Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Relineeurope’s Innovative Quality Offensive

RELINEEUROPE’s tried-and-tested TQM system continued to be actively embraced and expanded further last year

RELINEEUROPE’s tried-and-tested TQM system continued to be actively embraced and expanded further last year. Measures to optimise processes and products, such as the new exterior protection for the Alphaliner, new elements in production,

and the topic of knowledge transfer are right at the top of the agenda for the company’s new global quality offensive.

TQM = Total Quality Management: Since the foundation of the company from the Palatinate, this has stood for an extremely successful, process-related management system with a clear focus on customer orientation and quality. The dynamic development of the market, especially in the past two years, has shown the industry that quality must be thought and lived even more.

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“For us, optimising our quality is one of the most important tasks that we work hard on day in, day out.” said Frank Mersmann, CEO of RELINEEUROPE GmbH. “We are also thinking all the time about how we can develop our products further. Alphaliners up to DN 2000, high-strength, extra-stretchable glass fabrics, and a curing process that delivers optimised quality while also saving resources are just a few of the projects that we are working on alongside our continuous quality improvements. In particular the option with extra-stretchable glass fabrics will be used in various applications in the future, such as manhole liner and liners for changes in dimensions, but those are just two examples. Overall, the demands placed on products and services are highly individual, so the all-round package that we are constantly developing further has to be right for every single customer.”

QUALITY OFFENSIVE LAUNCHED

Entitled ‘Processes – Quality – Future’, the new quality offensive was launched in 2020. The first step began with optimising production processes and increasing capacity. The go-ahead for renovating and expanding the production buildings at Rohrbach, was therefore given at the beginning of December 2020. The construction work was completed as early as the end of January 2021. Furthermore, a dedicated production line for high-quality glass fabrics was also being built in the same year. This technology enables RELINEEUROPE to bring the production of stretchable and particularly UV-transparent glass fiber fabrics in-house from high-strength, chemical-resistant glass fibres.

“This step has proven crucial for us, especially at a time of supply bottlenecks and shortages of resources.” CEO Mersmann continued. “It means that, besides optimising our product quality, we can now, in particular, guarantee fast response times and our ability to deliver to our customers.” Former limits have also been improved on. After introducing these innovations, RELINEEUROPE can now produce individual Alphaliners up to 600 m long and weighing up to 70 metric tons in total.

Nowhere have these been put to better effect than in the largest trenchless rehabilitation project in Hamburg, Germany which involved what is claimed to be the heaviest GRP hose liner manufactured up to that point anywhere in the world, an Alphaliner1800H weighing 45.5 metric tons and with a total length of 230 m. The project’s success was crowned by the safe and reliable UV curing performed using the UV equipment technology that was developed in house at RELINEEUROPE and matched precisely to the resin being used. Combined with the Power Cube UV core and an average power output of 24,000 watts, the REE4000 UV curing system achieved a pull- through speed of up to 1,200 mm/minute with a wall thickness of 20.5 mm and a diameter of 1,600 mm. This success story demonstrates just how important it is to coordinate processes between individual parts of the company and with partners.

A key component of quality is the precise coordination between the GRP hose liners and UV curing techology and the RELINEACADEMY.

“For us, quality mainly means taking responsibility and having the right attitude.” explained Philipp Martin, Director Sales Europe. “By using our UV curing technology, which is tailored precisely to the Alphaliner, we are giving our customers an extra guarantee of a cost-effective, high-quality installation process.” He added: “But our quality offensive does not stop there, by any means. You need our constant product optimisation measures, the associated knowledge transfer, and our 360° service before the quality elements are all present and correct.”

Since 2021, for instance, all Alphaliners were manufactured and shipped complete with an innovative concept for the outer film. This product innovation is made up of an ‘integrated sliding foil’ (IGS) and an ‘integrated preliner’ (IPL). Among other things, the optimisation of the product maximises the robustness of the exterior protection for all Alphaliners.

The new outer film concept makes the exterior protection more robust and thus maximises safety and reliability on the job site

In addition, two large-scale projects incorporating the new outer film concept were completed successfully in late 2021. Long-time partner Diringer & Scheidel installed an Alphaliner DN 1870 with a total length of over 130 m using the REE4000 professional UV curing system underneath the train station in Unna. The company Erles successfully rehabilitated an approximately 150 m long pipeline of DN 1000, which runs under a production hall in Ober-Ramstadt in the Odenwald region. An Alphaliner1800H with a wall thickness of 15.6 mm was installed in order to handle the high structural loads. In these two major projects, the feedback from users also showed of the outer protection of the Alphaliner has significantly increased safety and reliability during the draw-in process.

As Philipp Martin has already emphasised, an innovative product design and precise engineering are not the only guarantees of quality when RELINEEUROPE
is involved. Two more elements are deemed just as important to meet customers’ requirements across the board. The first of these is customer service, which
is hugely significant not only in face-to-face contact but also with its digital equivalent, for which RELINEEUROPE provides the RE.DESK, the partner area on its website. Here, the company uploads installation-related information such as the current installation recommendation, which has just been optimised with various updates such as to working pressures and the related pressure levels, as well as technical documentation and safety data sheets, standards and guidelines, calculation tables, order forms, and many other documents. The second element is the wide-ranging topic of knowledge transfer, one of the most important standards to which RELINEEUROPE first dedicated itself successfully some years ago with its RELINEACADEMY.

FAST-PACED TIMES

“The requirements for a pipe rehabilitation project are changing rapidly on the global market.” said Werner Reiner, Director Sales Overseas. “Demand for larger sizes, resistance to all manner of different media, and faster-acting UV curing technology is increasing all the time. We are the only provider in the world who can not only deliver customised GRP hose liners to any corner of the globe but can also offer perfectly matched UV equipment to go along with it.”

He continued: “This means that the people who have to install these products are facing tougher requirements. So, training in how to handle them properly is key to a professional, top-quality and thus cost-effective installation that will deliver an outstanding result.” Expertise and ongoing training will guarantee the safe, reliable, and high-quality installation of GRP hose liners over the long term and ensure that the UV curing technology is being used in the best possible way. And this is exactly where RELINEEUROPE’s successful RELINEACADEMY comes in: From ongoing and further training for rehabilitation specialists or job site managers, basic training and exchanges of experience through to teaching theoretical and practical knowledge and organising individual seminars for installation partners, local authorities, and water management associations, its range is certainly diverse.

“Naturally, the RELINEACADEMY is about traditional knowledge transfer driven
by experienced speakers, technicians, and engineers.” said Stefan Reichel, Managing Director QS and Innovations at RELINEEUROPE. “But we go much further than that and, besides courses on handling rehabilitation projects cost-effectively, also put on further training and fact-finding events on other issues relating to pipeline rehabilitation and environmental protection work, for instance. Of course, we also do this in our in-house training centre in Rohrbach as well as online, but also on site at the premises of our global partners. We firmly believe that this strategy is a key component of our quality offensive, so we are delighted to have been able to strengthen our team with some expert additions in this area too under my leadership.”

An expansion of hands-on training is also planned for later this year. New programmes are being developed and existing ones updated, more target groups are being added, and, needless to say, the issue of digitalisation is being taken to a new level. After all, as John Ruskin once said: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent efforts.”

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