess of 13kgf/㎠ better than other PP-R products, and we can design a pipe 10% thinner under the same water pressure. As of 2015, R200P is the No. 1 product accounting for 24.8% of the global market. But it seems that competition will become tougher in the future. Accordingly, Hyosung R&DB Labs is spurring the developing of products that go beyond the world’s best quality and can compete with other pipe materials to maintain market leadership.
Based on customers’ evaluation of the pipe products with rigidity exceeding that of competitors, we finished improving the quality, and we are now conducting research to double the low-temperature fracture resistance of PP materials. In this way, Hyosung is making efforts to understand customer and market trends, and is continuously reinforcing the competitiveness of PP-R products.
Written by the Editorial Office
Illustrated by Han Ha-rim