Joliet, IL-based Rovanco Piping Systems a leading manufacturer of the distribution of steam for heating or pre-insulated piping systems, is celebrating its 40-year anniversary in 2009. 

Larry (right) and Dick Stonitsch opened Rovanco's doors for business with the first dual line pre-insulated piping system in 1969.

Rovanco Piping Systems, a leading manufacturer of the distribution of steam for heating or pre-­insulated piping systems, is cele­brating its 40-­year anniversary in 2009. What started as two brothers in the industrial and commercial contracting business trying to make a decent living, serendipitously turned into the quest to become the market leader in pre-­insulated piping systems.

LarryandDick Stonitsch,partners in L&R Contractors, were in need of a pre­-insulated piping product for one of their projects, so they contacted a manufacturer of pre-­insulated pipe in New Jersey, and subsequently were given a long lead time for the product. “When I suggested to them that I needed a better lead time - if they couldn’t do better than 17 weeks - I would have to go to their competitor. They, in turn, informed me they didn’t have a competitor. That was the spark that caused my brother and me to get into the pre-insulated piping business in 1969. We spent approximately 30 days designing a manufacturing process to make pre­-insulated pipe. We quickly gained some orders because of our quick delivery,” said Larry Stonitsch. The business was conceived for the ­purpose of providing a high quality pre-­insulated piping system as an alternative to (outdated, costly, less effective, etc.) field insulated piping.

Rovanco opened for business with ­the first dual line pre-­insulated piping system in October of 1969. It didn’t take long for its reputation for high quality products, prompt delivery, ­diversity of product range, commit­­ment to innovation and service to its customers, to move Rovanco to the forefront of this industry. Although ­Rovanco’s pre­insulated piping sys­tems can be used for almost any application for steam, hot water, fuel, chemical lines, our biggest markets are for process use, hot water for heating and chilled water for cooling, as well as fuel in distribution systems for airports and fueling facilities. “We see continued steady growth in our market; we are presently introducing innovative above-ground unique piping systems since we are now able to meet the Fire Codes,” said Stonitsch.

Over the course of 40 years, Rovanco has provided piping systems for thousands of projects and have manufactured thousands of miles of pre-insulated, pre-fabricated, pre-engineered piping systems for steam, hot water, containment systems for fuel and hazardous chemicals, chilled water, etc. Some notable projects for which Rovanco has supplied products:

  • In 1972 Rovanco received its first major pipe order for 45 miles of pipe for the Alaskan Pipeline project. Rovanco provided pre-insulated heat traced piping for the hot water heating lines, domestic hot water lines, sewer lines and potable water lines for the work camps north of the Yukon River. 

  • In 1974 Larry Stonitsch patented the method for making dual line insulated pipe.

  • In 1976 Rovanco introduced its Copper O-Ring Piping System.

  • In 1978 Rovanco provided 740 miles of Copper O-Ring and FRP pre-insulated pipe for domestic hot water, heating hot water, and chilled water distribution systems for a project in Saudi Arabia with a 13-month completion date. Rovanco completed this project in eight months making it the largest pre-insulated piping system in the world. This project firmly established Rovanco as a leader in the pre-insulated piping industry, both domestically and internationally. Rovanco was selected as supplier by Philipp Holzmann A.G., a major international contractor based in Frankfurt, Germany. The unique O-­ring coupling system allows for the expansion and contraction of a piping system without the need for expansion loops or other expansion compensation by allowing the pipe to slide into an “O” ring. The installation was very easy because there was nothing to weld or solder pipes together. And since there are no expansion loops, the trenches can be dug straight without offsets.

  • In 1979 Rovanco was selected to provide 120 miles of 20" pipe to Getty Oil. Rovanco set up a complete pipe insulating facility for this project at the job site in Shafter, CA. In eight months 120 miles of pre-­insulat­ed pipe was completed as well as 23 miles of corrosion coated pipe. The facility was dismantled and shipped back home in Joliet, IL.

  • In 1981 Larry and Dick Stonitsch patented a fitting system with expan­sion couplings and combined spacer and sealing sleeves.

  • Flexible pre-insulated piping has taken over the market for 4” and smaller pre-insulated pipe because it is a high quality product and it has the lowest installed cost of any pre-insulated pipe.

  • In 1983 Rovanco introduced its Fusion Bonded Epoxy Coated Conduit System for high temperature systems. Rovanco felt that any coating that can’t take at least 400ºF for at least 24 hours is not a suitable coating for an underground high-­temperature con­duit system. Amoco, Shell, Getty, Nova Pipeline are just a few companies that Rovanco served.

  • In 1987 Rovanco introduced its Quick Fit Containment Piping Systems, it was developed to provide means to contain a leak of a primary pipe, preventing under ground contam­ination. Rovanco has provided thou­sands of containment piping systems for fuel oil, jet fuel, hazardous chemical lines, chemical waste, etc. to major air­ports, industrial, and chemical plants.

  • Rovanco’s Insul800 system was introduced in 1994. Rovanco started manufacturing this product because it was a superior product and does not require cathodic protection since it has a polyethylene outer jacket. Insul800 has the highest temperature rating available and is a uniquely dif­ferent product using a combination of the highest quality foam insulation, high-­density polyethylene jacket and a unique support system.

  • The United Airlines Maintenance Facility in Indianapolis is a complex of seven hangers, several shops and a power plant. It has more than $4,000,000 worth of containment pipe installed over a four­-year period start­ing in 1992. Rovanco supplied $3,600,000 worth of this pipe. The pipe is being used for a variety of appli­cations such as fuel, hot water, waste chemicals and chilled water. It is presently the largest containment pipe system in the world, and still growing.

  • In 1998 Rovanco started marketing flexible pipe systems, these pre­-insulat­ed PEX and Polyethylene pipe systems come in single or dual line, which makes it the right product for the dis­tribution of hot and cold fluids from 20º to 204ºF. Flexible pre-insulated piping has the lowest installed cost of any pre­-insulated pipe. Rovanco has supplied hundreds of miles of this product all over the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

    One of the things that sets Rovanco’s products apart from the competition is its use of the latest high quality materials. Rovanco has exclusively used fusion-­bonded epoxy as its only steel pipe coating since 1983. Others use coal tar, asphalt, and other coatings that can’t meet the ASTM Standards. Its use of high tem­perature foam also sets it apart from its competition. Rovanco has foam systems that can handle 400°F con­tinuous and also meet the stringent requirements of the Fire Codes to have a 25 Flame and 50 Smoke Rating. “We don’t believe anyone else has a pre-insulated pipe with that type of rating,” said Stonitsch.

    The economy, however, is affecting Rovanco like all other companies. There is a slowdown in the amount of jobs bidding and being awarded. “We are working diligently to get our share of the market to ride out the slowdown. One good thing about our business is that approximately 50% of the market we serve is replacement of existing piping systems. So as new construction slows down it certainly affects us, but not as much,” said Stonitsch.

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