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Saving Time in Joining Pipes

The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), founded in 1910 by the German bacteriologist and physician Friedrich Loeffler, is located on the Isle of Reims in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. At the centre of its work are the health of agricultural livestock and the protection of humans against zoonoses (infections transferrable from animals to humans).

The FLI is part of the departmental research facilities of the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), which publishes its research findings and cooperates with other national and international institutions and organisations.

As the responsible federal facility the FLI operates more than 50 national reference laboratories for notifiable animal epidemics. With the new building the FLI has L4 laboratories, with the highest global security level for laboratories. Here, the institute researches highly infectious animal diseases, which are also dangerous to humans.

The new complex of laboratories and animal stables cost a total of 260 million Euros to construct. Housing the 450 employees who work at the institute and the animals they work with, it is one of only three such complexes worldwide with the highest microbiological security level.

Security and Design

Cofely Germany, one of Germany’s largest specialists in building equipment and energy efficiency, was awarded the construction of the energy supply centre and all its subsections (piping, electrical, cooling, steam) as well as the sanitary system, fire extinguishing technology MSR/GLT and airlock technology, totalling 50 million Euros. BLS Energieplan GmbH was commissioned with planning the technical building installations of the new institute buildings. Cofely was involved right from the design phase and is also a member of the working group FLI Riemswhich is seeing the project through.

Cofely selected Victaulic from a shortlist of companies to provide a grooved mechanical piping solution. The company was familiar with Victaulic systems and was convinced of the company’s capability as the right supplier for this mammoth task. Victaulic was able to offer transparent calculations and provide Cofely with clear installation instructions, thereby avoiding many potential technical issues right from the word go. Throughout the project’s progress, Victaulic was on site once a week to help oversee the installation and to provide technical help on the ground.

This high security complex of laboratories and stables, which houses 89 laboratory rooms and over 150 stable units, features an uninterruptable power supply for all media, giving the piping and pipe connections a special role in the transportation of energy. Cooling water, heating water, compressed air and various types of treated water are generated in the institute’s process centre and distributed through 600 metres of mains piping to the research laboratories and animal stables in the individual buildings.

The Victaulic piping solution was also installed in the drinking water piping, the cold water and cooling water generation pipes, and the hot water and steam boiler system for heating pipes and condensation pipes. Victaulic couplings are also installed in the reverse osmosis line used to disinfect wastewater.

Not only was this project a key one for Victaulic and its client Cofely due to the sheer scale of the project, but also because of the high safety standards required for its successful completion. The island location and the threat of storms and severe weather meant that a back-up plan was necessary in the case of adverse weather conditions. Victaulic couplings are also installed in the emergency fuel storage, which, equipped with six underground tanks, keeps the whole complex running for a week in the case of a complete power failure.

Benefits of Grooved

Thanks to the time savingsCofely made using Victaulic mechanical products and the smooth overall running of the project, work was completed four months ahead of schedule. The transition from the old building to the new was seamless and research has continued throughout the refurbishment work.

Peter Weiss, Territory Manager, Key Account Manager OEM, North Germany at Victaulic commented, “Not having to weld and x-ray 5,000 pipe connections clearly saved a lot of time and increased on-site safety.”

When asked why he had selected Victaulic, Ortwin Hess, Project Manager at the TGA FLI Riems Working Group/Cofelycommented: “In a building with such strict security requirements, the quality of the Victaulic duct connection was important for us. By saving on welding, we could maintain very high levels of safety and consistent quality and also saved four months of construction time.”

Finally, summing up the relationship with Victaulic, Herr Heesadded “The quality of the product and services form the basis of this cooperation, but the personal interaction must also be right. This is important when you spend so much time together – here, the Cofely/Victaulic relationship simply works.”

Michael Kröger, Senior TGA Project Manager of the FLI Riems Working Committee, added: ‘The fact that we finished the project four months ahead of schedule was partly thanks to the fast installation time of the piping systems with Victaulic. Coupled with the fact that we would have had to x-ray welds, the mechanical pipe delivered additional benefits.’