A pinhole leak in a 70mm alcohol undergoes live leak repair at a sugar mill in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Sugar Mill Live Leak Pipe Repair of Alcohol Line

Having a SylWrap Pipe Repair Contractor Case on site enabled a sugar mill in Costa Rica to make an instant live leak repair to a pinhole in a 70mm alcohol line, avoiding downtime and disruption causing costly delays to production during the short sugar milling season.

Case Study Overview

Site Sugar mill
Location Costa Rica
Pipe Type 70mm diameter alcohol line
Pressure 2 bar
Repair Type Live leak repair
Products Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape, SylWrap Pipe Repair Bandage

Pipe Defect

The sugar milling season in Costa Rica lasts for only around four months. Because of the short time frame, efficiency is paramount and any downtime or disruption caused by equipment failure costly.

For this reason, the sugar mill kept a supply of SylWrap Pipe Repair Contractor Cases on site. The Contractor Case contains enough products to carry out up to six live leak repairs on pipes of varying diameters, making it ideal for instant response as soon as leaks or bursts are identified.

The leaking alcohol line was 70mm in diameter. It transported alcohol juice extracted from sugar cane during fermentation to a processing area for it to be used in the production of spirits including rum and guaro – the official liquor of Costa Rica.

A pinhole leak developed in a weakened section where the pipe passed through a circular hole in one of the upper floors. Alcohol juice was left spraying out at around 2 bar pressure.

SylWrap Solution

The line could not be isolated, so Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape was used to seal the leak. Despite the space constraints around the pipe, Wrap & Seal was stretched by the maximum of three times its length and fused together successfully to create a solid rubber band over the leak area.

Once the engineer making the repair was satisfied the leak was sealed and alcohol was no longer escaping, a SylWrap Pipe Repair Bandage was applied over the Wrap & Seal.

The fast-working, water activated resin in SylWrap cured within minutes to form a rock hard, impact resistant sleeve over the pipe to protect and reinforce the repair.

Both Wrap & Seal and SylWrap have WRAS approval, meaning they are certified as safe to use with drinking water. The sugar mill were therefore reassured that neither product would affect the alcohol juice carried by the pipe.


Because the sugar mill had a Contractor Case on site, it took just 20 minutes to seal the alcohol line from the moment the pinhole leak was discovered.

Only a minimal amount of alcohol juice escaped thanks to the speed and ease of the repair. All systems remained fully operational, meaning there was no disruption to production whilst the application took place.

Follow Up

As well as the alcohol line repair, the sugar mill has sealed multiple leaks across their vast site since approving the Contractor Case for use several years ago.

Other repairs include a leaking 90 degree elbow bend in an elevated pipeline and a particularly challenging Y-joint leaking from the exact point where three separate pipes connected.

Without the capability provided by the Contractor Case to respond rapidly to these leaks, the sugar mill would have faced more lengthy repair processes at significant cost both financially and to production.

Products Used

Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape
Self-fusing silicone repair tape which fuses to form a solid rubber band to seal live leaks

SylWrap Pipe Repair Bandage
Water-activated wrap sets rock hard to provide a protective shell around leak repairs

Pipe Repair Contractor Case
Case containing products to make live leak repairs easily stored on site for instant application

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