Since February 1972 Peter Alford, PE, P.Eng, as founder and Managing Partner of Alford International, Inc., has provided independent objective technical services in many areas of alpine engineering, with special interests relating to snowmaking system design/construction. In the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s, projects became larger in physical size, more diverse in technical complexity; and began to be completed over a much broader geographical market. By the beginning of the 21st Century, these professional services were being provided for ski areas in North America; Europe; the Scandinavian Countries; the Asia Pacific region; South America; and, North and South Africa.
A major component in all of these systems all over the world was piping systems; to provide process air and water to all locations throughout each snowmaking system. Into the early 21st Century, essentially all of these piping systems had been completed using welded steel pipe. In general, snowmaking system design and construction peaked in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. In the early years of the 21st Century much of this steel pipe began to cause problems because of corrosion – perfectly normal for the life expectancy of subterranean welded steel pipe.
Because of the increasing occurrence of these corrosion problems, clients began to inquire if there were any other solutions/methods to reduce the excessive amounts of money being spent each year to replace corroded pipe. It was known that Ductile Iron (DI) pipe was being used in snowmaking systems in Europe at this time; but, there was concern about the ability of these DI products to support the higher operating pressures that were used in North American systems. In this area, we contacted clients in Italy and Spain, to obtain more information about DI pipe systems currently being used in Europe. Clients in both countries advised that high pressure DI pipe was available in Europe, which could be operated at 100 bars – 1450 psig. All clients believed that the superior DI system was manufactured by an Austrian Group, TIROLER ROHRE GmbH (TRM).
Based on this information from European Clients, during 2004 –’05, Peter Alford had several discussions and face to face meetings with management at TRM. In February 2006, a North American subsidiary company was established, TRM North America (TRM NA); and, we began to import and sell TRM’s specialized high pressure VRS-T® lock restraint pipe systems to the North American Ski Industry.
In 2009 the name of our Group was changed to PNP Supply, LLC (PNP), to achieve an independent North American identity. But the mission of PNP was identical with the mission of TRM NA; to provide sales and technical services to support TRM’s specialized high pressure VRS-T® lock restraint pipe system to the North American Ski Industry.
From February 2006 through November 2015, TRM NA/PNP has sold/installed over 400,000 ft of high pressure TRM pipe to support water systems; air systems; and, waste water systems in the North American Ski Industry. Currently PNP is one of the largest suppliers of high pressure Ductile Iron piping materials in North America.