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PLASTIC

Georg Fischer Rohrleitungssysteme AG, Schaffhausen, Switzerland Dr. Alain Ritter, Head of Human Resources and Group Communications Dr. Thomas Oehninger, Elfstern.com Ruedi Schulthess, Claudine Saurer, Britta Leise, Heike Bazak, Michaela Knecht Vito Locatelli, Dr. Thomas Oehninger, Claudine Saurer Theodor Stalder, Zrich Sonja Renger, Rangsdorf CH Translations, Lohn Sonderegger Druck AG, Weinfelden Eibert AG, Eschenbach 14010 German edition 14010 English edition Georg Fischer Rohrleitungssysteme AG Group Communications 8201 Schaffhausen, Switzerland Phone: +41 52 631 33 74 E-mail: claudine.saurer@georgscher.com

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Kunststof Plastica Plastique Plastic Muovi Plastikk Tworzywo Sztuczne Plastic Plast Kunststoff Kunststof Plastik Plastica Kunststof Plastique Tworzywo Sztuczne Plastik Plstico Plastik Kunststof PlastiqueKunststof Plastica Plastik Tworzywo Sztuczne Plstico Plast Kunststoff Plstico Kunststof Plastik

50 years of know-how in plastics


Message of greeting

50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS Half a century ago, a small team of pioneers at Georg Fischer carried out initial experiments with plastic ttings. In this book, we can nally present what their work ultimately led up to and the path they took in getting there. One thing is certain: this success story was and continues to be the fruit of our employees dedication. I thank them sincerely for the numerous milestones that they have set. 50 JAHRE KUNSTSTOFF-KNOW-HOW Vor einem halben Jahrhundert hat eine kleine Schar von Pionieren bei Georg Fischer erste Versuche mit Kunststoff-Fittingen unternommen. Was daraus entstanden ist und wie der Weg verlief, knnen wir heute in diesem Buch prsentieren. Eines steht fest: diese Erfolgsgeschichte wurde und wird immer noch geprgt von unseren Mitarbeitenden. Ich danke ihnen ganz herzlich fr die zahlreichen Meilensteine, die sie gesetzt haben.

50

Georg Fischer . . . .
50 Georg Fischer
50 RS SPECIALVIDEN INDEN FOR PLASTIC For et halvt rhundrede siden udfrte et lille hold pionerer hos Georg Fischer de frste eksperimenter med plastic-ttings. I denne bog kan vi endelig prsentere resultatet af deres bestrbelser og deres vej til resultatet. Et er helt sikkert: denne succeshistorie har vret og fortstter med at vre karakteriseret af vores medarbejderes store indsats. Jeg vil gerne takke dem alle sammen for de mange otte resultater, de har net.

Yves Serra, President of GF Piping Systems

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

50 JAAR KNOWHOW IN KUNSTSTOF Een halve eeuw geleden voerde een klein team pioniers bij Georg Fischer de eerste experimenten met kunststof ttingen uit. In dit boek kunnen we u eindelijk tonen waartoe hun noeste arbeid heeft geleid en welke weg ze daarbij hebben bewandeld. En ding staat als een paal boven water: dit succesverhaal werd en wordt nog steeds geschraagd door de specieke bijdrage van onze medewerkers. Ik dank hen uit de grond van mijn hart voor de vele mijlpalen die ze hebben gerealiseerd. 50 VUOTTA MUOVIALAN TAITOTIETOA Puoli vuosisataa sitten pieni pioneeriryhm Georg Fischerill teki alustavia kokeita muovikiinnikkeill. Tss kirjassa voimme viimein kertoa, mihin heidn tyns lopulta johti ja miten he psivt thn lopputulokseen. Yksi asia on varma: tss menestystarinassa oli ja on edelleen keskeist tyntekijidemme erityinen panos. Kiitn heit vilpittmsti lukuisista virstanpylvist, joita olemme ohittaneet. 50 ANS DE SAVOIR-FAIRE DANS LE DOMAINE DES PLASTIQUES Il y a cinquante ans, une petite quipe de pionniers de Georg Fischer a commenc se livrer des expriences sur les raccords plastique. Dans cet ouvrage nal, nous pouvons enn vous prsenter le rsultat de leur travail et le chemin quils ont parcouru pour y parvenir. Une chose est certaine: cette russite a t rendu possible grce la participation active de tous nos employs. Je les remercie de tout cur pour toutes les tapes quils ont su franchir. 50 ANNI DI COMPETENZE NELLE MATERIE PLASTICHE Mezzo secolo fa, una piccola squadra di pionieri di Georg Fischer effettu i primi esperimenti con accessori in plastica. In questo libro possiamo in denitiva presentare lesito del loro lavoro e il cammino da essi intrapreso per giungere a questo traguardo. Una cosa certa: questa storia di successo stata e continua ad essere caratterizzata dal contributo specico dei nostri collaboratori che ringrazio sentitamente per le numerose pietre miliari che hanno collocato durante questo percorso. 50 Georg Fischer 50 Georg Fischer Georg Fischer 50 RS ERFARING MED PLAST For et halvt rhundre siden utfrte et lite pionerteam hos Georg Fischer de frste eksperimentene med plastbeslag. I denne boken kan vi endelig presentere resultatet av arbeidet og veien til dette resultatet. n ting er sikkert: Denne suksesshistorien har vrt og er fortsatt preget av den konkrete innsatsen til vre ansatte. Jeg takker dem for de mange mileplene de har skapt.

50-LETNIE DOWIADCZENIE W DZIEDZINIE TWORZYW SZTUCZNYCH P wieku temu, niewielki zesp pionierw w rmie Georg Fischer przeprowadzi pierwsze eksperymenty z mocowaniami plastikowymi. W tej ksice moemy wreszcie przedstawi kocowe rezultaty ich pracy i drog, jak pokonali, aby je osign. Jedno jest pewne: ta historia sukcesu bya i nadal jest nacechowana szczeglnym zaangaowaniem naszych pracownikw. Szczerze im dzikuj za wytyczenie wielu kluczowych standardw. 50 ANOS DE KNOW-HOW EM PLSTICOS H meio sculo, um pequeno grupo de pioneiros levou a cabo as primeiras experincias com acessrios de plstico na Georg Fischer. Neste livro apresentamos agora o resultado do seu trabalho e o percurso que percorreram para l chegar. Uma coisa certa: esta histria de sucesso foi e continua a ser caracterizada pela especial contribuio dos nossos colaboradores. a eles que agradeo sinceramente pelos inmeros marcos que estabeleceram. 50 DE ANI DE KNOW-HOW N INDUSTRIA MATERIALELOR PLASTICE Cu o jumtate de secol n urm, un grup restrns de pionieri a efectuat primele experimente cu tinguri din plastic la Georg Fischer. n aceast carte, v putem prezenta la ce rezultate a dus munca lor n cele din urm i cum au evoluat lucrurile pn la atingerea acelor rezultate. Un lucru este sigur: aceast poveste de succes a fost i continu s e caracterizat de contribuia indispensabil a angajailor notri. Le mulumesc din suet pentru ndeplinirea numeroaselor obiective atinse pn acum. 50

Georg Fischer . , , . : ( ) . , .
50 AOS DE CONOCIMIENTOS ACUMULADOS EN EL SECTOR DEL PLSTICO Hace medio siglo, un pequeo equipo de pioneros en Georg Fischer llev a cabo los primeros experimentos con uniones de plstico. En este libro, presentamos dnde condujo su trabajo y el camino que se tuvo que recorrer para alcanzar el objetivo. Una cosa es segura: esta historia de xito fue, y sigue siendo, un claro ejemplo de la contribucin especca de nuestros empleados. Quiero expresarles mi ms sincero agradecimiento por los numerosos hitos que han marcado. 50 RS KUNNANDE OM PLAST Fr ett halvt sekel sedan utfrde en liten grupp pionjrer p Georg Fischer tidiga experiment med rrkopplingar av plast. I den hr boken kan vi nu presentera vad deras arbete kom att leda till och hur de gjorde fr att ta sig dit. En sak r sker: den hr framgngssagan har alltid prglats av det vra anstllda bidragit med, d som nu. Jag kan inte nog tacka dem fr alla milstolpar de har uppntt.

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Table of contents
13 50 years of innovation introduction of Dr. Alain Ritter, Head of Human Resources and Group Communications MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS Genesis of plastics Five decades of plastics The 1950s: The pioneering years The 1960s: Manufacturing and expansion The 1970s: Period of more development The 1980s: Consolidation The 1990s: Trend toward customer focus The new millennium: Tapping into new market segments INTERVIEWS WITH CONTEMPORARY WITNESSES Dr. Ernst Hofmann The plastics department Dr. Rudolf Merz Materials developer and inventor of Tangit Erich Guldener Plastic ttings developer of the rst hour Bruno Hunziker Complete line of valves Felix Meier BCF fusion technology Jrg Wermelinger Infrared for the highest demands Jrgen Fluck iFIT: intelligent and simple PROCESSES IN THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY Highly qualied and motivated The people behind the processes State of the art Components assembly Extrusion and customizing Zero-error strategy High-tech analytics Plastics and chemicals So that everything ts Radical optimization Tried, tested and approved Just ordered, presto delivered Packed-in energy

15 - 53 17 29 31 37 41 45 49 53 55 - 83 57 61 65 69 73 77 81 85 - 141 87 97 101 105 109 113 117 121 125 129 133 137

143 - 181 145 147 149 153 157 161 165 169 173 177 183 - 189 185 191 - 219 193 201 205 209 213 217

PLASTICS MARKETS TODAY Plastics markets today innovations come from the market Overview of the market segments Shipbuilding Life science Microelectronics Food and beverage Water and gas utilities Water treatment Building services Chemical process industry GEORG FISCHER JUBILEE FOUNDATION Clean Water foundation PLASTICS: FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MATERIAL On the edge: Where plastics research stands today The future needs of our customers from a market viewpoint Solvay Partners in vinyl Ineos Longlasting polyethylene Borealis Tailor-made materials Arkema Polyvinylidene uoride

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Picture credits Contacts worldwide

Authors
GUEST AUTHORS FROM EXTERNAL COMPANIES AND INSTITUTES Pascale Godon Hanni Kauder Siegfried Liedauer Luca Lussetich Prof. Dr. Rolf Mlhaupt Dr. Ingo Sartorius Bernard Schlinquer Prof. Dr. Ulrich W. Suter Dr. Klaus Vorspohl Technical Service & Development, Construction and Durable, Ineos Polyolens Account Manager PVC, PVC-Compound, Solvay Director Technical Service and Market Development, Pipe Business Unit, Borealis Solvay Benvic Material Research Center Freiburg. Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg PlasticsEurope Germany, Plastic and Environment Market Manager Kynar & Kynar Flex, Technical Polymers, Arkema Department of Materials. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zrich Managing Director PlasticsEurope Germany AUTHORS FROM GEORG FISCHER Urs Amacher Eric Benghozi Mark van den Bosch Max Bless Mark Bulmer Wolfgang Dornfeld Jrgen Fluck Christina Granacher Dr. Roland Grbli Charlotte Hill Fridolin Hubmann Alexander Kirner Peter Koligianis Britta Leise Manfred Leyrer Pietro Mariotti Max Meier Christof Mosler Hans-Peter Mller Paul OSullivan Dr. Alain Ritter Markus Scherrer Dr. Stephan Schssler Roland Steinemann Hans-Christian Wisloeff Head of Standards & Approvals Market Segment Manager Water Treatment Market Segment Manager Water and Gas Utilities Managing Director Georg Fischer Plastic Valves Ltd. Market Segment Manager Food and Beverage Market Segment Manager Microelectronics Managing Director Georg Fischer Building Technology Ltd. Market Segment Manager Chemical Process Industries CPI Managing Director of the Clean Water Foundation Managing Director Georg Fischer Signet, El Monte, USA Head of Accredited Test Lab GF Piping Systems Managing Director Georg Fischer SIMONA Fluorpolymer GmbH, Ettenheim Market Segment Manager Mining Australia Head of the Corporate Archives Head of Quality and Environmental Management Head of Product Management, Georg Fischer Building Technology Ltd. Plant Manager Schaffhausen and Subingen Managing Director Georg Fischer DEKA GmbH, Germany Application Manager Microelectronics Market Segment Manager Life Science Head of Human Resources and Group Communications Head of Supply Chain Management Head of Research and Development at Georg Fischer DEKA GmbH, Germany Market Segment Manager Shipbuilding Head of Global Market Development and Innovation

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INTRODUCTION

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50 years of innovation
The year 1957 marked the beginning of plastic ttings production at Georg Fischer
Five decades have elapsed since the regular production of plastic ttings began at Georg Fischer. This is an opportune time to look back on past developments, give consideration to the present state of affairs and set our sights on the future. in our company and even cultivated so that it has grown. Over the years, a multitude of employees have shown an astounding capacity for innovation. THE CHAPTERS OF HISTORY This book is an expression of our esteem for the accomplishments achieved, while also attempting to capture and present an important chapter in the recent history of industrial development. This anniversary publication is divided into six main chapters. In the rst chapter, you will read about the Milestones in the History of Plastics, focusing on plastics in general and the plastic ttings at Georg Fischer. The second chapter is called Interviews with contemporary witnesses containing interesting accounts of former and todays employees. In the third chapter, Processes in the Plastics Industry, we portray the different occupations in this eld today, providing you with a brief overview of the many issues relevant to this industry. The fourth chapter, Plastics Markets Today, is dedicated to a series of completed projects in the various market segments and regions around the world. The fth chapter Georg Fischer Jubilee Foundation talks about the Clean Water projects that were initiated back in 2002, when Georg Fischer celebrated its 200 year anniversary Plastics: Future Development of the Material is the title of the sixth chapter which is in fact a glimpse into the future and the new developments which we can expect to see. In the name of the GF Piping Systems management, I wish you pleasant reading

DR. ALAIN RITTER Head of Human Resources and Group Communications

The 1950s are a beacon in the history of the Georg Fischer Corporation. In a secret laboratory in Schaffhausen, a handful of researchers, mainly experts in the eld of metals, experimented with a new material called plastic. Their ambition was to develop a new jointing technology. After a even for todays standards relatively brief period of research and development, the team was able to release their rst product for a test market in 1955 on the occasion of the International Plastics Exhibition in Dsseldorf. In 1957 the hard PVC ttings went into regular series production at the plant in Singen, Germany. FIVE DECADES LATER Today ve decades down the line we are at a point in history, when such topics as globalization, new market segments, and reduction of manufacturing costs are at the top of our priority list. Creating novelties is naturally also still on the agenda. The innovativeness of yesteryear and the pioneering atmosphere has been kept alive

Dr. Alain Ritter, publisher of 50 Years of Plastic Know-how.

and would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have contributed to making our company what it is today: a global leader in piping systems, jointing technology and ow control. When asked what he thought was the most signicant achievement in the eld of plastics at Georg Fischer, this witness of the time replied: the fact that we as a metal-oriented company even took a chance with this new material. We invite you to take this journey through time with us and see for yourself how true this statement is.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

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Genesis of plastics
A concise history

It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but all plastics are made of natural materials. Minerals and products from fauna and ora, such as quartz, petroleum or cellulose are processed by man into useful substances, which we call plastics.

Natural substances, available for use without the intervention of man, have been around for a long time from the very beginning of mankind we have protected ourselves with skins and weavings, used bers and sticks, employed bitumen for glueing and sealing. Plastics man-made materials however have a relatively short history. THE BEGINNINGS Among the earliest plastics was pitch made from the bark of birch trees, which has been used for at least 80,000 years as a glue for utensils and tools (a technically ambitious fabrication by Neanderthals!) and also as chewing gum. For over 10,000 years, beginning in the Middle East, animal skins have been worked into leather with the help of tannins, at rst with smoke, then alum and fats, later barks. This craft developed into a trade and then later a branch of industry. Other natural products were experimented with to create useful materials. One documented example is the manufacture of a plastic out of casein, which is obtained from low-fat cheeses. The formula was chronicled by the Benedictine clergyman and alchemist Wolfgang Seidel from Bavaria in 1530, who also noted that he had received the instructions from Bartholomus Schobinger, a tradesman from St. Gallen (for some time the richest man in the Swiss Confederation). The recipe told how to make rst the pure casein and how with a lye it was transformed into a transparent and colorless artical resin a transparent material, similar to animal horn and also explained how it could be formed according to ones desire. There must have been other such formulas earlier, but it seems that the practice of manufacturing plastics has not aroused the interest of historians as much as, for example, the transmutation of

PROF. DR. ULRICH W. SUTER Department of Materials, ETH Zurich

The term plastic can be traced back to the Munich chemist Ernst R. Escales, who introduced a new group of materials under this name in 1910 (and in 1911 created the publication Kunststoffe, i.e. plastics), without the intention of making any claims on the constitution of the material. The word polymer was coined already in 1832 by Jns Jakob Berzelius in Stockholm to describe certain differences in chemical structure, similar to the denition as we use it today. The terms plastic and polymer are therefore not identical; all the same we can say that nearly all plastics contain polymers. It should be noted that all polymers are composed of macromolecules (which neither Berzelius nor Escales would have accepted, being as this was asserted only in 1926 by Hermann Staudinger from the ETH Zurich). In the following, we shall disregard these ner differences.

At rst, one may not realize the importance of such a nd. In fact, this nd of birch pitch is a very special and caused quite a furor in Neanderthal research. This proves that Neanderthals had the know-how to make glue. The ne lines are believed to be a thumb print of a Neanderthal.

base materials into gold or the recipe for a all-purpose medicine. THE CENTURY OF THE SCIENTIFIC TECHNICAL REVOLUTION With the emergence of physics and chemistry as elds of study, an enormous dynamics was set in motion in the Western world: the early nineteenth century was the time of passionate inventors and diligent entrepreneurs. In 1833 Friedrich Ldersdorff in Berlin was the rst to write about the manufacture of a polymeric nanocomposite (a very fashionable topic!), a

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Celluloid was also used in fashion. This model from 1936 is wearing a hat, the brim and bow of which are made of celluloid.

composite material made of colloidal gold and gum arabic. Victor Regnault (after whom the ideal gas constant R is apparently named) produced in his laboratory in 1838 at the time in Giessen the gaseous vinylchloride and observed how after longer exposure to sunlight it turned into a white powder (today known as polyvinyl chloride, PVC). In 1839 Eduard Simon of Berlin extracted styrene from a natural product and while attempting to clean it through destillation obtained a solid matter. He thought he had an oxidation product of styrene in his hands, but John Blyth and August Wilhelm von Hofmann discovered in 1845 in London that the solid matter obtained through heating exhibited the same elementary composition as styrene and therefore called it metastyrene (what is today polystyrene, PS). After 1850 new plastics were invented at a rapid pace and many industrial uses were found for them. The alchemic way of thinking had, however, not died out altogether. In the style of

Schobingers rst articial resin, many other substances were discovered in the late nineteenth century, for example the French bois durci, a mixture of wood dust and blood or protein, which was patented in 1855 by the composer Franois Charles Lepage (UK Patent No. 2232) and brought to market; it was produced until about 1920. Or galalith (a casein plastic distributed worldwide under various names), developed in 1897 by the Bavarian Adolph Spitteler and Wilhelm Krische in Hanover by hardening it with formaldehyde. Production of this casein plastic began in 1899; in 1930 it was the most important plastic in terms of volume and it is still produced today. RUBBER THE BIRTH OF THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY European researchers rst saw and learned of natural rubber in Central America in 1521. In 1736 the Parisian Charles-Marie de la Condamine took a sample from Peru to

France. The rst scientic discovery related to caoutchouc is attributed to John Gough from Middleshaw, England, who was blind. He noticed in 1802 that caoutchouc heats up when stretched and contracts when heated (exactly opposite to metals or ceramics). At the onset of the nineteenth century, the rst articles were made of caoutchouc: erasers, balloons and waterproof textiles (by placing a lm of caoutchouc between two cotton sheets and sewing the fabric into raincoats, the Macintosh was born.). Caoutchouc is however permanently sticky and quickly becomes brittle at higher temperatures, which seriously limits its uses. In 1832 Friedrich Ldersdorff in Berlin published a study relating how a solution of natural caoutchouc and sulfur in turpentine oil resulted in a less viscid lm when evaporated. Charles N. Goodyear in Roxbury, Massachusetts, experimented, as did many others, with caoutchouc, attempting to make it less sensitive and sticky by adding various other substances, also working with sulfur. He tried using increased temperatures and discovered vulcanization in 1839. This is a process by which a sulfur-caoutchouc mixture (with other additives) is heated to obtain a dry and permanently elastic substance rubber which was patented in the USA in 1844. The patent for hard rubber (ebonite and vulcanite) followed in 1850. The invention of rubber by Goodyear was, however, contested by an English competitor, Thomas Hancock, who patented rubber in England eight weeks before Goodyear (a huge legal dispute ensued). The plastics industry as we know it today originated from the production of rubber. INCREASED BUYING POWER THE MOTOR BEHIND THE PLASTICS INDUSTRY Plastics have contributed greatly to improving the living standards of the population at large. In earlier times, many articles were only affordable to the privileged. As the middle class grew, so did their desire for possessions and displaying their afuence with elegant objects but many of these were made of rare materials that were simply not available in adequate quantities, which

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

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In 1888 the Irish veterinarian B. Dunlop invented a pneumatic tire for his sons tricycle and sold the invention to Harvey du Cross, Jr., who founded the Dunlop Rubber Company. The tire revolutionized the bicycle. Andr Michelin produced the rst balloon tires for automobiles in 1895, rst especially for the 1200 km race Paris Bordeaux and back for the Peugeot Type 3, shown here with the Michelin tires during the race.

Lithography of Honor Daumier. In the late nineteenth century, billiards becomes a popular sport thanks to the introduction of the celluloid ball. Celluloid was discovered by W. Hyatt in 1868.

led to skyrocketing prices. An example of this is the dramatic price increase of ivory in the nineteenth century: billiard balls were manufactured from elephant tusks; because a new and larger class now coveted these, elephants were threatened with extinction, and the price of ivory became prohibitive for everyone. The discovery of plastics made it possible for a growing number of people to acquire what were formerly luxury goods. Plastics were for a long time only substitutes for more valuable substances, e.g. Schobingers casein resin for animal horn and tortoise shell, later celluloid for ivory; those who could afford it still bought the original. Finally, in the twentieth century, it became evident that the new materials were much more than simply substitutes for something else more valuable. Plastics enable efcient manufacture of better quality products; they also possess a previously unknown portfolio of properties. Plastic is the multi-functional material of modern society.

GUNCOTTON AND CELLULOID, THE FIRST THERMOPLASTICS Cellulose (what trees and plants are mainly made of) was esteried into nitrocellulose already before 1850. The completely nitrated form, cellulose trinitrate, was used as guncotton, an explosive, while the equally ammable cellulose dinitrate was called collodion cotton and utilized as a varnish and in medicine. Several inventors tried to make the material less hazardous by adding other substances. In 1856 Alexander Parkes was the rst to succeed in producing a practical thermoplastic material from cellulose dinitrate, oil and camphor (Parkensin) but he was not able to market it successfully. The breakthrough came in 1868 when John W. Hyatt, in the hope of winning 10,000 dollars in prize money, managed to mix cellulose dinitrate and camphor, The material registered under the trademark Celluloid was produced and sold starting in 1870. (The prize money was advertised by

the Phelan Collender Billiard Factory in New York, which had been looking for a substitute material for ivory in billiard balls; the award would be valued at a million dollars today on the basis of an average workers wages.) A very crucial aspect was the possibility of thermoplastic molding, i.e. processing the melted material and cooling it into a stiff solid, as well as the good dyeability. Combs, dentures, eyeglasses frames, bowls, jars, fountain pens, knife handles, etc. were the result. Celluloid also played a special part in the cultural revolution as a carrier medium: a stiff and completely transparent substrate, it made photography easier and cheaper and from 1884 motion-picture lms possible to capture on celluloid has become synonymous to putting on lm, although less ammable plastics are used for cinema lms today. EARLY SYNTHETIC FIBERS The synthetic textiles industry also evolved on the basis of cellulose, a very pure and

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Galalith: an old plastic, which is still used for elegant objects. Here a pen holder from 1920 made of casein formaldehyde, also known under the trade name Galalith, Galalite (I) and Erinoid (England).

In 1933 the Bakelite radio receiver VE301W was introduced in Germany.

BAKELITE A NEW MATERIAL FOR NEW REQUIREMENTS For four decades chemists and inventors had tried to create a plastic from formaldehyde and phenol (both very inexpensive waste products from the thriving chemical industry), when in Yonkers, New York in 1907 Leo H. Baekeland was able to produce, using an alkaline formulation and ground wood as ller, a synthetic resin. He wanted to nd an insulating material that could replace shellac, manufactured from the secretions of the Indian coccus cacti (lac insect), which was becoming scarcer and therefore more expensive. Bakelite satised all the material requirements and more. It served for many years as an ideal electric insulating material and is still manufactured today. The rst large-scale Bakelite lots were produced in Berlin in 1909. Bakelite proved to be very versatile, known as the material of a thousand uses. When the patent on the Bakelite production process expired, other manufacturers appeared on the market and the production of phenol resins surged. PVC THE FIRST MASS-PRODUCED PLASTIC Victor Regnault had discovered back in 1838 that the gaseous vinylchloride turned into a white powder under the inuence of sunlight. In 1912 Friedrich Klatte from the Chemische Fabrik Griesheim in Frankfurt am Main identied the material as a polymer and subsequently patented a polymerization process for industrial use for polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC was interesting from an economic viewpoint because a great deal of chlorine was necessary to produce it and chlorine was available in large quantities as a byproduct of chloroalkali electrolysis in the advancing chemical industry. Largescale production of PVC began in 1938 in Bitterfeld. After the Second World War, PVC became the most popular plastic processed worldwide. Pure PVC (hard PVC) is relatively rigid and resistant to many chemicals. It is an ideal material for many building applications and is also frequently used in piping systems. By adding softeners, an elastic plastic is obtained (soft PVC), of which many objects of

cheap raw material. Cellulose is infusible, insoluble in nearly all liquids and difcult to process. Efforts were directed at making it soluble. In 1855 George Audmars from Lausanne patented the manufacture of ne bers from cellulose nitrate. In 1888 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Joseph Swan drew bers from cellulose nitrate in acetic acid to make laments in electric lamps; he also recognized the textile potential and was the rst to create cloth from it. A great advancement was made by Hilaire Bernigaud, Comte de Chardonnet de Grange, who spun cellulose nitrate out of a mixture of alcohol and ether in 1884 and who presented the fabric at the World Fair in 1889 in Paris. This fabric was soon known as Chardonnet silk and led to the rst synthetic textile factory being built in Besanon. Chardonnet rendered the fabric less ammable through denitration in a hydrosulde bath. Just one year after the Paris exhibition, Louis Henri Despaisses discovered that cellulose can be

dissolved via copper oxide and ammonia and precipitated again in diluted sulfuric acid; he used Chardonnets spinning technique for the regenerated cellulose. The next step in the evolution of synthetic bers was the accomplishment of the British chemists Charles F. Cross, Edward J. Bevan and Clayton Beadle with the so-called viscose process: using alkali and carbon disulde, cellulose is reversibly modied and thus dissolved (the gelatinous solution was called viscoid), spun and then transformed back into cellulose in an acid bath, and now called rayon. But it wasnt until 1900, with the invention of modern spinning equipment by Charles F. Topham, that it became possible to create cellulose bers commercially. Jacques E. Brandenberger succeeded in producing crystal clear lms out of rayon in 1908 in Paris with a new type of machine; he called the product cellophane the rst exible, transparent and waterproof packaging material.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

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everyday use are produced (oor coverings, suitcases, packaging, adhesive tape, cable sheaths, etc.). PVC in and of itself is harmless. But the starting substance for its manufacture, vinylchloride, is very toxic. In addition, when PVC is burned, a caustic and corrosive gas occurs. Moreover, soft PVC is also controversial because of certain softeners that are cause for concern, especially when used in food packaging and toys and this has caused the material to be discredited. MACROMOLECULES, THE NEW AWARENESS Science had a problem with plastics because it was the credo of chemistry that very large molecules cannot be stable. Until 1920 it was generally accepted that molecules can join together in large clusters and form colloids, but that they cannot really be big themselves. The basic concepts of todays viewpoint were expressed by a few visionaries between 1860 and 1920, but these remained individual opinions. At the ETH in Zurich, Hermann Staudinger developed and taught a different vision: his work with polystyrene, polyoxymethylene and caoutchouc led him to believe the size of molecules was nearly limitless and they would form long chains. He published this concept for the rst time in 1920 and coined the term macromolecule in 1926. The existence of such giant molecules met with a great deal of skepticism and only gradually began to nd acceptance. Staudingers experimental results were later explained by others in line with the laws of physics: notably Kurt H. Meyer and Hermann F. Mark, who in Ludwigshafen in 1928 shed light on the structure of cellulose, silk, chitin and caoutchouc via X-ray analysis, and Werner Kuhn, who in 1934 was the rst to conclusively expound the viscosity of polymeric solutions and in Karlsruhe, then Kiel and then in Basel established the theoretical basis for rubber elasticity and the deformation of macromolecules. Wallace H. Carothers in Wilmington, Delaware researched, starting in 1928, with synthetic methods Staudingers hypothesis, which was still relatively unknown outside of German-speaking countries. He linked small

Hermann Staudinger, 1917, in his laboratory in Zurich.

William H. Carothers, 1930, in his laboratory in Wilmington, Delaware.

organic compounds systematically into long chains and analyzed the properties of the products as a purely scientic project at DuPont de Nemours & Co. Inc.! His attempt yielded the rst practical results in 1930, when his team came across new classes of polymers, the polyesters and polyamides or nylons. Shortly thereafter, in collaboration with Reverend Julius A. Nieuwland in South Bend, Indiana, they achieved the synthesis of a new highly elastic material, neoprene, which proved to be a viable alternative to the rubber manufactured from natural caoutchouc. The two great synthetic chemists, who established the scientic age of the macromolecule, Hermann Staudinger and Wallace H. Carothers, both integrated a physical chemist in their teams to provide macromolecular materials with a quantitative basis: Gnter V. Schulz in Freiburg im Breisgau, and Paul J. Flory in Wilmington, Delaware. Flory, in particular, contributed signicantly to the development of the

polymer sciences and laid the foundation for synthesis, the physical-chemical properties of macromolecules and their solutions, rubber elasticity, as well as the atomistic understanding of high-molecular materials. Other great physical chemists, like Walter H. Stockmayer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, later Dartmouth, New Hampshire, and Bruno H. Zimm in Schenectady, New York, rmly established this foundation. The eld of physics has long been interested in plastics as a material, but only later did they concentrate on the macromolecules from which they are made. Herbert A. Stuart in Mainz was an important pioneer, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes broke ground with his work in Paris in the seventies and eighties. Despite the major efforts of many scientists, it took a long time until the concept of macromolecules prevailed. It probably took longest in biology, where it wasnt until 1938 that the chain structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was discovered via a streaming

22

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

500

The world in 2004


400

495 billion pounds of plastics produced per year 6.4 billion inhabitants 77 pounds of plastics/person/year

300

200

100

0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000

Global annual production of all plastics from 1950 (including adhesives, varnishes, dispersions, bers, etc.). The rapid growth has resulted in plastics overtaking steel by volume already in 1989. In 2004 there have been produced circa 15 600 lbs each second.

birefringence experiment by Rudolf Signer (Bern), Torbjrn Caspersson and Einar Hammarsten (Stockholm) and where in 1953 the last of the skeptics accepted the longchained, macromolecular nature, after the structure was explained by James D. Watson and Francis H. Compton Crick in Cambridge, England, and Maurice H.F. Wilkins and Rosalind Elsie Franklin in London. DIVERSITY GROWS Between 1920 and 1950 plastics became a group of materials for industrial mass production. In 1949 global production amounted to one million tons; soon a large number of new plastics were developed and by 1976 global production was already at 50 million tons, in 2003 at 200 million tons. Today the annual per capita consumption is at approximately 100 kg in Western Europe, the USA and Japan, and roughly 20 kg in Latin America and Southeast Asia, while Africa and the Middle East weigh in at about 10 kg.

The birth of modern-day plastics begins with thermoplastics. In 1927 Otto Rhm in Esslingen used methyl methacrylate for the rst time to make a highly transparent organic glass, just before British and Spanish contenders, and invented the rst laminated glass with a lm of this polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) between two glass plates. In 1933 Plexiglas was launched on the market and was soon a successful alternative to glass in many applications. The rst contact lenses of PMMA were marketed by Heinrich Whlk in Kiel in 1946; Otto Wichterle in Prague succeeded in making soft contact lenses in 1961 by chemically modifying PMMA. The polyamides (Nylon) were discovered in 1930 by Wallace H. Carothers, patented in 1935 and sold commercially in 1939. Competitors developed a multifaceted group of polymers (e.g. Perlon, Rilson, Grilamid, Vestamid, Stanyl), which were used in numerous everyday applications. Nylon stock-

ings have probably had the most lasting effect on society. Ethylene was rst transformed (by coincidence) under high pressure into polyethylene (PE) of low density (highly branched polyethylene, see below) in 1933 by Eric W. Fawcett and Reginald Gibson in Northwich, England, patented in 1935 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and implemented as an electric insulating and packaging material. The most familiar product made of this is likely the plastic shopping bag. Hermann F. Mark, Carl Wulff and Eugen Dorrer created the rst industrial process to manufacture polystyrene in 1930 in Ludwigshafen and I.G. Farben brought the material to market in 1937. Everyone has surely drunk from a polystyrene cup! Stiff polystyrene foam (Styropor) was rst technically manufactured in 1951. Building on the work of Wallace H. Carothers, John R. Whineld and James T. Dickson in Manchester developed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in 1941. Either as textile ber (Terylen, Dacron, Trevira) or as crystal clear lm (Melinex, Mylar), sales of the commercially manufactured material climbed rapidly after 1953. In 1975 Pepsi Cola introduced the rst PET bottle. Back in 1927 Staudinger produced polyoxymethylene (POM) from formaldehyde and produced bers thereof, the polymer is however thermally very unstable. This problem was resolved in 1952 with the use of a comonomer at DuPont de Nemours & Co. in Wilmington, Delaware (Delrin). POM changes its density only minimally when solidifying and thus made high precision injection molding possible. Tissot (Aetos S.A.) marketed in 1971 a full-plastic watch, the Tissot Idea 2001 Astrolon (Models 2250 und 2270), that was almost completely Injection molded from POM. The watch competed successfully with ordinary mechanical watches with respect to precision, did not require lubrication and was extremely shockproof (but did not prevail against the digital quarz watches). Polycarbonate (PC) was rst synthesized in 1953 by Hermann Schnell in Leverkusen from bisphenol-A and quickly conquered the market due to its properties: heat resistant,

Annual production of plastics in billion pounds

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

23

transparent, impact resistant, blendable and easy to inject (Lexan, Merlon). The most common application is optical data storage (CD, DVD) and automobile headlights. A plastic which only recently became thermoplastic is polytetrauorethylene (Teflon). Twenty-seven-year-old Roy J. Plunkett accidentally discovered in 1938 in Deepwater, New Jersey the polymerization of tetrauorethylene into PTFE, the slipperiest and chemically most inert plastic. In 1941 DuPont obtained the patent on PTFE (Teon). The material was used in the Manhattan Project, then as coating for shing lines, frying pans, etc. It was, however, extremely difcult to process. The era of Teon was extended when in 2000 Paul Smith at the ETH Zurich succeeded in manufacturing a thermoplastically processable PTFE. In addition, there is a series of plastics that cannot change their form (duromers). In 1936 Otto G.W. Bayer in Leverkusen developed the family of polyurethanes (PUR); The rst of these many types of materials went into production in 1940. The building industry could not do without them as adhesives and sealing materials, the producing industry as grouting and insulation materials. Frederick S. Kipping pioneered organic silicon compounds in 1900 in Nottingham, England; these were viscous and colorless and could withstand higher temperatures than other organic substances (he called them silicones, because he assumed they were analogous to simple ketones). In 1940 Eugene G. Rochow in Schenectady, New York, and Richard Mller in Radebeul found almost at the same time that these materials could be produced industrially. These silicones (polydimethyl siloxane and related plastics) are useful in many difcult applications: high-temperature-resistant hydraulic oils, medical tubes, adhesives, antistick coating of baking pans. The controversial application as breast implants cast a shadow on this extraordinary plastic at the turn of the century. Epoxy resins were rst mentioned by Paul Schlack from Ludwigshafen in his report in 1932 on the reaction of epoxides with amines. Then in 1938 Pierre Castan

The public had to wait an entire year after the October 27, 1938 announcement of nylon hosiery at the New York Worlds Fair to try on the new stockings. The rst sales were made in Wilmington, Delaware, department stores.

Earl S. Tupper began producing Tupperware in 1938 (polyethylene kitchen containers with air-tight lids) and sold them in specialty shops starting in 1946. Vice-president Brownie Wise introduced the concept of direct sales via Tupperware Home Parties with astounding success in 1951.

patented a corresponding resin in Zurich. Sylvan O. Greenlee in Racine, Wisconsin, also contributed greatly to this area. In 1946 in Basel, Ciba launched an epoxy resin under the name Araldit on the market. Epoxy resins are excellent adhesives and form the basis for many composite materials in sports, aeronautics and astronautics. CONTROL OF MOLECULAR STRUCTURE Chemists in the 1940s and 1950s developed precise synthetic methods and analytical processes. This is especially apparent in the development of stereoregular polymerization (i.e. the synthesis of spatially regular macromolecules). Calvin E. Schildknecht in Easton, Pennsylvania, was the rst to produce an isotactic polymer in 1945 (although he didnt know it at the time), a poly(vinyl isobutyl ether); the true revolution was however initiated by Karl Ziegler in Mlheim an der Ruhr, who in 1953 at low pressures with or-

gano-metallic catalyst blends discovered a highly linear (and crystalline) polyethylene, and Giulio Natta in Milan, who in 1954 on the basis of this developed the stereospecic polymerization of propylene. This polyethylene is today one of the most frequently used materials, the isotactic polypropylene (i-PP) a very popular engineering material. These and related plastics are rmly entrenched in the modern world; from kitchen utensils to medical syringes, from garden furniture to automotive parts, they inuence our daily life. After the First World War, copolymerization (combined polymerization) experiments were done on diverse substances. An early example is the reaction of butadiene with styrene, to create a synthetic rubber (BUNA S) in 1929 by Walter Bock in Leverkusen. At the beginning, also here nothing was known about the molecular structure, which had been created; but soon scientists learned to understand and control

24

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Ford introduced an automobile with plastic bodywork in 1941 (30 percent lighter than the metal model). In the photo Henry Ford is demonstrating with an ax how much more resistant a plastic car is compared to conventional cars.

the molecular structure. Many signicant materials were thus created, for example the thermoplastic and elastic copolymer of acrylnitril, butadiene and styrene (ABS) with a complex structure, available from 1948, which features high impact strength and heat resistance and (because of its high surface energy) can be easily galvanized, resulting in parts with metallic luster. In recent decades, the control of molecular weight distribution (size of the macromolecules) has had a great impact, given the exceptional importance of this property for processing and mechanical behavior. Methods have been developed with which many polymers can be created with variable molecular weights ranging from a few hundred to many million. Thanks to the control of molecular structure, it has become possible to adapt the port-

folio of properties of a material as required. This and the complex mixtures employed have led to a huge number of new applications, but it also means that there are tens of thousands of plastic formulations and that the customer must decide at an early stage in product development on a particular material and manufacturer and cannot change easily because every change entails more development time and money! MECHANICAL HIGH-PERFORMANCE FIBERS Other bers followed quickly on the heels of the aforementioned polyamide bers (Nylon). In 1941 Herbert Rein in Frankfurt found a solvent for polyacrylonitrile (PAN) in the form of dimethyl formamide and thus a way of spinning bers. The acrylic fiber fabrics were introduced in 1950 in the

USA under the name Orlon and in 1954 in Germany as Dralon and Dolan. Because they looked very good, felt comfortable to the touch and were easy to dye, they gained popularity rapidly; and they started the wash and wear revolution. In search of plastics with higher temperature resistance, Stephanie L. Kwolek in Wilmington, Delaware, synthesized aromatic polyamides in 1965, among them poly (p-phenylene terephthalamide) (PPTA). Herbert Blades from the same laboratory recognized the liquid crystalline nature of the solutions in sulfuric acid and spun them into a high-performance ber, Kevlar, the specic tensile strength of which is ve times higher than that of the best steels; it is used in temperature-resistant textiles, bulletproof vests, brake linings, etc. Previously, only carbon fibers (usually made by charring polymer bers) were capable of similar mechanical performance. A further advancement was made by Paul Smith and Piet J. Lemstra at DSM in Geleen, Netherlands, who used gel-spinning of linear polyethylene (see below) to obtain highly oriented, highly crystalline polyethylene fibers, which were 50% stronger than Kevlar and in relation to weight were up to 20 times stronger than steel (Dyneema, Spectra); the main application areas are helmets, high-strength ropes and cut-resistant surgical gloves. When the performance warrants the price, only high-performance plastics bers are implemented today. COMPOSITS AND NANOCOMPOSITES For ages, man has been combining materials to obtain better properties. Some examples are composite arrows made in the Late Stone Age by glueing together animal sinews, horn and wood layers, or early Pharaonic clay bricks which were reinforced with straw soaked in water. Today only the merest portion of plastics are used as pure materials, most are improved with additives (either for better properties or lower price). Composites possess different material properties than their components. Every imaginable combination exists: stiff and strong bers are added (ber composites) as short or long-ber fabrics and windings, granulate is

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

25

mixed in (e.g. chalk or titanium oxide), small platelets are added (e.g. mica or aluminum), etc. In many load-bearing applications, highperformance bers contribute better material properties than metal alternatives (e.g. in carbon ber composites). Soft, elastic materials, such as rubber, are mixed in to make brittle plastics more impact resistant. The impact resistance of polystyrene can be improved several times and its range of applications thus also greatly increased. A very fashionable category of composites are the nanocomposites, i.e. composites in which the particles measure only a few nanometers (one billionth of a meter) at least in one dimension. Even though such materials have existed for a long time (we have already referred to the expos of Ldersdorff from 1833), the boom of late began when in 1990 the automobile manufacturer Toyota used clay/nylon composites for drive belt housings in engines. The development was not just limited to the automotive industry: several beverage manufacturers improved the barrier properties of their bottles by adding nano-clay minerals. This material has indeed great potential. FROM STRUCTURAL MATERIALS TO FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS Most of the early plastics were utilized on the grounds of their mechanical properties; a part had to primarily bear a load. Such substances are called structural materials. A rapidly growing number of plastics belong, however, to the functional materials, materials in which special, non-mechanical functions are at the focus. Bonding and releasing. Practically all adhesives are plastics. Bonding has been a major joining technique for eons, but its signicance is expanding rapidly bonding and its counterpart, releasing, as well as the non-stick function have high industrial potential. The polyurethanes (discovered 1936) and the epoxy resins (industrialized 1943) are the most familiar representatives of the adhesives. Even superglue is relatively old: Harry Coover at Eastman Kodak discovered methyl cyanoacrylate in 1942. Bonding as a method of joining is becoming

Kevlar protective vest. In ballistic tests with Kevlar 24-layer fabric, a 9 mm projectile, shot from a distance of 6 meters, will be captured in the 12th layer.

The recycling of PET bottles, which started in the 1990s, has now reached signicant mass. Some 1.2 million tonnes of PET bottles were collected and recycled worldwide in 2001, 15% more than in 2000.

more popular because it is a relatively cheap application technique. And the equally important non-stick has been a frequently rendered function of polymers since the discovery of PTFE (1938) and the industrial synthesis of silicones (1940). Conductive polymers (synthetic metals) were synthesized for the rst time in 1967 by Hideki Shirakawa in Tokyo because of an error in translation (Japanese to Korean) a thousand times excess of the catalyst was used in a synthesis. Then in 1974 the semiconductive polyacetylene was transformed by Alan G. McDiarmid and Alan G. Heeger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (who had already before experimented with an inorganic polymeric metal) by doping it with bromine to make a metallic conductive material. Today electrically conductive plastics are used for antistatic surfaces, as conductor paths and as exible electronic components (mainly in disposable electronics). Especially polyaniline (PANI) is used for corrosion protection.

Highly transparent polymers. Although the company Curvlite Sales already offered a ber lighting system for dentistry in 1939 in the USA, plastics have had a difcult time competing with glass bers as ber optics in telecommunications due to the relatively high loss of light (caused by impurities). Since about 2000, however, there has been a substitution process underway for short communication distances (in automobiles, airplanes, in the home, etc.) from glass bers to polymer bers, for which usually ultra-pure polymethyl methacrylate is used. In contrast to the glass ber business, that of plastic optical bers is booming. Non-linear optical plastics. The pioneers behind NLO plastics in 1982 were Gerald R. Meredith, John G. VanDusen and David J. Williams in Webster, New York, with liquid crystalline polymers. In the following two decades, non-linear optical polymers were considered to be very promising materials for the fabrication of electro-optical equipment: com-

26

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Since the 1980s, NASA has been developing concept airplanes for long-duration, high-altitude ights. The Pathnder Plus (photo) was made almost entirely out of plastics. With a wing span of 30 m, 6 electric motors and solar cells with 12.5 kW output, it set a new altitude record for propeller planes of 25,000 m on August 6, 1998.

First monochrome passive matrix polymer display in a telephone prototype from the year 1996.

pared to the inorganic crystals, which were used for these applications, polymers have a series of advantages that lead to higher speeds and lower production costs. It was shown, however, that the highly non-linear optical polymers (as nearly all polymers) are only to a limited degree resilient to temperature and light; eliminating these weak points is the focus of much research today. It is presumed that a fully optical computer technology made of plastics will be developed. A light-emitting polymer was rst described in 1990 by Sir Richard H. Friend, Andrew B. Holmes and their staff in Cambridge, England: they had succeeded in producing an LED from poly(p-phenylene vinylene). A series of such plastics has been found to date and functional components made of them (e.g. color displays); the lifetime of these devices is however not long enough for practical use. Again, in 1995, Richard H. Friend and his staff in Cambridge, England, reported on polymers that convert light

into electricity and electricity from light. While such materials are used for photodetection today, they are not stable enough for practical photovoltaic purposes in power applications. Ion-conducting polymers. Ion-conducting membranes are a prerequisite for most battery technologies. In 1994 Antoni S. Gozdz, Jean-Marie Tarascon and Paul C. Warren in Piscataway, New Jersey, patented the plastic lithium ion technology, in other words lithium polymer cells with solid polymer electrolyte (solid-state battery). Then in 1996 Theodore O. Poehler and Peter C. Searson in Baltimore, Maryland, demonstrated that a battery made exclusively of plastic could function well and viably. Shape and shape memory. The shape of a part is particularly important. In 1986 Charles W. Hull in Valencia, California, applied for a patent for a photopolymerbased stereolithography that enabled the rapid prototyping of plastic parts directly

from the computer. Complex objects can thus be created quickly and in ne detail with three-dimensional printers. Metal alloys that can take a dened shape in material processing, after an external stimulus, have been around for a while. In 2001 Andreas Lendlein in Aachen and Teltow and Robert S. Langer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, developed shape memory polymers that can transform themselves into a predened shape by increasing the temperature. And in 2006 a plastic was created, which can recall two different external shapes. The rst applications are planned in the eld of medicine. THE SCIENTIFIC REPUTATION True, scientic insight into the structure and behavior of macromolecular substances only happened fairly late, but in the eighty years since the macromolecular hypothesis was formulated, the scientic community has turned its attention to polymers. Evidence

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

27

of this are the Nobel Prizes awarded to renowned polymer scientists: in 1953 to Hermann Staudinger for his discoveries in the eld of macromolecular chemistry, in 1963 to Karl Ziegler and Giulio Natta for their discoveries in the eld of chemistry and technology of high polymers, in 1974 to Paul J. Flory for his fundamental contributions, both theoretical and experimental, to the physical chemistry of macromolecules, in 1991 to Pierre-Gilles de Gennes for discovering that methods developed for studying order phenomena in simple systems can be generalized to more complex forms of matter, in particular to liquid crystals and polymers, in 2000 to Alan J. Heeger, Alan G. MacDiarmid, and Hideki Shirakawa for the discovery and development of conductive polymers, and in 2005 to Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs and Richard R. Schrock for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis (the last are all polymer scientists, but not honored because of this). Currently, hundreds of thousands of scientists and engineers are conducting research in this promising eld. SCIENCE IS NOURISHED BY TECHNOLOGY In contrast to the frequently expressed opinion that technology is the direct result of scientic work, the development of plastics is exemplary of how practice is usually a step ahead. The initial step in a new territory is guided by experience and intuition and success is based on coincidence and a dose of luck (and the ability to recognize the exceptional; Louis Pasteur wrote 1854 in Lille: dans les sciences dobservation le hasard ne favorise que des esprits prpars); science then tries to understand and interpret the phenomenon and prepares the ground for the next step. Sciences pursuit is essential for rapid progress in practice; plastics were only able to experience their rocketing development in connection with the advent of the natural sciences. Nevertheless, until an adequate scientic understanding was in place, there were already hundreds of successful manufactured products on the market because the demand for new materials is so great.

The rst bridge made of berglass and carbon ber-reinforced polyester was dedicated on October 29, 2002 in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire England, with a 34-ton Sherman tank. The bridge is the product of the EU ASSET project (Advanced Structural SystEms for Tomorrows infrastructure).

Evidently the future cannot be planned. Great innovations cannot be coerced. High prize monies can have an inuence, but in general the time must be right for the inventive mind, the necessary equipment and the proper environment at hand. Creative freedom and independence are required. Wallace H. Carothers concluded in 1932, when commenting on his extremely successful industrial research activities at DuPont de Nemours & Co., that everything useful which had been created can be considered a coincidental byproduct of his research. If we wish to participate in important technical innovations or even bring them forth in the future, we have no alternative but to let the most creative and best scientists and engineers do their work without excessive supervision and administrative burden, whereby their most important (and overseeable) role is to continually question the limits of our knowledge and methods.

28

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

29

Five decades of plastics


On the history of plastics production at Georg Fischer
Fifty years ago, Georg Fischer initiated series production of solvent cement ttings. The year 1957 represented a milestone in the history of the company. The following historical abstract sheds light on the past fty years from the early pioneering years to the present. which was supported on both scientic and business sides. The original idea was to provide a suitable homogeneous jointing technology for the plastic pipes, which had come on the market in the early 1950s. The driving force was therefore a new material in this sector of industry. Of course, it must not be forgotten that plastic was given a boost by the steel shortage during and after World War II. And nally, this constellation, which was conducive to innovation, was complemented by one of plastics inherent properties resistance to corrosive and aggressive media. What followed was a gradual process of testing the materials properties in terms of ow characteristics, durability and installation performance. Hard-PVC and polyethylene (PE) proved to be the materials best suited for these applications. NEW TO THE WORLD Extensive research and development efforts on the part of Georg Fischer led to a novelty in product development, which was more the exception than the rule: a product which was new to the world and ready for series production. The developers had considered every aspect, including procurement of an appropriate injection molding machine; in other words, they were very focused on putting this innovation into practice. After several years of testing and developing the necessary infrastructure, Georg Fischer began series production of plastic ttings in Singen in 1957. Two years later, the annual production of solvent cement ttings was already in the order of half a million pieces. During this time, the injection molding process was improved with new machinery, better molds and optimized compounds. These were sure signs that GF was convinced of the viability of Plastic. The further development was then merely a logical consequence of this initial inspiration, commented Bruno Hunziker in all modesty; he has participated actively in research and development at GF since the late 1960s. HISTORY BY THE DECADES From a retrospective and historical viewpoint, the major issues of the subsequent years can be summarized in decades. Following the early pioneering years, the 1960s were marked by Manufacturing and Expansion. The 1970s could be called the Period of More Development. It was at that time that new products were added notably in the valves range. By the 1980s we have a mature and sophisticated industry and consequently the emphasis is on margins and prices. This decade is therefore referred to as the time of Consolidation. In the 1990s this trend was sharply accentuated by the irreversible shift from sellers to buyers markets. The strategy became and continues to be: Customer Focus. The paradigm is: The customer is at the center of our focus and GF products and services must be aligned exclusively with the needs of our customers. In the new century, this paradigm was again underscored at Georg Fischer Piping Systems by the consistent market segment orientation. PRACTICE REWRITES THEORY Thus far, fty years has been the theoretical service life allotted to plastic components. Now that many of these components, which were installed fty years ago, are still in perfect operating condition, it seems practice has rewritten theory.

DR. THOMAS OEHNINGER

Half a century is a remarkable length of time in the evolution of an industry. It must be understood, however, that in this case we are not primarily focusing on the innovation of plastics per se the birth of this material actually took place much earlier and its further development shall continue for many years to come. At this time we are rather interested in the innovation of process engineering in combination with plastic materials, which was in fact revolutionary. A BOLD VENTURE At the beginning, the simple, yet courageous idea was conceived to produce a tting made of plastic. The metal predecessor, the malleable cast iron tting, had at that time already been sold for nearly ninety years. No one at the time had much experience with plastic, but they did have a vision,

30

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

31

The 1950s
The early pioneering years

With the advent of plastic pipes, Georg Fischer began the search for a compatible tting. Development and process engineering work proceeded at full speed so that by 1957 the plant in Singen was able to take up series production.

began producing malleable iron ttings in Schaffhausen in the year 1864 and this tting helped the company garner a leading market position in the following years. The GF pipe jointing elements made of malleable cast iron for steel pipes were the main pillar on which the companys success rested. Especially during the economic wonder years after the World War II, the demand for this tting was very great. When in the 1950s, plastic pipes began to get a footing in the market, management instructed the Fittings department to investigate the potential of this material and the technology required for manufacturing these pipes and report their ndings back to them. GREENFIELD DEVELOPMENT The development of plastic components at GF in the 1950s was an endeavor of a pioneering nature. The specialists that were available had until then been mainly focused on metal ttings. So, for them, it was basically a fresh start. One of the rst men to take an interest in plastics at GF was Dr. Ernst Mller. Dr. Mller was the commercial director at GF from 1930 and from 1940 a member and delegate of the board of directors. During the World War II he headed the so-called Scrap Commission. This commission was responsible for upholding the supply of materials to Switzerlands iron and steel industry during the war. Mller was therefore acutely aware that the development of alternative materials was essential to secure the future and to prevent another shortage of materials. There is an anecdote which tells about an encounter Dr. Mller had in the early fties on one of his trips through Switzerland where he made the acquaintance of Dr. A.J. Schaerer, the technical manager

BRITTA LEISE Head of the Corporate Archives

Plastics are generally used in the same piping system applications as historical metal materials: in industrial plant engineering, in underground gas and water distribution, and in building technology. Plastic materials, which were intently developed as a substitute material during World War II, not only sustained their success in post-war years, but in fact they even expanded it remarkably. The characteristic which gave particular impetus to the development of plastics in the early years was the better corrosion resistance in comparison to metal materials, and added to this the cost-efcient prices also rendered the material quite attractive. MALLEABLE IRON FITTING SERVED AS A MODEL What sparked the use of plastic components in piping systems was initially none other than the malleable cast iron tting, which in 1953, when plastic was launched at GF, could look back on a ninety-year history. GF

Picture taken from a sales brochure for soft polyethylene ttings with socket fusion connection, 1954.

of what was later to become Symalit AG, a manufacturer of plastic pipes. The outcome of their conversation in which Schaerer claimed that plastic was the material of the future was a long-term cooperation between the two rms. Mller instructed Carl Zehnder, technical manager of the malleable iron ttings department, to form a project group dedicated to the development and market introduction of plastic ttings, as a supplement to the tried and tested malleable cast iron ttings. Carl Zehnder in turn hired Paul Thiriet, who in January 1951 began employment and immediately set to work developing a plastic tting. In the course of the next few years, Anton Mnzer, Erich Guldener and Dr. Rudolf Merz joined the development

32

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

connecting the plastic pipes. Back in 1951, GF had already developed corresponding jointing components of malleable cast iron for external plastic pipes, to which brass ttings were later added. These connections were, however, from the start only perceived as a temporary solution and development work soon came up with another solution. THE MATERIAL-ORIENTED FITTING GFs goal was to bring a material-oriented tting made of plastic to market. In the course of the development work, the engineers discovered that two types of plastic in particular were suitable for use as a tting material: the hard polyvinyl chloride (hardPVC) and polyethylene (PE). Pipes and ttings made of these two materials had the advantage of good chemical resistance. They were odorless and did not affect taste; they were lightweight and had a thermal resistance around a maximum of 60 C. From mid December 1952 ow tests were done in the steam unit with different combinations of pipes and ttings from other manufacturers. After 7,500 operating hours, neither leakage nor other shortcomings were detected. The continuation of these tests led to a further test program set up in conjunction with EMPA, a research institute for material sciences and technology of the Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Additional dynamic stability tests, ow tests and static strength and installation tests were performed with GF ttings and third-party pipes. After this research and more testing, as well as sample testing, especially in the USA, it was concluded that a cementable,

Pressure test in the laboratory located under the old cafeteria in Works II, Schaffhausen, 1956.

Open test press for polyester resins, 1957.

project team. Sales and marketing was later assigned to Josef Brunner and when an independent Plastics department was formed, Christian Moser became department head. Ernst Hofmann followed in the footsteps of Moser in 1975 and Martin Huber in 1985. The rapid development of plastics and their expansion to applications in technology which had been previously reserved for metals prompted GF, as the rst ttings manufacturer in Europe, to consider this new material at a very early stage. On the grounds of their specic material properties, plastic

pipes and ttings were predestined for new application areas which had remained barred for steel pipes and malleable iron ttings. Plastic pipes were especially valuable in the chemical industry because of their excellent protection against chemical attack by acids and other aggressive substances. The synthetic ber and textile factories, the paper industry, printing industry, food and beverage industry, galvanic businesses, etc. also solved their corrosion problems in piping systems by implementing plastics. What was lacking was a reliable way of

1945

1955

1955

1955

Malleable cast iron ttings have been produced by Georg Fischer since 1864.

Apprentice training at Georg Fischer, 1957.

Booth design for the Plastics Exhibition in Dsseldorf.

Pressure test of plastic ttings.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

33

injection molded tting made of PVC or a similar material was the best solution for connecting piping components. The next step involved procuring a functional injection molding machine. Bids were solicited for the most reputable makes from the USA, England, France, Germany and Switzerland. The result of evaluating these bids, as well as seeing the machines in operation, visits to trade shows and production sites and consulting with specialists, was that a prototype of an injection molding machine was ordered from the Netstal Machinery Works and Foundry. In June 1953 an investment credit of CHF 17,000. was approved. For the next phase, injection molds were tested; it was planned to conduct the tests on two tting types, elbows and tees in the sizes 20 and 60 millimeters. The molds were ordered from the Schttli company in Schlatt and these were delivered at the end of October. Having signed a condentiality agreement, the Netstal Works began producing the rst GF ttings on an injection molding machine at the beginning of November 1953. It was subsequently agreed that the Machinery Works in Netstal would supply a new machine, model SM 200/53, with a shot weight of 300 grams, between December 1953 and January 1954. During the testing phase, special attention was devoted to the problem of jointing pipe and tting. In the USA and in Europe, adhesive jointing was preferred over the screw connection. For this reason, it was decided to concentrate rst on manufacturing cementable ttings. The ttings were therefore designed with the corresponding slightly tapered bore.

Director Dr. h.c. Ernst Mller initiated production of plastic ttings at Georg Fischer, 1956.

The Netstal injection molding machine in the mechanical workshop for plastic ttings development. The machine was housed in the basement of Works II in Schaffhausen, 1955.

WHAT COLOR SHOULD IT BE? Another, perhaps somewhat unusual, question which concerned the developers was the color of the product. From their experiences with malleable iron, they knew that installers would refuse to use differently colored pipes and ttings. Red and green were generally not popular colors. So it was decided to use a neutral grey for the ttings and the Symalit company used the same color for the manufacture of their pipes. At the same time, the technical department also came to the conclusion that plastic valves would make

a valuable contribution to the rather limited line of ttings. Thus, the foundation for the later GF valves program was already laid in 1953. At a meeting on December 10, 1954 the GF board of directors gave its express consent to the production start-up of plastic ttings. In spring 1955 the rst injection tests were started in Schaffhausen to produce plastic ttings and were completed that same year. The tests comprised not only the manufacture of hard-PVC ttings, but also ttings made of thermoplastics, such as polyethylene. In

1956

1956

1957

1957

Ventilated workplace, 1957.

Prototypes of the rst plastic ttings, 1957.

Christian Moser, rst department head for Plastics.

Exhibit with polyethylene ttings.

34

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

The plastic ttings were presented to consumers for the rst time at the MUBA Exhibition in Basel and on a larger scale at the Plastics Trade Fair in Dsseldorf. PRESENTED TO THE PUBLIC FOR THE FIRST TIME At the International Plastics Trade Fair in Dsseldorf in October 1955, GF presented its new products for the rst time to a wider audience of professionals; they also released them for the test market. Besides manufacturers from the plastics processing industry, reputable pipe manufacturers from the steel industry, for example Mannesmann and Phoenix-Rheinrohr, also appeared on the market with hard-PVC, high and low-pressure polyethylene pipes. GF was represented at this exhibition with a booth for malleable cast iron ttings and compression brass ttings for polyethylene pipes, hard-PVC ttings and low-pressure polyethylene ttings. The products exhibited here were very well received by the public and gave evidence to the fact that there was indeed a demand for suitable and deliverable pipe connections for plastic pipes of all kinds. The rst orders were taken at this exhibition. Soon, however, the scope of the orders exceeded the production capacity at the time, as well as an acceptable delivery time. A remedy was quickly sought. SERIES PRODUCTION BEGINS Because the products were so popular with consumers at home and abroad, the production capacity had to be expanded. It was decided to set up a production facility at the Singen plant where malleable cast iron

Georg Fischer booth at the MUBA Exhibition, 1956. One of the rst exhibitions at which the new plastic ttings were presented to the public.

early August 1955 the production process was so far developed that it was possible to begin with a trial production on a small scale. For the rst time, tees and elbows were fabricated using the injection molding process, whereas other tting types, such as sockets and reducers, would continue to be made from rod material until the necessary

molds were available. Simultaneously, twoshift operation was introduced for the trial production in the GF test facility. This secret room was located underneath the cafeteria in the Works II building in Mhlental. In September of the same year, a rst order for 5,000 hard-PVC ttings was received from the company Brosette and Fils in Paris.

1957

1957

1957

1957

PVC elbow, diameter 32 mm.

Injection molding machine from Netstal.

Thermal cycle test in the laboratory of Fittings Development.

Illustration of a polyethylene pipeline installation.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

35

ttings were being manufactured, while the development of GF plastic ttings would remain at the Schaffhausen location. On June 20, 1956 the spadework for the factory building in Singen began and in November 1956 construction was started. By the spring of 1957 the construction work had progressed so well that by May assembly of the rst injection molding machine from the Anker company was begun and on June 1, 1957 production was launched in a threeshift operation. The crew consisted of twelve people at the time. Total production was continually increased over the following three years: 1957: 280,000 pieces 1958: 400,000 pieces 1959: 520,000 pieces At the end of 1958 already 138 different tting types in the dimension range of 12 to 160 millimeters were being produced, as well as seven sizes of angle-seat valves from 16 to 63 millimeters. In 1959 the plant in Singen had to be expanded due to the growing demand and ve additional injection molding machines were purchased, added to which the Netstal SM 200 machine was relocated from the test room in Schaffhausen to Singen. At this point in time (1958/59) the plunger injection molding machines were replaced with screw plasticizing units, which represented a milestone in the processing of thermoplastics. By adapting the compound and the injection molds, hard-PVC parts could be produced with signicantly improved strength

and durability on these new machines. The other thermoplastics were also easier to process on these new screw plasticizing machines. Likewise in this year, production of the Saunders diaphragm valves was taken up and preparations were underway for the production of waste water ttings made of hard-PVC at the company Plasticomnium S.A. in Paris. In 1959 the valve products line was supplemented with the manufacture and sale of diaphragm valves. The diaphragm valves were developed in cooperation with the Erhard company in Heidenheim. Erhard was the licensee of Saunders in England and further development of the valves and the market later took place directly with the Saunders company. At the same time, a line of cementable ttings including the jointing system was developed for polyamide pipes and made ready for sale. With these latest additions, the product range grew to include approximately 700 articles.

Mold stacks in the Singen plant. The plaque on the wall depicts the History of GF Plastic Fittings.

1957

1958

1959

1959

Exhibit: GF Plastic Fittings. During the General Meeting, 1957.

Installation preparations at a customer, a plumber in Windisch.

Inspection and forwarding in the PVC Fittings Plant in Singen.

PVC ttings production plant in Singen.

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

37

The 1960s
Manufacturing and expansion

The 1960s were marked by production capacity build-up while the the line of plastic components was developed further. One prominent development was the launch of the ball valves, soon followed by the rst electric and pneumatic actuators.

Up until the mid 1960s, the times were dened by consistent technical innovation and product development. By systematically testing products, the design and dimensioning know-how was expanded and reinforced. Intensive efforts in the development of materials and processes led to valuable know-how that was invested in better quality products. Gating and casting techniques were also developed further with systematic test programs. The advantage of continual research and development is that machinery and molds become safer and the downstream processing equipment is also used more rationally. NEW JOINTING TECHNOLOGY Another chapter in the development history is dedicated to nding new methods of jointing. In search of easier adhesive jointing, GF developed the Type T adhesive, which was able to bridge the clearance between the pipe outer diameter and the tting socket. Under the aegis of GF staff, the diameter tolerances for PVC pipes were dened in the framework of international standardization

so that calibration-free cementing was practicable with this new material. In 1963 GF launched a new PCV ttings line, which rstly simplied and rationalized the work of installers and secondly rendered PVC piping systems safer to operate. With this new line of products, the GF PVC tting became more established in the market and the use of PVC pressure piping was promoted. At the beginning, GF produced the Type T adhesive itself. But as demand increased, a supplier had to be found. Ultimately, a license agreement with the Henkel company in Dsseldorf was reached, which meant that Henkel produced the adhesive according to our formulation and marketed it as well under the name Tangit. MARKET INTRODUCTION OF BALL VALVES In 1963 GF ball valves were introduced. The rm Chemtrol manufactured and sold their patented PVC ball valves in the USA. GF obtained the rights to redesign these ball valves for European use, to manufacture them in Europe and sell them under the GF brand. By the mid sixties, the product line comprised already 1,565 plastic ttings and valves. Over time, the Plastics department grew out of ttings development. The facilities were spread out in the whole Mhlental in Schaffhausen. In the mid sixties, the MF6 building was opened in Ebnat, Schaffhausen. The free ofce space and workshops there provided space for the growing Plastics department, so all the various units could be housed in close proximity under one roof: ofces, experiment areas, materials lab, product testing and pilot testing. Following the technical development phase at the start of the sixties, another expansion
Photo from a sales brochure for hard-PVC ttings and valves for plastic piping system construction, 1967.

phase began toward the mid sixties. Plastics had found increased acceptance and the image of a substitute material had gradually been shaken off. Plastics were gaining a foothold in more and more application areas. Market volume was growing rapidly. As a consequence, however, the demands made on the products and the product range were also on the increase. International sales were hampered by various trade barriers (customs) and national particularities. By actively working in national and international standardization bodies, technical barriers could be eliminated, but this was not always successful. Competition became erce at the

38

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

in England, together with the former pipe manufacturer Stewards & Lloyds. The purpose of this joint venture was to supply the British market with inch ttings, a new pusht socket system for PVC pipes and a newly developed compression joint for PVC and polyethylene pipes. Processes within the company and internationally were organized by standardizing data, production and test methods, as well as injection molds, gages and machinery. The exchange of information was furthered and multiple personal contacts eased the production transfer between the corporate companies. NEW PRODUCTS FOR AUTOMOTIVE AND CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES With a crew of eleven employees and four injection molding machines, as well as equipment for granulate manufacturing and the respective machining, testing, packaging and warehousing facilities, production started in Huntingdon in August 1966. When Stewards & Lloyds was nationalized in 1970, George Fischer Plastics Ltd. (GFP) was incorporated in the British Georg Fischer holding company. Marketing was delegated to George Fischer Sales. The increase in sales volume led to an increase in production, so that the warehouse had to be expanded in 1973/74. In 1976 new injection molded components were taken up in the product range. They had been developed in close cooperation with local and regional companies for the automotive and chemical industries. GFP reached the conguration level planned for this time

with 17 injection molding machines and a team of 58 employees. In 1983 a new product was added to the Huntingdon product range: the compact ball valve, which was mainly exported to the USA. OTHER STEPS IN EUROPE The staff for this rst foreign plant was trained at the main plant in Singen in preparation for their new assignment. In 1966 contact was taken up with the Italian competitor T.I.L. in Genoa, who was looking for a partner. In 1967 GF acquired a minority stake and by 1972 held a controlling interest in this rm. Also in 1967, together with the French piping manufacturer Pont Mousson, GF founded a joint venture, SOFIAPLAST, for plastic ttings production. Under the direction of GF, a factory was planned, constructed and equipped and in 1968 SOFIAPLAST in Boissy near Paris started operation. PRODUCTION START-UP IN SCHAFFHAUSEN In 1967 satellite production of plastic ttings was started at the engineering plant in Schaff hausen, as a supplement to the Singen plant; seven injection molding machines were in operation there. The products manufactured in Schaffhausen were primarily intended for EFTA countries. To get around the EFTA/EC tariff barriers, the same injection molds were used alternately in Singen and in Schaffhausen; these shuttle molds were shuttled over the border in Bietingen according to an appointed schedule. At this time, and not least because of the shortage of personnel in Schaffhausen, GFs attention

View of the production plant for plastic products, George Fischer Plastics Ltd., Huntingdon (GB), 1968.

regional and global levels. Sales organizations in the traditional area of malleable cast iron were expanded and a plastics sector was added. Sales bases in Belgium, Great Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden were enlarged. GF began producing regionally to overcome the various trade barriers and new foreign plants were set up. PRODUCTION START-UP IN ENGLAND In 1965 GF decided to build and operate a production plant for plastic ttings

1961

1961

1965

1965

Machinery at the Singen plant.

Plant oor of PVC ttings production in Singen.

Fittings made of hard PVC, soft polyethylene and polypropylene.

MF6 Plant, Schaffhausen.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

39

was called to the Prttigau region, a sleepy industrial location in Switzerland at that time. The community of Seewis was very interested in attracting industrial companies. As a result, a project was launched and in December 1969, the board of directors approved a credit for construction of a factory in Seewis-Pardisla in Prttigau. It would take another two years until production was up and running. GF had been having difculty establishing a common business policy with its partner Pont Mousson, so in 1969 the decision was made to dissolve the SOFIAPLAST company and operations and move the machinery to Schaffhausen. By liquidating SOFIAPLAST and taking over its machine park, Schaffhausen was able to increase its manufacturing capacity with the now thirteen injection molding machines. SOFIAPLAST equipment, which could not be integrated in Schaffhausen, was put into storage in anticipation of the new plant in Seewis. Another major step in 1966/67 was the development, production and market introduction of actuated valves and buttery valves. Ball valves with electrical and pneumatic actuation were supplied to customers for the rst time. Furthermore, a line of solenoid valves for smaller pipe dimensions was launched in association with the Brkert company.

Trade show booth of the Gtzelmann company, including a water treatment system with valves from Georg Fischer, 1969.

Removal of cast ridge in PVC ttings production in Singen, 1961.

1966

1967

1969

1969

Minority stake in Plastiline Inc., Pompano Beach, Florida, USA.

Sales pitch at the Sample Exhibition in Basel.

Connection options for a PVC tting.

Presentation of solvent cementing with Tangit at the Hanover Exhibition.

40

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

41

The 1970s
Period of more development

Georg Fischer expanded by founding its own sales companies in numerous countries throughout Europe. On the technical side, the SYGEF system made of PVDF, which was new in piping systems, was marketed together with the Symalit company.

and in 1975 PE tapping valves with electric heating mat. OPENING OF THE SEEWIS PLANT In March 1971 the new Seewis plant started production. As we already saw in the case of Huntingdon, the employees from the Grison region, 30 in number, received training in Singen and in Schaffhausen. Already in the year of opening, it became evident that the space would not be adequate to handle the production load and so the rst expansion phase went into planning. At the time of its 25th anniversary in 1996, after ve consecutive expansion phases, the Seewis plant employed 170 persons. Due to the enlarged capacity, production was transferred from Schaffhausen to the new production facility in Seewis. In another area, GF acquired 100 percent of the share capital of the Italian rm TIL in Genoa and concentrated the manufacture of PVC ttings there. DISTRIBUTION NETWORK GROWS IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS In the 1970s, GF went to work at expanding its distribution network in Europe. Sales companies were formed in several countries and these all had large storage capacity. In 1973 the sales network was expanded again and support points were opened in Albershausen (BRD) and another in Denmark and in Austria. In April 1978 a new central warehouse was opened in Herzogenburg, where the newly opened sales company for Austria was located. The start-up of the plastic valve production facility Plastic Systems Inc. in Santa Ana, later Tustin, California, represented a major expansion of business activities in the USA in 1974. This expansion went back however

In 1970 buttery valves, which had been developed in-house, were released for sale. These valves were machined from seminished products. A few years later, this line of valves was replaced by a new design for injection molding. The rst generation of diaphragm valves from 1959 was replaced in the early 1970s by a more robust redesign. Simultaneously, a series of actuators specially adapted to these valves was made available. EXPANDING THE LINE OF VALVES The valves product line was expanded in the mid seventies with cocks and valves for larger pipe dimensions. GF introduced ball valves built according to a revolutionary new design, large diaphragm valves and a stop valve. Feed pumps were also taken up as a commodity in the program. In 1970 GF introduced all-plastic PVC and PP diaphragm valves, in 1973 the pneumatically actuated diaphragm valve

Georg Fischer sales brochure for diaphragm valves in hard PVC and PP. Control mechanism and screw thread hermetically enclosed in plastic, 1971.

to the year 1966, when GF acquired a minority stake in Plastiline, Pompano Beach, Florida. And on another score, in 1976, the plastic ttings production rm APLACO was founded in Saudi Arabia together with the pipe manufacturer SAPPCO (Saudi Arabian Plastic Product Company). After three years of planning, building and outtting, the new plastic ttings company APLACO (Arabian Plastic Manufacturing Company Ltd.) was ofcially opened on December 16, 1979 with Federal Councillor Dr. F. Honegger and the Saudi Arabian Minister for Industry and Electricity, Dr. G. Algosaibi, present. Production started on

42

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Georg Fischer Plastics Ltd. in Seewis. The plant started production in Seewis, Switzerland in 1971.

Exhibition panel showing a GF Ball Valve Type 342, 1971. A product line extension of GF plastic components.

January 1, 1980. Operations management was initially recruited from Germany, England and Switzerland. A total of 70 employees from Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan were hired. The APLACO joint enterprise, in which SAPPCO, the largest plastic pipe manufacturer in the Middle East and GF were partners, produced mainly pipe connecting elements for water distribution, sewer systems and for domestic installations. Among these were, for instance, cementable ttings, push-t ttings with rubber gaskets for pressurized water pipes, ttings for waste

water lines as well as piping accessories. APLACO was considered a model plant in Saudi Arabia. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Industry awarded the company rst prize for Safety in Operations and for an exemplary organization and maintenance. One of the larger projects carried out in the following years was the new building for the Swiss Embassy in Saudi Arabia. In 2004, GF sold its stake in the APLACO to the other shareholders. This sale, however, had no effect on the good cooperation between the two companies. APLACO continues to

distribute Georg Fischer piping systems in Saudi Arabia. All these activities in the 1970s were conducive to making GF a market leader in plastic piping system construction for numerous submarkets such as plant engineering for the food and beverage industry, photography industry, electroplating, porcelain and ceramics industry, metal processing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, mining, textile industry, refrigeration as well as gas and water supply and waste water neutralization, which are especially important for

1970

1973

1977

1977

Exhibition booth at Europlastique 70 in Paris.

Employee tests ttings in a long-term creep test.

Plastic ttings installation at the Plastic Pipe Association trade show.

Training course on installation of plastic pipes with Saudi Arabian participants.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

43

Production site of SAPPACO in Saudi Arabia, 1978. Together with GF, SAPPACO set up a joint venture called APLACO.

Assembly of hard-PVC ball valves in Singen, 1970.

infrastructure and environmental protection. Concerning technological developments, GF was offered a new material for piping systems by the Solvay company: polyvinylidene uoride (PVDF). Thanks to its high strength, and more importantly its purity, and good temperature resistance (over 100 C), this material was ideal for GFs purposes. NEW MARKET SEGEMENT PVDF was rst used in the chemical processing industry for aggressive chemicals. The breakthrough for this pure material

came when it was implemented in the semiconductor industry to transport ultra pure water for chip production. Following intensive market research, Georg Fischer came to the conclusion that the market required complete piping systems. Together with their partner, Symalit, the SYGEF system was developed and marketed. However, there were a few unfortunate turn of events during this time as well. For example, a second system of PVC ttings for swimming pool construction and agriculture, the so-called Blue Line was a op.

Though, interestingly, the only difference to the standard program was the blue color instead of grey. GF pulled the Blue Line off the market. An important step in piping system automation was taken at the end of the seventies, early eighties. GF began selling sensors and controllers manufactured by the Signet company in the USA. In 1987 Signet Scientic, El Monte, California/ USA, was acquired and integrated into the corporation.

1977

1978

1978

1979

Actuated valves assembly in Schaffhausen.

Interior view of the TIL plant in Genoa.

Project study for the PVC gate valve.

Georg Fischer PSI Tustin, California, USA.

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

45

The 1980s
Consolidation

Highlights of the 1980s: the new installation system INSTAFLEX, a joint venture in Japan and the start of the Schaffhausen-Singen restructuring project, through which plastic production was removed from the dustladen foundry environment.

gate valves in practical use and report their ndings and recommendations for improvement back to GF. The sample systems were subjected to extreme conditions, in aggressive soils and with high ow velocity and half-closed gates and they all passed the tests. This new PVC gate valve system presented GF with the opportunity of pressing forward in the water distribution market. NEW MARKET IN FAR EAST On the occasion of a joint press conference at the end of March 1982 in Osaka, representatives from GF and KUBOTA announced the cooperation between the two companies in the area of plastic valves and that these products would now also be sold in Japan. This represented a rst step toward the goal of tapping into Far Eastern markets, specically the Japanese market. Several years earlier, management had identied the need to get GF products into the Asian markets and in particular Japan. Talks with Japanese rms soon commenced, but the ndings were that neither licensing nor sales via a large Japanese trading house were viable alternatives for GF. The idea of founding our own company in Japan was also dispelled. In 1980 the decision was made to work together with KUBOTA Ltd., a traditional rm with a good reputation founded in Osaka in 1890 and with a diversied structure similar to GFs. A cooperation agreement was concluded with KUBOTA, the most important points being that the Japanese partner had exclusive rights pertaining to the sale of GF plastic valves in Japan. At a later date, a joint venture was formed in which GF owned 50 percent of the shares. The original intention was not only to sell the product range, but also to manufacture in situ. A great many details had to be claried

The markets for plastic components developed positively during the 1980s and more metals were being substituted with plastics. But the competition wasnt resting on its laurels either. Local manufacturers were becoming stronger and so the price and margin pressure increased. GF asserted itself mainly in the industrial piping sector. By acquiring Signet in the USA, the product range was complemented with measurement and control technology, thus contributing to the automation of products. NEW SYSTEM FOR DOMESTIC INSTALLATIONS In 1982, a plastic system made of crosslinked polyethylene (VPE) for domestic installations was introduced. This VPE was replaced by polybutene (PB) in 1987 and offered throughout Europe under the system name of INSTAFLEX. From spring 1980 to November 1981 GF conducted so-called market testing prior to launching a new product. Thirty-ve leading water utility rms in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands agreed to test 300 plastic

Front cover of a sales brochure for the SYGEF Gielle System made of PVDF, 1982.

with KUBOTA before and after conclusion of the contract. Once the Japanese line of products was established, all the products had to be adapted to the Japanese standards (JIS). Other business aspects had to be adapted to the local customs as well, such as product identication, packaging, installation instructions, etc. A two-week training course for KUBOTA personnel was held in Osaka to prepare for the sales and marketing activities. The preparation phase did not only serve to clarify technical issues. During the lengthy negotiations in Osaka and Schaffhausen it was also a matter of adapting to the different mentality and business practices. In 2001,

46

GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

less than 2,000 plumbers were trained in 42 courses held in Switzerland. PIPE-IN-SLEEVE PRINCIPLE Installation of the INSTAFLEX system followed the pipe-in-sleeve principle, which is a water-conveying pipe inserted in a protective outer pipe. This system enables replacing pipes and connections without difculty. A exible plastic pipe made of cross-linked polyethylene was used for the conducting pipe. The corrosion resistance of this system is a particularly noteworthy feature because of the increasingly aggressive water (chemical additives, such as chlorine) being used. But there were setbacks in the eighties as well. The berglass-reinforced ttings program, which had been costly to develop, proved to be uneconomical to manufacture and was discontinued for reasons of lack of market conformity. On the other hand, the semiconductor market began to boom. GF was a supplier of choice to the semiconductor industry and the SYGEF plastic system could be found in many locations in the Silicon Valley. GFs success is often attributed to their excellent customer focus, an example of which was the new, innovative bead and crevice-free (BCF) fusion technology, developed especially for high purity applications. Toward the end of 1987 corporate management in Schaffhausen proceeded with the Schaffhausen-Singen reorganization project. The goal was to strengthen the position of both locations, streamlining business activities and disentangling the various redundant

Topic of this sales talk is the ball valve type 346, 1981.

CAD work station, 1985.

Georg Fischer increased the share in the Joint Venture from 50 to 81 percent. The new GF branch, Plastic Sanitary Installations, introduced the INSTAFLEX piping system to Swiss professionals in the trade in the fall of 1982; this new installation system represented a major technological step in the eld of sanitary installations. The basic element of the INSTAFLEX system was a exible plastic pipe for hot and cold water distribution. This opened the door to plastics in many drinking water applications, which were previously reserved for metal

materials (copper and steel) since there hadnt been any plastics until that time which would satisfy the requirements from a technical and nancial perspective. There were numerous new application areas for this installation system. It was primarily used for multistory distribution in single and multiple-family homes, as well as for refurbishment of old buildings. The people who were to work with this new installation system, namely plumbers and tters, received instruction in a series of courses: between fall and winter 1982 no

1980

1980

1982

1982

Strain measurements on a diaphragm valve type 314.

Plastic fusion machine type SG 225.

SYGEF product range with manual and actuated valves.

The rst truckload of GF valves leaves the Kubota plant in Sakai.

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

47

First robot (injection molding machine) in the Singen plant, 1987.

Electric actuators in a test apparatus, 1987.

processes that had taken root; additional goals were to increase productivity and to upgrade production and logistic capacities. Distribution was concentrated in Schaffhausen and production removed from the foundry environment in Singen. The concept included consolidating production in Schaffhausen through business reengineering and implementation of state-of-the-art production technology. It was managements intention to remove plastics production from the dust-laden environment of the foundry, as an increasing number of customers were de-

manding purity in the manufacture of products for their specic applications.

1983

1984

1989

1989

Case with selection of Instaex products.

Study of long-term stress on a plastic gate valve under pressure.

Handling of BCF fusion machine.

Installed PVC gate valve with split coupling.

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS

49

The 1990s
Trend toward customer focus

The signs of the 1990s were acquisitions and strengthening of Georg Fischers position in Asia. And with George Fischer Sloane a production facility was established in the USA.

After the economic slump which took place at the end of the 1980s, business began to pick up in the early 1990s. The streamlining of structures within the Piping Systems Group continued and was beginning to show results. In 1991 Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd. was created as the parent corporation of the then 46 sales companies and representative ofces around the world. Another project was the extensive renovation of operational facilities, which was completed by 1994. In Schaffhausen, a new plastics production plant, a distribution center, test laboratory and technical competence center were built, while plastic production in Singen was shut down. NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER Closely connected to the production facility in Schaffhausen which started operation in 1990 was the laboratory building built at the same time with test labs, ofces for central testing, quality and standardization as well as the test facilities and

Certicate of the Swiss Association for Quality Assurance for ISO 9001, 1992.

prototype workshops of the development departments. Also undertaken at this time was the construction of the new distribution center. Both these facilities opened in 1991. The construction and operation of the distribution center in Schaffhausen deserves special mention. When completed, it served all the customers located throughout Europe. The distribution center consisted of a highbay warehouse with storage space for 20,000 pallets and a small-parts warehouse with 34,000 containers and premises for picking and assembly of customer orders. Clean room production in the Schaffhausen plant

was another addition that followed in 1994. By modernizing the production facilities and infrastructure, the conditions were met for substantially expanding the product range, for processing the materials ABS and PE and thus forging ahead into the distribution systems and cooling technology markets. The product range was continually adjusted to satisfy customer requirements. Larger dimensions were in high demand and the development of larger sized ttings and valves was next on the agenda. In 1996, the Piping Systems Group was divided into market-oriented units. The

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GF PIPING SYSTEMS: 50 YEARS OF KNOW-HOW IN PLASTICS

Distribution Center (DCS) in Schaffhausen, 1991.

International advertising campaign 1991 to 1993 with the motto Learning from nature.

separation into units for adhesive jointed and fusion jointed plastic piping systems made it possible for the company to focus even more closely on customer requirements. As a result, a new butt fusion system in PP and PVDF with a new infrared fusion technology was developed as well as solvent cement jointing for ABS and PVC-C systems. At the same time, several product redesign projects were launched. For example, in 1994 a new electrofusion system for gas and water distribution, ELGEF Plus, was brought to market.

The rst production facility actually in the USA was acquired in Little Rock, Arkansas, the R&G Sloane Manufacturing Company and with this acquisition Georg Fischer Sloane Inc. was founded. This company with a staff of 200 employees soon ascended to become the second largest production company of the Piping Systems Group. At the end of the 1990s more companies joined the Group. In 1998 and 1999, Alprene S.r.l. in Bologna (Italy), DEKA GmbH in Dautphetal-Mornshausen (BRD), Tecno Plastic S.p.a. in Busalla (Italy) and

Wavin AG in Subingen (Switzerland) were purchased. Moreover, in 1999 the company Schwab Sanitr-Plastic GmbH in Pfullingen (BRD) was taken over. All these companies are active in the market with ttings, valves and pipes and they have their own production facilities. The acquisition of these rms consolidated GFs market position in specic regional markets and supplemented the overall product range. Also in the year 1998, production was taken up in the economic boom town of Shanghai, supported by a local sales company.

1990

1991

1992

1994

Quality control at the Seewis plant.

Resistance tests at the in-house lab in Schaffhausen.

Introduction of infrared fusion technology.

ELGEF Plus made of PE 100 comes on the market.

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51

At the Settimana della comunicazione dimpresa, the campaign was awarded third prize in the category Business-to-Business Communication in 1993.

Clean room manufacturing was set up in the Plastics Plant in Schaffhausen in 1994.

GROWTH IN ASIA In the context of Georg Fischers commitment to bringing its piping systems to the rapidly growing Asian market and utilizing the business environment for local production, GF concluded a joint venture agreement with Trenton Investments Co. Ltd. in Mumbai (Bombay), India, in 1996. This joint venture focused on the manufacture and sale of piping systems. George Fischer Trenton Ltd. started its operations in the summer of 1996. Simultaneously, Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd. opened representative ofces

in Manila and Melbourne to support its marketing activities in Southeast Asia and Oceania. These new locations contributed to Georg Fischers presence in Southeast Asia, where strongholds had been set up in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea together with local independent distributors in the 1980s. 2003 Georg Fischer sold the shares in George Fischer Trenton, but remained present in India with a Branch Ofce. Expansion in the Asian market culminates in 2000 with the participation in the joint venture Chinaust, Zhuozhou City, China.

1995

1996

1998

2000

Feedstock distribution at the Plastics Plant in Schaffhausen.

George Fischer Sloane, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.

Start of production in Shanghai, China.

Headquarters of Chinaust in Zhuozhou City, China.

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The new millennium


Tapping into new market segments

The turn of the century ushered in a cyclical economic slump, which affected the business of GF Piping Systems, as it did many other companies. GFs response was to review its strategy and invest along the entire value added chain, from product development to logistics.

the voice of the customer in the development process of new products and thus develop products clearly oriented to the market requirements. REVISING THE STRATEGY The GF Piping Systems Group is composed of over fty companies, of which many have been acquired in the last ten years. This diversity was unquestionably identied as a strength, but at the same time it was noted that the full synergy potential was not being tapped. In reviewing the strategy of GF Piping Systems, combined with market surveys, it was evident that GF Piping Systems excels in many points for example, regarding quality, reliability, internationality. When considering customer focus and being fast to market with new products, room for improvement was found. The outcome of the strategy discussion was that a better balance between the different business activities had to be realized: in other words between the more cyclical industry business, the seasonal utilities business where the market share is already high and the less cyclical building technology applications. Simultaneously, a clear commitment to the three areas was necessary. Another consequence was the desire to achieve a better geographical sales volume distribution, i.e. a distribution which would be proportional with the developments in world markets. REAPING THE FRUITS In fact, GF Piping Systems displayed an astounding pace of innovation. With Cool-Fit a pre-insulated system for efcient transport of cooling liquids and the iFIT system a push-t system for building technology

The turn of the century was marked by an economic slowdown and many industries suffered the consequences when the bubble of the new economy burst. True, the business year 2000 closed with positive results, but GF Piping Systems felt the effects of the aforesaid developments as well. A stagnating market in Germany a major sales area , the drastic downturn in the semiconductor industry and a reluctance to invest in large infrastructure projects were the challenges facing the company. PURPOSEFUL ORIENTATION During this slump, programs were set up at all levels of the rm to improve efciency, for example in the area of supply chain management and logistics. In 2003/2004, the PVC production was concentrated in Schaffhausen, the plants in Huntingdon and Genoa shut down. Furthermore, the market segment concept was pressed ahead with and the necessary internal structures created. The purpose behind these efforts was and is to incorporate

The mission statement of GF Piping Systems reads: We are dedicated to designing, manufacturing and marketing piping systems for the safe and secure conveyance of liquids and gases.

two outstanding product innovations were successfully launched and positively received by the market. Added to this, a new buttery valve and a new generation of ball valves were brought to market. On the other side, GF Piping Systems divested in areas that did not t in with the new strategy. Thus, Georg Fischer Pipe Jointing Technology in Singen was sold at the end of 2005 and GF Schwab AG, Pfullingen, in March 2006. Adjusting the portfolio, updating the product mix and improving logistics are investments aimed at strengthening the position of GF Piping Systems.

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The Plastics Department


Interview with Dr. Ernst Hofmann

Dr. oec. Ernst Hofmann was head of the Plastic Products Department from 1975 to 1984, prior to that general secretary of corporate management and from 1984 to 1992 a member of the Executive Committee. Here he recollects his experiences in the plastics business at Georg Fischer.

INTERVIEW: HEIKE BAZAK

Dr. Hoffmann, how was the production of plastic components organized in the beginning and how did it change in later years? It was Dr. h.c. Ernst Mller, a delegate of the board at that time, who laid the foundation for todays Piping Systems Group in the early 1950s. He recognized early on the potential of plastic as a substitute material for cast iron, especially the malleable cast iron tting. So he instructed the department head of Malleable Iron Fittings, Director Carl Zehnder, to nd out what the prerequisites for the technical development, processes, materials, manufacture and sales markets were for plastic ttings. The team of pioneers, which included Paul Thiriet, development manager for malleable cast iron ttings, Erich Guldener, mechanical engineer and future head of the Materials Department, Dr. Rudolf Merz, chemist and later head of Materials

Dr. Ernst Hofmann: True, in the beginning, the exuberance of the Plastics Department was often smiled at, but the new department was never belittled.

Development, assumed responsibility for this area within the Malleable Iron Fittings Department. Josef Brunner, sales manager for Malleable Iron Fittings Germany and also subsequently sales manager for the entire plastic components area, joined the team shortly thereafter. It was already during the rst half of the sixties that plastics and the activities surrounding them assumed a separate existence. In effect, they grew into their own niche, shaking off their originally intended function as a small supplementary product line adjacent to the malleable cast iron tting. They ventured into new markets, expanded

into valves, and production was centralized at a plant in Singen. Christian Moser was appointed to be in charge of the newly formed department. He mainly took on the business and calculatory aspects. In 1975 I became department head and in 1985 Martin Huber, currently the chairman of the board of the Georg Fischer Corporation, took over the department, into which the metal ttings business was also integrated. When Martin Huber was named CEO in the early nineties, responsibility for the organizational unit Piping Systems, which had in the meantime grown into a corporate division, was delegated to Urs Werner and

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hierarchy levels, were invited to attend these meetings. In retrospect, I would say that we had a very modern management style already back then. What was the relationship like between the Plastic Products Department and the more metal-oriented company? In the 1950s, Georg Fischer was a rm of foundries and machinery works. The plastic components business developed in the lee of these two main activities. True, in the early years, the exuberance of the employees working in Plastics was often smiled at, but the new department was never belittled. Management was always prepared to make the necessary investments, even in the difcult years for the economy between 1974 and 1985. During those years, the sustainable success of the new branch of business started to show. When the company was restructured in 1990 and the focus was placed on a limited number of core activities, plastic products nally made the breakthrough. And I think, one could say that from then on they became the essence of the Piping Systems Group. Who made the strategic decisions, for example in regard to product launches? Until the mid 1980s, the operative units at Georg Fischer had a great deal of autonomy. Targets, orientation and tempo were left to the discretion of the unit managers, with only a few exceptions. But mind you the results had to be satisfactory. As long as the expectations of general management were met, there was no intervention. Our results were usually quite good! The introduction of new products in what were mostly new applications and new market segments was always a matter of teamwork. Material, injection molds, production processes, sales markets, everything had to be just right for a new product launch. Strategy meetings, even when they ran under a different name, were held at least once a month. Progress checks for important projects naturally took place much more frequently. All the involved employees, from all Why is it that the Plastics Department was always so protable? The results were satisfactory and not subject to a lot of uctuation. However, I would like to mention two distinct points: On one side, the young department beneted for a long time from the marketing and distribution system of the malleable cast iron ttings. Our own research and development was unique in the industry for many years, so that we were always a step ahead of the competition. An example: The adhesive still used today for PVC joints was developed in our rm and also patented by Georg Fischer. Futhermore, the signicant contributions we made toward international standardization of plastic pipe tolerances was highly acclaimed in professional circles and generated a lot of condence in our expertise. We were the market as well as the price leader in the installation technology segment for many years with our products.

Ofcial opening of the Plastics Sales Center in Albershausen in 1973.

shortly afterwards to Jrg Krebser. Today, Yves Serra holds the fate of the GF Piping Systems Group in his hands. The organizational structure followed the departments growth. From the beginning until about 1970, the functional principle dominated, in other words, an organizational division according to material and product development, mold construction, manufacture, sales, customer service, administration. Afterwards, there was a division according to product groups, pipe jointing and valves, the latter again divided into manual and automated valves. But after a few more years, there was a gradual shift to a market segment conguration, across nearly all the functional areas. The restructuring of the organization was undertaken to be able to respond more exibly to the actual market requirements. Of course, this is only a short summary of all the changes and adjustments made over the years.

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On the other side, the department did much preliminary work over decades in product development, mold preparation, warehousing and marketing. Plastics processing is very capital-intensive. High investment costs cause high calculatory interest and high depreciation. A great deal of effort and creativity was necessary for the proceeds to keep pace with the rising costs. But on the whole, maintaining the cutting edge in regard to know-how was and still is more important than achieving maximum prot. In this respect, might I add, the corporate management of the time was always very understanding. How about sales and export for Georg Fischer plastic products, what were they like? The sale of products took place, just like for malleable cast iron ttings, through our own sales companies, which supplied a very wide network of distributors, who in turn supplied the end users. This sales channel is in my opinion too long. Technically skilled eld sales representatives were necessary to advise customers and especially to support them in the application of our new products. These employees were able to pick up on the requirements of our customers and report them back to the developers. The Plastics department also had to make special expenditures for marketing, which was not the case in other areas of the company. This was especially true for establishing products in the market. The rst eld ofces were created in Germany, in Singen, and then later in Albershausen and Mettmann. Since at that time products were only being manufactured at the Singen Plant, the German subsidiaries were located, so to speak, in the domestic market. Almost at the same time, a sales department was opened at the headquarters in Schaffhausen, and the existing sales networks of Georg Fischer sales companies in Paris, Milan, London, later in Epe in the Netherlands, in Brussels, Madrid, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm integrated. The internationalism of the business was matter-of-fact from the start.
Opening of the central distribution warehouse for Plastics in Schaffhausen in 1983. Ernst Hofmann (left) is symbolically presented with the key. Exterior view of George Fischer Plastics in Huntingdon, United Kingdom, in 1966.

In the 1970s, the rst forays overseas took place. In 1974 Plastic Inc. was founded in California, mainly for the sale of valves. From 1976 to 1979 Plastic Corp. in Texas sold PVDF components. And we also tried our luck in Japan. In the 1980s, other Asian sales ofces were added. Today, GF Piping Systems has 25 sales companies and additional representative ofces, with which they work closely, throughout the world. What was decisive in choosing the location of the production sites? What were the reasons for setting up subsidiaries, entering joint ventures and investing in cooperations? In the rst expansion phase which took place in the late sixties (1965 to 1969) the production companies for plastic products were located in Huntingdon (UK), Genoa (I) and Seewis (CH). At that time, there was an extreme shortage of skilled labor. The urgently needed increase in production capacity had to be found in new places.

There were cooperations in the 1970s and 1980s and subsidiaries were founded, but it wasnt until the 1990s that there was a large wave of expansion. Of course, there are many factors involved in the choice of a production location besides the employment aspects. Having a production site in important markets has always been and still is a good sales argument. This has proved to be true in most cases. Thank you, Dr. Hofmann, for this informative interview.

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My job was my hobby


Materials developer and inventor of Tangit

Dr. Rudolf Merz was employed in materials development at Georg Fischer from 1955 to 1992. He was instrumental in the development of Tangit, the gap-lling plastic adhesive for PVC-U. Today, modications of this special adhesive are also used for CPVC and ABS.

Fifteen years after retiring, Dr. Rudolf Merz continues to be interested in the progress of plastics at Georg Fischer, the history of which he helped to write.

INTERVIEW: CLAUDINE SAURER

Dr. Merz, when you began at Georg Fischer in 1955 you were involved in the development of plastic products. How did this come about? When I applied for employment at Georg Fischer, I had a degree in chemistry from the Federal Institute of Technology where I had written my dissertation on metallurgy. So it was actually quite surprising for me to receive a job that involved working with plastics. But I was very glad to take on this challenge. I made my hobby my job. I had always enjoyed working in a laboratory and it was particularly gratifying for me to go out into the eld and see how the materials were being used that I had helped to develop.

What exactly were the challenges that you faced at your new place of work? My rst few weeks at Georg Fischer were extremely hectic. It had already been decided that Georg Fischer would unveil the rst PVC tting that year at the Plastics Trade Show in Dsseldorf. So I worked at least 100 hours, of which twice 24 hours around the clock, during my very rst week at Georg Fischer. And we did it! Our rst PVC tting, a tee 50, was launched in Dsseldorf. In addition to this tting, we had a prototype series of plastic ttings that we presented at this venue. It consisted of a product range of 54

articles each for solvent cement and threaded connections. It is perhaps worth mentioning that we initially concentrated only on ttings and hadnt planned to manufacture pipes at the beginning. We were interested in developing the right compound as well as the jointing technique. In other words, we tried to nd the right mixing ratio of the plastic granulate so that our ttings would satisfy our requirements, i.e. ssures were not permitted, the parts had to be resistant to pressure and, of course, durable. The rst test tting was manufactured on a plunger-type injection molding machine and an extruder. At rst, we had two, later

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Tangit Special cement for PVC has been produced in licence by Henkel since 1964.

three injection molding machines. A sausage shape was formed on the extruder, which was then pressed into a tube. The plunger was forced through it, thus forming the tting. What did your job at Georg Fischer involve? My job was to develop materials so that they could be implemented in piping systems. We looked closely at the specic properties of the materials, at the processing and jointing techniques. I acquired the necessary plastics theory bit by bit from Professor Hopf at the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. My scope of duties furthermore included materials processing technology, applicationspecic support in regard to the type of media, as well as standardization. Up until then, there were no predened tolerances for pipe diameters; naturally it was in our interest to specify these and to eliminate technical barriers. Georg Fischer contributed signicantly to the ISO standards. This also relates directly to the jointing technology, namely solvent cementing. Without universal

norms and standards, it is impossible to realize good joints between pipes and ttings. Joints are only acceptable when the surfaces are ush with one another. In the sixties, the company you worked for was strictly metal-oriented. How did you feel about working in this environment as a plastics man? The material was new territory for a company that was renowned for its work with metal. At the beginning, we were smiled at condescendingly. The metal acionados assumed that plastic was just a passing fad and wouldnt be around for long. But there were already people in the company, especially in the upper echelons, who were convinced that this was the right track. One of them was Ernst Mller, then general manager, who felt that a new era was in the making. Those were the economic miracle years. Many industries couldnt use metal pipes for mass production anymore. To give you an example, if you convey carbonated beverages through a metal pipe, it will corrode. The

beverage becomes contaminated and has a metallic taste. The solution was to use plastic pipes and connections. The signs of the time were literally pointing to plastics. The rst research and tests took place in 1952. I entered the eld in 1955. Teamwork was extremely important if you wanted to make progress and it was our ticket to success. We had specialists in process development, design engineers, toolmakers and myself, a chemist, in the department. We started out modestly. We had a small operation with an injection molding machine, located under what was then the cafeteria in Mhlental. Pipe extrusion was a familiar process, but injection molding for ttings was something totally new. We did our rst experiments in the washhouse with blackened windows. It was a very secretive affair. PVC experienced a real boost after the Plastics Trade Show in Dsseldorf. The demand for hard-PVC ttings increased rapidly. Several shifts were required for pilot production in our test room. It was therefore decided in 1956 to start moving production of PVC ttings to a factory in Singen am Hohentwiel. In 1957 the new factory took up operation. But research and development stayed in Schaffhausen. In the mid sixties, MF6 (Machine Factory 6) was opened in Schaffhausen. We found a new home there in some free ofces and on the workshop oor. Finally, the ofces, experimental area, materials laboratory, product testing and testing workshop were located in the same building and we were able to work together more effectively. What is the story behind the development of the Tangit adhesive for PVC-U? The jointing of hard-PVC pipes was not resolved to our satisfaction. Although we did have threaded connections, the main jointing method from the beginning was solvent cementing. We also manufactured threaded ttings, but for the notch-sensitive material PVC, this jointing technique was not very suitable. There were plastic adhesives on the market when we began. These were based on a solution that has been prohibited since then because of its toxicity. But the so-called con-

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tact adhesives required a great deal of time and tools to achieve precise joints. At that time, the tolerances of pipes to ttings were such that it was difcult to get the close t necessary for this type of cementing. So we started to search the market for a gap-lling adhesive. The United States were considered pioneers in this eld in those days. American pipe manufacturers actually did produce their own adhesive, but in the long run it didnt meet our expectations. That is why Georg Fischer started working on a solvent for PVC themselves. We did some test series with a variety of solvents and we simultaneously did toxicology studies. Finally, we found an ether-like solution. Since an adhesive shouldnt be too volatile, we mixed three different solvents and added PVC powder to this mixture. This gave the adhesive a good consistency so it could be applied like a paste. Tests on this rst adhesive showed very good results. The adhesive is capable of bridging a certain clearance between the pipe diameter and the socket tting. It therefore fullled our criteria exactly: adhesive jointing without calibration. At the beginning, we produced the adhesive ourselves. The next step was to nd a company to produce this adhesive under license for Georg Fischer, since we were not in a position to produce large volumes. For the rst few years, we worked together with Stamm (today forbo stamoid in Eglisau). But when the volume became too large for Stamm as well, we had to nd a new solution. We wanted a partner who could manufacture the adhesive in large volumes, possessed the specic know-how and who had access to a very good distribution network. We found a partner in the Henkel company in Dsseldorf; they were already a prominent rm in the eld of adhesives and complied with all our specications. We have had a license agreement with Henkel since 1964, and it is still in effect today. This is quite an achievement in todays fast-changing world. The name Tangit, by the way, originates from the Latin word tangere, which means to touch. The literal translation of Tangit would then be he, she, it touches. A very tting name for a jointing technology, I think.

Taken from a slide show dating back to 1969, where the application of Tangit is being demonstrated.

Plastic piping systems in a long-term creep test under internal compression in 1957.

You have been retired since 1992. Does Georg Fischer still gure in your life occasionally? Naturally, as a pensioner, I receive information on the company and invitations to attend certain events. I also contacted Georg Fischer Building Technology several years ago when I wanted to install INSTAFLEX myself for the plumbing in my house on the Lago Maggiore. Michael Bamberger was very helpful and gave me lots of advice. Just before my retirement, I traveled privately to Cameroon, where my daughter and son-in-law were working on a development project for the Basler Mission. During my visit, they were building a system to catch spring water. PVC pipes were being joined very easily without ttings. When I asked what they were using to join the pipes, they told me: Its called Tangit! Thank you, Dr. Merz, for this interesting conversation.

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We were a good team!


Plastic ttings developer of the rst hour

Erich Guldener worked for Georg Fischer from 1953 to 1991. During that time he was responsible for test engineering and process development. Until his retirement he was head of production coordination and responsible for the plants.

INTERVIEW: HEIKE BAZAK


Erich Guldener on a visit to the modern plastics plant of Georg Fischer Piping Systems in Schaffhausen.

Mr. Guldener, how was it that Georg Fischer, a classic foundry, began to manufacture plastic products in the 1950s? Theres an anecdote about that: In 1951, the Honorable Dr. Ernst Mller, who was a delegate of the board at the time, was traveling through Europe, procuring scrap metal for the industry. It is said that on the train he met Dr. Schaerer, the technical head of Symalit AG, a producer of plastic piping. The two started talking and Dr. Schaerer raved about plastic being the material of the future. After this encounter, the idea to use this versatile material in the production of ttings grew in Ernst Mller. Whether this encounter actually took place hasnt been conrmed. However, it is clear that in the 1950s Georg Fischer worked together with the Symalit company and kept in contact with Dr. Schaerer concerning questions about plastic. In addition, due to the massive shortage of steel after the war, they were dependent on substitute materials. The desire to reconstruct was strong and they had to nd alternatives to metal. Therefore, the time was ripe for plastic as a substitute material! For instance, in the chemical and beverage industries, metal pipes are not ideally suited because they corrode and can affect the taste. At that time, either lined pipes were being used or very expensive ceramic and glass pipes, which tended to break rather easily. An alternative to metal pipes and ttings was sorely needed. What followed after that? Ernst Mller gave the technical manager of the malleable cast iron ttings department, Director Carl Zehnder, the task of forming a project group to deal with introducing plastic ttings. A team made up primarily of developers was formed. Paul Thiriet was chief developer for malleable cast iron ttings, Anton Mnzer designer, Dr. Rudolf Merz chemist and future head of materials

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In order to gather knowledge and experience, testing facilities were an important permanent feature in the development of the new plastic ttings.

development, and I was a mechanical engineer and later corrdinating head of the manufacturing plants. Later, Josef Brunner joined the project team as sales manager for malleable cast iron ttings Germany and future head of plastic product sales. So the most important cornerstones strategy, development, testing, stock and sales were represented in the team, an essential prerequisite for developing and selling innovative and high-quality products. When the Plastics department was created, Christian Moser was named department head and taught us technicians some business management skills as well. When did you come to Georg Fischer and where did you acquire your knowledge about plastics? I started working for Georg Fischer in autumn 1953. At that time my knowledge was based on an application experience I had at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich my rst contact with PVC. It was similar for the others, so the technical team

had to start out by doing a lot of research. Our main task was to do development and testing, which we did ourselves in a secret lab in Mhlental. This included analyzing the possibility of plastics as a material, jointing technologies and even developing machinery for producing ttings. We took several study trips in Switzerland and abroad, and we evaluated the information we had gathered from courses at the Institute of Plastics Processing in Aachen in the 1950s. We visited plastics trade shows, among other the Plastics Trade Show in Dsseldorf in 1952 and the Chemical Engineering Expo in Paris in 1953. We traveled to Holland, Belgium, Germany and the USA and visited plastic manufacturers and scientic research facilities that were involved with plastics. In 1954, I personally attended a course at the Institute of Plastics Processing in Aachen that helped me considerably in my understanding of plastics and the related processing technology. At the same time, we made contact there with Dr. Henning, the tenured professor for plastics at the Institute. Gerhard Fuhrmann, who later became the plant manager in Singen, studied in Aachen. So we were able to bring in plastics expertise to the company early on and at the same time expand our know-how through our own efforts in the lab. The early years of plastic were the pioneering years. Concretely, what did your daily work consist of ? Let me rst say something about the qualities of the material. In 1953 hard-PVC was only conditionally injectable and therefore considered difcult to process. The compounds that were available were only suitable for extrusion. So it was essential to gather as much information as possible. We gained our own experience in the laboratory and kept in touch with other plastics specialists. We then put the pooled knowledge into practice in the lab. In this regard our long-term ow trials should be mentioned as they were a valuable source of information; they were carried out with hot and cold water, as well as compressed air, on hard-PVC, polyethylene and steel-clad PVC pipes. In 1953 we developed

the rst unions and adapter parts for PE pipes out of malleable cast iron. These unions were employed together with the Symalit company. After the trial phase at the beginning of 1954 we started our rst attempts at manufacturing plastic ttings using the injection molding process with the raw material BMC-11. The collaboration which had been initiated with the Netstal Machinery factory was expanded and after May 1954 led to the development and construction of an injection molding machine prototype for hardPVC. The Nestal factory always delivered very high quality machines. At the same time contact was made with Lonza AG in Basel to deliver hard-PVC raw material. Because of the trials we ran with the machines and the raw material, we gained insight into the most suitable forms from a technical point of view for injection molding. At the beginning, the results were not entirely satisfactory as the manufactured ttings and the piping that had been used in testing had not fullled the pressure requirements and were therefore not yet ready for marketing. One of the main problems was determining what the ideal compound was for injection molding. Together with Lonza we mixed several compounds and tried them out on the injection molding machine prototype. The combination of extruder and injection molding machine, connected by a joint control mechanism, proved to be unsuitable in practice. Eventually we found a solution in that we plasticized the PVC raw material mixture in the extruder and processed it into granules. The granulate was then preheated in an oven and processed into ttings in the injection molding machine, which in the meantime was no longer connected to the extruder. In 1955 a limited number of products for the test market were produced using this process. Besides this, we carried out further experiments with other plastics. At this point, I would like to commend Rudolf Merz for his contribution: he brought us a giant step forward with his compounding experiments. The demand for plastic products was so great and Georg Fischer ttings were so sought after that in 1956 it was decided to take

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advantage of their prominence and establish our own production site. In spring 1957 the production facility, where our malleable cast iron ttings were also manufactured, was opened in Singen, Germany. Production was equipped with new mixing and granulating machines as well as with piston injection molding machines, which were run by twelve operators. The Georg Fischer plastic products sold so well that by the end of 1957 thirteen injection molding machines, on which 600 models of PVC and PE ttings were being manufactured, were in operation. At the end of the 1950s the worm injection molding machine was introduced, which delivered considerably better product quality. Quality was, namely, one of the reasons for the great demand for our products. The 1960s were marked by massive sales of Georg Fischer plastic products. Germany was in a phase of reconstruction and needed good solutions at a good value, soon becoming the largest sales market for our plastic ttings. An almost unstoppable growth process was set in motion, with the result that no less than 54 injection molding machines were in operation by 1970. Under the management of Gerd Fuhrmann, the injection and production technology at the Singen plant was continuously developed, and all the factories that followed procured their know-how from Singen. Apart from developing the plastic ttings processing, you also searched for better jointing techniques. What did this endeavor entail? First, an optimal solution had to be found for the connection between plastic pipes and plastic ttings. Here, we were treading on unexplored territory. We worked on the three options: threaded connections that were already used for metal ttings, fusion and cementing. Rudolf Merz developed and I tested. This teamwork paid off in the jointing technology as well as in the compounding and processing technologies. We were really a good team. Rudolf Merz was absolutely amazing! He could identify the individual components in an adhesive just by using his nose.

The plastics pioneers at Georg Fischer worked according to the motto trial and error. Erich Guldener (second on the left) was responsible for test engineering and process development.

Carl Zehnder, Technical Manager of Malleable Iron Fittings, brought the Plastic Fittings project group together. He later sat on the board of the standardization commission for plastic piping.

Could you tell us something about Georg Fischers collaboration with ISO? When you manufacture products for the international market, you need norms. It was no different with our ttings. Up to that point, there was no specied pipe width, so it was almost impossible to determine a tting size that would be sure to t the plastic piping to be processed. Thats why Georg Fischer was so active in the collaboration and why they put special emphasis on standardization for piping. Carl Zehnder was on the board of the commission and smoothed the way for us; Rudolf Merz was in charge of the technical negotiations and I supported him in that. How did you personally experience the early years of plastics at Georg Fischer? During the early years, the work on plastic products at Georg Fischer was marked by the spirit of invention, the absolute determination to succeed and very good teamwork by everyone involved. This team spirit also continued into the following years, so that

almost everyone who had been involved with the substitute material in the early years remained true to plastic until their retirement. I can tell you that those years were some of the most productive years of my career. Thank you, Mr. Guldener, for this very interesting interview.

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Complete line of valves


Georg Fischer evolved rapidly from ttings manufacturer to system provider
During the 1970s Georg Fischer evolved from being a product supplier into being a system supplier with a comprehensive line of products and services. Bruno Hunziker helped shape this development from the R&D side and contributed also to the development of manual and actuated valves.

INTERVIEW: THOMAS OEHNINGER

Mr. Hunziker, what is a system provider and where did this concept originate? We determined at the end of the sixties that customers like procuring their solutions from one source and that if it was not possible to obtain complete solutions there was a chance the customer would switch to another provider. Looking back at the system concept from todays perspective, I would say that it was ideally implemented in the area of PVDF systems where we were able to offer all the components with the same specications from a very early stage. Today, we have a very broad product range in other materials as well and thus enable single sourcing for our customers. Things were different in the 1960s. At that time, we were just a ttings and valves manufacturer. 1966 marked the starting point for the development of actuated valves.
Bruno Hunziker, head of Engineering, came to Georg Fischer in 1967 as a technical designer and later became the head of Research and Development. He has been very involved in the development of valves.

Program 3, as it was referred to back then, focused on the development of electric and pneumatic actuators for our valves. Our department was called the Plastics Department. What was the signicance of plastic then and what image did it have? I remember well my colleagues calling me Plastics Bruno way back then. The material plastic still had a rather dubious reputation at that time because there were a lot of cheap plastic products around, which served more as an inferior substitute for more expensive

materials. The differentiation and further development of plastic to the high-performance plastics we have today took some time, of course. We too, in the piping business, had to rst acquire some experience with this material. At the beginning GF produced ttings, for example, made of polyamide and soft-polyethylene materials which are no longer used in industrial piping systems. Who were the main customers at that time? Our customers were usually plant engineers, and we can proudly say they still gure

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Another topic relevant to development at the time was expanding the product range to include larger dimensions. Georg Fischer was strong in the valves sector up to a nominal diameter of 50 millimeters. Above that, our product range was rather meager. But this was not a question of know-how. If you are able to injection mold large ttings which we were at the time , then you can also produce large valves. But for economic reasons, we only manufactured a small range of valves in the larger dimensions at that time since on the one hand the investments required for production equipment and molds were astronomical and on the other hand the sales gures were still rather modest. The increasing number of competitors meant that the cost pressure escalated perforce, whereas the demand increased at the same time as well. And this is where the economic advantages of plastic become evident, namely the fact that a nished part from an injection molding machine requires no further machining. Could you tell us something about the market in those years? Was Georg Fischer already globally represented as it is today? No. At the start of the seventies, Germany was by far our most important market. Of course, we sold our products in Switzerland and other European countries as well. Here and there, we were also able to tap into the American market. Our market presence in the USA was, however, by no means on an equal par with the potential of this market. This was surely related to the fact that the competition from local suppliers in the USA was erce and that the shipping costs alone rendered our products prohibitively expensive. I am referring to PVC products. In the area of the more costly PVDF products, the situation looked quite differently thanks to our good relationship with Intel and other semiconductor manufacturers. In this sector we were and still are very well positioned with our product range. What trends did you notice in R&D and what are the burning questions today?

Systematic innovation. The ball valve type 546 not only replaces the proven ball valve type 346 in its function, but also offers plant engineers and operators a system with many practical extension modules.

among our customers. One of the main topics of discussion in the early seventies was water treatment by means of ion exchangers and, most notably, the efforts of industry to automate more and more processes. That was the reason for developing actuated valves. What materials were primarily used then and what advantages did plastic offer? Besides the piping systems made of various metals, there were also rubberized and glazed pipes, especially for applications in which metal pipes were not suitable. Rubberized pipes and valves were especially popular at the time, but manufacturing them was an elaborate process. A cast part is lined with rubber bolsters and then vulcanized. These products were vulnerable at the spots that were not adequately lined because that is

where aggressive media could penetrate the coating. And you can imagine of course that this was a very expensive production process. PVC, in contrast, had a very good chemical resistance and in addition was available at an attractive price/performance ratio. It is highly suited for the injection molding process and therefore for series production as well. What challenges did you face in the 1970s in research and development? Besides actuators, all-plastic solutions were mainly sought. We were looking for solutions which would enable eliminating metal screws in an effort to prevent corrosion. The initial approach was to coat the metal parts with plastic. Only later when the materials were improved were we able to replace the metal screws with plastic alternatives.

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For years, the market has known and valued the Georg Fischer Diastar family of pneumatically actuated plastic diaphragm valves. These valves are utilized around the world in large quantities and enjoy the complete satisfaction of our customers.

The new buttery valves type 567/568 replace the type 367, which with a dimension expansion in 1999 were already successful in the market in 1982. At Achema 2006 the new models were presented to a broader public for the rst time.

Generally speaking, in addition to new generations of products that cover requirements for higher pressures and temperatures, priority was also given to reducing manufacturing costs. In order to be one step ahead of the competition, and not just from a cost viewpoint, we have introduced more functionality to our product design, for example, integrated status inquiry and feedback in the valves as a means of increasing plant safetey and the degree of automation. Innovation in this area is very important. And last but not least, the larger valve dimensions above 300 mm are also an issue. Development in this regard is tending toward multicomponent technology, sometimes also with metal reinforcement. In your opinion, what has been the most important development of Georg Fischer in the plastics business? The greatest milestone was simply entering the plastic production business. Much of what followed was for me a logical consequence and we advanced step by step to the high

level we are at today. An important step was, however, certainly the development of the PVC adhesion technology, to which Georg Fischer contributed greatly. This is of course from an insiders point of view. From external vantage point, substituting the heavy and corrosion-prone metal systems with plastic systems in plant engineering brought about a lot of changes. Without a doubt, the acceptance of PVDF as a material and the related bead and crevice-free fusion technology was another milestone because with these we were able to tap into the ultra pure water treatment sector for the semiconductor industry. To come full circle: You asked me at the beginning about the image of plastic in the sixties. Its image has changed dramatically since then; the word plastic is no longer used derogatorily, but instead represents a very interesting and diverse eld. Plastic has gained acceptance in numerous circles Im thinking of plant designers, engineers and operators. But there are still other areas in which we have to prove that plastic is worth its salt, compared to other metals especially stainless steel. GF Piping

Systems can furnish evidence of this proof of concept with diverse reference projects in the biotechnology sector: for instance, a very large project in ultra pure water treatment for Biocon in India. With such projects we are establishing our reputation, as well as that of plastic. Thank you kindly, Mr. Hunziker, for this interview.

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BCF Fusion Technology


Fusion welds without angles and edges

Felix Meier, Head of PMD Machines & Tools, Product Manager Fusion Machines (IR/BCF), has been with Georg Fischer for nine years. We talked with him about the development of BCF fusion technology and about jointing technology at GF in general.

INTERVIEW: HEIKE BAZAK

How long has GF Piping Systems been working with BCF fusion technology for plastic ttings and pipes, and who or what was the impetus behind it? In 1984 a project group began to examine the existing fusion processes with the goal of developing a fusion technology for high-purity applications. To get an idea of what a highpurity application calls for, let me give you a size comparison: The diameter of a human hair is about 30 micrometers; a bacteria is 3 to 5 micrometers long. The width of a microprocessor circuit path amounts to 0.16 micrometer. If you want to prevent bacteria or metal ions from building up on the inner surface of the piping, the pipe and tting joint must be absolutely smooth. So our challenge was to develop a fusion technology where the joint exhibits the same smooth surface quality as the pipe after fusion. Naturally the right materials for such an application had to be found. Suitable ttings

Felix Meier is head of Product Management and Development Machines & Tools and is also in charge of the worldwide certied welder training courses.

and even more important, the appropriate valves had to be developed. Because only a complete piping system can satisfy customer needs. Of course, the joint had to fulll the strength requirements, which for plastic piping are very high. This meant close to the basic resistance properties of the piping material itself. All these requirements were met in the development of the BCF system, so that by 1988 the rst prototypes were brought to the US market in order to gather feedback from customers and also to test the applicability of this revolutionary fusion technology.

What does BCF mean exactly, and what are the technical innovations behind it? BCF is the abbreviation for Bead and CreviceFree fusion. A special application of this type of fusion is found in the life science industry, where fusion joints that dont inuence the quality of the medium are required. That means high purity must be ensured; no deposits like biolm, microorganisms or rouging are permitted. The BCF system as a combination of fusion technology and our SYGEF and PROGEF Natural product lines is ideally suited for use in pharmaceutical and biotechnology applications. It is particularly

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The pipe in the photo above was cut open to illustrate the BCF fusion principle. The elastomer bladder presses against the pipe wall from the inside, preventing beads and crevices from forming.

The quality of the fusion weld can be inspected visually with a ashlight.

useful because the fusions dont exhibit undercuts or dead ow zones. The systems can be completely emptied according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines. The heating station and the elastomer bladder, which prevents a bead from forming in the pipe or tting, are the core elements of this fusion technology. The bladder is inserted into the pipe and then blown up using compressed air, which presses it against the inner wall. The joint therefore remains absolutely smooth. The bladder is constructed so that it can be withdrawn at the end of the process at a 90 degree angle. This gentle fusion process allows for tension-free welding without changing the structure of the material. And this results in high weld strength. Measurements verify the high surface quality, which means the fusion zone and the component surface are nearly identical. Seen under polarized light, a microtome section of a fusion weld is, in fact, almost invisible. The translucent SYGEF and PROGEF Natural material makes visual quality control from the outside

possible when the fusion process has been completed. Because the fusion process is fully automatic, the reproducibility is impressive. The rst fusion weld is just as good as the 80,000th. The construction design of the BCF fusion machines makes fusing in place possible, which is extremely important for these applications, since the fewer mechanical joints there are the better. We have also given attention to a functional and sensible design, which renders the machines very user-friendly. The BCF-Plus fusion machine has a chrome-steel workbench on rollers, which complies with all the requirements for clean room installation sites. The machine guarantees perfect fusion welds at room temperatures from 10 to 40 C. For it to be used in different countries, we have designed it to be independent of voltage restraints, in other words for 110 to 240 V. There are also eight user languages to choose from: German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Danish and Swedish. In the future, we even want to try to add pictograms, in

order to make it easier to understand in more countries. Which industries make use of this technology and for which media? These are primarily the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries as well as medicine: in particular, for high-purity reactants or substances, for metal-sensitive processes, for DI water (deionized water), for PW (puried water) and for WFI (water for injection). The food industry also needs piping systems that can transport highly corrosive media. It is important also that the system is neutral in taste. That means that the piping system may not inuence the taste of the food or base material, and it must be suitable for media of low to high viscosity. In the chemical processing industry aggressive media like hot or cold acids, leaching agents and solvents ow through the pipes. Especially here, where piping materials slowly reach their limits and all other fusion processes fail due to stress corrosion cracking, BCF fusion technology can be a viable alternative. And nally it is

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Production lines for critical biological media, constructed with SYGEF (PVDF) and PROGEF (PP Natural) piping systems.

The BCF-Plus fusion machine is perfect for on-site fusion.

used in piping systems for the semiconductor industry for pure and ultrapure media, as well as for CMP (chemical-mechanical polishing) with excellent resistance to aggressive and abrasive media. In fusion welds, transitions, beads and crevices must be avoided in order to ban potential sources of danger like crystallization. What distinguishes Georg Fischer from its competitors? We sell complete packages, which means we offer the products, the jointing technology and the training for the installation personnel. In addition, we take special customer requirements into consideration when we provide application support. We are able to do this because we set high standards for our employees. We carry out in-company training and continuing education, which foster such quality support. Our comprehensive range of products is coordinated to t the needs of the market. Longstanding experience in the construction and manufacture of pipes, ttings and valves

guarantees maximum quality and along with it utmost safety. For most media that ow through piping systems, quality and safety are of paramount importance, especially since a piping system is only as good as its weakest element. Besides that we have valve actuators, measurement and control technology, special parts and pre-assembled modules in our program. And even specic jointing techniques adapted to the respective systems. This is where BCF and IR (infrared) fusion technologies come in. What also makes us stand out, in my opinion, is our customer training, as well as the project and after-sales service provided locally. We offer our customers training for fusion, maintenance, installation and quality assurance. Our welder certicates are highly sought after and serve as a mark of quality. This is true especially in the USA, which is not like Europe where apprenticeship examinations are given that have been approved by chambers of commerce and industry, thus ensuring a certain standard of quality. So we are very proud of our certicates! Our machines, including service

packages, can also be rented worldwide. The logistics service to and from the installation site, the verication and machine maintenance performed before every rental, along with well-trained employees who continue to provide support locally, give us that distinctive competitive edge. Whenever theres a problem somewhere in the world, one of our experts is on the spot to nd a quick solution to the customers complete satisfaction. This is an approach that has worked out very well for us and for our customers. What else could we wish for? Mr. Meier, thank you for this interesting insight.

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Infrared for the highest demands


Contact-free fusion process for sterile and high purity applications
Jrg Wermelinger, Manager of Strategic Innovation Projects, has been with Georg Fischer for 22 years. He was on the project team that developed the IR fusion process and made it market-ready.

INTERVIEW: HEIKE BAZAK

Mr. Wermelinger, since when has Georg Fischer Piping Systems applied itself to the IR fusion technology? Early in 1990, to be exact in April 1990, we began developing the contact-free fusion technology. The goal was to launch the new butt fusion ttings successfully on the market. So, we wanted to offer a fusion process which would enable joining our PP and PVDF plastic pipes and ttings fast and reproducibly. This added benet was intended to encourage customers to switch to Georg Fischer. The contact-free approach, which basically means the pipe faces are melted via infrared radiation, has the great advantage of materials such as PVDF, whose melt is very adhesive, being much easier and much more sterile to process than with the conventional methods used to date. We were denitely the rst in the world to use the infrared fusion technology in the area of plastic piping systems for a wide range of dimensions (d20-225 mm). The development phase took only two years, whereby patents

IR fusion technology, which opened doors to new application areas and industries for GF Piping Systems, is the brainchild of Jrg Wermelinger.

were also created to safeguard the sizable development costs. IR as well as BCF are considered radical innovation steps, milestones in plastics technology. In July 1992 we supplied the rst machines of both types, IR 63 and IR 225. This happened at a time when the semiconductor industry was booming. The industry, then mainly domiciled in the USA, gladly availed itself of this technology. One could even say that the semiconductor industry wouldnt be what it is today without the IR fusion technology. Nowadays, this fusion process is used in many other industries as well. We were, at that time, nearly two years ahead of

the competition and were thus able to set the industrial benchmark which we have held until today with continual further developments. What is behind the IR technology and where is it utilized? In the infrared (IR) fusion process, the material in the fusion zone is brought to the melting point without contact via heat radiation. Subsequently, both of the parts to be fused, the pipe and/or tting, are joined exactly via the jointing path. This jointing path control makes it possible to achieve

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In highly engineered plants in the semiconductor industry, plastic piping systems from Georg Fischer ensure reliable processes. Thousands of IR fusion welds are a part of this assurance.

the reproduction accuracy of an automatic process with the IR fusion machine, which is controlled manually. For IR Plus, a further development of the original machine, an infrared sensor is additionally used to measure the fusion bead temperature and thereby determine the end of the fusion process. Due to this monitoring, the IR Plus fusion machines could be equipped with an extra cooling ventilator, reducing the cooling time by up to 60%. This represents, of course, a huge time savings and the customer benets from much shorter installation times without losing reproducibility. The result is that, similar to BCF, the 80,000th fusion is equally good as the rst. A word on the application area of IR technology: This technology is mainly used in clean room environments. In the manufacture of computer processors, where measurements are made in ppb, particles per billion reference particles, contact-free fusion offers the cleanest method of jointing. With so many fusion welds in a piping system, quality assurance is a very important aspect. Fusion beads identical in appearance are a

help here, as well as automatic logging of the fusion data and fusion weld identication on adhesive labels. The application areas for both IR and BCF are therefore mainly to be found in the high-end area. In other words, in the semiconductor industry, in life science and the chemical process industry. Besides the above mentioned qualities, such as purity and reproducibility, the IR fusion technology features another advantage: short fusion times. Fusion time has been cut in half, on average, compared to conventional butt fusion processes. It is therefore the fastest butt fusion process in industrial plastic piping systems construction today. That explains why other industries are also interested in using the IR fusion technology. Where does innovation for new products come from and how can these be established in the market? A market researcher recently told me the anecdote of Henry Ford, who said that if he had asked customers of horse-drawn

carriages what kind of improvements they would like to have, they would probably not have given a description of an automobile as the vehicle of the future. What this tells us is that the market does not always indicate what is needed in the future. For radical innovations, the ideas generally stem from R&D. This requires a bit more effort since customers have to be convinced of the usefulness and validity of the innovation. It is, however, at the same time more effective, as in our case, when we had a two-year jump on the competition. This means we have to stay on the ball or we may get left behind. This has led GF Piping Systems to create the post called Strategic Innovation Projects. When establishing products in the market, quality and service play a very important role. Both contribute signicantly to the success of a product, especially when we are dealing with a tool, such as the IR or BCF fusion machines, for manufacturing piping systems. We continually strive to deliver the best quality, but also to respond quickly when a problem arises. When indicated, our service staff can be on location very quickly. The failure rate on site for our BCF and IR technologies is, albeit, in the range of onetenth of a percent. So we can keep our promise of quality. Let us look briey at service performance: Besides after-sales service, we also offer service in the form of training courses, which we have developed especially for our customers. For example, we offer welder training courses, but also QC courses for the fusion process. QC stands for quality control, in this case it refers to users learning how to check the quality of the fusion weld. Customers are thereby able to benet optimally from the technology supplied by us. This generates customer loyalty and even more importantly trust in the Georg Fischer technology. Besides technology, quality and service, the design of a machine also plays a major role. Here we act consistently according to the maxim Form follows function. Although for the fusion machines the function is without a doubt the main priority, we consulted a design rm for the machine design. The ergonomics and appearance of the machine must be appealing, so that working

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with the machine is also appealing. There is a very simple reasoning behind this: If you enjoy working with a tool, the quality of your work will automatically be better. In addition, you identify better with the machine. Finally, GF brand recognition is crucial for us, and in this respect design and appearance are also major inuencing factors. Georg Fischer publishes a lot of technical documentation. Is there a particular reason for this? As previously mentioned, a pioneer in the market has to do a lot of convincing. Many decision-makers in the applications we target have an academic background. They therefore expect scientic facts in order to decide if this new technology makes sense for them. That is why Georg Fischer employees publish scientic articles in collaboration with renowned specialists. Furthermore, the scientic character of our publications demonstrates to customers that we are serious and have analyzed the ndings extensively. We are not just practicians, but are also interested in applied research. To signal this, it is necessary to speak the same language as the scientists and researchers in the companies. We prefer to do this with users in order to discuss the practical aspects and to create references. Articles in technical journals make new technologies and ndings known to a larger audience, which can actually lead to new applications. These technical publications are therefore a signicant communication platform for us. We want to be at the pulse of research and follow closely what is happening there. We continuously investigate if new technologies, which are still in the research stage and which could be trendsetting, are suitable for our purposes. By way of example, let me mention the microwave technology. We had already looked into this technology very carefully, but then came to the conclusion that it is not suitable as a jointing technology for our products. Nevertheless, we have to stay up-to-date or else we will miss the boat and our position as market leader. Being involved in science and technology for us means obtaining information early enough.

The semiconductor industry relies on the IR fusion technology in its new 300-mm wafer fabs.

IR 315 Plus with this IR fusion machine, pipes and ttings can be fused up to a diameter of 315 mm.

What are the new trends and has the sales market changed its requirements? We will probably still be using piping systems one hundred years from now. To formulate it somewhat pointedly: Wireless doesnt work everywhere! Since the mid 1990s, as far as I can judge, the sales market has changed. Earlier, it was a matter of searching for quality solutions. Now, the price of a product, or an installation, seems to take precedence. This means that we as a manufacturer must offer innovative, high quality solutions at competitive prices. What will the future bring in terms of development, what direction is your area of expertise headed? The pioneering years for plastic and its homogenous jointing methods are over. But new technologies, such as nanotechnology, will still be investigated for utilization in plastic piping systems. We will continue to see new applications for which new technologies are required, leading to more new developments.

Consequently, we are on the doorstep to the future every day. Mr. Wermelinger, thanks for this interesting discussion.

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iFIT intelligent and simple


Interview with Jrgen Fluck

The push-t installation system iFIT is a smart synthesis of technical and economical market needs and a rst-rate engineering achievement. Yet, the outcome hung in the balance several times during the development phase. Jrgen Fluck, the intellectual father of iFIT, reports on the development process of this system.

INTERVIEW: THOMAS OEHNINGER

Mr. Fluck, what is iFIT and what does the name mean? iFIT is a so-called push-t connection technology, which enables assembling pipes easily and quickly by pushing them together. The advantages speak for themselves: Installers only need one handy deburring tool that ts in every pocket no other tools required. The tting can even be clicked together in difcult to reach spots, for example, in corners or behind wall ledges. The installer doesnt need visual control; the click that can be heard when the adapter locks in tells him that the connection has been made and is tight. The original idea behind this system was borrowed from plug-in adapters as we know them on garden hoses. The difference though between iFIT and these systems is the much higher requirements in terms of seal, safety, modularity and exibility. In the vein of other great inventions, iFIT stands for intelligent tting. The intelliJrgen Fluck, Managing Director of Building Technology Ltd., has dedicatedly supported the development of iFIT together with his staff of specialists.

gence aspect is substantiated in the simplicity of the product, in the massive time gain for installation, in the safety which can be conrmed visually or acoustically by the click. Other benecial aspects are the signicant reduction of parts and the fact that connections can be made without a lot of extra tools. Tell us about the history behind iFIT, how did Georg Fischer get the idea to develop such a product? The iFIT story is related to the history behind Flexalino. Flexalino was Georg Fischers rst

experience with the push-t technology. This product was highly successful at rst and had many good features, but in the end we decided it didnt meet our expectations. So we decided to investigate a different approach to the push-t connection technology. This was a courageous decision, since at that time like at the beginning of every development process it was questionable whether we would be able to bring something functional to market, from a technical as well as a business point of view. We especially deliberated if we should launch our product in the extremely difcult market of jointing technology for plumbing and heating in

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iFIT an innovation takes form. During development, the project teams ideas were incorporated and the design gradually rened to perfection.

Nothing is left to chance; the interior of the iFIT is designed for absolute operational safety.

ments and especially with everyday business. This situation was quite challenging, but at the same time very exciting. The project was in the balance on several occasions... Today, I would wager to say that we have set an absolute benchmark with our iFIT system in terms of safety, the most important of the four criteria. The degree of automation and testing is very high for our iFIT manufacturing. Each Each assembly step is veried with a countermeasure, both mechanically and visually. Each adapter is sealed in a small bag following the assembly and testing process and delivered to the customer. When the customer unpacks the adapter, he is therefore assured of having a fully functional and tested product; that is reliability. This has of course also had a positive effect on our damages statistics which are, by the way, excellent a fact we are very proud of. How did you integrate the market, in other words, potential customers, in the development?

Germany. There were already roughly 200 jointing systems and about 100 competitors in this market. We neverthless decided to delve into the market of plug-in couplings despite the shark-infested waters. What were the different development stages? We compiled everything that was available on the market regarding such systems, everything from around the world. We collected, tested and analyzed the systems and at some point we had enough information to start working on an idea for a successful system. We presented our ideas to the executive board for the rst time back in 2001. We used a garden hose coupling to demonstrate the principle of push-t. This approach didnt go over well, but we didnt give up so easily and kept working on the idea. We put a great deal of thought into which factors were crucial to success or failure in a venture of this sort, namely developing a new jointing technology. These considerations and our experiences in product management

and eld sales nally led us to believe that there are basically four points that dene genetically, so to speak a jointing technology. They are a) safety, b) how fast and easy is the jointing?, c) the amount of tools required and ultimately d) the price. We used a positioning radar to compare our planned system with competitive systems and then we went forward with developing our system according to the four genetic factors mentioned above. How long did the development process take? The rst sketches were drawn in 2000 and the market launch was in April 2004. Taking our rather small development team into consideration and the limited resources at our disposal, this is a very short development period. From a controlling viewpoint, however, such a project should take no more than two or three years. Well, we were continually confronted with changes in our organizational structure or in personnel matters. Mainly, however, we were absorbed with other assign-

Already at a very early stage of the development, we asked ten large installation rms to participate in this project. We signed partnership agreements with these rms and invited them to what we called prototype assembly days. On these prototype days, it was up to us to make a minimum of 1,000 close-to-production prototypes available to the installers for testing. We provided the test persons with workbenches, hammers and large wrenches and actually asked them to have a go at our prototypes, in the worst possible way. Our development people cringed when they saw what went on at these reality checks, but they provided us with valuable input. The rst event brought some sobering results to light. We had thought that the product was well-engineered, but the test installers did not trust the shearing behavior of the module/adapter connection. It took some time until we also realized that there was room for improvement here. At the second prototype assembly day with our project partners, there was intense debate regarding the size. Compared to a compression tting, the iFIT is more bulky;

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For iFIT system applications, the installer only needs a pipe cutter and a handy tool for deburring the pipe ends. The installation is not dependent on the ow and can also be used where space is limited.

Pipe, adapter and tting are the three system elements. A perfect t is checked via the window on the adapter and the audible click when plugging in the tting.

this is because of all the technology which has to be packed in somewhere. In the course of the discussion, we reached the conclusion that the size had to be reduced drastically if we were to succeed in the market. But the consequence of this decision was a very great technological challenge. On one side, the developers said that further reductions were not possible, on the other side, the market said that the component was too large. In the end, the team found a compromise to everyones satisfaction. These prototype assembly days were really something like a day of reckoning. It was exciting and challenging and forced us to face the facts. We had to admit that the product wasnt good enough yet. If customers are not tied into the development process, there is a danger of believing too soon in the quality of your own invention. At what point are you now in the market introduction and what is the feedback? The rst market introduction was in April 2004 in Germany. In 2005 we launched iFIT

in Switzerland and Italy and then step by step in other markets. The feedback has been very positive; for example, we have received almost euphoric reactions from installers who built a test installation and who were quite skeptical at rst. The sales gures are further evidence of our success. We are still faced with another big challenge. And this may seem rather paradox: we have to explain to new customers how simple the system really is. For example, when using iFIT only one tee is necessary for various connections and dimensions, in contrast to conventional jointing where up to six different parts are required. This is indeed new and in need of explanation. But once the customer holds the system in his hands, it goes click in a double sense: audibly on the adapter and mentally in his head. Mr. Fluck, we thank you very much for this interview.

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Highly qualied and motivated


The people behind the processes

A product is only as good as the people who are responsible for its manufacturing and marketing. Education, training and a continuing process of learning are therefore prerequisites for motivated employees and effective teamwork that reaches beyond the connes of departments and international borders.

DR. ALAIN RITTER Head of Human Resources

Fifty years experience with plastics: what this actually denotes is that the people who are responsible for manufacturing the products the employees of GF Piping Systems are very well educated and highly qualied and possess a solid basis of knowhow in their particular area of expertise. Furthermore, it must be ensured that individual employees form a functioning team at any given point in time, so that together they can pursue the main goal of developing and marketing innovative plastic products and comprehensive solutions that satisfy the multiple demands of todays customers. GF Piping Systems is a company that operates internationally. The challenges which employees face are great. Besides superior know-how, the people most of whom are international specialists bring with them a great deal of exibility and work experience abroad. Foreign language skills, the willingness to travel and multicultural

Multicultural competence is a necessity in a company such as GF Piping Systems that operates globally.

qualications are expected. Right now, Singapore and China are at the top of the expatriation priorities. Employees should not only work and live there but also feel at home. The internationally based management at GF Piping Systems lives by this culture every day and they also support their staff in this regard wherever they can. Employees who are sent abroad are given cross-cultural training. The courses last several days and include the family. While a look&see program is offered beforehand, a welcome service awaits them on arrival, which is a valuable help for dealing with daily life in

the host country. National and international schooling and preschools are arranged for the children. Further training of employees is a priority at GF Piping Systems. Continuing education at the management level can be divided into three areas: personnel management, cost management and corporate management. Insofar as teambuilding is concerned, a specic seminar is offered. The goal of which is to improve communication and cooperation between the individual departments which also corresponds to GF Piping Systems concept of being a provider of complete solutions.

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from the synergies especially in view of the fact that products are becoming more exchangeable and manufacturers have to distinguish themselves from the competition via marketing, sales, logistics and price. CHARACTERISTIC OF PLASTIC Plastic has come a long way and we have a large variety of plastic materials to choose from for our specic applications. In the future, trends will concentrate mainly on modifying, reinforcing and combining plastics. With these words, Dr. Helmut Hilger sums up the current situation. As head of PMD responsible for product management and development in the Fittings sector at GF Piping Systems, he is especially fascinated by the diversity of plastics and the processing options: There is nothing you couldnt make out of plastic. Plastics have become exceptionally sophisticated. They have no linear behavior like metals. Their material performance depends on the load, temperature, time and production method. The challenge lies precisely in this incalculability. Experience and know-how are essential in product development and in working with plastics. A lot is asked of employees in development. They must know their products inside out as well as the respective jointing techniques, in addition to familiarizing themselves with the customer applications and requirements. Characteristic of the plastics industry is that product development and production are very closely tied. Simultaneous engineering plays an important role in development. Process development and product development run parallel and inuence one another. So, for instance, the cost of manufacturing a product may be looked at in a rst phase, and only in the second phase will the product actually be specied. INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAMWORK Once a development project is launched for a new product or one that needs optimizing such as the new buttery valve types 567/568 product manager Christian Neye and product developer Karl-Heinz Mayer will check a few things out: What does the market require? What does the competition offer?

Development projects involve intensive interdisciplinary teamwork from the very start.

EXPERTISE AND NETWORKED THINKING Customers appreciate the fact that GF Piping Systems offers complete piping system solutions, including pipes, ttings, valves, automation and jointing technology. The crux is making certain all these products are compatible. If you change a detail in one place, you may have affected other products or issues as well. This delicate balance calls for a wealth of expertise and networked thinking beyond just a product focus. Key factors essential for the future of product development are an understanding of customer needs and integrating this knowledge in products so that they offer customers a tangible benet whilst also giving consideration to shorter development times and minimized manufacturing costs. Product quality is of course a given requirement.

It is therefore GF Piping Systems job to prepare products which meet market requirements ideally, from a technical and a commercial point of view. The goal is to cover as many market segments and applications as possible with one product. To achieve this goal, our departments work closely together. Though they were clearly separated at one time, all the disciplines, such as purchasing, production, materials technology, development, market segment and product management, marketing and sales, are now involved in projects from the very beginning. In his function as head of Product Management and Development Valves, Dirk Petry, for example, assumes an interface function, acting as the intermediary between the different departments. He says: This teamwork has proved worthwhile. Processes are optimized and everyone benets

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Production is consulted early in the development of new products, in the sense of simultaneous engineering.

Materials Technology exposes plastics to harsh conditions in order to give testimony to their properties.

When was the last relaunch? To what extent is the current model improvable? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the product range? What does the volume of sales and the margin look like? Ideas, which come in from the market or perhaps internally from employees in development, are presented in a forum of experts, analyzed and discussed. This multinational team of experts is composed of employees from production, development, materials technology, product management, the market segments and sales. In the context of a preliminary project, detailed product requirements are drawn up and possible methods of production selected. This is a time in product development during which many important decisions are made, which will determine the future success of the product. That is why this project phase is considered pivotal. A schedule of specications is created with data on the material requirements, the mechanical and environmental properties. When it comes to clarifying which material is most suitable for which function, the Materials Technology depart-

ment is contacted. The recommendations and information are analyzed and discussed with the plant. This forms the basis of materials selection, as well as selection of the supplier. MATERIALS SELECTION AND PROCUREMENT At the beginning of every product idea there is the question: Which material is best suited for the product? Dr. Katrin Wallheinke has the answers. She heads Materials Technology and together with her staff she is responsible for analyzing the materials in all their life cycles. In materials selection, the above mentioned schedule of specications is the most important guideline. The material is selected, in consultation with the supplier, on the basis of this. In relation to the requirements placed on the plastic, the supplier and GF Piping Systems may join forces to develop such a material. Suppliers may also suggest using their new developments and have them tested at GF Piping Systems for suitability in piping systems components. Generally, this techni-

cal cooperation with the supplier is one of the core tasks of materials technology. In this context, going down on the specications without forfeiting quality is a big challenge. Like in general procurement, the procurement of plastics involves providing for the required quality in the required quantity at the desired time and place at a competitive price, says Ernst Merkle, head of Strategic Purchasing. Particularly trying for his colleague in Purchasing, Christoph Baur, are the current price increases for raw materials and commodities. Prices for some commodities have gone up by ten to twenty percent between 2005 and 2006 over a period of twelve months. Plastics are a derivative of petroleum, which translates into the following law of economics: since commodities prices are determined by supply and demand, higher oil prices will lead to higher prices for commodities. The technical plastics are not dependent on supply and demand and therefore not greatly affected by oil prices. At the present time, there is high demand and

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Injection molds are a major investment in manufacturing plastic products.

Microscopy is used in materials technology to determine, for example, fusion parameters for joining plastic components.

limited availability worldwide. This pushes prices up. Plastics are state-of-the-art materials. The demand for them in Europe, America and especially in Asia is high and will increase in the long run. China is currently unable to meet the sharply rising demand with their own production. So large quantities are imported from Europe and America. Apropros: GF Piping Systems today mainly processes granulate from Europe in its European plants and in China the granulate stems from Germany (North Sea oilelds), Italy and the Benelux countries (large reneries). The main reasons for this are supplier reliability and the availability of technically sophisticated plastics. Purchasing also works closely together with other departments. This mutual support promotes cooperation and, in addition to efcient purchasing, helps to weather many a bottleneck. MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY Once the plastic has been specied and purchased, Materials Technology is again called upon. The procured material is

subjected to incoming inspection in the Materials Laboratory. If everything is in order, it is released. Besides technical materials support, the tasks of Materials Technology department staff include working on innovation projects and providing general assistance to coworkers, customers and sales companies. They are also supportive in complaints processing and matters pertaining to the recycling and disposal of plastics. Yet another area of responsibility is collaboration in special projects, such as relocation of a suppliers production site abroad or the use of other ingredients. In such cases, every detail needs to be checked to make sure that all the factors remain unchanged. The transition must be done carefully to prevent any damages or losses. A new plant must, for instance, be qualied before starting operation. GF Piping Systems has high standards in this respect a reection of what customers want today. When asked what she enjoys most about her work, Dr. Katrin Wallheinke answers spontaneously that she is fascinated by the complexity of plastic and

nds working in a communications ofce with extremely intermeshed, exciting and always new topics very stimulating. She adds that working with plastics is like cooking: the recipe and the preparation determine the quality. PRODUCTION Injection molding is the largest and most diverse eld in plastics processing. It is interesting to note that here everything is literally made from the same mold. The xed costs for a single injection molding tool are albeit very high. Attributable to the expensive molds, production is only protable after several thousand parts. It is easy to imagine the opportunities presented by automation in the plastics sector, which is very price competitive. In the Seewis Plant, which has realized adaptive, exible automation with kink-arm robots, a new generation of products are being manufactured, take for example the new buttery valve 567/568. Max Bless, the plant manager for plastic valve production in Seewis, considers the plastics sector one

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Actuators for plastic valves are housed in plastic, another product manufactured and assembled at the Seewis Plant.

GF Piping Systems sits on standardization committees for plastic piping systems and obtains approvals for new products or new applications.

of the most fascinating industries. Because plastics are full of surprises and they are so versatile that anything is possible. The number of combination possibilities is mind boggling. In no other industry is it possible to experiment so extensively with material, form and color; such innovative technologies are not to be found anywhere else. And plastic is becoming even more functional. Due to the fact that plastic is so alive and full of potential, it is therefore also on the unpredictable side. It requires a lot of know-how and many years of experience to work with it. Max Meier heads the Subingen and Schaffhausen Plants and is responsible for Utilities and Industrial Systems. He is mainly dedicated to developing and optimizing production methods and general strategy development: What direction will technology take? How will and must GF Piping Systems grow? The central question is: Can the products be manufactured competitively in the plants? If not, what can be done to achieve competitiveness for the future? Decisive is the volume. It takes large quantities because everything is dimensioned for concentration.

To stay on the ball, it is necessary to keep an eye on the competition. Discussions with people out in the market, participation in international exhibitions and trade fairs, as well as keeping track of the price development, these are essential activities and the only way of knowing whether GF Piping Systems prices are right. Internally, the plant managers cooperate closely with product developers and managers. A big hurdle for development projects is the sampling process. The rst sampling is divided into two steps. First, the production parameters are adjusted; then, corrections in molds, such as modications in diameters etc. are made. Creativity and experience are the skills required from plastics technologists. In the second sampling, the question is always: Did the mold modications produce the desired results? If so, a few ner adjustments can still be made. The three variables, temperature, pressure and time, come into play here. STANDARDS AND APPROVALS Before new products can go into series

production, they must be tested comprehensively and must comply with international standards and approvals. Michael Weyer, plastics engineer, is responsible for norms and approvals at GF Piping Systems. European standards are drawn up by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). They replace national standards such as DIN, NF or BS. This is in the interest of manufacturers because the days of eliminating the competition via norms are long gone. Today manufacturers are interested in uniform standards. Each branch of industry creates its own standards. Michael Weyer works on the denition of such norms in several bodies and therefore has a say in their outcome. While national standards describe the possible types of product implementation and in some cases reect the status of technology in Europe, European standards dictate that manufacturers provide information on specic features of the product in the framework of the CE marking. Unfortunately, the CE emblem is not a mark of quality. It rather serves to render products tradable Europe-

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required quality is guaranteed at all times. To this end, he draws up test schedules which establish what needs to be tested and how often for each production lot. The tests look at how the plastic reacts under specic conditions, e.g. temperature and pressure. One typical test, the long-term pressure test, is a destructive test, which explains why only random tests are done to test the endurance of the material. In contrast, there are also production tests, an example of which would be the leak test on valves; this test is done for every single product. MARKET SEGMENT STRATEGY AND KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT On the basis of all the available information, the responsible market segment manager will create a business concept. Christina Granacher is market segment manager for CPI (chemical processing industry). Thanks to her studies in plastics technology and her former position as sales manager, she has the ideal qualications for this interface between product management and international sales. She not only has to be familiar with all the products and applications in her market segment, but also has to maintain an overview of the entire market as well as the customer requirements and needs. Whereas the sales companies serve customers locally, market segment managers promote the activities of GF Piping Systems around the globe. They coordinate ongoing projects worldwide, ensure market transparency and access. It is their responsibility to lter out key accounts and establish a network by which local sales companies can prot. Concretely: They work the market, make contacts and develop global strategies for successful customer acquisition. The market requirements, which market segment managers identify, are gathered in an idea pool together with market feedback supplied by the customers. At a later time, the ideas are evaluated to determine for which market segment they are relevant and interesting and how large the anticipated market volume is. In regular focus group meetings, more ideas are discussed and analyzed in an effort to meet the needs of the market and customers as ideally as possible.

Tests, like this squeeze test on a PVC tting, are carried out in our accredited Test Lab in Schaffhausen and are on an equal standing with tests by approval boards.

wide. However, for the products to actually be implementable, they must comply with the national regulations and additionally they must be approved. Approvals are always national and they conrm that a product satises the requirements of the standards. Beforehand, it must be claried whether the newly developed product passes all the necessary tests for the application in question. The appropriate documentation is prepared and submitted to the approval board. The costs for obtaining approvals are borne by the respective sales companies. These procedures are expensive, but without certication, it is impossible to succeed in the market; they are in effect the seals of approval demanded by customers today. There are approximately 500 approvals worldwide for products from GF Piping

Systems most of them in the gas and water utilities and shipbuilding market segments. ACCREDITED TEST LAB GF Piping Systems has its own accredited test laboratory. What this means is that tests which are done here have an equal standing with tests done by the approval boards themselves. This is a great cost-saving advantage. Testing does not only take place during the development phase, but also during regular production. The quality guidelines for production are likewise a component of standards and approvals. If they are not followed, the approval could be at stake. In this regard, namely for quality assurance, the man in charge at GF Piping Systems is Fridolin Hubmann. He makes sure that the

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Shipbuilding is a fast growing market segment. Focus group meetings help sales personnel to have the right arguments at hand for shipyards and shipowners. This strategy has proved very effective in Scandinavia.

Market segment managers obtain a general overview of their markets by going directly on site.

Before a new product is launched in the respective market segment, beta tests are done. These furnish evidence that the product is suitable for practical use and fullls all the requirements. Once again, GF Piping Systems good internal network and longterm customer relationships pay off. Lars Englesson, who has been in sales with GF Piping Systems for nearly thirty years, maintains long-term relationships with his customers. He is international key account manager and at the same time in charge of the Scandinavian region. In his function as key account manager, he internationalizes relations with all global wholesalers; as manager for the Scandinavian region he coordinates the activities of the sales companies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The goal pursued with wholesalers is to position GF as the preferred supplier worldwide. In return, GF offers wholesalers support in realizing their growth strategies and additionally in standardizing and structuring their own product areas. Cooperation takes place at all levels in the form of cross-national teamwork and is exceptionally close-knit.

SUCCESSFUL SALES STRATEGY As managing director of the Sales Company Sweden and head of the region Northern Europe, Lars Englesson puts the goals and strategies of GF Piping Systems into practice locally. The focus is on growth. And Scandinavia was one of the fastest growing regions in 2005 within GF Piping Systems, not in the least because of the successful implementation of the market segment strategy. The policy is to specically address select market segments and to lter out the right customers. In reference to the shipbuilding market segment, this would be the shipowners, i.e. cruise companies, on the one hand, and shipyards, on the other. Both are visited regularly by the shipbuilding team from Schaffhausen and Sweden to identify their needs and requirements. Together with the shipowners, the team denes new applications and looks for solutions. The shipyards are supported by GF Piping Systems in their decision to convert to plastic systems. This means that GF Piping Systems supplies the know-how in the form

of training documentation, trains shipyard workers in the handling and provides on-site support. This same support is given to the riding crews on board the ships across the seven seas. The market segment strategy follows two basic approaches: expand market shares in existing plastic markets and generate completely new plastic markets. In other words, the goal is to acquire customers who dont use plastic yet or who only use plastic for a certain application. A shining example of successful implementation of the market segment strategy: In 2002 a mere 0.5 percent of turnover in Sweden resulted from the shipbuilding segment in 2005 the gure soared to one-fourth. The cruise liner Freedom of the Seas is tted completely with Instaex. For the next generation of cruise liners, the Genesis 40 percent larger than the Freedom of the Seas , in addition to the hot and cold water installations, other applications, currently still in rust-free steel, are planned in plastic. The potential for GF Piping Systems as regards the cruise liners is great: Over 200 swimming cities

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press shipments, usually smaller order quantities, we have special provisions: Orders received by 4 p.m. will be shipped the same day. Up to 5,000 order items come in daily, all of them electronically. Until now, everything was prepared for shipment in Schaffhausen. Since May 2006 order items now also come into the newly opened hub in Duisburg, Germany: 150 daily from Belgium and already 1,000 from Germany. With the new logistics concept for Europe, GF Piping Systems has taken a step into the future. Customs clearance for shipments from Switzerland always mandatory is eliminated. OPTIMIZED PROCESSES Coordination of all the processes from development and production to logistics and marketing is the responsibility of Manfred Leyrer, head of Quality Management at GF Piping Systems. The term quality management here is rather irritating because it is not like it was fty years ago when this term referred to quality control in the plant, in relation to product quality only. Nowadays, development and permanent improvement of management systems and processes is the top priority. Quality results automatically from optimized and stable processes, says Manfred Leyrer. All the processes are analyzed, dened, linked and continually optimized by him, in cooperation with those responsible for the process. One aspect of the management system is risk management: analysis and assessment of strategic and operative risks. Counted among these are faulty goods or incorrectly positioned products, as well as exchange rate uctuations or natural hazards. Every year prior to budgeting, there is a management review. This retrospective assessment is a basis for taking decisions on new investments: Have the targets been reached? Do targets need to be redened? Are customers satised? What are the gures for complaints? Where can processes be improved in order to meet customer needs better in the future? You cannot have one without the other: Only with welltrained and motivated staff and when all the processes are right, only then will the product be right, believes Manfred Leyrer.

The importance of well functioning logistics is taking on new proportions. Tied into logistics at GF Piping Systems are the plants, the sales companies and the distribution centers.

are cruising the seas today and more are being built at record-breaking speed. GLOBAL LOGISTICS Success stories such as these necessitate high availability of the systems. Markus Scherrer is the manager of the Distribution Center in Schaffhausen (DCS) and is also responsible for global logistics and the entire supply chain from procurement of plastic granules to the delivery of products from GF Piping Systems to customers. The burning question here is: How much and when? Because products are becoming increasingly exchangeable and our sales channel is multitiered, logistics is gaining importance. One could equate good logistics with reliability and speed. The signicance of being fast increases proportionately as the stock inventory is reduced. The degree

of availability at distributors and installers is experiencing a downward trend. When something is ordered, it must be supplied immediately. Long lead times are no longer acceptable. There is a tight relationship between logistics and the range of goods. The more a product is managed, the more complex the logistics will be. With a view to the Pareto principle, it is clear that the goal should be to cut back the size of the product range. Applied to GF Piping Systems, the Pareto principle says: 80 percent of the sales volume stems from 15 percent of the articles. The DCS has approximately 50,000 active articles on stock, including commercial products. Added to this are 20,000 passive articles, which are seldom demanded. Orders received at the Distribtion Center by twelve noon leave Schaffhausen the same day. For ex-

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Good products are only as good as the people who work with them. This is the credo of the in-house Training Center.

Quality Management analyzes, denes and links processes, in an effort to optimize them together with those responsible for the process.

INTERNATIONAL TRAINING AND LEARNING CENTER With the credo, good products and systems are only as good as the people who work with them, Georg Fischer has always been ahead of its time. It is tradition at GF Piping Systems to offer comprehensive training. The variety of products and materials, the diverse applications and especially the innovative and alternative jointing technologies are the reason. Because if a joint is not made correctly, it will be a serious weakpoint in the piping system. Since the manufacturer cannot be held liable for execution of the jointing, it is our highest priority to convey theoretical and practical jointing know-how to our customers. The place to learn this is at our in-house training center in Schaffhausen, managed by Joop Witberg. He and his team hold roughly 150 courses annually. The courses are attended by employees as well as customers. The choice of the right material in developing a new product is decisive for the reliability and functionality of the installation. There is no market segment imagin-

able that could exist today without plastic materials, which have been used successfully by GF Piping Systems for an ongoing fty years. No wonder that the broad spectrum of training courses focuses heavily on the eld of plastics.

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State of the art


Automation and ingenuity

Georg Fischer has been producing electrofusion sockets and ttings for more than ten years with a very high level of mechanization and automation. A quantum leap to even greater vertical integration of automation was not to be underestimated. However, creativity, perseverance and optimization in the range of seconds ultimately led to success.

cond, this adds up to 5,500 hours. This number plays an important role in increasing our competitiveness. Well get to that later! THE MARKET CONDITIONS IN GAS AND WATER UTILITIES Competition has become quite erce in recent years in the gas and water utilities market. Some of the reasons are stagnation in the European market, a production overcapacity worldwide, the substitutability of products as a result of international standardization and the growing competition from small, local suppliers of piping systems. This situation is further accentuated by the steadily increasing quality specications and product warranties, while maintaining the same price level. Such an environment presents a great challenge for production. What is required are lower manufacturing costs, a reduction of cycle times as well as improved productivity. COMPETENCE, CREATIVITY AND ROBOTS The spectrum of conceivable strategies in production is great. One approach would be to outsource production or, alternatively, to build a less expensive production site in a low-wage country. The disadvantage of this, however, is that the local capacities and jobs at the existing production locations are lost. Another strategy would be to automate all work steps and functions within a production process. GF Piping Systems has decided to take the second route. Since the existing production capacity was no longer sufcient at GF Piping Systems anyway, Georg Fischer Wavin decided to take a giant leap forward at their plants in Schaffhausen and Subingen in Switzerland in the form of targeted investments in new, fully automated production equipment.
Georg Fischer Wavin manufactures electrofusion ttings fully automatically in Subingen seven days a week in three-shift operation.

MAX MEIER Plant Manager Schaffhausen and Subingen

What is a second? By denition, it is 1/60 of a minute, or more precisely the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperne levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. Expressed more poetically, a second is the time between two heart beats. But what is a second in industrial production? First of all, to set the record straight, it is no pittance! When multiplied by the number of production cycles, a second amounts to a lengthy period of time. In the two GF plants in Schaffhausen and in Subingen, Switzerland, approximately 20 million production cycles are run annually. Multiplied by a se-

While in the older manufacturing cells some of the work, such as assembly and packaging, was still done manually, the new production facilities were to be automated through and through. CHALLENGES This measure requires a high degree of innovation preparedness and capability. Additionally, it demands a willingness to undertake risk, both nancially and conceptually. On the one hand, the specied goals must be pursued via investments in personnel and equipment. On the other hand and this risk is not insignicant traditional production

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Production performance was signicantly increased for ELGEF Plus electrofusion ttings at the Schaffhausen plant thanks to state-of-the-art manufacturing technology.

The core is inserted in the injection molding tool and then encapsulated.

methods and processes must be critically examined. IN NEED OF NEW APPROACHES GF Piping Systems has been producing electrofusion ttings and couplers for over ten years with a comparably high level of mechanization and automation; so it did not seem likely that there was much opportunity for a quantum leap. Fittingly, a feasibility study was rst done and the positive results which ensued were integrated in a consistent handling, production and materials ow concept. An excerpt from the catalog of specications: The availability of manufacturing cells must be at or above 96 percent and they are designed for fully automated production around the clock 365 days a year. A reject quota of under 0.5 percent is required. Speed and quality are top priorities. Those familiar with automated production know how difcult it is to identify defective products promptly. An absolutely reliable and well thought-out quality assurance system was therefore an essential prerequisite for our production from the start

also automatic notabene. Taking these requirements into account, a fully automated manufacturing cell for electrofusion ttings was drawn up for the Subingen plant. Furthermore, it was equally important to make allowance for the large range of parts, consisting of reducers, tees, 90 and 45 elbows, in addition to the cycle times of the individual and sometimes simultaneously running processes. A complicating factor was the high weight of the mold core, which can weigh between 25 and 40 kilograms per pair. This weight plus the weight of the molded parts and ttings of maximum two kilograms has to be handled from process beginning to end, thus requiring a very efcient handling system. Two industrial robots, which can handle a maximum load of 150 kilograms and have an extended radius range of 2,900 millimeters, were selected for this task. It is also worth mentioning at this point that the system received the Engel HL Award from an jury on the occasion of the International Trade Fair for Plastics, K 04. The consistent realization of a fully automated production cell was praised by the panel of experts.

THE ONE-SECOND PROJECT And what does all this have to do with the seconds mentioned in the foreword? Parallel to expanding the degree of automation, GF Piping Systems also launched the so-called one-second project at the Subingen and Schaffhausen plants. The goal of this project was to economize 5,500 production hours. An essential requirement here was that the saving had to be realized without additional investments. The production managers were rather skeptical at rst. Comments ran the gamut from Thats impossible, Our cycle times are already at an absolute minimum and We havent got the time. In the meantime, the rst results are in. The time saving already realized for example, by cooling the ttings outside of the mold exceeds our expectations by far. HIGH TECHNICAL AVAILABILITY According to the project team, the ambitious rationalization measures have met all our targets, both in relation to productivity and product quality as well as in retooling exibility for the manufacture of diverse

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An international jury recognized the automation concept in Subingen by presenting it with the Golden HL Award from the Engel company, Austria.

The ELGEF Plus product line for gas and water utilities is manufactured in the Subingen and Schaffhausen plants.

components in a single cell. One project manager commented: We are able to completely changeover an entire cell to a different tting type, including tool change, in just two hours. We are, however, aiming at a retooling time signicantly under two hours in the future. We usually changeover once a week, because we run quite large lots per batch. The technical availability of the plant is very high; we have even exceeded the required 96 percent by far. The project demonstrates that a fully automated production also enables at the same time a 100 percent quality control. All the relevant manufacturing processes are monitored automatically, of course and fed into the central plant computer. Should an irregularity in the process become apparent, the manufactured component is declared a reject and removed by the robot at the end of the manufacturing process. This warrants that only perfect quality goods are sent to the packaging line. Should multiple rejects take place at a particular production station, the central computer will report a failure in the system and halt the process. The quality rate

and system efciency is thus increased. This is of special value in a production plant that is used 365 days. GENIUS AND STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY Investments are indispensable if competitive ability is to be increased. Thanks to their innovativeness, the Subingen and Schaffhausen plants have proved that leaps and bounds are possible. This happens evolutionarily with small but not less innovative improvements in the process, but also with investments in new production systems. Other knowledge gained from these projects: Commodities can indeed be produced competitively in a high-wage country like Switzerland. The automation required for this creates new jobs. This may sound contradictory at rst, but we were able to realize extremely complex systems in this project not in the least thanks to the good infrastructure and especially thanks to the high competence level of the project staff. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts applies in this case in a prototypical manner.

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Components assembly
Automation and robotization

Automation and robotization secure competitive ability and create jobs. In our Plastic Valves plant this is demonstrated with the high level of innovativeness in place. One result of this innovativeness is the two-component injection molding machine on which hard/soft components can be processed at the same time.

MAX BLESS Managing Director Georg Fischer Plastic Valves Ltd., Seewis

SELLERS MARKET AND INVENTORY The production plant in Seewis, Switzerland was initiated in connection with the founding of Georg Fischer Plastik AG in 1969. Construction of the plant began in 1970 and the ofcial opening and production startup in 1971. The paradigm of the time was make-to-stock production. The excellent reputation of Made in Switzerland, the straightforwardness of the markets the primary markets served in those years were Switzerland and Germany and a limited number of competitors empowered manufacturers; they found themselves in a sellers markets, so demand was in excess and buyers were in a way dependent on the sellers. The conditions for manufacturers in such markets, regarding pricing and terms of contract, were ideal. CHANGES IN TECHNOLOGY, MARKETS AND MINDS As mentioned above, we are currently in a cutthroat market where sellers try to crowd each other out, also known as a buyers market. The following factors have been inuential in this transformation: international expansion in the sales markets and parallel to this in the procurement markets, better and faster availability of information, for example product specications and pricing information. And most notably, a lot of progress has been made with the production technologies, which has in effect increased productivity. The major differences between the sellers markets of the seventies and todays market situation are found in customer requirements, which have undergone fundamental changes. The demands regarding product and service
Employee know-how, expressed in a continuous improvement process (CIP), is a vital factor in securing competitiveness.

The market for plastic valves today is similar to many other commodity product markets a cutthroat market with global reach. The market is characterized by a large number of suppliers. The quality of the products has been continuously improved due to better production technologies and services in recent years. In the course of this, the price has become the most important distinguishing feature for products with similar technical functions. Industrial production with a high degree of automation is, therefore, an essential requirement for success in an environment where market share is hotly contested. More efcient production is the order of the day. The road to reaching this goal is challenging and very exciting. Clever ideas are needed, as is a need to move away from traditional methods and explore new territory.

quality and delivery speed have increased dramatically combined with the demand for stable prices. This situation necessitated a change of thinking in production circles. Put succinctly, this change meant moving away from stockkeeping to custom production. CHANGE AND CONSTANCY Even though talk revolves around change, it must not be forgotten that change in industrial production cannot be realized as fast as, for example, in the service industry. Take the following example: A big investment in the production of plastic valves are the injection molding tools. To justify the high investment

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Due to high investment costs, comprehensive analyses of the market situation and technological developments are done prior to releasing the tool designs and the respective equipment. The tool life in valve manufacturing is usually about 15 years.

GF valves are built in a modular design. For the new ball valves, 350,000 versions are possible.

costs for tools, it is important to warrant the longest possible life cycle of the tools and the products manufactured with them. When we speak of this life cycle in valves production, we gure with about fteen years. The design release of tools and the respective equipment therefore requires a comprehensive analysis of the market situation and the technology developments. In toolmaking, Georg Fischer is constantly working on improving production technologies and specialty products, which cannot be purchased off the rack. This know-how must be used to create a technology or price advantage over competitors. INNOVATION IN PLASTIC INJECTION MOLDING Employees at the Seewis plant have the know-how to process all technical plastics. The lot sizes manufactured at this location are rather small. So in order to achieve high efciency, several similar parts are machined on the same master tool with changeable tool inserts. In contrast to bygone days, today we want to manufacture parts without any subsequent machining operations,

even if it means building extremely complex tool inserts for this purpose, for example slider in slider. Furthermore, all process activities on the injection molded part should be automated, for example cutting and separating parts from sprues and for smaller series, automatically loading the part that is to be encapsulated into the injection molding tool. One of the great innovations at the Seewis plant was the two-component injection molding machine on which hard/soft components can be processed simultaneously. This equipment permits injecting two different-colored parts at the same time, which parallel to the next injection cycle are mounted on the machine with a ve-axis robot and assembled into a component. This is accomplished with multiple tools and sometimes with additional components. If a part cannot be solely injection molded, it is later machined by sawing, drilling, lathing or scraping. This allows fullling non-standard customer requirements. Through special treatment, products of GF Piping Systems can satisfy special requirements, as frequently stipulated by the

food industry, the prestages of the semiconductor industry or the automobile industry (varnishing), for example. PROCURING PRODUCTION MEANS We develop the tools and production equipment for specialty products ourselves, since these are generally not available for purchase in the form we require them. For assembly equipment, we work closely together with the machine manufacturers. Our team, which is put together specically for each individual project, draws up the process description and provides the supplier with project support, even during the design and construction phase. The machines are tested in minute detail to make sure they meet the specications. The Seewis plant currently has 33 injection molding machines, 20 robots and over 450 molds. For machining, we have eight CNC machines and four additional robots. ASSEMBLY In nal product assembly, there is a great deal of automation potential. The GF valves are built in a modular design, which means there

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Thanks to automation and robotization, Georg Fischer Plastic Valves Ltd. is a cost-effective manufacturer.

Larger lots are produced semi-automatically or fully automatically on state-of-the-art machinery, including the complex leakage testing. The test procedure, developed in house, detects minimal contamination, for example a human hair under an O-ring.

are numerous assembly versions. For the new ball valve, 350,000 versions are possible. Of these versions, several hundred are available directly ex stock (batch production). Most of the versions are, however, assembled according to specic customer requirements for small series this assembly is done manually. Larger lots are produced semi-automatically or fully automatically on modern assembly equipment, including the complicated leakage testing. The test procedure, developed in house, detects minimal contamination, for instance a human hair under an O-ring. Efcient assembly is primarily a matter of being order-oriented. This is only possible with a sophisticated IT system that prioritizes. Our customers can order today and we will deliver the following morning. HIGH INNOVATION POTENTIAL ON SITE Competition forces Georg Fischer to consistently be innovative in product design, in manufacturing concepts and in how they are executed. If Georg Fischer Plastic Valves Ltd. were to manufacture with the same

methods used by competitors in Asia, this enterprise would be doomed to failure because of the high wage costs. Thanks to automation and robotization, the company is able to manufacture cost-effectively. This trend creates highly qualied jobs in the areas of automation and information technology, as well as in plastics technology and polymechanics. We also continuously train these professions. We invest a great deal in the further education of our employees and foster an awareness for lifelong learning, whether in school and/or on-the-job with new technologies and production means. The know-how of employees and their dedication, which is often expressed in the continuous improvement process (CIP), is absolutely indispensable in securing our competitive ability.

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Extrusion and customizing


One-of-a-kind business concept for one-of-a-kind customer solutions
Georg Fischer DEKA is the competence center for pipes of the GF Piping Systems Group, esteemed for its own material development, own formulas for highperformance plastics and the large number of customer-specic solutions. REQUIREMENTS ARE SPECIFIC TO THE MARKET SEGMENT The extrusion of pipes could theoretically take place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, interrupted only by brief maintenance intervals. In this way, large volumes can be produced cost-effectively. The nal product is a mass-produced product with specications that remain the same over a very long period of time. Such pipes are required in public utilities, plumbing, heating and ventilation. The media to be conveyed is generally limited to water, or as the case may be wastewater, and air and can be conveyed under relatively noncritical conditions. This means that there are no particularly demanding specications placed on the material. The situation is quite another in the area of piping systems for industrial and chemical applications, precisely the area in which Georg Fischer DEKA specializes. In these environments the specications are far more complex. The pipes must meet high standards in terms of their chemical and physical properties. For example, the pH value in such applications is usually far above or below 7; also common in such environments are working temperatures which uctuate between 30 and +150 C and this often alternately in the same system. The media conveyed are often hazardous substances, which again entails high safety standards. Engineering and operating (plastic) piping systems for chemicals conveyance Finally, the workpiece is cooled and cut to length. Theoretically, innitely long pieces could be produced using the extrusion method of production. An example of such extremely long extrusion would be plastic wrap. The length of our products, namely pipes, is dened by the limits posed in transport.

CHRISTOF MOSLER Managing Director Georg Fischer DEKA GmbH, Germany

Highly efcient extrusion of pipes and the manufacture of customer-specic solutions appear to be clashing interests at rst glance. Georg Fischer DEKA has succeeded in bringing these two pursuits together in the framework of a concept which is unique worldwide and which has proved advantageous for both customers and the company. The primary focus is on chemical and industrial plant engineering. To understand the uniqueness of Georg Fischer DEKA, it is necessary rst of all to look at the production technology used as well as todays market requirements. Extrusion is an ideal technology for mass production. In a highly automated process, the plastic is rst melted in a so-called extruder and homogenized; subsequently it is compression molded into a die, which can take any desirable shape. In this manner, plastic sheeting, proles or, in our case, pipes are extruded. Then by pressing it through the prole, calibration of the plastic molding into its denitive geometric shape is achieved.

Plastics processing for special requirements: customizing, processing, nishing.

on an industrial scale demands the willingness of all the involved decision-makers to take on responsibility and to exercise a high level of safety awareness. In many cases, this may be an individual process, adapted to a specic application. At the beginning of such a project, the choice of materials to be used must be made. In the majority of cases, this decision is made together with the pipe manufacturer, taking into consideration all the different aspects of the respective application. Because of the numerous variables, the professional expertise of the pipe manufacturer is extremely important and valued.

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milled with very high precision. In non-cutting nishing, the thermoplastic components are heated and reshaped by bending or tension-compression. When cooled and the shaping force maintained, the workpiece becomes solid and dimensionally stable again, keeping the new shape it has been given. APPLICATION AREAS Compared to the piping market in plumbing, gas, water and public utility sectors, the market for industrial plastic pipes is in a class of its own; there are good reasons for this. The end customers in industrial applications have their own specication proles with the main priority being chemical resistance. They furthermore have an exceptionally high level of safety awareness, which is manifested in high quality and service requirements. Lastly, this market features innovation cycles which are growing increasingly shorter due to the great innovation potential. This is exemplied in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries with their high purity requirements. In a second comparison with the gas and water utilities market, we note that the industry market is a niche market, which is itself very fragmented. There are very many subsectors, each with their own portfolio of requirements. The spectrum ranges from the semiconductor industry to the synthesis of basic chemicals or energy generation and recovery (e.g. via ue gas desulfurization). This list is by no means complete. With consideration to such performance characteristics as re behavior, electrical and mechanical properties, application temperatures and nota bene the ubiquitous chemical resistance, we must satisfy a highly diversied demand, which exceeds that of commodity products by far. Georg Fischer DEKAs answer to this situation is a clear commitment to special solutions tailored to the individual customers needs and an organizational structure and processes which permit a broad scope and vertically integrated production as well as customizing processes. SHAPING THE FUTURE OF THE MATERIAL Georg Fischers fty years of plastics knowhow is a remarkable achievement in relation

A special division of Georg Fischer DEKA is dedicated to customizing work. This is where piping elements and ttings are improved for the user-specic application. With modern CNC technology, the elements are milled, molded, bent, drilled and lathed.

INFLUENCING MATERIAL PROPERTIES This is where the expertise of Georg Fischer DEKA is brought to bear. We have the product know-how to support customers in engineering chemical plants. We are familiar with the material strengths and limitations of plastic and we know how to inuence the properties of the material through modication processes and the addition of stabilizers, dyes and toughening agents. These compounding processes, as they are referred to, are determined in close cooperation with our raw material suppliers. Today, we have and this is not to be underestimated our own PVC-U compounds and more than 200 of our own formulas, in addition to the respective blending equipment. With process guidance and the quality of raw materials used, we are able to inuence

a large number of measurable product characteristics, such as surface quality, thermal stability, homogeneity, tensile and impact strength, shrinkage behavior or residual stress. It is, however, not simply a matter of selecting the best raw materials, the formulation and the blending assume a vast knowledge of polymer technology. All these factors and the correlating know-how have a direct or indirect inuence on the chemical resistance of a product. PIPE FINISHING, FABRICATION AND CUSTOMIZING A special division at Georg Fischer DEKA is dedicated to customizing work. This is where pipe elements and ttings are modied for user-specic applications. By means of modern CNC technology, pipe elements are machined and processed further. The parts are drilled or

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The well-equipped machine park with high-performance extrusion equipment, computercontrolled blending equipment and a strictly monitored quality management system enable consistently high-quality production results.

Thermoplastic pipes and ttings can be heated and reshaped by bending or tension-compression. The cooled parts remain dimensionally stable.

to a lifetime. But compared with the life cycle of this material, it is a relatively short time. If we look at the history of plastics, we see that the beginnings of plastic go back far into the past. And if we look at the future of plastics, we can assume that history will continue to be written for a long time to come. On the agenda for the near or not so near future are such central topics as new materials, new properties of end products, additives or substitution of the raw material, petroleum. These heavy topics are the focus of scientic research. It is in our own interest and to our own benet that we embrace these questions and search for solutions, even if it is not a part of our daily business. At Georg Fischer DEKA we work closely together with universities and research institutes in order to expand our know-how and to exchange ideas with these impartial institutions. In regard to short-term goals and developments, we are working on such issues as extrusion of new plastics to which end we adapt the machinery in collaboration with the manufacturers of extrusion systems. Another area we are working on is the further development

of plastics analysis in order to predict more accurately how the material will behave. This has an inuence on quality assurance. Our R&D department is however also investigating new elds, for example new coatings in the area of nanocomposites or experimenting with new jointing technologies. Plastics technology is very advanced and the advantages as well as the limitations of this material are sufciently known that does not however preclude that this eld has been entirely exploited and mapped.

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Zero-error strategy
Clean room production of uoropolymers

For demanding, high purity applications, GF Piping Systems offers comprehensive solutions from pipes, ttings and valves to jointing technology. Georg Fischer has been a partner to the semicon industry from the very beginning, when the pioneers in Silicon Valley were still working out of their legendary garages.

ALEXANDER KIRNER Managing Director Georg Fischer SIMONA Fluorpolymer GmbH, Ettenheim

At the Ettenheim plant, every order is sent through quality assurance, released, monitored, completed and nally released for shipment. This process is an important component of Georg Fischer SIMONAs zero-error strategy.

The digital revolution is a chronicle of miniaturization. Hearsay has it that there are people in the semiconductor industry who are already searching for ways to slim down light photons Chip manufacturing is not confronted with such extremes just yet, but already now the distance between conductor paths on an average chip is less than 90 nanometers (1 nanometer is a billionth of a meter)! A SUGAR CUBE IN LAKE CONSTANCE IS TOO MUCH Where the greatest possible purity is demanded, the smallest particle can have catastrophic proportions. It could create an unwanted bridge between two electrical con-

ductor paths, thereby inducing a short circuit. So it is no wonder that extreme cleanliness is required in all production processes. A widely ramied need for ultra pure water is one such requirement referred to in the specialized jargon as UPW (ultra pure water). Ultra pure water is much more than simply clean water. It is H2O and nothing else. Wolfgang Dornfeld, Market Segment Manager for Microelectronics at GF Piping Systems, explains how strict the tolerances are by means of a comparison: If you were to dissolve one cube of sugar in a volume of ultra pure water corresponding to a body of water the size of Lake Con-

stance, the contamination level would already be unacceptable. Under such stringent conditions, it is easy to understand that the complete piping system in which the ultra pure water circulates may not exhibit the slightest aw. FROM GARAGE TO FACTORY OF THE FUTURE Georg Fischer has been a partner of the semiconductor industry from the very beginning, when the pioneers in Silicon Valley were still operating from their legendary garages. AMD, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a key customer

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dust. A brief summary of these facts: The allowed number of particles in a clean room is extremely small and humans are per se not desirable in such environments; hence, special provisions need to be taken. Such provisions include clean room garments and special rules of conduct. One such rule is that people may not move too quickly in a clean room environment, no movements faster than the ow velocity of the clean room ventilation from top to bottom. The particles in a clean room are conducted to the place where they are exhausted via a low but constant overpressure. This means there is a constant forced air circulation and ow of approximately 0.45 m/s. The employees have to adapt to this velocity by planning their actions carefully in advance and not succumbing to hectic activity. PERSONA NON GRATA The plant in Ettenheim the largest interconnected clean room for plastic processing in Europe has, besides 4000 m2 of the aforementioned lowest clean room class 10,000, also over 500 m2 clean room class 1,000 and over 150 m2 class 100. In the latter zone, persons are not permitted. This extreme degree of purity is required for all piping inner surfaces since these come into contact with the high purity media conducted through the pipes at the end customer. In general terms, clean rooms are prohibited areas, and access is only permitted if at all to authorized, specially trained and equipped persons. MACHINES ARE MORE PREDICTABLE Injection molding machines, robots and handling systems also generate particles. To get control of these emitters, several elaborate design measures were necessary, such as closed ducts with negative pressure at joints and the corresponding selection of building materials. The movements of the machinery and robots are also not allowed to make any air turbulence because this would cause an uncontrolled distribution of the airborne particles. Lastly, such plants and clean rooms should have as few niches or places in which particles could accumulate as possible. Smooth surfaces without nooks

The plant in Ettenheim, Germany, is the largest interconnected clean room for plastic processing in Europe. This clean room has three different zones. Persons are not permitted in the clean room with the highest classication.

of GF Piping Systems. A project we are currently working on is the new AMD Fab 36 in Dresden. At AMDs rst 300-mm plant, future generations of microprocessors will be produced. A 300-mm wafer is a silicon wafer that has an area which is 2.3 times larger than the 200-mm wafers. This enables increased productivity and presents cost benets. A new generation of wafers necessitates specially adapted equipment along the entire line, says facility manager Dr. Frank Rompf so naturally, the ultra pure water system must also be trendsetting. With every new generation of chips, more transistors are packed on a microprocessor. A consequence of this miniaturization is the steadily increasing demands made on manufacturing, particularly in regard to the purity of production means and media, as well as the production facilities themselves. The smallest amount of contamination leads to costly rejects, which is transferred to the end consumer price. The rapidly sinking

prices in the electronics market are not merely the result of larger production lots and innovation in product design, but can also largely be attributed to innovation in production technology. And this is where clean room environments play a signicant role. MAN A SOURCE OF CONTAMINATION What exactly is a clean room environment? At the Georg Fischer SIMONA plant in Ettenheim there are three different zones with varying degrees of purity. The lowest class of purity is dened as follows: an allowable maximum of 10,000 particles measuring half a nanometer (0.5 m) or greater per cubic meter air. This can be depicted concretely with two comparisons. First: a human hair has a diameter of about 60-80 m. Second: without special precautionary measures, a person gives off several million particles a minute, through skin and breath; this is called human

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and crannies, which are easy to clean, was another prerequisite. PROCESS ENGINEERING A physical characteristic of the injection molding process and extrusion is in direct contrast to clean room requirements: when the parts are cooled and subsequently cut and chafed, very high electrical charges in the order of several 1000 volts can occur. These electrical charges in pipes and ttings attract all the particles to the pipe surface. In an effort to combat this, ions can be added to the air. These then continuously discharge the plastic components. Clean room conditions are therefore mainly determined by the following factors: organized work processes, conditioning the air in the room, rules of conduct, clean room equipment and process machinery. RAW MATERIALS The requirements for the plastic material used are naturally equally high as for the production environment and means. Polyvinylidene uoride (PVDF) has proved to be an ideal material, especially because of the high purity methods of production it offers and its excellent resistance to chemicals. This chemical bond of carbon, hydrogen and uoride is much more stable than carbon-chlorine compounds, as is PVC. This material is, however, also much more expensive due to the very complex process required to manufacture it. Worldwide there are only three manufacturers of PVDF. Accordingly, the annual production of 10,000 to 15,000 tons is also relatively small. Approximately one-third of PVDF raw material production each goes to the paint industry, for example for anti-grafti coatings, to offshore industry (oil extraction and production) and to the production of seminished plastic products. Of this last third, the GF SIMONA plant in Ettenheim is the worlds single largest consumer. QUALITY CONTROL AND PERMANENT MONITORING The very high purity of the products necessitates complete documentation of the measures taken. Quality assurance (QA) is

Physical characteristics of injection molding and extrusion are in direct contrast to clean room requirements: high electrical charges occur when parts are cleaned or in cutting, which attracts particles. A countermeasure is to add ions to the air to discharge the surfaces.

the central element of clean room production. Every order is sent through QA, released, monitored, completed and nally released for shipment. In order to carry this out with a tenable outlay, a CAQ (Computer-Aided Quality System) was installed, which handles data monitoring. This enables maximum traceability and reliability for each product. In class 1,000 (less than 1,000 particles > 0.5 m) there is also a 100 percent visual inspection of the products for inclusions and aws. Such measures are an important component of the zero-error strategy, which is the basic philosophy of the plant in Ettenheim. Testimony of this strategys success is given by the complaint rate, which lies in the single-digit parts-per-billion range. In other words, an error is complained about in less than ten parts out of a billion.

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High-tech analytics
From paddlewheel sensor to modular multiparameter controllers
Signet developed the rst plastic paddlewheel sensor in 1969, thus setting an industrial benchmark. The product range has been consistently expanded by numerous innovations such as sensors without moving parts and multiparameter controllers.

CHARLOTTE HILL Managing Director Georg Fischer Signet, El Monte, USA

In todays industrial water treatment market, the demand for dependable and cost effective system solutions is driving manufacturers to develop diverse technologies in uid measurement and control. Georg Fischer Signet has been a leading innovator for over 40 years, introducing the very rst plastic paddlewheel ow sensor a standard in todays industry. FROM GAUGING SPEED TO FLUID MEASUREMENT In 1969, the MK515 was introduced. Originally designed for the marine industry to gauge knot speed, the paddlewheel was patented and quickly adapted as an insertion sensor for uid measurement in pipes. Due to the inherent durability, this rst paddlewheel was developed using polypropylene (PP) and polyvinylidene uoride (PVDF) materials to comply with the various process liquids

Plastic ow sensors constitute approximately 80 percent of Georg Fischer Signets sales. The product range includes measurement devices for other parameters as well, for example pH/ORP, temperature, pressure and level control. The products are made of high-quality plastics that withstand a variety of chemicals.

typically found in water monitoring and chemical production, for example. The simple design utilizes a plastic rotor and magnets embedded in each blade, all spinning around a stationary shaft. The spinning and resulting frequency is directly proportional to the uid velocity. The use of PP and PVDF rotors and pins provides a corrosion-resistant solution for applications plagued with aggressive and corrosive liquids. INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT TEAMS Over the years, Georg Fischer Signet introduced a variety of other resilient plastic

designs into its product line. For instance, in order to suit smaller pipe diameter installations, the Signet 2000 Micro-ow Rotor Sensor employs the use of a plastic rotor encased in a ow cell. Ideal for clean process liquids, the 2000 sensor features a polyphenylene sulde (PPS) construction. PPS is a semi-crystalline material. It offers an excellent balance of properties, including high temperature and chemical resistance. In 1997, Georg Fischer Signet, backed by GF Piping Systems, released the Vortex Flow Sensor which targeted the high purity water and semiconductor industries. For the company that built itself on rotor technology,

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Signet products are manufactured in a variety of materials adapted specically to the process media. Among them are PP, PVC, CPVC and PVDF. Georg Fischer Signet offers a complete line of products, consisting of sensors, ttings and the corresponding jointing technology.

Signet products are designed in international, intercompany collaboration.

the Vortex was Signets rst in-line ow sensor with no moving parts. This product was a dual effort between the design team in Schaffhausen, experts in plastics molding and welding processes within tightly controlled particle-free conditions, and El Monte, whose specialty is in electronic design and signal processing. The Vortex sensor body is injection-molded, ensuring that there are absolutely no particle shedding or crevices that allow bacterial contamination. Initially offered in highly durable PVDF, PVC and PP bodies, these sensors gave customers multiple choices for their specic applications, as well as highly accurate uid measurement. The PVDF version, for instance, is made from virgin polymer in class 10,000 environments, making it ideal for high purity processes and chemical transfer. In 1999, the Vortex Flow Sensor won the prestigious Innovation Award given by Flow Control Magazine, the leading measurement equipment magazine in the United States. This award is given once a year to the most outstanding and innovative product design the Vortex proved itself to be the winning contender.

To capitalize on the success of its plastic sensor line, Georg Fischer Signet introduced yet another option for its customers the 2100 Turbine Flow Sensor. In 1999, this small PVDF sensor hit the market and presented itself as the ideal sensor for highly accurate low ow ranges. With its introduction the Signet family of plastic sensors became the most comprehensive in the industry leading the market with the most varied choices in plastic sensor technology. PLASTIC MEETS METAL Today, the plastic sensor line constitutes approximately 80% of Georg Fischer Signets total ow business. In addition to ow, other measurement parameters such as pH/ORP, temperature, pressure, level, and conductivity utilize advanced plastic materials for maximum chemical compatibility. In recent years, Georg Fischer Signet engineers have discovered the benets of combining plastics with corrosion-resistant metals. For instance, recent developments have combined the use of plastics and metals such as titanium, Hastelloy-C, 316 stainless steel, etc.

NON-INTRUSIVE INSERTION SENSORS A prime example of this synergy is the patented Signet 2551 Magmeter Flow Sensor (U.S. Patent No. 7,055,396 B1). Not only is this product offered in a variety of material options, it also represents a pivotal transition in Signet measurement technology a transition to non-intrusive insertion sensors that possess the same non-moving characteristic as the original Vortex sensor. Signet engineers and product managers worked diligently to create a product that would open up a host of new markets for Georg Fischer Signet, and present a cost-effective solution relative to other electromagnetic ow sensors on the market. The Signet 2551 employs the corrosion-resistant properties of PP and PVDF plastics and combines them with the use of stainless steel, Hastelloy-C or titanium. In applications where the process liquid contains ferrous particles, the Signet Magmeter outperforms any other sensor with its list of added features such as bi-directional ow, multi-language menu display, empty pipe detection, and much more.

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The chemical processing industry is undoubtedly one of the most aggressive environments for uid measurement and control. However, the inherent chemical resistance of PP and PVDF, as well as the durability of Hastelloy and titanium, create an ideal solution that can withstand common elements such as acids, chlorine and typical salt solutions. To complete the solution package, Georg Fischer Signet offers a full line of customized plastic ttings which ensure proper insertion depth and installation for the various ow ranges. The host of options include tee and saddle ttings molded from PP, PVC, CPVC, PVDF, as well as a variety of metal ttings (copper, brass, iron) with plastic threaded inserts. And to make installation even simpler, all plastic Signet paddlewheel sensors, as well as the new 2537 Flowmeter and the 2551 Magmeter, utilize the Signet family of plastic ttings. These ttings offer the unique advantage of preset insertion depths for unique pipe diameters, as well as a reference table for pipe diameter constants. By utilizing compatible Signet ttings, uid measurement errors that commonly occur in other unmatched systems are eliminated. The use of appropriate ttings also allows for sensor upgrades to be done with little interruption in the process. They can be either welded, glued-on or joined directly inline with the existing pipe, and the chemical resistance of these ttings is as equally wellsuited as the sensors they match. COMPLETE LINE OF CONVEYANCE Although plastic paddlewheels make up the majority of Signet product sales, there is a growing demand for cost-effective pH/ORP and conductivity/resistivity measurement technology. pH, ORP and conductivity/ resistivity electrodes are usually used in many water and wastewater treatment systems and harsh chemical applications. Therefore, frequent electrode replacement is common practice in environments where acids and other corrosive substances can deteriorate the integrity of the electrode. For this reason, Georg Fischer Signet employs the use of CPVC and Ryton in the production of its pH/ORP electrodes, and a combination

Signet Magmeters operate without any moving parts thanks to sophisticated electronics and signal processing.

Sensors are in frequent contact with aggressive media. The material resistance and processing quality of the products is decisive in such applications.

of CPVC and 316 stainless steel for the conductivity/resistivity electrodes. In 2001, Georg Fischer Signet introduced a molded connector system called DryLoc. This patented design (U.S. Patent No. 6,666,701 B1) presents a versatile and robust connector scheme between the pH/ ORP electrode and the sensor electronics. Within the molded CPVC body, the pH and ORP electrodes feature gold-plated contacts specically designed for use with the 2750 and 2760 Sensor Electronics and Preampliers. The Signet conductivity electrodes use a combination of CPVC threaded connectors, a 316 stainless steel electrode shaft, plus an over-molded PEEK insulator. PEEK is the acronym for PolyEtherEtherKetone an engineering thermoplastic with excellent mechanical, chemical and water resistance, making the model Signet 2839-2842 Conductivity Electrodes ideal for water treatment, reverse osmosis, deionization, desalination and semiconductor applications. The future holds numerous opportunities for our expanding product line. Each year,

Signet product managers and engineers challenge themselves to develop breakthrough technology that will help us to break through markets previously difcult to attain. For years, GF Piping Sytems has served critical market segments such the CPI, semiconductor, life science, shipbuilding, industrial water and wastewater treatment and food and beverage. No other manufacturer can boast a complete line of conveyance, control and measurement solutions backed by a history that stretches over 200 years. Recognized excellence has propelled Georg Fischer into these markets, and as that reputation grows, Georg Fischer Signet will continue to develop products that will satisfy the unique demands of our global customers.

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Plastics and chemicals


The chemical resistance of plastic pipes

Georg Fischer has been using plastic specically polymers as a base material for piping systems for fty years. However, this group of materials is still considered young by comparison. Thanks to the vast know-how amassed by Georg Fischer over all these years, nearly all chemical applications up to 100 C can be satised with plastic.

DR. STEPHAN SCHSSLER Head of Research & Development at Georg Fischer DEKA, Germany

This article aims at dispelling the mysterious aura of polymeric chemistry and the material sciences and to render the subject of the chemical resistance of plastics more comprehensible to laypersons. The primary concern is to establish and explain the multiple interactions of plastics and chemicals. SPECIAL RECIPES The key to understanding the numerous phenomena involved here is knowing the basic structure of plastics. The observer is generally interested in the so-called polymary system that can be clearly explained with the corresponding formulation. The most important ingredient is the base plastic which is characterized by any number of factors. It consists of long molecule chains made of one or more basic units (monomers). Although there are often microscopically ordered (crystalline) areas, the spaghetti

simile is frequently raised when the microscopic arrangement of the random (amorphous) polymer molecules needs to be graphically described. Stabilizers, llers, processing aids and color are additional components of the formulation; mixing them into the base polymer homogenously and in the desired quantity is referred to as compounding. Such compounds are available for processing either as granulate or simply as physically mixed powders. The next step in processing i.e. melting and subsequent forming via injection molding or extrusion enables fabrication of the desired semi-nished products. This simplied description of plastics manufacturing exemplies the fact that the chemical resistance of plastics is determined by a multitude of factors in the formulation, the mixing process as well as the processing, similar to the preparation of essences. By way of comparison, an accomplished cook creates a delicious meal from quality ingredients and according to a tried and tested recipe. MANY FACES The daily operating conditions of piping systems are diverse and on occasion highly complex; the interaction of the piping system with the conveyed chemicals is only one aspect of this complexity. Additional factors are environmental effects (for example, temperature and humidity uctuation, electromagnetic radiation), mechanical loads (for example, strain, pressure, vibration, internal stress) and microbiological inuence (for example, bacteria, mildew). Coupled with the time factor, in other words contact duration and frequency, we determine the actual specications for the plastic product. Let us now look more closely at the inuence of chemicals on piping systems. In

Glass-ber Duroplast (GFK) OD 600 millimeter of post-chlor inated PVC from Georg Fischer DEKA (Plant photograph KCH).

doing so, we note that the conditions under which the pipe system is operated have a signicant effect on its chemical resistance. The following types of attack on the material have been identied: a) Genuine chemical attack on the formulation: - This occurs when the formulation ingredients (for example, the base polymer) reacts chemically with the medium. A material transformation then takes place, respectively a reduction (corrosion) with elutriation or abrasion, as the case may be. Stabilizer additives can be used

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The effect of acetone on polysulphone pipe which has not been heat treated. Production-related stress is discharged because of the penetration of the solvent on the surface.

Illustration of the signicance of a conscious choice of quality in different semi-nished products within a pipeline. Here: various grades of polypropylene quality in pipe and tting in long-term use (6 years) with 30% hydrogen peroxide at 25 C.

as buffers in this case, in order to prevent or delay such processes. - Is strongly determined by the base polymer selected as the main ingredient of the formulation. Example: A polypropylene has a specic fundamental resistance prole due to its chemical structure. - The consequence of chemical attack is an increase in erosion susceptibility. b) Diffusion/Swelling - Is dened by similarities in the intermolecular interaction (formulation components/medium), in the material structure as well as in the respective operating conditions. - Essential question: How easily can the chemical penetrate the spaghetti molecules? c) Stress cracking - Is, as is diffusion, a purely physical effect. - Describes the (local) distress on a plastic component under the combined effect of

stress and the contacting medium. - In conjunction with chemical attack, we refer to stress corrosion cracking. KNOWING HOW Chemical media therefore always interact in some way with a plastic pipe; the mechanism frequently resembles that of metal corrosion. The most resistant pipe systems are constructed by those who best understand the relationships between formulation, processing, operating inuences and the effects of the conveyed media and who utilize this knowhow meaningfully in the individual facets of this chain. In view of the diversity of inuencing factors, the continuous interdisciplinary cooperation of specialists is required. Georg Fischer has a wealth of expertise in this eld, acquired over decades and acclaimed worldwide. They also participate actively in an international network of corrosion specialists. On the basis of continually optimized in-house formulations, the conscientious selection of commercially available compounds, and a profound production know-how, compatible product systems are

developed, which exhibit a particularly high level of performance, especially in key applications in chemical plant engineering and hence represent an interesting alternative to metallic materials. PROGNOSIS, TESTING AND MATERIALS SELECTION Despite the complexity of this issue, general statements on chemical resistance can be furnished on the basis of results obtained from simple tests. Standardized immersion tests in the media in question have supplied valuable information on the fundamental suitability of the materials under review. Such data pooling exists in the form of so-called Chemical Resistance Lists from nearly all reputable manufacturers. Because of the multitude of variable parameters and idealizing/simplied test conditions, the information contained in such lists can only serve as an orientation aid. It is generally very difcult to quantify usefully the effect of media on the material properties when designing components; this quantication has been made available for use in the laboratory in a simplied

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Via X-ray uorescence microscopy, the dispersion of specic chemical elements (here chlorine) along the pipe wall is depicted. In this case, we have a polypropylene pipe specimen after more than 10 years of use in a mixed acids application at a high temperature.

This photograph shows the condition of the examined polypropylene sample under normal light.

form with specic restrictions, for example with what we call chemical reduction factors. The latter can be calculated from systematic long-term failure tests under internal hydrostatic pressure and chemical exposure. Georg Fischer is one of the very few pipe manufacturers to have had for years its own modern laboratory, equipped specically for such purposes. Such a rich pool of quantitative testimony furthermore enables the precise analysis of pipeline samples from practical long-term use or targeted eld tests. This is a very costly procedure, but when consistently and systematically implemented over years, even decades represents an invaluable competitive edge, in terms of development, application references and customer support in the selection of materials as well. In this manner, the entire system is taken into consideration, including the jointing technology. As a result, Georg Fischer offers its customers competent and comprehensive support, which every customer can rely on when in doubt.

CONCLUSION: A CHALLENGE, BUT UNDER CONTROL Analysis of the chemical resistance of plastic piping systems is a complex task, to say the least, and demands constant development. In the area of systems for industrial use, this aspect is indeed the most important criterion in the selection of materials. Chemical resistance is dened by the choice of base plastic, the formulation, the installation and handling details, the system concept as well as the actual operating conditions. The competent expert service which our customers receive from experienced professionals is the crux of materials selection and should be looked upon as real added value in the service package offered by the manufacturer. Georg Fischer, thanks to its decades of experience and unwavering focus, has mastered the skill of estimating the chemical resistance of its piping systems exceptionally well. An example of this is the fact that nearly all conventional chemical applications up to 100 C are covered with piping systems from Georg Fischer; special high-performance plastics are even resistant to signi-

cantly higher temperatures in a number of interesting cases a very decent result after only fty years.

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So that everything ts
Standards and approvals provide the basis for market access
Standards contribute more to economic growth than do patents and licenses, according to the study micro-eco/ macro-eco, published by the German Institute for Standardization. Exportoriented branches also apply standards strategically in order to open new markets and to reduce the time to market. plays an important role. Chemical processes require different chemically resistant piping materials. In turn, piping components for the semiconductor industry must often be produced and packed under clean room conditions. And naturally the individual components have to t together, and not least also be combinable with products from other manufacturers. Standards reduce the no longer affordable time and effort needed to individually specify every component. For all those concerned, standard conformity of products today is so widely followed in most branches that it is one of the most decisive preconditions for market access. Today, if standards are not met in a piping project, there is not the slightest chance to be considered as a partner or supplier. Only when this evidence is furnished do they have the possibility to enter the eld and present the special advantages of their products and services convincingly. DEFINABLE PRODUCTS WORLDWIDE Standards offer support in a wide range of areas. For example, they help reconcile the procurement of raw materials which have standardized chemical and physical properties to the project target. Products that conform to standards are classied as suitable for the intended use and are compatible with other products within the same application range. Customers and manufacturers can specify raw materials, products and systems worldwide on the basis of standardization. Dened and proven testing methods secure their guaranteed properties and performance characteristics. Thus, both manufacturer and customer make similar use of standards. In the whole array of existing standards in specialist elds, new standards are consSince 1889 the kilogram prototype has been a unique worldwide reference value for the kilogram unit of mass. Together with the meter prototype and the denition of time, it is certainly one of the most important standardizations of all time.

URS AMACHER Head of Standards & Approvals

For fty years, the GF brand has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the international piping market. Under the motto We have what you need, wherever you are as well as through quality and reliability, the GF Piping Systems Group has earned worldwide recognition from its satised customers. The company demands of itself the ability to offer customized solutions for all gas and uid conveyance applications. At rst glance this may appear to be a simple task, but behind it stands a sweeping spectrum of technology. It is clear that chemical processes place different demands on piping and valves than do gas and water supply systems or processes in the food industry, semiconductor technology, etc. For instance, it must be obvious to every consumer that the reliability of piping, especially for gas supply,

tantly being developed. For the non-specialist this is most apparent with products and systems used in everyday life, for example electronic equipment and ofce material. In the case of plant designers, manufacturers and installers, the standards for quality and environmental management systems, testing procedures and laboratory accreditations are of extreme importance. Today, piping components are commodity products, which means they are not the domain of one or two suppliers of systems. In most cases, GF Piping Systems doesnt know where and under what application conditions their products are being used. Despite this,

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setting national, European and international standards. The company thus exerts inuence on the design of practice-oriented standards right from the beginning. On the one hand, it is ensured that standards and regulations correspond to existing products, and on the other hand that future products are developed and manufactured to comply with standards. APPROVALS, A GENUINE ADDED VALUE In special applications and market segments, as well as under special usage conditions, a product that meets normal standards is not, however, enough to satisfy the customer. He demands additional marks of quality and approvals. Such approvals are only awarded after the products as well as the quality assurance systems are inspected by independent, accredited certication centers. From then forth, the products undergo periodic external quality checks by an independent authorized ofce. This certication attests the basic capacity of the manufacturer to deliver products that conform to standards, as well as their ability to provide professional service. Such certication is an effective marketing tool and is about to become a must for sales activities. STANDARDS SUPPORT INTERNAL PROCEDURES As was just mentioned, todays standards are among the basic tools used in developing new products and systems, be these the product standards themselves, which dene the requirements, or the corresponding testing standards, which specify the exact testing procedure to use for evidence of a specic property. The standards for a quality management system, which can only be certied by compliance with the standard requirements, form the framework for in-plant operational sequences. This is similarly true for the environmental management system, which enables production operations to employ environmentally sound procedures with signicant impact, for example on the reduction of emissions, energy consumption and spent resources.

Crush test: a destructive standard test done on an electrofusion joint to verify fusion quality.

they are, like all their suppliers and customers, part of product liability. For the users, the central question is whether all the elements and peripheral equipment of a piping system t together. Precisely with the upgrading and modernization of piping systems, it is essential that different product generations from the same manufacturer, as well as products from other manufacturers, are able to be combined. This is only possible on the basis of longstanding valid standards. STANDARDS CONNECT MARKETS AROUND THE WORLD The vision is clear: standards should connect the world. The realization of this goal is well underway. Through standardization both producers and customers are able to prot from globalization. In spite of numerous regional standards, ISO standards span the globe. Countries like Australia and China have at least in some areas also chosen this standardization procedure because

conformity to standards and having relevant approvals enhance products in the market. They create added value, build trust, and for the customer that means he can rely on the quality, safety and reliability of these products. Because standards make a lasting contribution to strengthening market position, at GF they have always been regarded as an essential part of a future-oriented business strategy. Standards reduce impediments to trade and make the free exchange of goods possible. In addition, they ensure that the functionality as well as the geometric characteristics of the products brought to market are compatible and interchangeable with other products. The interoperability that is demanded today is thus safeguarded. The customer can assume that products which conform to standards full the usage requirements, that they are safe and do not harm the environment. That is why Georg Fischer Piping Systems, in its own interests, participates actively in

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The labels contain information on standards and approvals, in addition to logistical aspects.

Backing ange ts on all collars which correspond to the given standards.

In the near future, ISO will publish a new standard relating to the social responsibility of a company, which will then set a uniform standard in this area as well. STANDARDS ARE THE FUTURE From the start, GF has helped form the standards for piping systems and has also set priorities. Active participation in creating new standards will continue through membership in standardization associations and eventually as chairpersons of, or as delegates to CEN and ISO standardization boards. A widely diversied standards and approval network, set up on intranet, makes communication possible with corporate and sales ofces spanning the globe. Periodic review of the standardization strategy ensures the optimal use of resources. The close ties between existing and emerging standards offer GF customers the assurance that their installation, even when using the very latest products, meets all

standards and is suitable for the intended use. Standardization is therefore an integral part of a companys future-oriented business strategy and strengthens the market position of its products and services.

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Radical optimization
Quality and environmental management as a building block for market success
Market success is only attainable when customer needs are uncompromisingly met. The user must be sure that Georg Fischer products currently in use will satisfy all requirements years from now. Therefore, it is necessary to continuously optimize quality in every process area.

MANFRED LEYRER Head of Quality and Environmental Management

Perfection lies in the details, but perfection is no detail. This slogan from Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls Royce, is also to the point with regard to quality and environmental management activities. He declared that the customers justly demanded need for quality is of central importance. As Georg Fischer has demonstrated since its founding, their interests are in line with those of the customer because only with the highest quality products is it possible to achieve lasting success in the market. The demand for a large measure of sustainable cost-effectiveness concerns everyone. In the sense of long-term protability, it must also be seen to that products from the time of manufacture, during usage, and all the way to disposal at a later time pollute the environment as little as possible. Such far-reaching demands can only be satised by continuous optimization of work processes. This begins right with the

Quality and environmental management systems streamline production structures and processes, which translates into time and cost savings. It fosters the independence of employees by regulating competences, eliminates safety hazards and backs the legal certainty of international marketing.

development of new products. In addition, the operation procedures in production are continuously and critically scrutinized. Already during planning it must be ensured that errors are avoided. The adherence to environmental standards and laws during production is just as much an integral part of cost effectiveness as are employees who are highly motivated to realize the companys long-term goals. Likewise it is very important that intragroup suppliers are actively integrated in the quality and environmental management system. National and international standards, as well as specially determined internal

company controls, serve as a guide for all concerned. The EN ISO 9000 set of standards is, for example, generally recognized in the area of quality standards. The individual standards in this family establish, among other things, denitions of terms and provide the basis for the uniform valuation of the specications to be met. Furthermore, they contain instructions for the continuous improvement of quality performance on the whole and how the goals reached can be sustained. Central to the entire process from development, production and usage, to the recycling which is required years or even

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The targeted improvement of the energy balance is a permanent aspect of quality and environmental management. With an environment relevance matrix Georg Ficher determines the energy balance of products over their whole life cycle from extracting raw materials through production and marketing to nal assembly and even to recycling after decades of use.

ENERGY BALANCE ACROSS THE ENTIRE LIFE CYCLE The environment-relevance matrix represents one facet of quality and environmental management. From it we can derive, for example, the energy balance from the extraction of raw materials to production, from marketing to assembly, and nally to recycling after decades of use. Generating an environment-relevance matrix is not an end in itself, but rather serves, among other, as a basis for reaching the target of an improved energy balance. It shows in which phase the greatest energy comsumption takes place, where the need for action is, and where the quickest reduction of costs can be achieved. Finally, by means of the matrix, it is possible to assess in which ways the improvement strategies and measures have been effective and where, if required, further need for action is called for. It also indicates alternative materials, whether the required amount of material can be reduced, or whether a part of the material can be reused. Lastly, it points to ways in which the products service life can be extended through better maintenance. A MUST OR A NICE TO HAVE? Standards & Approvals, Quality and Environmental Management, as well as Quality Testing and the Test Lab are all closely involved and therefore operate interactively. It is obvious that in a large company only standardized operational sequences lead to inter-coordinated results. For this reason, it is expected of all suppliers that their own quality and environmental management systems likewise work on the basis of these standards. Thereby the entire work surroundings must be considered in quality and environmental management and also be looked at under the aspect of sustainability. Only in a work environment that is felt to be positive do workers perceive taking personal responsibility as matter of course and only in this way does self-monitoring during production lead to higher sustainable quality. In terms of sustainability, Georg Fischer works with a series of additional guidelines: for instance, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines for voluntary reporting on the economic, ecological and social aspects

decades down the road are the requirements to be met from the standpoint of the customer, as well as those from the standpoint of the lawmakers. The question must always be asked afresh, which product characteristics are determining factors in the customers decision to buy. FASTER TO MARKET WITH NEW DEVELOPMENTS Surely one of the most important preconditions for market success is that globally valid standards are observed right from the development phase. This massively reduces the time to market. The manufacturer then has the advantage of being faster to market. Standards and approvals form an intermeshed system with quality and environmental management, which ensures that quality standards are complied with and the basic

requirements of the customer are fullled. This intermeshed system is therefore an essential factor in the cost effectiveness of the entire company. Selected indicators, such as manufacturing quality, margin of error, storage throughput time, adherence to delivery dates, etc., serve the quality and environmental management system as controlling instruments in the attainment of its goals. A recent example is the application of the environment-relevance maxtrix in iFIT, the no-tools piping installation system. Besides conformity to standards, enormous value was placed on processing safety and building site suitability already during development and construction. The fully automated functional testing of all installation system components, which accompanies production, guarantees the highest product quality and functional safety.

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The continuous improvement process (CIP) is an important component of the ISO 9001 standard. The purpose of CIP is to steadily improve the product, process and service quality in small steps not necessarily in quantum leaps.

The efcient and effective use of materials is a central issue. Georg Fischer Piping Systems constantly checks whether volumes can be reduced or if some percentage can be reused or recycled.

of corporate activities, products and services. The guideline issued by Social Accountability International (SAI), workplace standard SA 8000, describes a exible system for ethical workplace conditions throughout the entire worldwide supplier network. The guideline OHSAS 18 001 of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System is a framework for dealing responsibly with questions of work, health and safety. While the documents from the International Labour Organisation ILO contain worldwide knowledge and experience, such as how particular work problems can be tackled on the global level. DECISIVE PLUS A quality and environmental management system tightens structures and production processes, thus saving time and costs. It encourages employees to take personal responsibility through clear denitions of competence, eliminates safety hazards and strengthens legal certainty for international

market entry. The detailed and careful monitoring of a quality and environmental management system is what, in the eyes of many customers, makes a big difference between products and services of GF Piping Systems and those from suppliers of lower priced goods. From the customers standpoint, assured quality is a rm basis for decisionmaking. In the case of comparable offers, he usually decides on that product whose quality he nds convincing and for which he knows it was conceived in an ecologically optimized process.

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Tried, tested and approved!


Quality is our recipe for success

In order to enter the market fast with new products, it is essential that all the relevant norms have already been considered in the framework of the development process. Hence, GF Piping Systems is able to set new benchmarks worldwide with its new products.

FRIDOLIN HUBMANN Head of Accredited Test Lab GF Piping Systems

In principle, designers and installers of piping systems have a huge spectrum of products, systems and system variations to choose from. The very large scope of the market offering doesnt make it easy to keep an overview. Designers must ask: Do I choose a conventional solution and use products that are well known and have proved reliable in the past? Or do I choose a new development, a sustainable, user-friendly solution that offers a number of signicant advantages compared to the traditional solutions? ADVANTAGES OF MODERN SYSTEMS OUTWEIGH THE DISADVANTAGES For example, an installation rm can cut back on assembly time drastically with new systems from GF Piping Systems and at the same time reduce the frequency of errors considerably. Moreover, less is spent on

Endurance test on a PE tapping saddle for gas and water distribution piping: peeling the saddle from the pipe.

inventory management thanks to the modular design of the systems, which enables more variations with fewer components. And last but not least, the end customer benets for many years to come from the more comfortable use. Actually, this end customer, although he has the highest benet, rarely sees much of the installed piping system at all because it is behind walls or under oors. He will, however, complain very quickly if there is something wrong with the installation. And remedying such complaints can be a very costly affair for installation rms and product suppliers. Designers as well as system installers and

users place a great deal of value therefore on a consistent quality assurance. TRACEABILITY VIA SERIAL NUMBER Due to the diversity of new developments, piping system designers are faced with the fundamental question of whether they can be certain that the products they use correspond with the required level of quality and whether they full all the applicable standards and legal provisions. Besides the difcult decision of choosing the right product from the wide range of products on offer, a piping system planner is in most cases not in a position to

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Testing line for pressure loss measurements on pipes, ttings and valves.

verify if the selected products possess the characteristics he needs. For him, it is therefore important that the declarations and quality marks are based on the particular specications of his application. In regard to product liability, it is essential for all those involved that the manufacture of the product is traceable. By way of a practical example, lets look at the tapping saddle. With this product, it is possible to make connections on existing pipelines without interrupting the mains supply. Analogous to other products made at the plants of GF Piping Systems, a serial number is injected into this tapping saddle, from which the manufacture period can be deduced. This number permits the manufacturing plant to isolate precisely the raw material batch and the process parameters under which production was conducted. In case of damages, it is thus possible

to reproduce the production process exactly and detect any deviations from the parameters which may have occurred. ACCREDITED LAB AS BASIS FOR SUCCESS Requirement-based quality and continuous improvement of the business processes create a competitive advantage all along the line. Quality has a very high rating throughout the entire corporation. In this vein, the GF Piping Systems Test Lab is accredited as a testing center according to the ISO/IEC 17 025 standard. It is especially important to have the respective accreditation for the laboratory because only test reports from an accredited lab are accepted worldwide. The accreditation of the test lab is audited annually by the Swiss Accreditation Ofce and has to be renewed every ve years. The

GF Piping Systems Test Lab conducts testing on a wide range of components, such as pipes, pipe joints, connecting elements, ttings, manual and actuated valves and ow meters, on behalf of in-house research and development departments and production plants, as well as for external customers. Specically, these can be development and product release tests from the R&D departments (TT Type Tests and ITT Initial Type Tests), fabrication release tests (BRT Batch Release Tests) and quality controls (PVT Process Vericating Tests). The type tests (TT) performed during the development phase ensure, when completed successfully, that the new systems comply basically with the market specications in relation to the applications and the standards. We differentiate in this respect between PTT (Preliminary Type Test) and ITT (Initial

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Long-term pressure test on a PVC cement tting in a water bath at 60 degrees Celsius. The tting must remain tight at an internal pressure of 16 bar for at least 1000 hours.

Function test on PVDF ball valves with electric actuators. The ball valves must withstand 50,000 cycles without leaking.

Type Test). PTT is the proper development test, ITT the production release test. To obtain product certication, the results of the ITT are necessary. These results must stem from accredited or other labs authorized by the certication ofces. Regular and diligent fabrication release tests (BRT) are an integral component of production. Test procedures, for example geometric testing or internal pressure tests, are assigned to individual production steps. These tests can be viewed as an application simulation. In this production phase, the parts are also marked for future traceability. The purpose of the quality control tests (PVT) is to identify at an early timepoint possible quality defects in the entire product life cycle attributable to modied materials and production means. The basis for these is a test plan which chalks out which parts have to be checked with which tests. This includes the entire product spectrum. GLOBAL SUCCESS WITH QUALITY Since all the relevant standards are already taken into consideration during the deve-

lopment of new products, Georg Fischer is capable of bringing these very quickly to market. The company is therefore in the fortunate position of setting global benchmarks with these new developments and providing its customers with a technological edge. With solutions for long-lasting use, GF Piping Systems is t for the future and scores in demanding sectors from water treatment to cooling and heating systems, sewer systems, irrigation, swimming pools, applications in the semiconductor industry, food technology and biotechnology, to chemical plants and shipbuilding. For tailormade solutions in these extremely different kinds of applications and specialized areas, GF Piping Systems has over 40,000 products in its range. Strict controls guarantee that customers receive high quality products that meet all the relevant standards and legal requirements.

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Just ordered, presto delivered


The new logistics concept of Georg Fischer Piping Systems
The hub concept has taken hold and proved successful in the aviation industry. The new logistics concept of Georg Fischer Piping Systems, which is being gradually implemented until the end of 2007, is built on a similar model. It consists of seven distributions centers throughout Europe. needs to be replaced an emergency! A call for action from a hotel renovation project in Verona; here a new piping system for the hotels water supply is required subito! These three examples picked at random from a normal working day at the Georg Fischer distribution centers have one common denominator: The globalized economy depends heavily on the fast-as-lightening, smooth-as-clockwork ow of goods. Accordingly, logistics and distribution enjoy a high status at Georg Fischer. Only with sophisticated logistics can the ambitious goals of high customer satisfaction and continued growth be reached. DELIVERY TO ALL REGIONS, AS REQUIRED The hub concept, which we aspire to, is a colossal project. It consists of linking a network of seven regional distribution centers in Europe including the two existing centers in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) and Coventry (Great Britain). The new concept guarantees that customers in all the regions receive their shipments, as required. Products kept on stock at the individual distribution centers are specically aligned to the needs of our customers in the particular region, and the transport routes to customers are short. In Europe we can reach the majority of our customers within 24 hours from one of the seven distribution centers. Between the centers themselves, we have set up regular, xed shipments to maintain a constant supply. For especially urgent shipments of products not on hand locally, there are various trafc on demand options. The new logistics concepts therefore also gives consideration to the increased use of transport systems and deliveries are less susceptible to breakdowns in the system.

MARKUS SCHERRER Head of Supply Chain Management

The main goal of the new logistics concept of GF Piping Systems is to meet the needs of our customers even better and to further optimize the supply chain. After all, logistics and distribution represent an important link between customers and production and are a major factor in achieving customer satisfaction. The latter is not just a matter of supplying high quality products and systems, but supplying them quickly anywhere in the world, any time! LOGISTICS AND DISTRIBUTION ARE TOP PRIORITIES A nervous and stressed customer in Shanghai. The microelectronic rm needs a diaphragm valve immediately! A lengthy production standstill would be catastrophic and totally unacceptable. Hectic activity at the Hamburg Public Utilities as well, because a gas line

GF Piping Systems is geared for a global supply chain. Sea freight, air freight, courier services, road transport the distribution centers are masters at putting together the logistics puzzle.

DEMAND IS REGISTERED SYSTEMATICALLY The product range of GF Piping Systems includes several tens of thousands of products. Obviously, with such diversity and volumes a classication into A, B and C products is essential. A products generate the highest sales volume, C products the lowest. In addition to this classication, we have analyzed the uctuations in demand for these products via a minutely detailed survey of all sales at our companies, thus creating a second classiscation dimension. We can therefore say precisely with which and how many products we generate how much sales

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Piping Systems did originate against the background of changing market conditions. NEW MARKET REQUIREMENTS Market analyses and customer surveys have conrmed the trend in effect since 1990: Price and time pressure is on the rise as is the need for greater system variety. The customers are optimizing their procurement channels, which concludes ultimately in a reduction of suppliers. In the course of these developments, many large customers have made radical changes in their stockkeeping: this task is frequently delegated today to the suppliers, or manufacturers. So, large distributors that have very large product mixes are faced with the same problems in stockkeeping as suppliers. Concretely, this means that they are wary of obsolete inventory, the so-called shelf warmers. This has caused many distributors to say that they will carry our products, but only want to keep A products on stock. For all the other products, they expect us to maintain a high level of responsiveness and very short delivery times. This optimizing on the part of distributors is driven by the cyclical economic slowdown as well and the visible trends toward market saturation in the piping systems business. Currently, however, we are in an upswing; nevertheless, our efforts to reduce costs are unwavering. Delegating stockkeeping to the manufacturer is related to a great extent on the diversity of the systems today. While in the past a plumber would work with the materials he preferred and which he kept on stock, he is instructed today by contractors and architects on what kind of a system is to be used, one of any number of systems available in the market. These customers then have to order on demand in other words, when they have a job to do. So we often deliver straight to building sites today. Another trend, which places high demands on logistics, is that many large retailers and plant engineers are expanding their market area to include all of Europe. Naturally, they expect the same service quality and identical prices everywhere. This is where we compete directly with local and regional providers.

The huge volumes in our distribution centers require constant monitoring of the ow of goods. Order processing is automatic and despite modern IT tools, the people behind the processes are indispensable.

percentage, broken down into the individual markets. Such gures are worth their weight in gold, so to speak. So in a gurative sense, we have declared products with the highest demand and the least uctuation in demand Gold products. They are always on stock locally and at the customers within 24 hours. MASTERING THE LOGISTICS PUZZLE Air freight, sea freight, courier services, road transport the distribution centers are masters at putting together the logistics puzzle and always select the best possible means of transportation. For regular orders, and in agreement with the customers, the best transport means is simply the cheapest; especially urgent orders are sent by express and courier, if necessary also over the weekend. Order processing is fully automatic and conducted with modern IT tools. Customers from all around the world place their orders with their sales company by phone or electronically; the orders are then forwarded to the responsible distribution center and processed.

HUGE DAILY VOLUMES GF Piping Systems processes worldwide approximately 410,000 customer orders annually. The incoming orders comprise nearly 2.8 million order items. The warehouse capacity currently amounts to 80,000 pallet spaces across all the distribution centers and the local warehouses and plants. At the largest of our distribution centers in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) we handle huge volumes on a daily basis. For example, we process 5,000 order items every day in twoshift operation from 5.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. This adds up to 400 pallets for shipment and 1,200 packages. Twenty-ve percent of orders leave the distribution center on the same day, 60 percent are shipped the following day and the rest on the day after. We are striving to improve these key gures even more with our large-scale logistics project. The goal is to rst and foremost offer our customers superior service, as compared to the competition, and to guarantee the highest level of reliability possible. Optimizing costs is only secondary. However, the new logistics concept of GF

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In the largest distribution center of GF Piping Systems in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) about 5,000 order items are processed daily. This corresponds to 400 pallets of shipping volume and 1,200 packages.

25 percent of orders leave the distribution center in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) on the same day, 60 percent on the following day and the rest on the day after.

ENTREPRENEURIAL CHANGE Basically, we can speak of an entrepreneurial paradigm change in logistics at GF Piping Systems. We are transforming, in terms of material ow, from an extremely centralized structure to a decentralized structure, i.e. a regional structure. Logistics management, nonetheless, takes place centrally at headquarters. We continually evaluate incoming orders and check the individual products as to their service classication. This evaluation enables us to project market requirements to our inventory keeping, getting very close to ideal conditions and optimal delivery service. We can also predict precisely which products generate what percentage of turnover. By evaluating this data, we can thus analyze and optimize our product range. SYSTEMATIC AND HEALTHIER MARKET SENSE As is frequently the case in complex systems, analysis of data pools leaves a margin for interpretation open and sometimes the measures which need to be taken are not immediately identied. By way of example,

let us look at a product that is not sold often, but which is an important component in one of our systems. From a logistics point of view, this would be a dark red product. But from a sales perspective, this product is indispensable for the sale of other system components. To solve this dilemma, a systematic approach is required to determine quasi the opportunity costs. Concurrently, a healthy market sense is necessary; this means that we have to know what our customers want. Finally, we are obliged to stay in permanent dialog with our colleagues in sales. The supreme goal is always to adhere exactly to what was promised to the customer a challenging task indeed! Each of the three orders mentioned at the beginning of this article were of course delivered on time. Even the especially urgent shipment to China arrived on time in Shanghai two days after the order was received!

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Packed-in energy
Plastic: from raw material to end of life

Plastics are sustainable materials because they conserve resources like no other material. Thanks to their specic properties, they contribute greatly to consumer benet, to protability and to environmental compatibility of products.

advisable to recycle plastics wherever technically and economically feasible and where there are markets for such products, whether in the form of recycled materials, raw materials for chemical processing or energy. Environmental compatibility does not simply involve the treatment of products at the end of their life cycle; instead, the entire lifetime of the products needs to be taken into consideration. INNOVATION CONSERVES RESOURCES Because of their diversity and molding capacity, plastics have forged ahead into all walks of life. Today the most signicant application is in packaging. In Western Europe, this sector represents roughly 37 percent of plastic applications, followed by the building industry with about 20 percent. Other market shares are in technical applications, such as automobile manufacturing (7.5 percent) and electrical/electronic equipment (7 percent).1 Innovative plastic packaging design has led to major savings in material usage. A study by the GVM, Wiesbaden (Society for Market Research in Packaging) and the GUA, Vienna (Austrian Institute for Economic Research)2, 3 examined the question of what would happen if all the plastic packaging in Germany were replaced by other materials. The results of this study show that the packaging weight would quadruple and the resulting volume of waste would be doubled. Twice as high would also be the greenhouse gas emissions and the costs. Energy consumption would increase 1.5 times. Approximately 2,000 parts in an automobile are made of plastic. By using plastic, the vehicles are lighter, which is important for fuel consumption. About 90 percent of an automobiles energy consumption results

DR. KLAUS VORSPOHL Managing Director PlasticsEurope, Germany DR. INGO SARTORIUS PlasticsEurope, Germany, Plastic and Environment

Raw materials for plastics manufacturing are carbonaceous sources like petroleum, gas or coal. In terms of oil and gas consumption, plastics require approximately four percent of the total consumption in Europe. More than four-fths are used for transportation, heating and energy, in other words they are combusted. Worthwhile contributions to resource conservation are best undertaken in these areas. Plastics true virtue lies in its ability to safeguard vital resources. This material helps to save valuable resources in manifold ways when used in products such as automobiles, washing machines or as packaging. And once the products have served their purpose, they can be reused in a number of different ways, thus conserving even more resources. This is, however, not the case when they are deposited as waste. It is

Raw material recycling in the form of gasication to synthesis gas at Sustec-Schwarze-Pumpe.

from running the car (approx. 80 percent) and from fuel production (10 percent); automobile manufacturing accounts for the remaining 10 percent and only 0.2 percent is attributed to disposal.4 The most decisive contribution to resource conservation is, therefore, to be found in reducing the fuel consumption, which primarily depends on the motor power and the weight. A high-mileage automobile can only be realized with innovative plastic solutions. One means of accomplishing this is a gasoline tank made of plastic. Because plastic is so easy to mold, space can be utilized optimally, so the overall weight is reduced.

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Plastic consumption in Western Europe


Total consumption in 2004: 43.5 millions tons

Other 28.5 %

Packaging 37 %

Automobile 7.5 %

Electrical/Electronic 7 %

Building 20 %

very popular, but also good for the environment. An LCD monitor requires only about one-third of the energy over the entire usage stage, as compared to traditional cathode ray tubes. The disadvantage is that the LCD cannot be recycled in the same manner as the easily dismantled tube displays. Yet, when considering the entire life cycle, the at screens fare much better in the overall balance of environmental burden, due to the fact that the manufacture and recycling stages combined require far less energy than the usage stage. A simple rule of thumb for electric appliances and electronic equipment is that the usage stage requires approximately 80 percent of the total energy consumption, while manufacture and disposal require only 20 percent, disposal usually accounting for less than half of this. A concrete example would be the cumulated expenditure of energy in the life cycle of a washing machine, of which even 90 percent of the energy utilization is ascribed to the usage phase. THREE MEANS OF RECLAMATION Plastics can be reclaimed in three different ways: from a material, raw material or energy aspect. No other material offers so many recovery options. Material and raw material processes are referred to as recycling, in reference to the reutilization of materials. Recovery of materials (recycling) is similar to that of glass or metals. The material is reduced to small pieces, washed and remelted into new applications. Used plastics are generally made into granulate, or so-called reclaim, which can basically be reprocessed much like virgin material to create new products. NEW INTERMEDIATE AND END PRODUCTS In other cases, the used plastics are remelted directly into intermediate or end products. This is how new plastic bottles or ber textiles, for example, are created. Plastic refuse, which is fairly clean and homogenous, or plastic which can be easily and economically sorted, is most suitable for material recycling. Soiled and mixed plastics lend themselves to raw material reclaim. In this case, the plastic is split up into its feedstock or in

ENORMOUS SAVINGS POTENTIAL Plastic parts in a household washing machine produce a similar effect. The detergent tank which surrounds the drum is easily formed with plastic, thus minimizing the so-called dead space. Result: water consumption is decreased by up to two liters per wash cycle. If we extrapolate the number of wash cycles per year and household to about one hundred, we see that there is an enormous potential for saving water and energy here. In Germany alone with approximately 39 million households, the annual savings potential is in the order of ve billion liters of water, in addition to roughly 300 million kilowatt hours of electricity, analogous to a CO2 reduction of approximately 100,000 tons. Heating in the home is second only to transportation in terms of energy consumption. Seventy percent of the energy used in households goes to the account of heating. Plastic insulation materials for exterior walls, roofs and basement ceilings represent a substantial savings factor. A recent study conducted by the GUA5 looked at the energy savings already realized through the targeted use of

plastic insulation in buildings. Included in the study were the EU member states as well as Norway and Switzerland. All the life cycle stages were considered from manufacture of the insulation to its disposal. From an energy perspective, it was revealed that manufacture and disposal consume less than one percent. The greatest effect is achieved in the product usage phase. For exterior wall insulation, the expenditure for energy consumption in manufacturing was redeemed after only four months of usage. And the most important result: the energy saving calculated for Europe corresponds to approximately 20 percent of total energy consumption of EU member states (EU-25) for the year 2002 an impressive example of resource conservation through the use of plastics. RELATION OF USAGE TO MANUFACTURE AND DISPOSAL A further example are LCDs, short for liquid crystal displays. These at screens, in which the cathode ray tubes have been replaced with a type of plastic lm onto which the image is projected, are not only

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other chemical intermediates. These are then utilized in plastics manufacturing or in chemical processing. An industrial process is converting plastic waste into synthesis gas, which is used, for example, in manufacturing methanol. Methanol is, in turn, sold to the chemical and plastics industries and in some instances used to produce plastic. Another commonly used process is the application of plastics as a reducing agent in steelmaking. Again, an intermediary product is created, a synthesis gas, which removes oxygen from the iron ore, leaving only the iron. The third option is energy recovery. The energy content of crude oil is, so to speak, parked in plastics and can be used again when the products service life is over. This method of recovery is also recommendable for heavily soiled and mixed plastic refuse. For energy recovery, plastics are supplied, for example, to waste incineration plants that produce electricity and thermal energy, to the cement industry or to power generation plants. MORE THAN HALF OF THE WASTE IS RECYCLED In Western Europe (EU-15) a total of approximately 22.5 million tons of plastic waste was accumulated in 2004.1 Of this, nearly 54 percent was recycled and 46 percent disposed of. The so-called post-user wastes (from private and industrial end users) make up the largest portion of plastic waste. In 2004 this amounted to 19.1 tons in Western Europe, of which the lions share was plastic packaging with about 61 percent, followed by automobiles (6 percent), building (5 percent) and electrical/electronic (4 percent). Of the post-consumer waste, nearly 47 percent was recycled, of which 18 percent fell to material recovery (1.6 percent raw materials) and 29 percent to energy recovery. Roughly 52 percent was disposed of in landlls. Which of these methods is most suitable for the respective plastic waste depends on several factors. First, the quality and the volume of the waste will determine to what extent the plastic can be recycled so as to make technical and economic sense. But in the end, prot and loss will depend on whether there are markets for the resulting

Plastic fuel tank.

Bits and pieces of an automobile.

products, recycled materials, chemical feed stock or energy, as the case may be. RECYCLING IS BETTER THAN WASTE DISPOSAL When plastic products become waste, they do not represent a problem; on the contrary they contribute to resource conservation provided that they are used optimally. The agenda of the European waste policy is threefold: - less waste by prevention and reuse; - less waste disposal in landlls by recycling; - resource conservation. The use of plastics supports these objectives. Due to their low specic weight, plastics already contribute to waste prevention during their usage, especially in the area of packaging. As we have mentioned before, the waste volume would be about 2, 3 four times greater without plastics. Plastics have a similar heating value as fuel oil used articles made of polymer materials should therefore not be thrown into landlls. Valuable resources are conserved when used

plastics are recycled, whether from a material or energy point of view. However, concentrating solely on recycling, in other words material recovery, harbors the risk of missing other, usually greater savings potential. For many products, the greatest potential lies in the usage stage, as illustrated by our examples. This can lead to a conict of objectives. Take for example the automobile: The increased implementation of various plastics, optimally adapted to the respective application, enables lighter construction and therefore less fuel consumption, but this does not necessarily promote the recovery of the plastic material, which would require the materials being easy to separate. In such cases, universal, industrial processes to recover the raw materials or energy recovery would be better suited. The whole life cycle must be taken into perspective for resource conservation to make sense. SUSTAINABLE WASTE MANAGEMENT The currently applicable laws do not give adequate consideration, however, to this

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PET akes for material recycling.

Polyethylene reclaim from material recovery.

correlation. The most important guidelines on product waste: - the EU-PPW Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste - the EU-ELV Directive for End-of-Life Vehicles - and the EU-WEEE Directive for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment provide very rm recovery and recycling quotas. In this way, the focus of resource conservation is put on the end of the life cycle and the product use is disregarded. The plastics industry supports the basic objective of ecologically sound resource conservation in European environmental policies. Because the usage stage is so highly signicant, optimal waste management can only make a comparably small contribution on the whole. From this standpoint, the recycling quotas prescribed in the aforementioned waste directives are counterproductive since they x the status quo and do not take the necessary exibility of all the available recovery options into consideration. The plastics industry therefore advocates sustainable waste management, comprised of the following elements:

1. Minimizing the organic-rich wastes placed in landlls. 2. Ecological waste management by utilizing the available mix of recovery options in which the different processes for material and energy recovery can be freely selected. 3. Treatment and recycling of wastes according to dened environmental quality standards. This concept should be introduced uniformly throughout the EU in order to prevent market distortions and to sustain the competitive ability of European industry. THE ANSWER IS IN THE MIX Life cycle assessments have shown that all the plastic recycling options save resources compared to depositing the plastic waste in landlls. Materials recycling is only ecologically superior to raw material and energy recovery processes when the wastes are clearly sorted and clean and the recycling material replaces virgin materials in a 1:1 ratio. In practice this is realizable for commercial and industrial products, the

so-called post-industrial wastes. Mixing fractions from post-consumer wastes come nowhere near this ratio, so that material recovery in such cases is not advisable from an ecological standpoint. Because as contamination and intermixing increase, benets decrease. Overall, the raw material and energy recovery processes are equal on the ecological scale.6 The value of energy recovery in waste incineration plants depends largely on the utilization of the energy generated. If the plant is tied into, for example, an industrial power network with yearround thermal energy utilization, the waste incineration plant will be on an ecological par with the best raw material processes. Which recycling mix is the most efcient ecologically and economically for plastic waste is a consideration which must be dealt with separately in each individual case. For example, it certainly makes sense to recycle the material for plastic packaging collected separately, as are PET bottles. However, the mandatory recovery of plastic components from end-of-life automobiles, for example, makes neither ecological nor economic sense.7 Plastics, which exist in such great variety and which are used in such diverse functions, can only in the rarest cases be separated material-specically with a tenable amount of effort. Such waste rich in plastics is generally better relegated to the raw material and energy recovery processes. In line with resource conservation thinking, it is essential that plastics are recycled and not disposed of. PLASTIC THE MATERIAL OF THE 21ST CENTURY The fact is undisputed: Plastics are a sustainable materials. Plastics are efcient in production, they contribute greatly to resource conservation, especially in the product usage stage, due to their diversity and low specic weight, and they can be recycled in a variety of ways at the end of the product life cycle. This enables utilizing the energy packed in the natural resource, petroleum, at least twice. Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that plastics are making headway in many new applications and advancing to become the material of the 21st century.

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Sorted PET fractions from DSD used plastic recovery.

Waste incineration plant in Wrzburg, Germany.

Sources: 1) Plastic Waste in European Key Countries, Summary of Results, CONSULTIC, Marketing & Industrieberatung GmbH, Alzenau, September 2006 2) Verpacken ohne Kunststoff Hochrechnung auf Europa, GVM Gesellschaft fr Vermarktungsforschung und GUA Gesellschaft fr umfassende Analysen, Wiesbaden/Wien, Dezember 2004 3) The contribution of plastics products to resource efciency, GUA Gesellschaft fr umfassende Analysen, Wien, Umfassender Bericht, Januar 2005 4) Sachbilanz eines Golfs, G. Schweimer/M. Schuckert, Ganzheitliche Betrachtungen im Automobilbau, VDI-Berichte, Nr. 1307, 1996 5) The potential of plastic insulation to realise energy savings and de-coupling in Europe, GUA Gesellschaft fr umfassende Analysen, Wien, Abschlussbericht, Januar 2005 6) Recycling and Recovery of Plastics from Packagings in Domestic Waste, M. Heyde/ M. Kremer, LCA Documents, ecomed publishers, Landsberg Vol. 5, 1999 7) Verwertung von Kunststoffbauteilen aus Altautos Analyse der Umwelteffekte nach dem LCA-Prinzip und konomische Analyse, Schriftenreihe der FAT Forschungsvereinigung Automobiltechnik, Frankfurt/Main, Nr. 188, 2005

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Plastics Markets today


Innovations come from the market

The more ideas are systematically gathered and discussed in a company, the greater is the prospect of launching groundbreaking and innovative products. This includes a customer-orientated organization and employees who are ready to open their eyes and ears to recognize market requirements.

HANS-CHRISTIAN WISLOEFF Head Global Market Development and Innovation

As a manufacturing company, GF Piping Systems must always make certain that they dont shoot past the needs of the market. Not everything which is doable and desirable is necessarily something which ultimately serves the customers. This is where the team of Global Market Development and Innovation comes in. They must recognize and continually examine the customers needs in the various market segments and applications which are previously dened. This means that they must maintain good relationships with key customers in order to comprehend fully their wishes and concerns. This additionally entails their being on location when products are installed. Successes, but also failures, are useful in detecting potential for innovative ideas. In order to obtain this information, market segment managers need to keep their eyes and

Only if we understand the customers processes and requirements, can we offer them the right products and solutions for their needs.

ears open and be prepared to do so for the customers sake. At best, companies would naturally like to offer solutions never seen on the market before. But since so much has already been invented, this type of innovation is increasingly difcult to realize and has become rather uncommon. That is why companies must consistently develop existing products further and try to penetrate into new application areas with high quality systems. Market segment managers can perform valuable spadework by developing market strategies, regularly discussing the latest trends and exchange experiences with the sales force.

Focusing on core applications in the most important market segments is one of the keys to success. The better we know our markets and market partners, the faster we will achieve measurable results. Innovations do not appear out of nowhere. They evolve from persistent questioning in the market and the consistent implementation of the ndings in R&D departments. Please nd on the following pages an overview of the key market segments and some selected applications showing the core competences of GF Piping Systems.

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Subsegment Main applications

SHIPBUILDING
Cruise liners Leisure time and entertainment ships Ferries Scheduled passenger or vehicle transport ships Mega yachts Private luxury ships Freighters Goods transporting ships

The total plastic solution for all non-critical systems onboard a ship is approved and supplied to shipyards all over the world. A cruise liner today is a oating city. Typical customer: Shipyards and subcontractors for ship yards. Cabin builders and owners/service crews.

Black & grey water Potable water Water treatment Bunker lines Ballast systems

Subsegment Main applicaitons Pharmaceutical Producers of synthetical drugs Biotechnology Producers of biological drugs

Laboratories Cosmetics Producers of cleansing, beauty products Hospitals Institutes providing health care services Institutional Education providers (Universities, schools, laboratories) DI water (type I IV)

LIFE SCIENCE
The development, testing and production of products in dened and controlled conditions (laboratories). Typical customer: Test production set-up in a cosmetic factory, or water and waste water loops in a university/science lab.

Water treatment Distribution loops Chemical distribution and dosing Vacuum Waste drainage & treatment

DI, PW, hPW, WFI

DI, PW, hPW, WFI

DI, PW, hPW, WFI

Dialysis & DI water

Subsegment Main applicaitons Computer Chips Producers of integrated circuits & memory UPW DI water/ speci ed water Chemical waste CMP/Slurry Exhaust Chemical distribution Process/ House vacuum Process cooling water Solar Power Producer of phot voltaic cells OLED Producers of organc LED products TFT / LCD Screens to replace CRT video monitor applications

MICRO ELECTRONICS
Realization of completely controlled processes for conveyance, control, measurement and equipment for installation of piping systems supporting critical and non-critical process uids in high tech factories making computer chips, at screen monitors and solar cells. Dependable systems with high degree of controlled specications are a must where inadvertent shut downs could lead to millions of Euros per day in lost customer revenues. Typical customer: Companies specialized in production of micro electronic components

Subsegment Main applications

FOOD & BEVERAGE


Super markets Replacement of Freon charged display cabinets with green anti-freeze uids Beverages Production and storage of ingredients, mainly beer and carbonated drinks (eg Coca Cola) Cold Stores Large refrigerated and chilled distribution centers for foodstuffs Dairies Milk product production and storage: cheese, milk, yoghurts etc.

The production, distribution and storage of products related to food, soft drinks and general beverages, with main focus on temperature control for preservation. Typical customer: Contractors specialized on production of secondary refrigeration systems for cold stores, breweries, dairies and meat production. Specialized supermarket installers.

Refrigeration (low Temp.: 0) Cooling

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Subsegment Main applications Water from the water works via the mainlines to the point of use Distribution and transport lines House connections and service lines Maintenance & repair Hydrant package Gas from the gas distributors via the mainlines to the point of use

WATER AND GAS UTILITIES


Solutions for water & gas through new and refurbished infrastructural pipe systems, primarily installed below ground. Typical customer: Municipal water works, gas distributors and contractors.

Subsegment Main applications Drinking Water

Municipal & Industrial Processes Process Water Water of pre-de ned quality, optimized for industrial processes Waste Water Treatment Systems for industrial and municipal waste handling/ treatment

WATER TREATMENT
A chemical and/or physical process that modies the properties of water in order to reduce their impact on processes and environment. Typical customer:

Systems for potable water processes and pool water

Chemical dosing Dilution & water injection Media ltration Resin ion exchanger Membrane technology

Equipment manufacturer focusing on production of specialized skids and systems.

Subsegment Main applications Hotels Public residences for business and leisure stay Hot & cold water HVAC Fire protection Compressed air Water transport Chemical waste Vacuum Industrial Buildings Production facilities for all industries Hospitals Institutes providing health care services

BUILDING SERVICES
GF Piping Systems provides a comprehensive solution for all major piping systems in non-residential buildings like hotels, hospitals, industrial buildings and leisure centers. The combination of different material properties secures optimized systems from one supplier. Typical customer: New or refurbished hotels, hospitals and factories

Subsegment Main applications Chemical Distribution Distributors of user de ned base chemicals Surface Treatment Production of prede ned surfaces (plastic and metal) Power Plants Coal power plants and waste incineration plants Chemical Production Production of chlorine-alkaline electrolyses batches

CHEMICAL PROCESS INDUSTRY (CPI)


Chemical processes that modify or change the properties of chemicals and materials in order to make or enhance required functions or properties, including neutralization and cleaning. Typical customer: Galvanization plant for metal treatment, distributor of bulk chemicals, chlorine-alkaline producer or power plant engineering specialists

Filling stations Dilution, dosing & water injection Batching Air cleaning / ue gas desulphurisation Neutralization Water treatment

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Shipbuilding
The lighter plastic solution

Cruise ships are often called swimming cities. In view of all that is offered on these ships today, this is truly no exaggeration.

ROLAND STEINEMANN Market Segment Manager Shipbuilding

The shipbuilding industry is booming. The cruise ship sector, in particular, is breaking record upon record and has become the fastest growing sector in the leisure industry. There is no end to the new attractions being offered on the cruise ships and the gigantic size of the ships is the making of headlines. The amazing number of leisure, wellness and relaxation activities on offer eclipses everything we have seen until now. As markets grow in the Far East, notably in China, the demand for container ships, bulk carriers, oil and gas tankers skyrockets too, in magnitudes never seen before. South Korea, today the largest shipbuilding nation with a roughly estimated market share of 40 percent, currently builds over 1,100 ships annually. The order books of the shipyards are full, well beyond the year 2008. CORROSION-FREE AND FLEXIBLE This is where GF Piping Systems comes into the picture; plastic piping systems conveniently meet the rising demand for faster installation and repairs in shipbuilding.

The Freedom of the Seas is Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines newest ship, tted with plastic piping systems from GF Piping Systems.

Easy installation is not the only advantage offered by plastic: the material is also much better suited for the harsh environment at sea. Saltwater, vibration and adverse weather conditions will corrode metal pipes within a short time. Plastic has a much longer service life. This is benecial to the shipowner as well, since it means less dry dock time for repairs. An additional plus of plastic is its low weight, an especially important factor on cargo ships, where every kilo deadweight is at the cost of goods which can be loaded for transport. And last but not least, plastic systems enable greater installation exibility,

which is useful in the usually cramped quarters on board ships. CULTIVATION OF MARKET SEGMENTS GF Piping Systems has created a separate market segment specically for shipbuilding, which makes certain the general market conditions are conducive to the use of plastic piping systems on ships. These conditions include, among other, product approvals, installer training and global marketing, all aimed at convincing the shipbuilding industry of the advantages of plastic over the more traditional steel and copper.

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The Freedom of the Seas set out on its maiden voyage in May 2006. Another weighty reference for the successful marketing activities of Georg Fischer Piping Systems in the shipbuilding sector.

Freedom of the Seas


Georg Fischer has supplied the shipbuilding industry with piping systems for many years. And because plastic materials have made such headway, there is signicant growth potential in this sector.

Georg Fischer has recently received several major contracts in spite of erce competition in the shipbuilding industry. One of the most spectacular ships to sail the seas, which Georg Fischer has helped to outt, has to be the Freedom of the Seas, currently the largest cruise ship in the world. The numbers for this cruise liner are staggering, even for landlubbers. For example, the agship of Royal Caribbean International (Florida) is 339 meters long, 56 meters wide and draws 8.5 meters water. It travels at a speed of 21.6 knots, or a converted 40 kilometers an hour. The cruise ship has 15 passenger decks, 1,800 cabins and has a maximum passenger capacity of 4,370. The crew serving the passengers counts 1,360. The numbers arent the only momentous thing about the ship; the leisure activities on board the Freedom of the Seas are also quite impressive. Numerous entertainment and shopping opportunities are available, such as a climbing wall, an ice-skating rink,

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This cabin water distribution piping demonstrates what is meant by limited space for ship installations.

Drinking water is distributed via INSTAFLEX polybutene pipes.

PVC-U piping with valve for water treatment.

an aquapark, as well as diverse games and children programs. Furthermore, passengers can use their mobile phones from anywhere on the ship thanks to modern, wireless network technology. The departure port for cruises with this new ship of superlatives is Miami. KILOMETERS OF PIPING The hot and cold water supply was completed with INSTAFLEX, the all-plastic distribution piping system. Alone for the distribution of water in the cabins, restaurants, kitchens and amusement areas, the ships hold contains 77 kilometers of piping, joined with 155,000 ttings and controlled by 3,600 valves. For drinking water treatment, another 1,700 meters of pipe, 2,700 ttings and 410 manual as well as 120 actuated valves are needed. All ten of the treatment systems were installed with PVC. GF Piping Systems provides the shipyard with comprehensive support from design to

acceptance so that all stages of installation proceed smoothly. This also includes training the 200 installers. The crew also benets from training since when at sea they are responsible for making sure that all systems are go. OPPORTUNITIES FOR PLASTICS The triumph of plastics in shipbuilding didnt happen overnight. A great deal of persuasion was necessary with the shipowners and at the shipyards. The Finnish shipyard Aker Yards, for example, which builds the cruise ships for Royal Caribbean, initially required a test installation from Georg Fischer before they decided to implement the INSTAFLEX system. We clearly demonstrated our competence, as can be seen in the most recent example, the Freedom of the Seas. In the meantime, plastic piping systems are being implemented for other applications on ships as well: such as, treatment of drinking water, seawater, swimming pool

and whirlpool water, waste water, ballast systems, compressed air and cooling systems and many more. All the possibilities havent even been exhausted yet.

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Life science
From an apothecary shop to an industry

Biocon Ltd. is a major Indian biotechnology rm. The enterprise has developed several important biopharmaceuticals, including human insulin production, a cholesterol-reducing molecule and enzyme extraction from papaya fruit.

PAUL OSULLIVAN Market Segment Manager Life Science

The modern-day life science industry has its origins in two very different branches: pharmacies which began producing morphine, quinine and strychnine toward the middle of the 19th century; paint and chemical companies which set up research laboratories at the end of the 19th century and in the process found medical applications for their products. The Merck company, for example, began as a small apothecary shop in Darmstadt, Germany in 1668 and then started to produce medicines industrially in the 1830s. Many reputable pharmaceutical rms, such as Schering in Germany, Hoffmann-La Roche in Switzerland, Burroughs Wellcome in England, Etienne-Poulenc in France and Abbott, Smith Kline, Parke-Davies, Eli Lilly, Squibb and Upjohn in the USA took up business as medicine manufacturers between 1830 and 1890. Other rms renowned in the industry started by producing organic chemicals (especially paints) before launching into

In 1827, Heinrich Emanuel Merck initiated the evolvement from a pharmacy in Darmstadt to industrial production. Today, Merck is a global chemical and pharmaceutical company with sales in the millions.

pharmaceuticals. Agfa, Bayer and Hoechst in Germany, Ciba, Geigy and Sandoz in Switzerland, Imperial Chemical Industries in England and Pzer in the USA are counted among these. FROM PHARMACEUTICALS TO BIOTECHNOLOGY These two kinds of enterprises combined to form what is known as the pharmaceutical industry toward the end of the 19th century when pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacology emerged as scientic disciplines. Science focused on identifying and manufacturing synthetic drugs and testing their

effectiveness on disease patterns. The signicance of the pharmaceutical industry grew accordingly. In the last twenty years, there has been a consolidation as well as global investments mainly in Asia. Meanwhile, the eld of biotechnology has developed into a market with great potential for the next fty years. Georg Fischer, being itself a 200-year-old company, has witnessed the developments in the life science industry from the front row. With the development of plastic piping systems and the corresponding fusion technologies, we have played an important role in the progress of these rms. And still are!

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A special process is used to produce human insulin at Biocon.

Unconventional methods lead to success


A broad information offensive and the courage to try a new approach have helped plastic to make the breakthrough in the Indian life science industry.

Multinational rms with production sites in India are not unusual. But India also boasts its own internationally rapidly expanding biotechnology rms, such as Ranbaxy, Gaetec and Biocon. These companies are active in the eld of molecular research and are among the best in the world. PIONEERS IN THE LIFE SCIENCE MARKET Georg Fischer with its applications for puried water is a pioneer in supplying the Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology market. The thermoplastic systems SYGEF Plus (PVDF HP) and SYGEF Standard (PVDF Standard) were installed in no less than thirteen projects over the past three years. The foundation for this success was laid in 2003 when seminars were held in Hyderabad, center of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, as well as in Mumbai and Baroda. Still dominant in this industrys plant engineering are conventional piping systems

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Several kilometers of PVC-U and PVC-C piping were installed to supply the plant with diverse media.

Puried water treatment and distribution at Biocon requires manual and actuated valves as well as measurement & control instrumentation.

The puried water is conveyed in SYGEF Plus pipes, installed on so-called pipe bridges.

made of stainless steel according to 316L specications. Sanitizing high purity systems is generally done with hot water at temperatures of 80 to 90 C. Occasionally ozone will also be used. Water for injection (WFI) is sterilized at 122 C with hot steam. Orders for such facilities are normally placed with a general contractor who specializes in piping system construction. He is then responsible for the design, engineering, supply and installation of the system. Before the system can be released for production, a test run must be done to check the functionality and reliability in every detail; this usually takes at least three weeks. We had to blaze new trails in order to press forward in these domains with our high quality plastic piping systems. Established plant constructors (OEMs) lacked experience in working with the PVDF material, so they were naturally not prepared to assume responsibility for the installations done in PVDF. That is why we focused on the plant

operators directly, presenting them with convincing arguments in favor of PVDF piping systems. The advantages offered by the material were not the only decisive factors; GF Piping Systems was also able to persuade the operators of the benets of the bead and crevice-free fusion technology (BCF) and of having on-site support. The combination of product, installation technology, local support and global expertise nally enabled us to clinch the deal and thus acquire a valuable new customer. BIOCON PROJECT Consistent market development with our aforementioned strategy and the resulting reference projects paved the way for a substantial project in the life science industry. We received the bid for our largest project to date in India in July 2004. Biocon, the oldest and also the leading biotechnology rm in India, selected PVDF-HP over stainless steel for its puried water system. GF

Piping Systems was successful in pointing out the measurable added value of its systems, from a technical as well as a cost point of view. At the same time, we were also able to solve another of Biocons problems with our PVC-U system. There had been repeated cases of serious rust particle contamination of laboratory tools, caused by the rinsing water conveyed in galvanized metal pipes. A lot of costly time was lost due to the fact that the test tubes needed to be cleaned a second time with DI water (deionized water). Our PVC-U pipes solved this contamination problem, and the additional work steps were no longer necessary.

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Microelectronics
From a niche problem solver to a general supplier
Information carriers in microelectronics are getting smaller, while their capacity is growing exponentially. To warrant high precision on a nanoscale, the slightest impurity must be prevented from entering the manufacturing process. High performance plastics do the job.

WOLFGANG DORNFELD Market Segment Manager Microelectronics

Twenty-ve years ago, when semiconductor manufacturing was still in its early stages, tackling technical hurdles was the biggest challenge facing a supplier. The result was a large scope of new developments during this time, which was also evident in the eld of piping systems. PROBLEM NO. 1: CONTAMINATION One of the most critical process media for the production of semiconductors, then as well as today, is what is referred to as ultrapure water or UPW. This grade of water is used in up to fty different process steps. Why is it so important? All the foreign substances must be removed from the wafer the silicon disc from which the individual semiconductor chips are made and no impurity however slight may be left behind. But this was exactly the problem twenty-ve years ago: despite

Failure-free chips are useful in many applications, ranging from the ofce computer to mobile devices or medical equipment.

the fact that the wafer had been rinsed, the subsequent process steps repeatedly exhibited failures or were unstable. The root cause was sought and thanks to trace analysis found. Minute traces of metal were evidently the culprit, leading to malfunctions time and again. But where were these processadverse particles coming from and how could they be prevented in the future? The answer lay in the choice of piping material. HIGH PERFORMANCE PVDF In the past, chiey rust-free stainless steels were used for the piping systems, which turned out to be an unsuitable choice. Additive-free

plastics, such as PVDF (polyvinylidene uoride) are much more suitable for these sensitive applications with a major difference in performance compared to stainless steel. Processes became more stable and could be developed further at a faster pace; failures caused by metal contamination became a thing of the past, thanks to plastics. In addition to the clear technical benets, the commercial advantages were soon brought to bear. Plant operators around the world comment: We used to have to replace all the steel pipes every six months, whereas the plastic systems have been running trouble-free for many years.

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Controlled processes in microelectronics demand adherence to strict regulations on the part of key suppliers as well.

Total Plastic Solution


More steel pipes are being replaced with plastics than ever before. Today, it is a matter of fact that plastic piping systems dominate not just in UPW (ultrapure water) but in many other processes in the semiconductor industry.

Hans-Peter Mller, Application Manager Microelectronics

Hi-tech microelectronic factories run 24/7. It is therefore absolutely essential that the piping systems deliver critical process uids safely and reliably. Avoiding unnecessary shutdowns is a goal we share with the operators. Our quality piping system components coupled with the corresponding fusion technology have kept the ultrapure water systems in

semiconductor fabs running round the clock for more than two decades. During this time, end users and plant engineers have come to appreciate the added benets of plastics in their applications and have replaced other materials with plastics, thus improving the safety, quality and productivity of their piping systems.

UNIQUE COMBINATION OF PIPING SYSTEMS AND FUSION MACHINES The state of the art in semiconductor manufacturing is the 300 mm wafer. GF Piping Systems has beneted from its close contact to manufacturers and has developed the SYGEF and PROGEF product lines for controlled processes. For ultrapure and hot ultrapure water (UPW and HUPW), the so-called lifeblood of semiconductor wet processing, we offer the industrial benchmark in the form of SYGEF Plus in PVDF HP (High Purity) and IR Plus (infrared) fusion technology. From the source of ultrapure water treatment to the point of use, the whole system is made of SYGEF Plus PVDF products, connected with the system-related fusion technology. Georg Fischer Piping Systems is the only supplier with this combination of high purity PVDF components and the related fusion machines in its product range.

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Chemical waste water ows through double containment systems from Georg Fischer Piping Systems.

PROGEF Natural satises the requirements of CMP/slurry applications (chemical mechanical polishing).

Ultrapure water system (UPW) for a 300 mm wafer fab, completed in SYGEF Plus.

CONTROLLED MANUFACTURING PROCESSES To be the supplier of choice for chip manufacturers, we must comply with stringent specications. High purity products are by denition specialty goods. Processes and protocols in the manufacture and delivery of such products must reect these circumstances. Adherence to the accepted standards, SEMI, SEMATECH, ISO and DIN, is strictly monitored throughout the entire process, from injection molding of the ttings and valves, to extrusion of the pipes, to design and construction of fusion equipment. A complete series of certied courses in welder training and joint inspection rounds off our service package for customers. In the wake of the high purity success story, GF Piping Systems has developed the Total Plastic Solution. This approach comprises plastic piping solutions not just in the high purity sector but for a wide range of microelectronic applications, always

with the aim of satisfying the strict technical requirements. UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES As a global solution provider, GF Piping Systems is the single source for all your piping needs: - Because of its excellent surface nish and corrosion resistance, Beta-PP-H is the ideal and economical solution for process cooling water. - In chemical drain and waste systems, our FUSEAL double containment system allows safe and efcient conveyance of corrosive uids, even at elevated temperatures. - PROGEF Natural (PP-N) is the prefer red material in CMP/slurry applications (chemical mechanical polishing). - SYGEF Exhaust features easy planning, handling and installation as well as superior performance at a reasonable price. This system is generally used for conveying critical exhaust gases and fumes.

- SYGEF PFA completes the Total Plastic Solution pallet by offering solutions for the distribution of chemicals. The highly innovative PFA piping system meets specications up to 200 C. TAILOR-MADE SOLUTIONS We apply our comprehensive plastics knowhow acquired from standard applications to customizing as well, thereby ultimately serving the specic needs of our customers. Our goal is to continuously increase added value for our customers by consistently pursuing the Total Plastic Solution approach.

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Food and Beverage


Plastics do more

The items on our shopping lists today are getting cooler. Fresh products need to be refrigerated, just like the ready-made pizza or crispy egg rolls from the freezer section in your supermarket.

MARK BULMER Market Segment Manager Food and Beverage

Customers want to buy fresh, premium quality goods, so in order to provide them with these, the distribution cold chain must be awless. For a long time, this fact caused the number of cooling aggregates rumbling behind every refrigerator case to rise rapidly. And this of course entailed the use of a correspondingly large amount of coolant. So not only did the atmosphere in shopping centers suffer from the constant drone of aggregates but the earths atmosphere also suffered excessively from the increased use of freons. An alternative which benets man and nature alike are the so-called indirect or secondary refrigeration systems. JUST AS FRESH WITH FIVE TIMES LESS COOLANT A secondary cooling system is in principle similar to central heating, only for cooling purposes. For temperatures below zero, water logically cannot circulate in the pipes; instead a freeze-resistant glycol is used. The central cooling unit can be located in the basement and because of the concentration requires ve times less coolant than a series of conventional aggregates. The uids loss is also reduced greatly, amounting to an overall savings of 80 to 90 percent over time.

Secondary cooling systems allow customers to enjoy the shopping experience without the drone of single aggregates and they are easier on the environment, requiring ve times less coolant.

THREE TIMES FASTER TO INSTALL GF Piping Systems has experienced a great deal of success with its installations for the food and beverage industry. The diverse systems and materials offer customers superior quality without the worry of corrosion; the solutions are cost-effective and implementable in a wide range of applications. The contractor, who is planning to open or renovate a supermarket, comes to us with his own shopping list. At the very top of the list is time! Time is money, concretely about 200,000 dollars a week for your average shopping center. So he naturally wants as few delays as possible. In this respect

too, the plastic solution from Georg Fischer, pre-insulated Cool-Fit, fares much better than copper pipes. While installation time estimates for copper systems run at about twelve weeks, the same installation with Cool-Fit takes a mere four weeks. No surprise then that the Wal-Mart manager is equally partial to Cool-Fit as is the Bavarian beer brewer. The environment also prefers Cool-Fit. The energy balance (e.g. crude oil consumption) of the ABS pipes used in the Cool-Fit system is approximately three times better than for copper pipes!

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Plastic systems are used for the cooling at Landskron Brewery in Grlitz, so the delicious brew can mature at a constant temperature.

Cooling without condensation


Pre-insulated plastic piping systems reduce cooling loss and at the same time protect structures of historic interest.

The Landskron Brewery founded in Grlitz in 1869 is Germanys most easterly brewery and a Hollywood celebrity. The brick building under historic preservation served as a backdrop for the remake of the lm Around the World in 80 Days. The Landskron beer is stored in vaulted cellars eighteen meters underground and ferments there over a period of six to twelve weeks, maturing into a veritable delicacy. The secret of this beer lies in the traditional method of brewing: with open fermentation, guided by hand. Some time ago, the refrigeration system and the brewhouse were renovated. The old cooling register in the cellar was replaced with forced-air cooling. A new cooling system was added. To preserve the historical building, the structure has to be kept dry. No condensation may form. Cool-Fit makes it possible to fulll this requirement. The system supplied by GF Piping Systems is free of condensate, which basically means condensation water

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The tanks are cooled during the fermentation process with Cool-Fit.

Cool-Fit has proven to be very practical to install in the historic building.

Landskron Brewery the historic backdrop for the Hollywood remake of the lm Around the World in 80 Days.

is prevented from forming. Cool-Fit has proven practical in use and installation at the Grlitzer brewery. Installing the system under the special conditions of the vaulted cellar was quite a challenging assignment. NO ICE BUILD-UP ON ABS PIPES A total of over 1,200 meters of piping in the dimensions DN 25 to DN 100, more than 400 ttings and connecting elements and a cooling brine with 25 percent Antifrogen L were used with a working temperature of -4 C to -8 C. To keep the cooling energy input to a minimum, the plastic piping system is pre-insulated. When coolant is transported through insulated steel pipes, ice can form in places where the insulation is damaged. On ABS pipes, however, there is no ice build-up. PLASTIC IS THE IDEAL SOLUTION Cool-Fit is a completely pre-insulated plastic piping system for secondary cooling. The

combination of corrosion-free ABS pipes and PUR insulation with sturdy PE-HD jacket pipe is the ideal solution. The carrier pipe system made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is halogen-free and resistant to low temperatures. ABS exhibits high impact strength and resistance at low temperatures. The ABS inner pipe as well as the impact and water-resistant protective outer pipe offer optimal conditions for use in breweries. CoolFit is specially designed as a secondary system for cooling and refrigeration applications in the temperature range -50 C to +40 C. The ABS material is ideally suited for such cooling mediums as water and ice water, ice slurries, salt, glycol and alcohol solutions. Whether outdoors, in the ground or in buildings Cool-Fit can be installed wherever indicated. Since ABS is safe for use with foods and in contact with drinking water, it has a large spectrum of applications in the foodstuff industry: from breweries to dairies to meat and sh processing. The

white version of Cool-Fit is predestined for these hygienic environments. Because of its UV resistance, Cool-Fit in the black version is ideal for outdoor applications. Quality and longevity of a piping system designed for a service life of 25 years is achieved through comprehensive know-how and many years of experience in the eld. GF Piping Systems offers end users all this in a service package that includes technical documentation, planning tools and on-site training and support.

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Water and gas utilities


A core competence

Where there is water, there is life. In industrialized nations, we luckily dont have to worry about where our water comes from. It simply ows from the tap, whenever and wherever we want it, and it disappears just as naturally down the drain.

MARK VAN DEN BOSCH Market Segment Manager Water and Gas Utilities

Never before in the history of our planet have so many people needed water. We are dependent on this element for life, as well as for the quality of life. Water, especially drinking water, is becoming scarcer. By the year 2050 nearly two-thirds of the world population will be affected by this scarcity. And yet, in many distribution networks around the world, up to fty percent of precious drinking water is lost because of leaky piping systems. CHALLENGE OF THE CENTURY Georg Fischer is aware of the elementary importance of water and has geared its principles and actions toward meeting this challenge. The responsible use of modern technologies with consideration to man and the environment is reected in the market performance of Georg Fischer. We are motivated, as suppliers of future-oriented

Georg Fischer Piping Systems supplies reliable complete systems for the safe conveyance of natural gas.

piping systems, to make our contribution to solving this global problem. Reliable and safe products are essential, now more than ever. A key challenge here is selecting the right jointing technology in the right place. Since distribution networks are designed for several decades of service, easy maintenance and repair, as well as the durability of the joints are a priority. COMPLETE SYSTEMS ARE IN DEMAND Gas utilities have always been very quality conscious because a faulty installation could

easily result in a catastrophe. Georg Fischer has an excellent track record as a dependable partner and complete system provider for gas companies. Quality, safety and longevity are gaining importance in water distribution for the previously mentioned reasons. GF Piping Systems works closely together with water authorities to bring customer-oriented developments to market. For instance, we now offer force-locked PE systems up to d 630 mm. Georg Fischers electrofusion sockets are time-tested in practice. Today, we even have a plastic hydrant for polyethylene water distribution systems.

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A novelty in the world of utilities the lightweight PE underground hydrant.

A viable alternative for the future


Georg Fischer makes sure the piping systems for the Sandesneben Water Authority in Germany are safe. The polyethylene hydrant proved its worth here, where it was rst put into rigorous everyday operation.

The Sandesneben Water Authority services 23 townships, supplying drinking and industrial water to a total of 30,800 people in 41 communities daily. Five clean water pumps deliver between 4,000 and 6,000 cubic meters water a day through a piping network measuring approximately 260 kilometers. Nine wells in a depth of 70 to 160 meters feed the system. IN FAVOR OF POLYETHYLENE Polyethylene (PE) has taken the lead as the material of choice in water distribution. This trend can be ascribed to the easy and very economical installation methods and the outstanding weldability of the material. The homogeneity of the fusion joints provides water authorities with the reassurance of having safe systems for many years thanks to the reduction of potential leakage points. PROJECT DESCRIPTION The advantage of having this material homo-

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The new section with polyethylene hydrant.

The PE end hydrant is tied into the system with an ELGEF-Plus duckfoot bend.

The sectional hydrant is mounted directly on the mains with an ELGEF Plus branch tting.

geneity throughout the entire piping network was one of the factors which convinced the Sandesneben Water Authority to use PE hydrants in their development project no. 15. This ensures that the whole water distribution network has identical jointing properties. Varying conditions in the system regarding ageing, pressure resistance and exibility are therefore avoided. For house service connections to the individual residences, ELGEF Plus pressure tapping valves were used. The development plan provided for two access roads with hydrants at the end of each. The water supply to each of the adjacent properties was provided for with ELGEF Plus pressure tapping valves. Thanks to the modular design of our pressure tapping valves, which enables aligning the spigot prior to fusion, the house service lines were easily connected with standard sockets. This saved having to use more costly ttings and/or the time-consuming method

of constructing level transitions to obtain a tension-free joint. The PE end hydrants were tied into the distribution network with an ELGEF Plus duckfoot bend especially designed for this purpose and a plastic EN piece with integrated house service connection. The latter ensures a steady ow in the duckfoot bend, thereby actively preventing water from stagnating. So that the construction work would progress rapidly, the PE main line was rst laid and then the sectional hydrants placed directly on the pipeline. Once the pipe is laid, it makes little sense to cut into the pipe and install a tee. The ELGEF Plus branch tting has signicant potential for improving installation methods and reducing costs, which was certainly decisive in persuading the Sandesneben Water Authority. The branch ttings are available for all conventional mains diameters with d 90 mm, d 110 mm and d 125 mm outlets. An electrofusion socket is integrated in the

outlet so the hydrant can be fused in directly and thus tied into the pipe network. CONCLUSION All the parties involved in this installation were very pleased with the diverse options offered by the ELGEF Plus products and will continue to draw on them in the future. The PE hydrant proved its worth in rigorous daily use and represents a viable alternative for future water supply systems.

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Water treatment
Where standards in quality are high

Sparkling clean water is a must for our pure swimming pleasure. Treating water to meet diverse quality standards is a complex discipline in which plastics have irrefutably taken their place.

ERIC BENGHOZI Market Segment Manager Water Treatment

The treatment of water in order to modify its characteristics is a necessity in many sectors of industry. Water treatment has long been one of the core businesses of Georg Fischer Piping Systems. Purication of water for drinking places high demands on the respective treatment system. Industrial processes too must treat their water according to precisely dened specications. Waste water and sewage treatment plants nally must comply with high environmental protection standards and efuents treated accordingly. Plastic piping systems are implemented in all these processes because of their special characteristics and suitability. PLASTIC KEEPS PACE WITH NEW DEVELOPMENTS Technologies and applications have been continuously developed over the years. The working pressure in such systems has been reduced, which allows us to manufacture water treatment systems today completely

Pool water is exposed to a number of stress factors. Water treatment equipment and plastic piping systems ensure pure, hygienic and aesthetic conditions for carefree swimming.

in PVC-U, polypropylene and polyethylene. And new technologies are constantly on the horizon: reverse osmosis and membrane technology are becoming very popular due to the changing requirements. Breather pipes in waste water treatment plants also open new doors for the application of plastics. CUSTOMER-FOCUSED SERVICE End customers and OEMs feel the pressure of erce competition and are therefore increasingly on the lookout for reliable partners who offer them added value in the form of return on investment and competitive operating and maintenance costs. Thanks

to their extensive experience in the eld, Georg Fischer has the answers to these challenges in the market. By focusing on individual market segments, we are able to provide tailor-made solutions for any type of water treatment system. OEMs appreciate the fact that with GF products they have a complete package of pipes, ttings, valves, automation, measurement and control technology from one source. In addition to the expertise of our competent sales staff and innovative engineers, Georg Fischer also offers customizing and prefabrication services, which is yet another decisive benet for system builders.

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Seawater desalination is another form of water treatment. This modern method of producing potable water is used in many countries, among which the United Arab Emirates.

Drinking water from the sea


Clean water requirements are steadily increasing both in domestic and industrial applications. It is impossible to imagine the water treatment systems of today without plastics.

In geographical regions where it is difcult or even infeasible to tap groundwater, other means of obtaining adequate quantities of water in the desired quality must be found. State-of-the-art technologies now make it possible to desalinate seawater, thus providing drinking water for a thirsty population. Depending on the population density and the particular requirements, seawater desalination plants can be built for single families, for farms or for entire cities. In order to realize systems that are dependable, but also compact and economical, Georg Fischer continually strives to develop, improve and optimize its products for system engineers in the eld of water treatment. Starting with optimized ttings that save space and time in the construction of such systems; aided by mechanical, electronic or electromagnetic ow sensors and Signet analytical instruments that help to monitor the systems reliably; and nally actuated valves for all types of applications, as well

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Custom-made valve according to the specications of a reverse osmosis system.

Prefabricated PVC-U elements for a reverse osmosis system with manual and actuated valves and measurement & control technology.

The impressive piping gallery in the worlds largest reverse osmosis system in Fujeirah in the United Arab Emirates.

as the required bus interface Georg Fischer has the ideal solution. SEAWATER DESALINATION Simply said, desalination involves pressing seawater through a lter that separates the salt from the water. The desalinated water is then puried in several further steps in order to obtain potable water. For this under taking, it is important to coordinate the lters and their efciency so that an effective and at the same time affordable solution is achieved. Because of the increasing demands of consumers and the ever growing population, enormous quantities of clean drinking water must be made readily available. Advances in technology have made it possible today to build desalination plants and reverse osmosis systems of gigantic proportions. Another application area of water desalination for the production of drinking water can be found on board ships.

LARGEST REVERSE OSMOSIS PLANT Thanks to our sales network which spans the globe, we are able to provide project support, from design to installation as well as nal assembly. Our technical teams travel to all four corners of the world, providing customers with hands-on support based on a wealth of experience. This expertise came in very handy, for instance, in Fujeirah in the United Arab Emirates where the worlds largest reverse osmosis system was installed as part of a seawater desalination project with a capacity of 380,000 cubic meters of water a day. The close cooperation between GF Piping Systems and the plant engineers enabled surmounting technical difculties as well as bottlenecks. Local craftsmen were trained by Georg Fischer on how to work with the PP-H material and the respective fusion machines. Due to the on-site supervision, a consistent work quality was guaranteed throughout the duration of the project.

The materials most frequently used in the desalination process are PVC-U and Beta-PP-H. The main benets of these materials compared to stainless steel are their low weight and excellent mechanical properties, such as stiffness, impact strength, temperature and corrosion resistance, in addition to the high chemical resistance. RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES The systems are easy to install and adapt to the prevailing conditions; an ideal combination with measurement and control technology is given. The plastic solution offers a long-lived system, better efciency, outstanding values in high-end applications, as well as less pressure loss than with metals, which is particularly benecial in regard to the prefabricated elements.

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Building services
Feel the comfort

Enjoying safe drinking water a matter that we at GF Piping Systems take very seriously. The polybutene material gives off no avors, odors or harmful substances and thus guarantees hygienic conditions of drinking water systems.

JRGEN FLUCK Managing Director Georg Fischer Building Technology Ltd.

Water is our most valuable foodstuff and its quality is therefore strictly monitored. For drinking water systems, it is essential that no avors, odors or harmful substances are given off to the water. Metals, however, can release copper ions, nickel or corrosion deposits into the water. Our polybutene installation systems are absolutely safe according to hygiene and health standards, hence ideal for drinking water distribution. Comfort in the home also encompasses undisturbed sleep. Polybutene has the lowest sound velocity of all piping materials. Thanks to the excellent noise reduction, you can sleep peacefully, even if the bathroom is located directly adjacent to your bedroom. DRINKING WATER SYSTEMS FOR EVERY BUILDING Conveying drinking water in a clean, ecological and economical manner is one of our

For more comfort at home plastic piping systems from Georg Fischer Piping Systems.

core competences. From the basement, to the riser pipes, all the way to the tapping point, water ows through a piping system without corrosion or lime. And not just in singlefamily homes or apartment buildings. Planners of hotels, hospitals and industrial complexes also want comprehensive, ecological and cost-efcient solutions. While the focus for industrial buildings tends to be on smoothly running production processes, hospitals are intent on providing their patients with hygiene and comfort. In hotels, quiet and comfort are of primary importance. For all these needs, GF Piping Systems offers a variety of materials and in-

novative systems; we have an ideal solution for all your building projects and installations, so you are free to plan and design as you wish. Other key criteria are safety for persons and for the environment, ease of installation, protability and longevity. HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS With innovative oor heating systems, GF Piping Systems also contributes to your wellbeing in living areas. The same system can be used for both heating and cooling and is extremely energy-saving.

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The port of Monte Carlo and the four-star Fairmont Hotel, in the background the legendary casino.

The Fairmont Monte Carlo


One of the largest hotels in Europe, the Fairmont Monte Carlo, renovated its drinking water, cooling and heating piping installations with plastic systems from Georg Fischer Piping Systems.
Pietro Mariotti, Head of Product Management Georg Fischer Building Technology Ltd.

The Fairmont Monte Carlo was built back in the early seventies. This four-star luxury hotel was erected on the same piece of property where once Monacos rst train station stood. It was decided to use an architecture style that stretches along the length of the coast rather than up into the sky. The hotel has only seven stories, jutting out over the Mediterranean Sea. A bit of information for Formula One racing fans: The Fairmont Monte Carlo is located directly above the tunnel through which the race circuit of Monaco runs. With 619 rooms and suites, three restaurants, three bars, eighteen conference rooms and a newly renovated tness center, the Fairmont Monte Carlo is one of the largest hotels in Europe. PIPE RESTORATION Of course, the ravages of time have left their imprint on this building as well. The installed metal pipes have slowly succumbed to corrosion. A large-scale renovation project was launched to replace the basement

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The electrofusion device can be used to make up to three joints at the same time.

Prefabricating the piping components looks like fun with a socket fusion machine.

The nished installation at the Fairmont Hotel Monte Carlo with polybutene distribution lines.

distribution and riser pipes with plastic systems. GF Piping Systems with its INSTAFLEX polybutene piping system was awarded the project. The local installers were already familiar with the handling techniques and fusion of polyethylene and polypropylene systems. Polybutene was a new material for them, but with the support of the Georg Fischer crew they soon became pros at working with INSTAFLEX, completing the installation quickly, properly and accurately. This is an essential prerequisite in order to realize piping systems that are reliable and longlived. Wherever feasible, thirty to forty meters of piping are prefabricated in the workshop and subsequently joined on the building site with electrofusion sockets. The dimensions used in this project ranged from d16 to d160 mm. WHAT IS INSTAFLEX? INSTAFLEX is a modern plastic piping sys-

tem for applications in building technology. Hot and cold water, cooling systems and compressed air are the most prevalent uses. GF Piping Systems offers complete solutions with INSTAFLEX for single-family homes, whole housing complexes or industrial buildings. INSTAFLEX features a large spectrum of installation possibilities. Dimensions from 16 to 225 mm guarantee consistent use of the same system from the single-family home to an airport or a high seas luxury liner. The exibility of polybutene permits slight changes in direction without ttings. This means fewer additional parts and also saves valuable time on location. Polybutene stays exible and easy to install, even at low temperatures. Prefabricated riser strands can be rolled up and transported easily for fast installation in shafts. For ne distribution in the small dimensions, the INSTAFLEX system is complemented with the iFIT push-t system. This jointing technique requires no tools; its

attractiveness lies in the speed and simplicity of installation. ADVANTAGES OF PLASTIC Plastics have numerous advantages in comparison with metals. Just one example: the material polybutene has an excellent ecological assessment. Compared to steel and copper, plastics manufacturing requires four times less energy. This ultimately protects our environment. The smooth surface of plastic prevents deposits from forming in the system. The piping systems do not corrode and the water quality is not impaired in any way.

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Chemical process industry


Where plastic makes a difference

The chemical industry is a global market, which exercises a strong inuence on our daily lives. Many products are fabricated with the help of a wide variety of chemicals. Most acids and bases are considered dangerous substances and can have a negative effect on the water quality.

CHRISTINA GRANACHER Market Segment Manager CPI

Chemicals are still frequently conveyed today via steel pipelines. But at the same time, it must be said that two percent of the annual turnover is invested into maintenance and repair due to corrosion in the chemical process industry. For decades, plastic piping systems from Georg Fischer have proven reliable in numerous applications in this market: lling tanks, dilution, chemicals mixing and dosing, drainage of chemicals, cooling, exhaust systems, water treatment, compressed air, vacuum and many more. TIGHT CONNECTIONS AND CORROSION-FREE MATERIAL In the chemical process industry (CPI), operating conditions are often at just a few bars pressure and at temperatures below 100 C. Particularly in these areas, the physical properties are not the issue, but much more so the impermeability and cor rosion resistance of the materials. Plastics, such

Filling station in a chemicals depot. This is where the chemicals are mixed, dosed and lled into tank trucks.

as PE 100, Beta-PP-H, PVC-U, PVC-C and PVDF, are ideal for this purpose because of their high chemical resistance to most corrosive media used in the chemical process industry. Selecting the most suitable material and jointing technology is prerequisite for each installation. The main advantages of plastic piping systems in this market are: - high chemical resistance - radically reduced maintenance costs - fast and safe installation - excellent abrasion resistance - long service life - outstanding surface quality - less risk of incrustation

- a wide selection of jointing technologies - economical processes PRODUCTS AND SERVICES Automation technology with AS interface ideally supports our customers operations. GF plastic valves have been implemented successfully in the chemical process industry for several decades. When a new plant is designed, the best possible concept must be found, including automation and measurement and control technology. GF Piping Systems offers comprehensive support in choosing the best system, as well as designing and installing it optimally.

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Double-shell tanks with built-on equipment such as exhaust air scrubbers and pressure regulating devices.

Efciency and safety with plastics


The Dutch company Chemproha in Zwijndrecht specializes in acids and bases. The modern storage tanks have been operating safely and reliably for many years with plastic piping systems from Georg Fischer.

plastics in the application described here was the superior chemical resistance of the materials. MODERN PLANT CONCEPT The operating concept and high level of automation render this chemicals distribution site one of the most modern in the world. The area available for the storage tanks and the additional facilities is relatively small, measuring only 3,000 square meters. Thanks to the compact design, the connections could be kept short and the costs low. No less than 15 different raw materials are stored in different concentrations in the 34 double-shell tanks. Equipment for scrubbing exhaust air, batching and cleaning containers, as well as for neutralizing waste water can be found at ground level. The total capacity of the tank depot is approximately 900 cubic meters. The pump stations in the lorry loading and unloading zone are equipped for uptake

Chemical manufacturers aim to streamline their logistics and pass on the conditioning of raw materials to the retail chemicals market. Customers in surface nishing, agricultural chemicals, microelectronics, foodstuffs and animal feed industries require media in concentrations other than those provided by manufacturers and also specic container sizes.

Chemproha, a subsidiary since 1996 of Brenntag, the worlds largest supplier of chemicals to the processing industry, has operations at several locations in the Netherlands. The bulk of components used for the industrial piping systems at the Zwijndrecht location was supplied by Georg Fischer. The most signicant criterion for implementing

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Ratio control is easy and safe with ow sensors and batch controllers from GF Signet.

Exhaust air scrubbers with run-down tank, trickle line, ventilator, circulation and drain lines.

The materials selection depends on the medium to be transported. The pump station in the foreground was built in PVDF, the one behind it in PE.

and discharge of the respective media. Depending on the medium, PVC, PP, PE and PVDF are the materials of choice for the piping systems. For the primary task of unloading, the tank lorry is coupled to the storage tank via a pump station and a gas displacement line. Diverse actuated valves and measurement and control devices, such as ow and level sensors, are integrated into the process. The pump suction line must be vented for loading the tank lorry. STORAGE TANKS The drain pipe on the storage tanks is realized with an immersion pipe that has two outlets. There is one connection to the pump station via an automatic shut-off valve for lling the tank lorries and a second via another automatic valve for lling containers, drums and canisters. This arrangement of the suction lines is vented by means of an ejector unit with solenoid valve switch-off.

Storage tanks with gas-releasing media are connected to the ventilation system via a pressure regulating device. This ventilation system prevents the build-up of negative pressure while the tanks are being drained. Several separate lines with similar gas scrubbers are needed for treating the exhaust air of specic media. MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL Ratio controlling permits precise adjustment of the concentration. Many GF Signet ow sensors are used throughout the whole plant; these are available in a variety of chemically resistant materials and are often linked to batch controllers which are in turn linked to actuated valves at the lling stations. These batch controllers enable accurate measurement of any required quantity, with all operations being data logged. The plant operator simply enters the chemical and the desired concentration, selects the batch size and then proceeds to the lling station to ll

the selected containers. The batch controller will dispatch precisely the amount specied and the process is also reproducible. In separate waste water treatment systems, residues are neutralized. All discharges at the site are drained into holding tanks. The efuent is then pumped between two treatment tanks in which pH transmitters are linked to actuated valves, ensuring that no discharge is made until the efuent is within the permissible discharge specications.

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Iron ore mining site in Australia.

Mineral Separation in Australia


To extract the precious metals from the ore, several processes with aggressive chemicals are necessary. Corrosion-free plastic piping systems are frequently used to transport these chemicals.

PETER KOLIGIANIS, Market Segment Manager Mining Industry in Australia

Australia is rich in mineral resources. They were rst exploited in the mid nineteenth century during the famous gold rush in Victoria and New South Wales. A second gold boom followed toward the end of the nineteenth century when deposits were found in Coolgardie and later in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Western Australia.

It wasnt until the 1950s and 1960s, however, that the Australian mining industry made its claim to fame with several major nds and technical developments. Gas and oil deposits were discovered, as were vast iron ore and bauxite reserves and high-grade coal resources. Advances in technology improved the productivity of existing mines.

FIRST CHOICE PLASTIC Piping systems are required for many applications in the mining industry. These heavy-duty systems must be longlasting, whilst also being easy to install and maintain. Currently, mine sites around Australia are successfully using plastic materials to convey chemicals, water, gas and other media. In particular, in areas where chemical resistance and economical solutions are required, plastics are the material of choice. Coal mining is one of the more simple mining processes, as the product is extracted from the ground via open cut or underground methods in usable form. After extraction, the raw coal is sent to a coal handling preparation plant (CHPP) where it is washed and sorted ready for use. The coal is predominantly exported for use in overseas power plants and steel making processes. Only a small portion of the coal is used domestically. In a CHPP, compressed air piping systems are used throughout to provide plant

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The blue pipes are PE 100 and are used for the compressed air system in a renery.

Coal mines are an important sector of industry in Australia. The advantage of coal is that it can be extracted from the ground in a usable form.

and instrument air. Traditionally, these compressed air piping systems were constructed using galvanized steel. However, in recent years, the excellent properties of PE 100 in a compressed air environment have made PE 100 pipes and electrofusion ttings the rst choice for new installations and refurbishments. This material is also used in other areas of a coal mine, such as tailing lines, dewatering and water supply. The suitability of plastics for these applications is due to the excellent wear and corrosion resistance and ease of installation when compared to more traditional materials. CHEMICAL RESISTANCE For metalliferous mines, for example those that produce nickel, zinc, gold, copper or silver, the ore containing the precious metals is extracted via open cut or underground mining methods. The ore-bearing rock is then sent to a processing plant and renery where it is usually crushed, oated, roasted

and then treated via a series of processes that include acid leaching and electrolysis to separate the desired mineral. Typical chemicals used in these processes include sulfuric acid, nitric acid, aluminum sulfate, xanthates, hydrochloric acid, cyanide solution and sodium hydroxide. As most of these chemicals are corrosive, plastic piping systems have been used extensively to extend the life of the piping systems. COMPLETE PRODUCT RANGE Lead and zinc are usually found together, and after the ore has been extracted from the ground, it is sent to a processing plant where grinding takes place. The ore then passes to the otation circuit where lead and zinc concentrates are produced. The waste from these processes is stored in a tailings dam. The concentrate is subsequently dried before being sent to a renery. Georg Fischer products that are used in a zinc renery convey water, sulfuric acid,

electrolyte and slurries They can mainly be found in the leaching, purication and electrolysis areas. The preferred materials include PP-H, PVC-C, PE 100 and PVDF for piping, ttings, valves as well as measurement and control instrumentation. A zinc renery can also include a water treatment plant where water from the tailings dam is treated and reused in the process. PVC-U water treatment piping systems from GF can be found in these plants.

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GEORG FISCHER JUBILEE FOUNDATION CLEAN WATER

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Clean Water Foundation


Adding quality to peoples lives

A hygienic and safe drinking water supply is essential for a healthy life and prevention of epidemics. However, more than one-fth of the world population does not have access to clean water. To alleviate this desperate situation somewhat, Georg Fischer initiated the Jubilee Foundation in 2002.

DR. ROLAND GRBLI Managing Director of the Clean Water Foundation

Georg Fischer has been committed to funding social services and humanitarian projects ever since the company was founded in 1802. Therefore, in conjunction with celebrating our bicentenary year in 2002, it was only logical to allot a substantial sum to charitable purposes. The Board of Directors voted to dispense with a special anniversary dividend of one franc per share and thereby provide the Georg Fischer Jubilee Foundation with a start-up capital of 3.5 million Swiss francs. This intention received unanimous support from the Annual General Meeting 2002. An additional 300,000 Swiss francs was donated to the Clean Water Foundation. Georg Fischer has thus been able to fund approximately 50 Clean Water projects around the world and help provide more than 100,000 persons with a sustainable supply of drinking water.

The rst victims: without a clean water supply, children in particular suffer from diarrhoea.

This non-prot activity on the part of the corporation met both internally and externally with a tremendous amount of acceptance and positive acclaim. Clean Water is an expression of the companys active responsibility for the welfare of the community at large. GF has therefore decided to continue funding Clean Water projects annually with a substantial contribution. The goal remains unchanged: providing people all around the world with easy access to drinking water. The projects are generally carried out in close cooperation with the local population and technicians, in addition to using local materials. This is the only way

to ensure that the projects are sustainable. Georg Fischer also places value on working together with experienced project partners. INDIA: DEEP WELLS TO AVOID ARSENIC-CONTAMINATED WATER Vast regions in West Bengal (India) rely on the collection of rainwater because the soil, due to natural causes, is contaminated with arsenic. For this reason, Terres des Hommes Switzerland has built deep wells, in cooperation with the Indian NGO (non-governmental organization) Mass Education. The rst impression is deceiving: Although the Sundarban region in West Bengal ap-

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The entire process of constructing rainwater tanks can be carried out on site, using local materials and techniques available. In addition, the maintenance is inexpensive. Nevertheless, Mercy Ships only considers this project successful when the population begins constructing additional rainwater tanks on its own. Because the conditions for this are positive, they have commissioned a local NGO to further support local initiatives. This program is called New Hope. BULGARIA: RENOVATION OF DRINKING WATER SUPPLY A partnership between the cantonal hospital in Schaffhausen and the hospital in Dobrich (Bulgaria), under the direction of Dr. Andr Graedel from Schaffhausen, has existed since 1991. Georg Fischer supported this partnership by renovating the facilities for the hospitals supply of drinking water. Following an initial inspection, it was beyond question on the part of the experts at Georg Fischer as to the need to renovate the entire drinking water facilities for the hospital in Dobrich. Leakage and rusted steel pipes left no doubt that the facilities were irreparable and frequently out of service. After a half-year of planning, the rusted and leaky water pipes were replaced with plastic pipes (a total of 1,700 running meters) within four months, a new pressure pump was installed. In addition, Georg Fischer provided the local plumbers with enough training to be able to complete the project on their own. The citys contribution to the success of this project was twofold: straightforward administration concerning the building permits, as well as taking on the alterations to the external facilities. With proper maintenance, the expected service life of the hospitals new drinking water facilities is approximately 50 years. GUINEA-BISSAU: CONSTRUCTION AND RESTORATION OF WELLS Water shortage is a constant problem in the Sahel region. Consequently, the availability of drinking water is at the top of the priorities list for the West African country of GuineaBissau. Thanks to the funding provided by Georg Fischer, Swissaid was able to construct

Fetching water is a womans job. Having the wells close-by saves these women a great deal of time and energy which can be spent on other work or the family.

New use of age-old knowledge. In Nicaragua Mercy Ships Switzerland assisted the population in building rain water tanks.

pears to be fertile, women and girls of poorer families often have to cover distances of several kilometers to procure potable water. Due to natural causes, the soil contains arsenic, thus rendering the near-surface groundwater unhealthy for human consumption. Fetching water is, therefore, a main activity for many women and children during the drier seasons of the year. In contrast, an adequate water supply enables children to attend school. In addition, the state of health among the population improves and women have more time to devote to their family and community. Moreover, the construction of wells as deep as 300 meters one per village increases the pressure on local authorities to provide a supply of clean and safe water throughout the entire region. Georg Fischer has already supported the construction of deep wells in West Bengal with two substantial contributions. NICARAGUA: RAINWATER TANKS Inhabitants of San Jacinto do not ask all that much from life. Active volcanoes in the

surrounding area render the better portion of the ground water undrinkable and during long drought seasons, the depleted farmland yields are minimal. Mercy Ships Switzerland assisted the population in making a positive difference in their lives. Rainwater is clean and inexpensive. It becomes expensive when it drains away without being used and thus has to be purchased. It becomes undrinkable when it is improperly stored. Collecting and preserving rainwater is not a new concept, it is only that this knowledge is often lost and forgotten. Mercy Ships Switzerland built fourteen rainwater tanks together with the inhabitants of San Jacinto in 2005. While larger tanks collect water from the roofs of public buildings, like schools, health care facilities and the municipal building, for their own use, smaller tanks for families were also built within the framework of this pilot project. The decision as to which families would use these was made by the inhabitants themselves. The people responded quickly to this project, for they recognized the benets.

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Local installers were trained in the installation of plastic pipes. They were thus able to complete the hospital project in Dobrich themselves.

High in demand. If the well is not properly maintained, the water is already rendered unusable when being transferred to the containers.

The water supply in three communities on the island of Aceh (Indonesia) was quickly rebuilt thanks to the unbureaucratic help of the Foundation.

fteen new wells and restore ten old wells in 25 villages in the regions of Cacheu and Oio. The benet of clean water is immediately evident. Improved quality and increased amounts of water contribute to the fact that the number of cases of diarrhoea among children has declined. Moreover, women who are generally responsible for procuring water, save considerable amounts of time and energy which can otherwise be devoted to their jobs and families. In each of the 25 villages there is now a committee of seven members (four women and three men) responsible for restoring and cleaning the wells, which are 10 to 30 meters deep. This is nanced by a monthly payment from every family. When water from the wells is also used to irrigate gardens, these costs are covered by the sale of vegetables. Although having to make a regular payment will indeed be a challenge, the local population actively supported the welldiggers, a local rm from Guinea-Bissau. The new installations were received with much enthusiasm and appreciation.

INDONESIA: RECONSTRUCTION AFTER THE TSUNAMI When the tsunami struck the coasts of Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, approximately 200,000 people died on the island of Aceh (Indonesia) alone. Georg Fischer reacted quickly and directly to fund the reconstruction of the water supply in three communities. I made a personal visit to all three communities, reported Iaki Mazarredo, managing director of GF Piping Systems Singapore, on September 26, 2005. The water supply has been restored and clean water is running from our installations. This positive report was supplemented with a great number of photographs, as well as with letters of conrmation and thanks from local authorities. What a stark contrast to articles in the European newspapers at that time, reporting about how slowly the reconstruction of the ravaged coastal regions was progressing. The reason that the assistance provided by Georg Fischer could be implemented so quickly was due to the local partner, the Indonesian Water Supply Association

(Perpamsi), as well as the local authorites and the personal commitment of our managing director. Georg Fischer supported the reconstruction with materials, know-how and training of the plumbers. All installations were planned so they would not only serve as an interim solution, but also be an integral part of the entire water network which would be reconstructed at a later date. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Georg Fischer Clean Water Foundation Dr. Roland Grbli, Managing Director Amsler Laffon Strasse 9 8201 Schaffhausen, Switzerland Tel: +41(0)52 631 22 08 Fax: +41(0) 52 631 28 47 cleanwater@georgscher.com www.georgscher.com

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Dr. Ernst Willi (left) visiting a project site in Dobrich (Bulgaria) together with Dr. Andr Graedel and Rolf Leutert, Managing Director of the Clean Water Foundation from 2002 2005.

Save a life with 40 francs


Dr. Ernst Willi is a member of the Executive Committee of Georg Fischer and the Board of Trustees of the Clean Water Foundation. In the following interview, he explains what motivates Georg Fischer to support Clean Water.

INTERVIEW: ROLAND GRBLI

Why is Georg Fischer committed to the Clean Water Foundation? There are two reasons. Water has been a core business for Georg Fischer for a long time: As early as 1864, GF began its production of malleable cast iron ttings. Today, we rank among the leading manufacturers of piping

systems which can, for instance, be used to supply drinking water. The water market has grown tremendously and is therefore of great strategic signicance for the company. This does not, however, mean that our interest in Clean Water projects is purely of a business nature. I want to establish the connection that these projects have to GF. Our claim

Adding Quality to Peoples Lives is not only limited to our business activities. Clean water is fundamental for the quality of life and crucial for the economic and social well-being of any population as a whole. The Clean Water Foundation marks Georg Fischers commitment to public welfare. We have to be aware of the fact that a shortage of water jeopardizes the future of our world. A lack of any vital resource has a destabilizing effect. When the oil conict is over, the battle for water will follow. This statement may seem rather trenchant, but todays reality is already anything but satisfactory: The minimal requirement of water for a human being is 20 liters a day, but 1.1 billion people have to make do with less. By comparison: The water consumption in Switzerland is 400 liters a day. At present, 6,000 human beings die every day because they do not have an adequate supply of clean water, 90% of whom are children under the age of ve. In 2050, when todays rst-graders are 50 years

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Women and girls must walk for miles to get fresh water. This takes time they cannot spend on their education.

More than 5000 children under the age of ve die every day because they do not have an adequate supply of clean water.

Water is life. Clean Water provides a sustainable improvement to the living conditions for many people all over the world.

old, the best case will involve two billion people in 48 countries who do not have an adequate supply of drinking water. The worst case scenario according to a report issued by the UN says it will be seven billion people in 60 countries. And what can Georg Fischer do about this? The problem exists on differen levels. First of all, from todays perspective, there is a limited supply of usable water available. Solving this is a challenge technically, economically and ecologically. Secondly, we have to make efcient use of the water we have at our disposal today and ensure that people have access to it. GF Piping Systems offers solutions for meeting these needs. On a third level, and this is where the Clean Water Foundation is active with its projects, we have to help provide the poor with sustainable access to these 20 liters a day now, with basic

means and without further delay. And this is what we have accomplished in the past four years with Clean Water for approximately 100,000 human beings. Of course, this is a mere drop in the ocean literally but at least that. How do you select the Clean Water projects? Only projects and project partners who provide sustainable assistance come into question, meaning practical solutions, easy maintenance and helping people to help themselves. We work together with professional partners who are from the respective areas. The projects must be manageable, hands-on, with obvious effects. And especially: One franc is still one franc. What this means is best illustrated by the short description of projects illustrated on the following pages. It is astonishing to see how simple it is to make such a tremendous impact with so

few means. For the sake of simplicity, one could say that the results of our work until now have demonstrated that 40 francs help provide one person with a sustainable supply of clean drinking water. That is why we are going to continue the projects. And we are thankful for every donation. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP TOO? Additional personal donations can be made to the foundation account as follows: Georg Fischer Clean Water Foundation Schaffhauser Kantonalbank 8201 Schaffhausen Switzerland Account no: 710.700-7 101 Clearing number: 782 Postal account: 82-50-5

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On the cutting edge


Where plastics research stands today

The development of innovative materials sets the pace for modern technologies and brings change to society. Entire eras of human history are named after materials. Following the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, we are now living in the Plastics Age.

important natural rubber. The rst plastics were then merely awed duplicates of natural materials. A century ago, however, the Belgium chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland set a benchmark for the innovation and development of new materials without parallel in nature when he developed the rst fully synthetic phenol-formaldehyde plastics, known as Bakelite. With his new polymeric insulating materials, he helped electrical engineering make the breakthrough from electric power cables and transformers to radio broadcasting devices and telephones. RAPID GROWTH IN PRODUCTION OF PLASTICS In 1920 the German chemistry professor and Nobel laureate of 1953 Hermann Staudinger discovered the molecular blueprint of highmolecular organic materials (polymers, which he also referred to as macromolecules). Similar to the pearls in a pearl necklace, tens of thousands of small molecules in nature and in industry are chemically linked together in a long chain. The properties of a particular material can be controlled via the selection of the structural units of building blocks, their arrangement and linkage, and the length of the molecular chain. Staudingers vision brought about changes in the development of structural and functional materials: Alongside pure empiricism according to the principle of trial and error, there appeared at that time the notion of rational molecular design for materials, which could be tailored to meet the specic demands of various applications. The rapid growth in the eld of plastics began after World War II. Since the mid seventies, in less than thirty years time, plastics production has increased tenfold and in 2003 exceeded the 200-million-ton mark. In relation to volume and growth

PROF. DR. ROLF MLHAUPT Freiburg Materials Research Center Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg

The development of innovative materials sets the pace for modern technologies and brings change to society. Entire eras of human history are named after materials. Following the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, we are now living in the Plastics Age. Small molecules, such as drugs, have prolonged our lives the giant high-molecular polymer molecules of plastics have improved the quality of life. Plastics secure mankinds most basic needs for clothing, food, shelter, mobility, communication, and protection.. NEW MATERIALS WITHOUT PARALLEL IN NATURE Today plastics are found in every area of modern life. The landscape of plastics technology has changed over the past few decades. During the pioneering days at the end of the 19th century, the focus of research was placed upon searching for surrogate materials for ivory, silk and the strategically

Circuits made of DuPontTM Pyralux, like ones for the Mars Exploration Rovers panoramic cameras, helped meet tight space and weight requirements.

rates, plastics production already surpassed steel production in the year 1983. Plastics production, in other words the per capita consumption of plastics, can be used as a benchmark for determining the economic power of a nation. Some of the most important application areas are packaging, the building industry, automotive and aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, and other applications including furniture, household goods, textiles, agricultural lms, varnishes and adhesives. Depending on their molecular and supermolecular architecture, plastics can be either strong as steel, soft or rubbery, permeable

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ECONOMICAL AND ECOLOGICAL Modern-day plastics are interesting from an ecological as well as an economical viewpoint. They are ecologically efcient, which means that they help to save far more crude oil than is required to produce them. By implementing plastics in lightweight construction, heavy metals can be replaced, while fuel requirements and emissions are also reduced in motoring. As thermal insulators, plastics and especially plastic foams lower energy requirements in heating. For polymer research and development and the development of plastic products to be successful, very close cooperation between a variety of disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, materials science, biology, medicine, nanotechnology, mechanical engineering and plastics processing, is essential. SHORT PATH FROM FEED STOCKS TO RECYCLABLE MATERIALS Tremendous progress has been made in manufacturing and customizing plastics. In nature and in technology, complex plastics are made out of a few types of molecular building blocks in highly efcient catalytic processes. A prominent example is the polyolen group of materials, such as polyethylene and polypropylene. The standard plastic isotactic polypropylene, which was discovered already fty years ago, did not attract much interest in 1960; it was difcult to process and caused considerable environmental pollution because of sticky, waxy by-products and corrosive, colored catalyst residue, which needed to be removed and deposited in landll. Innovation in catalyst and process technology have rendered polypropylene today an attractive, environmentally friendly material with an impressive array of properties and applications. Only one gram of a catalyst is enough to make more than forty tons of polypropylene from renery propylene gas without the use of solvents. The application prole ranges from automotive parts to diapers, carpets and bottles. High catalyst activity and selectivity have simplied production a great deal. No by-products which require disposal occur, since the amount of catalyst remaining in the product is so minute and

gives off no by-products. Polymerization of gaseous and liquid monomer eliminates the use of solvents and their recovery. Granulate develops on spherical catalysts already in the reactor. Plastics, such as polypropylene and polyethylene, and petroleum are hydrocarbon materials which only differ from one another in molecule size. As a high-molecular modication of petroleum (solid oil), polypropylene and polyethylene possess petroleum-like energy contents and can be recycled by remolding or recovery of the raw material and energy, respectively. Polyolens are easily returned to the petroleum cycle and meet the demands of sustainable development and environmentally friendly production. In nature, thousands of different biopolymers are made from twenty amino acids and a few sugar molecules. In petrochemistry a few readily available building blocks are used and new methods are being sought to control their bonding more precisely, thus creating completely new materials. ALTERNATIVE FEED STOCKS AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES Plastics production currently uses approximately four percent of crude oil consumption and is therefore under considerable cost pressure due to rising crude oil prices. However, plastics are not dependent on crude oil. In the past, feed stocks were produced from coal. Basically, special plastics or feed stocks necessary for plastics production can be manufactured biotechnologically. The prohibitive costs of these processes (green polymer chemistry) have been a limiting factor and have restricted their use for making niche products and value-added functional polymers. With rising costs for crude oil, the interest in biotechnological alternatives is growing although for the time being they do not withstand comparison with commodity plastics, neither economically nor ecologically speaking. Innovative production and molding processes can signicantly increase the performance of plastics. Modern-day plastics are no longer inferior duplicates of natural substances, but instead offer unique characteristic proles and opportunities for new production and application technologies. Innova-

Hermann Staudinger (1881-1965), Nobel Laureate for Chemistry in 1953. He was honored for his discoveries in the eld of macromolecular chemistry (The Nobel Foundation).

or impermeable, conductive or isolating, transparent or opaque, long-term stable or biodegradable. Plastics allow unifying very diverse properties of a number of different materials. For example, liquid crystalline rubbers combine the optical characteristics of quartz single crystals with the elasticity of rubber. Polymer semiconductors can emit light and be processed into exible lms. The diversity of plastics is not to be outrivaled by any other class of materials. Plastics also offer an attractive price-performance ratio combined with low weight, corrosion resistance, easy processing with very fast cycle times suitable for mass production, low energy requirements in polymerization and molding, positive environmental performance evaluation, high ecological efciency and most notably diversity in terms of properties, applications and reusability.

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PRODUCTS PROCESSING RECYCLING CATALYTIC POLYMERISATION PETROLEUM

Polyolens possess petroleum-like energy contents and can be recycled by remolding or recovery of the raw material and energy, respectively. They are easily returned to the petroleum cycle and meet the demands of sustainable development.

Plastic pipes: increased performance through molecular design.

tive polyethylene materials with tailor-made chain length distributions and the placement of short and long-chain branches in the polyethylene chain are an example of such a successful development. Through molecular design the lifetime under compressive load was increased by several magnitudes and gas pipes have been protected against bursting for many decades. Plastic pipes for heating installations as well as gas and water distribution have become very popular. The piping industry has a wide range of systems on offer for a variety of media. Several different types of plastic materials are used, such as ABS, PVC-C, PVC-U, PP or PVDF, to name but a few. TRENDS IN MODERN PLASTICS DEVELOPMENT Fully synthetic plastics are one hundred years old, yet they have retained their vitality and innovativeness. State-of-the-art plastics have little in common with their antecedents of the pioneering generation! In view of the theoretically possible mechanical characteristic values, plastics still have considerable,

as yet unused potential, waiting to be tapped. Modern bers, e.g. Kevlar, can achieve nearly one hundred percent of the theoretical stiffness and strength values through special spinning processes and high orientation without entanglement of the polymer chains. Their performance per weight surpasses that of steel. In contrast, plastics produced by state-of-the-art injection molding and extrusion methods only achieve roughly two to three percent of these strength reserves. How can plastics be made better? There is a clear trend here toward strategy and product development. DEVELOPMENT PHASES OF PLASTIC Three phases are discernable in plastics development: (I) plastics made from new building blocks, (II) plastics made by mixing (blends) and compounding (compounds, composites), (III) plastics made by creating new nanostructures, for example by compounding and self-organization of nanoparticles. In the rst half of the last century, the variation of selecting building blocks forming high-molecular polymer chains

was the preferred method. Today new largescale economical building blocks are not in sight; however, new ways are being explored to improve the performance of commodity and engineering plastics. In the 1960s a new development trend appeared, which was targeted at discovering combinations of different polymers (blends) and of polymers with bers or llers (composites). In contrast to miscible blends, the properties of which are predictable from the mixing ratio and the properties of the individual components, there exists in multiphase multicomponent systems the possibility of obtaining unconventional synergies of properties, which far surpass the properties of the individual components. Prominent examples of polymer blends are impactmodied plastics in which the rubber phases in the polymer matrix are dispersed, which dissipate energy at the crack tip and which greatly improve mechanical impact stress resistance via multiple plastic deformation. Whereas Baekelands Bakelite was notorious for its brittleness, we have developed thermosetting and thermoplastic polymers (super

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III. NANO SYSTEMES

Nano composites

II. POLYMER BLENDS & COMPOSITES


PPP PPV

CFK GFK PA/PSU PC/PBT PUR/POM PS/SBR PP/EPDM PUR EPDM HDPE PP LLDPE COC

I. NEW POLYMERS

PET PA PC POM PPS PSU PI LCP PF PS PVC LDPE SAN ABS SBS sPS

1900

1950

2000

Trends in plastics development - from plastics to complex multiphase multicomponent materials.

Use of reinforced plastics in the building industry (Burj Al Arab in Dubai).

tough engineering plastics) today with high impact strength. The high ductility of pure metals has not yet been realized by plastics. However, plastics are on a par with some light metals. Although today nearly all imaginable blend combinations have been tried out with plastics, there are still numerous challenges facing us that can only be solved through the collaboration of materials science and production technology. BIO-INSPIRED POLYMER DEVELOPMENT Metal-like combinations of strength and rigidity without the weight of metals is achieved today through ber reinforcement of plastics. The mechanical stress is transferred to highly oriented bers in ber composites, which reinforce the polymer matrix. Traditionally, bers and wovens are impregnated with polymers and laminated in special costly and time-consuming processes. Development is concentrating on nding new more cost-efcient methods for the production of ber composites, for instance liquid injection processes, which do not

require elaborate separate ber impregnation and labor-intensive lamination processes causing long cycle times. Fiber composites are central elements in lightweight construction from auto parts manufacturing to the weight-optimized construction of high-rise buildings. When comparing natural materials, such as wood and seaweed, with modern multiphase plastics and plastic composites, structural similarities become evident. In nature and in technology, skeletal structures are created which are characterized by two or more interpenetrating phases that create honeycomb or skeleton-like superstructures. Whereas nature takes several years for these superstructures to form, plastics technology attempts to create similar structures within very short cycle times from readily available components with conventional molding processes (injection molding, extrusion). Today nanotechnology provides us with access to totally new plastics. By bringing in self-organizing nanoscaled components, complex architectures are realized, which reinforce the polymer matrix and can create special functions. Research is being done

worldwide today on nanomaterials based on complexly structured multiphase multicomponent plastic systems. Nanotechnology brings important impulses to the development of plastics and increases the value-added of familiar polymer classes. PLASTICS AND NANOTECHNOLOGY The term nanotechnology can only be found in scientic databases as of 1978. The chemistry of nanometer-scaled materials has, however, been topical under the term colloid chemistry since 1860. Only since the advent of scanning probe microscopy with atomic resolution images in the 1980s, have we had insight into the fascinating world of nanotechnology. What is the advantage of nanometer dimensions? If you reduce the size of a solid state to a few nanometers (millionth of a millimeter), the properties become dependent on the size. Nanometer-sized gold particles are no longer golden in color, but red, and are not electrical conductors, but rather semiconductors. As the diameter decreases the specic surface area increases dramatically, reaching

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197

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Multiphase multicomponent systems in nature and technology.

Polymer nanocomposites: Bulk plastic becomes interfacial polymer.

proportions of several square kilometers for nanoparticles! When you introduce nanoparticles to plastics, nearly all the plastic is on the nanoparticle surface: bulk plastic becomes interfacial plastic, harboring new properties. As a result of their very large surface areas, nano-objects can interact and selforganize very effectively with one another. This self-organization process can be used to create skeletal structures or to generate migration and organization at the interfaces and surfaces. Different types of processes for the manufacture of nanoparticles and efcient dispersion and organization in plastics have been developed in the last few decades. There is no longer a differentiation between inorganic solid matter and molecular materials. Nanometer-sized molecules, for example carbon nanotubes, molecular silicates, plastic nanosuspensions, and hyperbranched polymers, are dispersed as nanoparticles in plastics. Besides the dispersion processes, we have, with organophilically modied layered silicates, the possibility of embedding plastics directly between inorganic layers and of

creating and organizing nanometric layers in the polymer matrix into three-dimensional skeletal structures. Numerous polymer nanocomposites have been developed in recent years: - scratch resistant and abrasion resistant plastic surfaces - self-cleaning surfaces (lotus effect) - plastic reinforcement with low ller content - barrier effect against permeation of gases and liquids - conductivity and electromagnetic shielding - halogen-free ame retardants - effect pigments with ow-dependent optical characteristics (pearl lustre, photonics) - light stabilizing effect - nanocontainers as transporter and carrier for active substances - reduced thermal expansion coefcient - higher electrical stability - reduced thermal expansion - dispersion effect for polymer blends - adhesion for varnishes and adhesives

Nanollers are new additives which are highly effective even in very small quantities. Problematic, however, can be the high costs of some nanoparticles, which are only being produced on a pilot scale, as well as unresolved questions regarding toxicology and safety. With declining size there is also the possibility that the human immune system will react to them. That is why nanocomposites are currently being developed that only create nano-sized components under the shear effect and which are anchored in the plastic. Nanoadditives offer the possibility of modifying specically the characteristic prole of well-known plastics, polymer blends and composites. Creating nanostructures in bulk and on surface areas is the key to developing new functional materials with unique characteristic proles. INTERACTIVE PLASTICS, POLYMER ELECTRONICS AND EMBEDDED MICROSYSTEMS The plurality of marketable plastics is passive, which means they maintain their characteristic prole until their life cycle has

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at the supermarket checkout. Logistics in business and in individual households is made easier with smart labels. Polymer electronics is a major step toward the new communicative polymer materials, which can communicate with people and the environment and respond accordingly. ENERGY AUTONOMY VIA PHOTOVOLTAIC AND THERMOELECTRONICS In this day and age, plastics are equipped with sensors, actuators and new microenergy technology. By implementing photovoltaic or thermoelectronics, it will soon be possible to generate locally the energy necessary to operate microsystems, without the need for batteries. The range of applications for the sensor-actuator technology includes articial muscles, which provide amateur athletes and the disabled with freedom of movement, or another example, air-conditioning and medical care built into textiles. Smart materials can recognize and report damages of all kinds, as well as self-repair if the damages are minor. Miniaturized, embedded sensoractuator microsystems with an autonomous energy supply will become a part of everyday life and contribute signicantly to improving the quality of life. The polymer materials of the future are interactive and intelligent. CONCLUSION Plastics research and development has achieved a great deal and now faces new challenges in key technologies. In the case of standard plastics and technical polymers, the rapid growth in volume and the decreasing value-added over the last few decades has led to the formation of strategic alliances and to a concentration on core business, as well as the optimization of existing processes. Completely new polymers and innovative monomer building blocks are not in sight. But there is quite a lot of potential in utilizing the old, economical monomer building blocks more efciently, in shortening the path from raw material to nal product and in diversifying products. Innovative manufacturing and processing methods with control of the molecular and supermolecular architectures play an important role here. State-of-the-art material compounds, such as multiphase multi-

Miniaturized systems. Part of a miniaturized pressure sensor by Siemens compared in size to an ant.

elapsed. Inspired by nature, we are developing plastics and plastic systems today that feature attributes of living organisms. The plastics of the future can feel, communicate, react and self-regenerate. This goal is being pursued in two different ways: (I) new functional materials and molding processes are being developed to create addressable plastics and plastic-based systems, (II) plastics are being equipped with embedded microsystems and energy-autonomous microsystems to enable a sensor-actuator effect, communication and data processing. Both these approaches benet from innovations in nanotechnology which propel miniaturization and the development of new functional materials forward. Plastics that are adaptive and respond to environmental signals are referred to as intelligent (smart materials). Plastics with switchable properties but without the ability to learn are already in use, for example in advanced drug release according to the stealth principle, which protects the healthy cells and only releases aggressive drugs in the tumor tissue, as in chemotherapy. Intelligent drug release systems

of the future will be able to listen in on the communication between cells and to pinpoint sick cells with extreme marksmanship. Currently, composite materials and surface coating systems which can repair themselves are being developed. Similar to blood coagulation or a tree, where resins are discharged to seal off wounds or injuries, reactive plastics can be released in smart materials or ow processes initiated to close off ssures created by mechanical stress. COMMUNICATIVE POLYMERIC MATERIALS The development of the smart generation of materials benets from innovations in polymer electronics. With polymer semiconductors, electronic elements can be printed on thin lms. Although the performance of the silicon chip is not matched, these plastic chips are suitable for communicative packaging systems, known as smart labels. Smart packaging today can provide information on the type of goods, the price and the condition. With such smart packaging, it is no longer necessary to scan the goods manually

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With smart packaging, it is no longer necessary to scan the goods manually at the supermarket checkout.

Photovoltaic solar energy installation in Wilmington, Delaware.

component systems and organic/inorganic hybrid materials with nanostructures offer completely new opportunities for exploiting unused potential. In the broad eld of functional polymers, polymer design, innovative manufacturing technologies and system design as well as new, fast, form-free manufacturing technologies assume a trendsetter function in developing and implementing new technologies. The main advantage which plastics can claim is their diversity in properties and applications, combined with high ecological efciency and an attractive price-performance ratio in industrial series production and application-oriented customizing. This potential must be used to nd innovative solutions.

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Future requirements
The future needs of our customers from a market viewpoint
Predicting the future needs of our customers requires a wealth of knowledge about the market as well as an awareness of ones own economic and technological development potential.

HANS CHRISTIAN WISLOEFF Head of Global Market Development and Innovation

Every market has its idiosyncrasies. This entails knowing the national conditions, the cultural peculiarities, the prevailing technical standards, which rms are also operating in the market and with which products they are represented, the size of the market, and even the regional differences within the population and the infrastructure. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST Concretely speaking, this means each market differs from the next, even if the distinctions are only subtle. Nonetheless, adapting to new occurrences is a must if a global enterprise is to be successful. And this, in turn, means that it is necessary to keep a close watch on the market and to analyze the information and experiences gathered there; we could say market developments and changes have to be observed according to the economic ver-

The constant change in markets requires a lot of know-how on the part of the employees, as well as the preparedness to adapt and expand it continuously. GF Piping Systems offers its staff an interesting program of internal and external continuing education courses. In the knowledge that people create the success of a company.

sion of the evolution theory survival of the ttest. It is important to keep an eye on the competition and align ones own requirements and goals as appropriate. Of course, the prevailing price situation has to be identied, analyzed and applied to ones own products as well. The market regulates itself always through price, availability and quality, thus strongly increasing the competition pressure. Even when we consider the catchword globalization without going into closer detail on the globalization debate we note that this development has consequences in local and small markets. The stand of technicalization, the know-how and educational level, to name

but a few examples, are converging more and more throughout the world. This naturally has consequences on the requirements of our customers in the different markets. ECONOMIC ALLIANCES A steadily increasing price pressure and the related competition pressure leads companies to form so-called ecosystems in other words, alliances or coalitions. Such consolidation can make it easier to enter new markets. However, they also help to preserve the already established position in the market in short: they provide the alliance partners with a sense of security.

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This photomontage of red blood cells demonstrates the vision of nano-robots. The life science industry is a vital market segment for GF Piping Systems.

Smart materials will arrange for higher industrial safety and less maintenance in the future by analyzing the condition of the ow medium themselves and signalling the respective action to be taken.

This is where the resources, i.e. the know-how, of the company and the nancial means are of imminent importance. Equally important are the resources of other companies. If you concentrate these, you receive a common benet, where otherwise you might have booted each other out of the market. Moreover, there is a tendency for the market to demand complete solutions. These are of course easier to offer when resources are pooled. Generally, the larger an enterprise, or the cooperation is, the longer it will endure, thus signicantly increasing its chances of survival in the market. The future will, therefore, belong to those who join forces. CREATING TRUST IN THE BRAND Another major aspect, which is essential for the future, is that goodwill has to be established with the customers, which means trust in the brand. For this to happen, the quality and the service performance have to be excellent. It would be ideal if the customer had a psychological relationship to the product. For this, the marketing concept has to be right; even the name and the design can be instrumental in securing success or not.

CHANGE AND INNOVATION AS THE BASIS Markets are subject to constant change, so that we can never really rest on our laurels and must always be up to date in all areas. This is not a xed process, but, as described above, conditional on continuous further development and adaptation. Product innovation plays an important role here. An innovation advantage always pays off nancially. Nevertheless, innovation must be efcient and not too expensive. As mentioned at the outset, it is important to be aware of ones own economic and technological development capabilities. For the purpose of illustration, a brief denition of the structure and function of a pipe: A pipe is, at rst glance, primarily a round hollow corpus with a beginning and an end. It can be used to convey any type of media, such as water, gases, acids, etc. A pipe can also be an electrical insulation line or be used in a pneumatic post system. It can also be a design element. So, a pipe is not just a pipe. Depending on the exact function, the requirements placed on this pipe can differ greatly and be many. This pertains

especially to the materials of which the pipe is manufactured, which will be discussed in more detail later. As a pipe manufacturer, one has to be aware of this diversity. This also requires knowing what development potential and requests your customers have, as well as their specications and demands. So, an enormous amount of knowledge is necessary to succeed in a market. Know-how and skills are derived from the employees in a company. They are thus another important factor for success in the future. The level of education must be high and the employees must be exible. It is crucial that highly qualied staff is bonded to the company and that attractive advancement policies are implemented. Good internal training and further education programs are also essential. PERMANENT FURTHER TRAINING As the market changes, so too must the employees improve themselves through further education. At Georg Fischer a lot of attention is dedicated to this aspect; we even offer training courses to our customers so

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GF Piping Systems is always working on its corporate image. Our values are: We put customers rst, We act fast and We do what we say.

Industry is placing increased emphasis on total plastic solutions. GF Piping Systems offers customized solutions in this area.

that they can supply their customers with premium quality work. For a company that does business on a global scale, it is a further advantage to have multicultural teams, promoting the so-called cross-cultural melting pot. This is where the diverse needs and information is pooled. It is a widely accepted fact that the domestic population knows the needs and the peculiarities of their respective domestic market best and can pass this information on to the company. This brings us to another important point, which is indispensible for success: a tolerant corporate culture. The only way to attract good and multicultural employees is to have a corporate culture that is characterized by openness, tolerance and mutual respect. FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS AND REQUIREMENTS The requirements will continue to change at a rapid pace. It is very probable that we will see smart, synthetic materials in the future. These will be able to provide information on the environmental conditions without time delay, tell us when failures occur, when any kind of ingredient is missing, or

when the composition of a medium does not correspond to the standard. They will be able to do this by changing color, or acoustically, for example. Such smart materials also recognize, for example, when deposits have formed or when the pipe needs to be cleaned. They can measure the acid content and determine whether the ow medium is too viscous or thin, and so on. This contributes to time and cost savings. It goes without saying that the material must also be priced so that it is accepted by the market. Total plastic solutions will be used throughout the industry at an even more extensive way, and it is our task to secure a customer adapted system, meeting the rapid shifts to come, in order to be t for the future.

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Solvay partners in vinyl


PVC material with a wide range of possible applications
Solvays dedicated pilot plant in Hannover (D) explores new applications for uorinated products. The various applications of vinyls are as many as there are individual properties required of the material. PVC production in the world and is among the leaders in specialty polymers. In the eld of PVC there is a traditional and long-term partnership between GF Piping Systems and Solvin/PVC and BENVIC/ PVC Compounds. SOLVIN, founded in 1999, when Solvay and BASF merged their PVC divisions into a joint venture 75% owned by Solvay, 25% owned by BASF produces PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride). The operations in Belgium, Germany, France and Spain reach an annual capacity of 1.3 million tons of PVC and 35,000 tons of PVDC. All this makes Solvin one of the major, fully integrated players. In 2005, nearly 2,000 employees generated a consolidated turnover of more than EUR 1 billion. Solvin, which has its head ofce and R&D center in Brussels, sees itself as a thoroughly European company, and sales are organized accordingly: maximum proximity to the customer and hence comprehensive advice, support and service come rst. Solvin achieves this through numerous company-owned sales ofces in most European countries. The various applications of vinyls are as numerous as the individual properties required of the material. Solvin produces its main types of PVC (suspension, emulsion and copolymers) in several production plants, geographically ideally located throughout Europe in order to guarantee interchangeability and a reliable supply. The technology center in Brussels has an analytics department for a variety of applications, independent laboratories and its own extrusion school. The research and development center is responsible for specic mechanical and eld-oriented projects.

HANNI KAUDER Account Manager PVC, PVC-Compound, Solvay Vienna LUCA LUSSETICH Solvay Benvic, Italy

PVC is an ideal material for a multitude of applications. The membrane of the Pope's cloud is made of PVC.

Solvay employs some 30,000 people in 50 countries. In 2005 its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.6 billion generated by its three business sectors: Chemicals, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. The Belgian Group succeeded within more than 140 years not only in adapting itself to the altered needs of its worldwide customers with a wide-ranging product offering as well as with a market-oriented structure, but could also set new standards of its own. The plastics activities of Solvay cover the production of PVC, PVDC, PVC Compound and a multiplicity of technical polymers, such as PVDF, PSU. Solvay ranks number three in

LONG CAREER AND BRILLIANT FUTURE PVC looks back on a long career and has a just as brilliant future ahead. This material is characterized among other things by a long life span and low costs. Today approx. 60-70 % of the produced quantities are used for window proles, pipes, ooring and roof sheeting. In 2005 the worldwide PVC consumption reached about 30.3 million tons , capturing third place. A new application for PVC was also the construction of locomotives: SBB (the Swiss

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The AMAP (Automated Molecular Assembly Plant) boosts the efciency of Solvay Pharmaceuticals research center in Weesp (NL).

Federal Railways Company) uses cab parts with core layers made of reticulated PVC expanded foam. Rolf Frobses and Klaus Jopps book offers an impressive, well-documented history of this oldie. The trend for textile fabrication with PVC coated sheets is becoming more and more established. Pope Benedict XVI himself was protected at the World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005 by a roof in the shape of a cloud made of a PVC membrane. Since 2001 Solvin has organized a competition for the best PVC innovations every three years. The international SOLVIN Award for PVC Innovation is intended for converters, recyclers, designers, and suppliers as well as research & development. The registration of 84 applications in 2001 and 108 in 2004 shows the uninterrupted innovativeness and the future prospects of this material. Solvin has been actively involved in the PVC industrys Vinyl 2010 Voluntary Commitment to sustainability since its inception.

The object of this pan-European initiative set up in 2000 by raw material manufacturers, PVC processors and additive producers is to reduce the environmental impact of the production, processing, recycling and disposal of PVC and hence improve sustainability. This ten-year program, which is already furnishing satisfactory results, is evaluated by independent experts (www.solvinpvc.com). VINYLOOP RECYCLING THE WAY IT SHOULD BE The VinyLoop recycling process developed by Solvay in 1998, which allows almost all PVC materials to be recycled, is an outstanding example of how environmental compatibility and efciency can be reconciled. This technology is not only a breakthrough from an environmental, but also from a technical point of view. Where conventional recycling processes have basically been conned to crushing waste and adding it in molten form to new

products, the VinyLoop process uses a basic property of PVC: the fact that it dissolves easily in selective chemicals. This makes it possible to recycle so-called composites, which have been difcult and costly to recycle in the past. These products are compounds of PVC and other plastics, textiles or metals which do not lend themselves to mechanical separation, such as cables, tarpaulins, oor coverings or blister packs for pharmaceuticals. With VinyLoop, PVC can be separated from secondary materials without destroying its valuable molecular chain. This separation process produces a high-quality, processable regenerated PVC (pre)-compound, which already contains additives and can be rened by careful further mixing. The regenerated raw material is being used for more and more applications and is already a commercial success. A large-scale VinyLoop plant with an annual capacity of 10,000 tons of regenerated material opened in Ferrara in Italy in 2002. The Ferrara plant, which is the rst plant of its kind in the world, was ofcially inaugurated in the presence of members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Commission and local authorities. Another plant has been built in Japan. This procedure is seen as key to achieving the ambitious Vinyl 2010 recycling targets set by the European PVC industry itself (www.vinyloop.com). SOLVAY BENVIC Solvay BENVIC is, as an independent business unit within the Solvay group, a worldwide leading producer of PVC Compounds, with all the advantages of a PVC-integrated enterprise. BENVIC owns four manufacturing plants in Europe: in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, and also has two joint ventures in Brazil (Dacarto BENVIC) and Russia (Soligran) and sales ofces in numerous countries. BENVICs overall capacity amounts to approx. 350,000 tons. Solvay BENVIC develops, produces and markets a wide range of vinyl-based thermoplastics with the BENVIC trademark, in the form of compounds and polymeric blends. Thanks to its understanding of polymers

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and additives, Solvay BENVIC has achieved European leadership in its sector. The product portfolio covers a multiplicity of high performance products (standard as well as tailor-made), and strikes a wide bow over all application segments: for example, construction (technical proles, roller blinds, seals, etc.), transport of liquids (gutters, ttings, pipes etc.), up to technically very sophisticated specialties. If we compare PVC to the other plastic commodities, we discover immediately the high versatility of PVC thanks to its exceptional compatibility with different types of additives (stabilizers, impact modiers, lubricants, llers, pigments etc.). The combination of such additives can optimize the typical properties of plastic materials used for uid transport articles: - re resistance, self-extinguishing - resistance to natural ageing (interior and exterior) - good chemical resistance - insulating properties - good mechanical properties (rigidity and/ or impact resistance) - excellent nish - safety to health (non-toxic) The compounds for GF Piping Systems are developed and produced at BENVIC in Ferrara, Italy. Innovation has always been one of the main values of the Solvay Group in its worldwide activities and is still considered nowadays as a strategic axis of development. The PVC compound activity of the Solvay Group is a living example of this capacity to innovate and build partnerships with customers and suppliers. Applications such as extrusion of proles for window frames, blow molding of bottles, injection molding of ttings have made BENVIC one of the main protagonists on European scene. Since the 1980s Brussels central laboratories and the Ferrara ones have been equipped with important resources in order to develop performer grades of PVC compounds for the application of pressure ttings for water and food contact.
Solvay launched the rst industrial PVC recycling unit using the Groups VinyLoop process in Ferrara (Italy) in 2002. The Solvay group employs some 30,000 people in 50 countries worldwide.

The result is a range of products promoting the development of this new growing market and a long-term partnership with main players such as the Georg Fischer Group. In 1999 with the grade BENVIC IA 608/9735, BENVIC obtained (as the rst company in Europe) the certicate of compliance with ISO Pr EN 1452 (MRS 25 MPa) demonstrating the impressive long-term performances of PVC in general and of BENVIC grades in particular. Today BENVIC is still the main player on this market segment, assuring its customers a high level of technical assistance and continuous contact with main certication institutes (Kiwa, NF, NSF, IIP ). This chapter of history is not nished yet; nowadays challenges are mainly related to the compliance with the arising environmental necessities and BENVICs R&D department is working to obtain more performer products starting from more environmentally safe raw materials. All BENVIC activities are developed in the framework of a strong commitment to stockholders, customers, staff and the envi-

ronment; the Ferrara plant is certied to ISO 9000, ISO 18000 and ISO 14000. The product and service policies, both market-based and customer-oriented, are cornerstones of the business philosophy, which is supported and lived by all employees; the focus is on the partnership with the customers. Within the scope of the overall quality management policy, all production locations meet the ISO standard 9002. One of Solvay's most important principles is sustainable development; the innovative strength of the enterprise rests on the service of the sustainable Responsible Care program acting responsibly in the sectors of health, security and environment. The environmental management systems in all the factories meet the international standard ISO 14001 or equivalent. Solvay BENVIC Italia SpA has been adhering, since 1992, to the Federchimica Responsible Care project, a concrete commitment towards the entire surrounding environment to promote company awareness, to inform and to make ourselves active members of the community (www.benvic.com).

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Longlasting polyethylene (PE)


HDPE: the ultimate material for gas and water distribution and industrial applications
Polyethylene (PE) is one of the raw materials predominantly used for gas and water distribution around the world. Since its development in 1954 until now, there has been enormous progress in material reliability. At the present, a service life expectancy of 100 years is the technical state of the art. - it is the only material which offers a reliably welded, leakproof system; - it is easily weldable by butt fusion or electrofusion; - it can be injected to produce ttings in various designs and/or dimensions adapted to any HDPE network; - it is a lightweight material with easy handling and installation, resulting in lower costs; - due to its exibility, it is possible to use long lengths of pipe in coils, reducing the necessary number of welds and accelerating the installation; - it is not sensitive to corrosion, which eliminates one of the most common causes of failure in other materials, thereby guaranteeing a long, maintenance-free service life; - it has a long lifetime (a minimum of 50 years is guaranteed); - it has good chemical resistance and can therefore be recommended for conveyance of numerous acidic/basic aqueous media; - due to its ductility and good stress crack resistance, it can withstand rough handling, e.g. scratches and notches on the pipe; - it is not sensitive to earth movements: during the Kobe earthquake on January 17, 1995, reports stated that there were a total of 26,459 pipe failures, but NOT ONE for polyethylene pipes; - it is approved for contact with foodstuffs: it emits no odor and/or affects the taste of drinking water, the water quality remains consistent (no additives migration), it conforms to the DVGW W 270 requirements, concerning the microbiological growth. All of these features add up to create a polyethylene system which is cheap to install, requires low maintenance and has a long service life.

PASCALE GODON Technical Service & Development, Construction and Durable, Ineos Polyolens

Electrofusion ttings allow jointing all combinations of PE 80 and PE 100 with outstanding reliability.

The rst polyethylene grades for pressure pipes and ttings were developed in 1954. In the meantime, there has been an on-going development to improve the properties of the raw material and norms have been developed to classify and to control the quality of the PE used in pipe applications. From the rst generation PE 63 to the third, PE 100 introduced in 1989 by Solvay Polyolens (now Ineos Polyolens), the polyethylene has become one of the predominantly used raw materials in the world for gas and water distribution. Due to its good chemical resistance, it is also the material of choice for many industrial applications. The reasons for the success of polyethylene in pressure networks are to be found in its technical performance and properties:

ADVANTAGE OF PE JOINTING TECHNIQUES The HDPE pressure piping market is still growing rapidly: distribution networks for gas and water, refurbishment of existing networks, offshore installations are some examples of where HDPE pipes and ttings are used. One of the key elements of this success are the numerous techniques available to join the different network components, even from different raw materials. The most important jointing techniques for pipes and ttings are welding methods, like butt fusion and electrofusion.

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tion as is the case for mechanical ttings; - Thanks to the exibility of HDPE, it is possible to realize the welding above ground prior to installation: easier handling conditions, narrower trench possible, and therefore reduction of costs. The reliability of butt fusion and electrofusion welding is demonstrated by the statistics available for numerous applications in many countries. For example, Azienda Mediterranea Gas e Acqua of Genoa (IT), reports that during the 1984-2002 period, the number of leaks observed was equal to 5 for 75,000 butt fusion welds and 23 for 22,500 electrofusion welds. USE OF PE 100 RESINS FOR FITTINGS Polyethylene pressure pipes and ttings have been extensively and successfully used for drinking water and gas networks for many years. Through continuous improvement of materials and quality management, the pipes have become more and more reliable and durable. At the present time, a service life expectancy of 100 years is the technical state of the art. The long-term behavior of HDPE pipes is predictable on the basis of regression curves (ISO 9080). Indeed, for polyethylene, prior to introducing any new resin in the pipe market, the raw material has to be completely analyzed and classied: the manufacturer must demonstrate that its PE material will resist a given hoop stress (classication MRS) at 20 C for 50 years. This is done by accelerated pressure testing in a laboratory environment. A large quantity of pipes is put under pressure in order to determine the relationships between applied hoop stress and failure time. The experimental data are then plotted in a loglog graph of hoop stress versus failure time, and correlation is determined by regression analysis according to ISO 9080. As it is unrealistic to wait 50 years to determine the nal hydrostatic strength of the material, trials are also carried out at 60 and 80 C, and extrapolation for 50 years at 20 C is done by assuming that the temperature dependence of the failure process follows the Arrhenius law.

FNCT (Full Notch Creep Test) allows fast and frequent control of the stress crack resistance.

BUTT FUSION It is the most used technique for large diameter HDPE pipes. The welding procedure involves accurate machine planing of the pipe and/or tting ends, which are joined together under pressure. Welding conditions (temperature, heating time, pressure) are related to the pipe diameter and thickness. ELECTROFUSION Initially, electrofusion ttings were mainly used to join small diameter pipes (up to 225 mm) in low pressure gas systems. They ensure faster and generally safer welding compared to socket fusion. This technique is now also applied to water distribution pipes. Numerous tting designs and dimensions are available on the market. The advantages of these two welding methods are numerous: - Easy, fast, economic, safe; - Possibility to join all combinations of PE 80 and PE 100 pipes and ttings; - Welded joint is as strong as the pipe itself as the different components have been completely merged; - Welding joint doesn't permit root penetra-

During these tests, two kinds of failures may be observed: ductile and brittle. The factors that determine the type of rupture are temperature and stress: - Low temperature and high stress lead to ductile failure: the wall is blown up and a crack forms perpendicular to the pipes axis. This leads to the formation of a typical nose. It is clear that the time taken for failure in this type of rupture is very much dependent on the actual stress level in the pipe: the factor that determines ductile failure is creep in the pipe wall. The higher the density (cristallinity) is, the lower the creep phenomenon and the higher the resistance to ductile failure will be. The type of failure is not inuenced by the surrounding medium as long as the polyethylene is not chemically attacked or swollen; - High temperature and low stress lead to brittle failure: micro-cracks are observed in the axial direction of the pipe. This kind of failure is due to stress cracking also called slow crack growth. The time required for failure depends very much on the surrounding medium and much less on the exact level of stress applied. Therefore the time-stress dependence of this phenomenon shows a curve that is different from the corresponding one for ductile failure. Brittle failure means disentanglement of the tie molecules linking the crystal lamellae together. The higher the number of tie molecules is, the higher the resistance to stress cracking will be. Another factor inuencing stress cracking resistance is short-chain branching of the tie molecules, which slows down the disentanglement process. Brittle failures appear at longer intervals than ductile ruptures and are therefore considered as a sign of ageing of the material. On a log-log stress-failure time diagram, the failure change from ductile to brittle modes will result in a modication of the slope in the curve. This change in slope is commonly referred as the knee in the regression curve. It is important to ensure that this knee will not occur before the end-of-lifetime guarantee. To guarantee a 50-year lifetime at a given stress (10 Mpa for PE 100, 8 Mpa for PE 80), extrapolation is done on basis of the high temperature data. Specialists from all over

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The long-term behavior of the HDPE pipes is predictable thanks to the regression curves (ISO 9080).

Hydrostatic pressure tests: the consistency of mechanical properties is controlled regulary.

the world have determined extrapolation factors: the higher the difference between the test temperature and the operational temperature is, the further the extrapolation can be made. For a difference of 60 C, this extrapolation factor has been estimated at 100. All the Ineos pressure pipe materials, tested properly according to ISO 9080 for up to 9,000 hours at 80 C, do not display any brittle failure. We can therefore guarantee by extrapolation that no knee will occur before 100 years at 20 C. CONTINUOUS QUALITY INSURANCE An essential element for quality assurance is the requirement that the completely formulated compound is supplied by the raw material manufacturer and must not be modied afterwards. During resin polymerisation, all the production parameters, such as: - ethylene, hydrogen, comonomer concentrations - reactor temperature - residence time - catalyst are controlled on line. Extrusion conditions are also kept constant.

Basics properties like melt ow rate (MFR), density, thermal stability (OIT), water content, pigment and/or carbon black dispersion are then tested for each batch and communicated to the manufacturer with each batch delivery by a certicate of analysis according to EN 10204-3.1. It is the only means by which the consistent quality of the material composition can be guaranteed, independently of the pipe and/or tting manufacturer, also ensuring that the homogeneity is optimal. Mechanical properties consistency is also evaluated regularly. In fact, the European standards in respect to gas and water pressure pipes and ttings applications specify in Art. 7 that mechanical tests shall be performed every year at external institutes to guarantee the raw material quality and its conformity to the initial approval. These tests are: - validation of the MRS classication: shortterm (around 100 hours) and long-term (min. 2500 hours) pressure tests at 20 and 80 C must be performed to prove that the material is conform to its initial regression curve; - rapid crack propagation resistance;

- notch pipe test at 80 C to check the slow crack growth resistance of the raw material. A reduction in this could affect the pipe lifetime, by modifying the knee position in the regression curve. All test reports for all the Ineos HDPE are available on request. Additional internal pressure tests are regularly performed by Ineos to guarantee a consistent quality. CONCLUSION Polyethylene has enjoyed an excellent reputation in water, gas and industrial pipe and tting applications for many years thanks to its outstanding mechanical properties and the application of a comprehensive quality system, monitored by standards, ensuring a service life of 100 years.

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Tailor-made materials
Polypropylene for piping applications

Polypropylenes can be modied in manifold ways and thus tailor-made for specic applications. Smooth surfaces, low internal stress, high pressure resistance and good resistance to aggressive chemicals are only a few of the complementary properties.

welding coupling), sufcient heat deection temperature, durability and long service life are ideally satised by polypropylene. Soon after Giulio Nattas discovery of the respective catalysts in the 1950s, which enabled the industrial production of polypropylene, the large potential of modication possibilities was realized to obtain optimized materials in different applications. STRUCTURE OF POLYPROPYLENE For piping systems in general three types of polypropylene have become established in the market: - Polypropylene homopolymer - Polypropylene heterophasic copolymer - Polypropylene random copolymer Whereas polypropylene homopolymer consists solely of propylene units, a different monomer typically ethylene is additionally incorporated into the molecular chain for polypropylene random copolymer. Because of the highly regular structure of polypropylene homopolymer, the highest crystallinity can be achieved in this semi-crystalline material polypropylene. This is of major importance when it comes to resistance against aggressive chemicals, which generally have a tendency to permeate and diffuse into plastic materials, typically leading to reduced strength and service life. As this penetration takes place into the amorphous part of the material, a highly crystalline material with a less amorphous phase will reduce this phenomenon. The advantage of this high crystallinity in polypropylene homopolymers is normally combined with the drawback of reduced (impact) toughness, in particular at low temperatures.

Homo Polymer (PP-H)

Random Copolymer (PP-R)

Block Copolymer (PP-B) PP-H Matrix Propylene Unit Ethylene Propylene Rubber Ethylene Unit

Molecule structure of polypropylene (schematic diagram).

SIEGFRIED LIEDAUER Technical Service and Market Development, Pipe Business Unit, Borealis

Thermoplastic materials are widely used for industrial piping systems and vessels. Even though in the seventies of the last century it was forecast that mainly engineering plastics and high performance plastics would take over more and more of this market for technical applications, so-called standard plastic materials like polyethylene or polypropylene have become successfully established. In particular for the medium temperature range up to 100 C, polypropylene has become a material of choice because of its well-balanced property spectrum. For industrial piping systems, important basic properties like stiffness and toughness, excellent resistance against chemicals, simple and safe jointing techniques (homogeneous

In heterophasic copolymers of polypropylene this drawback of poor toughness is compensated by adding a nely dispersed, amorphous ethylene-propylene copolymer phase (rubber phase) into the homopolymer matrix. As a consequence, impact behavior is signicantly improved but strength, maximal application temperature and pressure resistance are reduced which makes the heterophasic polypropylene modication a less preferred material for industrial piping systems. This modication of polypropylene was successfully established in the application eld of waste water and sewage disposal piping systems. The benet of low weight, safe and tight jointing technique and the durability compared to conventional materials such

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compared to standard homopolymers, in particular at elevated temperatures. - Under optimized processing conditions, piping system components (pipes, ttings) can be produced which show a very smooth surface nish and low frozen-in stresses. This is, among other things, related to the formation of a very ne-grained spherulitic crystalline structure. APPLICATIONS Borealis, one of the leading polyolen producers in Europe, produces and sells -crystalline polypropylene homopolymer with the brand name Beta () PP TM BE60-7032 as a plastic material for industrial piping systems and other semi-nished products. The suitability of this material for such applications is demonstrated in the following on the basis of some case studies: - In the 1980s, a pipeline for the transport of process chemicals at temperatures of up to 80 C was made of the material Beta () PP TM BE60-7032 in the dimension 1600 mm x 50 mm and installed; this is most probably the largest pipe ever made out of polypropylene. Now, after more than 20 years, this pipeline is still in service and is operating to the full satisfaction of the end-user. - Electrolytic cells for nickel production. Electrolytic cells, manufactured from 10 mm thick polypropylene sheets with a dimension of 6.5m x 1m x 1m are operated with diluted sulfuric acid at a temperature range of 65 70 C. Because the sheets were made of Beta () PP TM BE60-7032, a service life of more than 15 years was achieved. This excellent performance was substantiated by the fact that electrolytic cells produced from another grade of polypropylene failed already after a few years. FUTURE PERSPECTIVES Due to the very positive experiences with crystalline polypropylene homopolymer in piping applications, the polyolen producer Borealis started to transfer this concept also to other polymer modications.

200 m

Laying a polypropylene piping duct.

Microphotographic image of the spherulitic structure of Beta () PPTM BE60-7032.

as concrete or ceramics, can be considered a major advantage here. In random copolymer of polypropylene, ethylene is randomly incorporated into the molecular chain for the most part based on propylene. This modication leads in fact to a reduced short-term strength, but toughness and in particular long-term pressure resistance are signicantly increased. This performance is also a consequence of reduced crystallinity, which on the other hand limits applications for transportation and storage of chemicals where permeation and diffusion are of considerable importance. Based on this spectrum of properties, polypropylene random copolymer plays a major role in the market for plumbing and heating applications. For isotactic polypropylene here only this conguration will be considered as only this one is commercially produced and used three different crystalline structures (, , ) are known which offer further possibilities of modications. While the a-structure develops and forms under normal process-

ing conditions, the occurrence of the -form has to be forced by special techniques (nucleation). -crystalline polypropylene homopolymer displays a property spectrum which makes it an ideal material for industrial piping systems: - Impact strength, which especially at low temperatures can be considered as a weakness of polypropylene homopolymers, is signicantly increased to the level of polypropylene heterophasic copolymers and here it outperforms both normal polypropylene homopolymers and also polypropylene random copolymers. Hence safe operation can also be achieved at low service temperatures. - As a highly crystalline homopolymer, this material naturally shows a high resistance to aggressive chemicals. - The internal pressure resistance of piping systems made from -crystalline polypropylene homopolymer is also increased

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With a combination of the polypropylene random modication and -crystallinity, a material can be generated which features an astounding improvement in the pressure resistance of pipes made from it and which outperforms all the known kinds of polypropylene. This is true both at ambient temperatures and at elevated temperatures. Borealis has commercialized this concept specially for piping systems in the plumbing and heating market areas, where the pressure resistance at higher temperatures (70 C) is of particular importance. By using this material a signicantly reduced pipe wall thickness can be applied for the same pressure and service life (typically one SDR level). The advantage is on the one hand a reduced material consumption and an increased pipe cross-section (leading to increased ow or reduced pressure drop), on the other hand a piping system can be designed with smaller (lower outside diameter) pipes. In both cases, a cost reduction can be achieved, which makes polypropylene more competitive in this market segment. In the meantime, this new material has advanced as an independent polypropylene form PP-RCT into relevant standards. It is now a matter of expanding this PPRCT concept to other applications, for example industrial piping systems. Due to the low stiffness and short-term strength in this respect no essential difference to normal polypropylene random copolymer can be detected the material probably cannot be considered as an engineering material, but is preferable for piping systems in special applications where the benets can be fully utilized. Imaginable would be, for example, transport of stress-cracking uids, as this material has shown excellent performance in this respect. Borealis is actively working on this development together with well-known pipe and tting producers. The combination of the -concept with polypropylene block copolymers is also under investigation at Borealis. Thus far a low-temperature impact strength never before achieved for polypropylene could be observed, apparently a synergistic effect of both

Pipeline 1600 x 60 mm made of Beta () PP BE60-7032.

Borstar polypropylene plant in Schwechat/Austria.

impact boosters -crystallinity and dispersed rubber phase. At present no material of this kind has been commercialized by Borealis. In the year 2000 Borealis started up the rst polypropylene plant based on their own, proprietary Borstar technology. Due to the manifold opportunities of this process for the production of tailor-made polypropylenes together with the modication possibilities mentioned above, one can expect to see new interesting materials for industrial piping applications in the future.

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Polyvinylidene Fluoride
Favorable plastic components for maintaining high purity in wafer production
Arkema is a world leader in vinyl products, industrial chemicals and performance polymers. Since 1989, GF Piping Systems and Arkema have been working together to expand the use of SYGEF and SYGEF PLUS piping systems.

BERNARD SCHLINQUER Market Manager KYNAR & KYNAR FLEX, Technical Polymers, Arkema

As miniaturization increases in wafer production, so do the requirements made on the purity of the process media. PVDF is ideally positioned in piping systems construction for the semiconductor industry, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, due to its high purity and good resistance to aggressive chemicals.

Arkema (formerly ATOFINA) is a 6-billioneuro company with over 18,000 employees in more than 40 countries. As a world leader in vinyl products, industrial chemicals and performance polymers, Arkema is a major player in the global chemicals business with many popular brand names. POLYMERS FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE APPLICATIONS The Technical Polymers Group of Arkema is well-known for polyamide technology, functional polyolens, and uoropolymers. Trade names such as Rilsan PA, Pebax Elastomer, Orgalloy Compound, Platamid PA, Evatane EVA, Lotryl EMA, Lotader EAM, Orevac resin, Voltalef PCTFE, Kynar PVDF and Kynar Flex PVDF represent quality products for special high-performance applications in many industrial, architectural and consumer markets worldwide.

In 1989, Arkema entered a business relationship with GF Piping Systems as a supplier of high purity Kynar PVDF resin for use in semiconductor applications. Early in its development, the semiconductor industry realized that plastic components were preferable to metal components for maintaining the purity of washing chemicals in the silicon wafer production process. As process purity became even more important, the industry switched from common commodity plastics to uoropolymers that could be extruded and injection molded into high purity, high chemically resistant and high temperature uid handling components. The most prominent polymer for high purity piping systems in the semiconductor industry since 1986

has been polyvinylidene uoride (PVDF). Kynar PVDF, coupled with its ability to be processed without any additives or processing aids, and the natural smooth surface nish of extruded and molded parts, exhibited a combination of reasonable cost versus metal alternatives and a high enough strength to be self supporting, even at elevated temperatures. In 1993 at its Calvert City, KY, plant in the United States, Arkema installed a high purity deionized water (DI) system within the process of making Kynar PVDF to wash the resin and any potential impurities before pelletization and packaging. This quality control measure further improved an already pure polymer. Laboratory testing data in wa-

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The spectrum of uses for PVDF is wide: Kynar PVDF can be found, among other, in pipe and tube systems, flow measurement devices, pumps, tanks, filters, nozzles or as illustrated here in flame-retardant, temperatureresistant jacketing.

PVDF is also popular in the building industry. The Louvre Pyramides in Paris are protected with Kynar 500 .

ter, acids and even neutron activation analysis conrmed very low extraction results for Kynar PVDF and Kynar Flex PVDF resins as they related to metallic ions, anions and total organic carbon (TOC). Many articles have been published by industry experts to this effect, so that PVDF remains the standard of the industry for high purity uid containment. The unique properties, combined with the joining technology offered by Georg Fischer, have been key to the success of SYGEF and SYGEF PLUS piping systems in semiconductor or pharmaceutical applications. WIDE RANGE OF MARKET SEGMENTS Prior to high purity uid handling in the semiconductor or pharmaceutical industry, Kynar PVDF was valued as a highly corrosion resistant material for piping & tubing, linings, pumps, tanks, valves, tower packing, ltration devices, nozzles, and ow meters in many chemical applications. Over the years, industries such as pulp & paper, nuclear reclamation, mining, metal preparation, phar-

maceutical, petrochemical, food & beverage, wastewater, and pesticides successfully implemented Kynar PVDF components to handle corrosive acids and halogens (chlorine, bromine, uorine, iodine). Chemical and mechanical engineers found that using a polymer that was able to withstand these chemicals at varied concentrations was preferable to dealing with rouging and corrosion issues in metal systems. One of the original and prevalent uses of Kynar resin was actually as a liner for carbon steel where the system combined the strength of metal and the corrosion resistance of PVDF. As an evolution to lighter weight systems and outside corrosion barrier, systems made from either butt-welded PVDF pipes and ttings or from PVDF piping liners wrapped with berglass have won the approval of engineers for harsh chemical handling and high pressures. The success in these markets of solid PVDF piping systems fueled other developments over time. In 1992 it was found that Kynar PVDF passed the 25/50 requirement for burning characteristics in ULC S102.2 which allowed Kynar 460 and Kynar 740

piping to be listed as acceptable materials for piping in public areas in Canada. This allowed designers that were concerned with re hazards to design pure water laboratory systems with pure polymers rather than metals. Also, it allowed the use of a corrosion resistant and impact resistant polymer to be used for acid waste drainage systems where previously only glass systems could be used per the building safety codes. In 1994 a ame- retardant grade of Kynar PVDF passed ASTM E-84 (which was a more difcult test adopted by the United States Building Code such as ICC-ES) with a 5/35 rating. Within ten years this had become the standard material for corrosive waste piping for use in the plenum areas of school, university and pharmaceutical laboratories. GF Piping Systems offers a complete line of Kynar PVDF with enhanced ame-retardant characteristics for waste drainage systems with a unique joining method called Fuseal. These systems conform to the International Mechanical Code section 602 and are marked with a UL listing for this application. Among other common applications for Kynar PVDF are premium paint nishes for

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PVDF is used in foam production. Densities of 30 kilograms per cubic meter (0.03. g/cm 3) or less are realized. These temperature-resistant foams are implemented in aeronautics.

Suppliers to the semiconductor industry must also work with high purity processes. Rockwood supplies chemicals for chip manufacturing and relies on the PVDF product line from GF.

aluminum building structures. Kynar 500 uoropolymer-based nishes are well- known to architects and design professionals as a long lasting coating that beauties tall ofce buildings, sporting arenas, industrial complexes, malls, churches, and even residential developments. Due to its excellent resistance to sunlight, airborne chemicals and overall weathering (including moisture) Kynar 500 uoropolymer-based coatings maintain color and lm integrity for the lifetime of the building structure. SPECIAL COMPOUNDS FOR HIGH TEMPERATURES Recently special compounds of Kynar PVDF have been developed for special applications. Kynar OS 400 is a exible compound that maintains usage temperatures up to 150 C which is often necessary in offshore oil exploration; Zotek foams are lightweight closed cell foams made entirely of pure PVDF and are used in chemical service and/or areas where low ammability properties are required such as in aircraft cabin design; Kynar Flex 2850 PC is a functional powder

coating used to protect metal in the most severe acidic and halogenated environments; Kynar 3200 is a tough rotomolding grade that allows the manufacture of tanks and baths without weld lines; Kynar ADX is a technology that allows PVDF to bond directly to metals and other polymers to create composite structures useful in chemical applications; Kynar Superex is a low-melting-point uoropolymer with high clarity and exibility used for tubing applications; and Kynar Flex 3120 resin is a high-temperature exible resin with a high melting point often used as jacketing for high-temperature crosslinked wires and cables for automotive and aircraft applications. Kynar PVDF has become a widely used product since its introduction in 1965. Arkema operates three plants worldwide (two in France and one in the United States). After opening a new plant in Pierre-Benite, France in 2003, a major plant expansion for the Calvert City, KY facility in the United States was announced with projected completion in 2008. Arkema is dedicated to the growth of the PVDF product line as new applications

continue to uorish. Over the years, Arkemas business relationship with GF Piping Systems has evolved from a supplier relationship into a successful partnership focused on increasing the use of SYGEF and SYGEF PLUS piping systems made from Kynar PVDF. Such partnerships with industry leaders in high purity industries, such as GF Piping Systems, have allowed Arkema to focus on what is needed at the end-user level and to supply a high-performance, quality product, which ultimately leads to consistent growth and an excellent reputation.

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Picture credits

Biocon Indien DuPont Archives ETH Library Zrich Fairmont Hotel Monte Carlo Georg Fischer Corporate Archives Georg Fischer Piping Systems Getty Images Private photos Erich Guldener The Henry Ford Collection istockphoto Juraj Liptk, Landesamt fr Denkmalpege und Archologie Sachsen-Anhalt Michelin Reifenwerke Montana Museum of Art & Culture Prof. Dr. Mlhaupt, Freiburg, Germany Museo della Plastica, Pont Canavese Nestl Waters Prisma Bildagentur AG Profoto.ch, Michael Kessler, Neuhausen Reuters Siemens AG Tupperware, Germany

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Contacts worldwide
www.piping.georgscher.com

Australia George Fischer Pty Ltd Riverwood NSW 2210 Australia Phone +61(0)2/9502 8000 australia.ps@georgscher.com www.georgescher.com.au George Fischer Pty Ltd Sales Ofce Hendra, QLD 4011 Phone +61 (0)7-3268 8700 George Fischer Pty Ltd Sales Ofce Osborne Park, WA 6017 Phone +61 (0)8-9204 2122 George Fischer Pty Ltd Sales Ofce South Oakleigh, VIC 3167 Phone +61 (0)3-9558 3554 Austria Georg Fischer Rohrleitungssysteme GmbH 3130 Herzogenburg Phone +43 (0)2782-856 430 austria.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.at Georg Fischer Fittings GmbH 3160 Traisen Phone +43 (0)2762-903 00 ttings.ps@georgscher.com www.ttings.at Belgium / Luxembourg Georg Fischer NV/SA 1070 Bruxelles/Brssel Phone +32 (0)2-556 40 20 be.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.be Brazil George Fischer Ltda 04795-100 So Paulo Phone +55 (0)11-5687 1311 br.ps@georgscher.com www.georgescher.com.br China Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd Shanghai Shanghai 201319 Phone +86 (0)21-5813 3333 china.ps@georgscher.com www.cn.piping.georgscher.com Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd Shanghai Beijing Branch Beijing 100020 Phone +86 (0)10-6588 6550 china.ps@georgscher.com Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd Shanghai Chengdu Branch Chengdu 610072 Phone +86 (0)28-8775 0344

Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd Shanghai Shenzhen Branch Shenzhen 518001 Phone +86 (0)755-8228 0172 Chinaust Plastics Corp. Ltd Zhuo Zhou City 072761 Phone +86 (0)312-395 20 00 admin@chinaust.com Changchun Chinaust Automotive Parts Co. Ltd. Changchun City 130012 Phone +86 (0)431-517 2481 Ccyd@public.cc.jl.cn Chinaust Plastics (Shenzhen) Corp. Ltd. Shenzhen City 518103 Phone +86 (0)755-2731 4822 Chinaustsz@chinaust.com Shanghai Chinaust Plastics Corp. Ltd. Shanghai 201708 Phone +86 (0)21-5979 0222 chinaust@vip.sina.com Sichuan Chinaust Plastics Corp. Ltd. Dujiangyan City 611830 Phone +86 (0)28-8722 9880 Sc@chinaust.com Hebei Chinaust Automotive Plastics Corp. Ltd. Zhuo Zhou City 072761 Phone +86 (0)312-397 1000 Wsychinaust@vip.sina.com Denmark / Iceland Georg Fischer A/S 2630 Taastrup Phone +45 (0)70 22 19 75 info.dk.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.dk France Georg Fischer SAS 95932 Roissy Charles de Gaulle Cedex Phone +33(0)1 41 84 68 84 fr.ps@georgscher.com www.georgescher.fr Germany Georg Fischer GmbH 73095 Albershausen Phone +49 (0)7161-302-0 info.de.ps@georgscher.com www.rls.georgscher.de Georg Fischer DEKA GmbH 35232 Dautphetal-Mornshausen Phone +49 (0)6468-915-0 deka.ps@georgscher.com www.dekapipe.de Georg Fischer SIMONA Fluorpolymer Products GmbH 77955 Ettenheim Phone +49 (0)7822-4457 652 info@georgscher.simona.de

India Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd 400 076 Mumbai Phone +91 224007 2001 in.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.in Indonesia George Fischer Representative Ofce 10310 Jakarta Phone +62 (0)21-391 48 62 Italy Georg Fischer S.p.A. 20063 Cernusco S/N (MI) Phone +39 02-921 861 it.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.it Georg Fischer TPA Srl 40013 Castel Maggiore (BO) Phone +39 051-632 42 11 tpa.ps@georgscher.com Georg Fischer Omicron S.r.l. Saldatrici per Termoplastici 35030 Caselle di Selvazzano (PD) Phone +39 049-897 57 21 omicron.ps@georgscher.com www.omicronitaly.com Georg Fischer Pfci Srl 37067 Valeggio sul Mincio (VR) Phone +39 045-6372 911 pfci.ps@georgscher.com www.pfci.georgscher.it Japan Georg Fischer Ltd 556-0011 Osaka, Phone +81 (0)6-6635 2691 jp.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.jp Georg Fischer Ltd Tokyo Branch 111-0053 Tokyo Phone +81 (0)3-3861-7741 Korea Georg Fischer Piping Systems Seoul 152-050 Korea Phone +82 2 851 3861/3862 kor.ps@georgscher.com Latin America / Caribbean George Fischer Inc. Tustin, CA 92780-7258, USA Phone +1 714-731 88 00, Toll Free 800 854 40 90 us.ps@georgscher.com www.us.piping.georgescher.com Malaysia Georg Fischer (M) Sdn. Bhd 47500 Subang Jaya Phone +603-8024 7879 conne.kong@georgescher.com.my

Middle East George Fischer Piping Systems Dubai, United Arab Emirates Phone +971 4 289 41 20 gfdubai@emirates.net.ae Netherlands Georg Fischer N.V. 8161 PA Epe Phone +31 (0)578-678 222 nl.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.nl Georg Fischer WAGA NV 8160 AG Epe Phone +31 (0)578-678 378 waga.ps@georgscher.com www.waga.nl Norway Georg Fischer AS 1351 Rud Phone +47 67 18 29 00 no.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.no Poland Georg Fischer Sp. z o.o. 02-226 Warszawa Phone +48 (0)22-313 10 50 poland.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.pl Philippines George Fischer Regional Ofce RP Pasing City, Manila Phone +63 (0)2-631 15 61 gfphils@i-next.net Romania Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd 020257 Bucharest - Sector 2 Phone +40(0)21/230 53 80 ro.ps@georgscher.com Russia Georg Fischer Piping Systems Moscow 125047 Tel. +7 495 258 60 80 ru.ps@georgscher.com Singapore George Fischer Pte Ltd 528 872 Singapore Phone +65 (0)67-47 06 11 sgp.ps@georgscher.com www.georgescher.com.sg Spain / Portugal Georg Fischer S.A. 28046 Madrid Phone +34 (0)91-781 98 90 es.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.es Sweden / Finland Georg Fischer AB 12523 lvsj-Stockholm Phone +46 (0)8-506 775 00 info.se.ps@georgscher.com www.georgscher.se

Switzerland Georg Fischer Rohrleitungssysteme AG 8201 Schaffhausen Phone +41 (0)52-631 11 11 info.ps@georgscher.com Georg Fischer Rohrleitungssysteme (Schweiz) AG 8201 Schaffhausen Phone +41 (0)52-631 30 26 ch.ps@georgscher.com www.piping.georgscher.ch Georg Fischer Haustechnik AG 8201 Schaffhausen Phone +41 (0)52-631 11 11 htag.ps@georgscher.com Georg Fischer Wavin AG 8201 Schaffhausen Phone +41 (0)52-631 11 11 wavin.ps@georgscher.com Georg Fischer Wavin AG 4553 Subingen Phone +41 (0)32-613 21 11 Georg Fischer Kunststoffarmaturen AG 7302 Landquart Phone +41 (0)81-307 55 00 seewis.ps@georgscher.com Taiwan Georg Fischer Piping Systems San Chung City Taipei Hsien, Taiwan (R.O.C.) Phone +886 2 8512 2822 Fax +886 2 8512 2823 United Kingdom / Ireland George Fischer Sales Limited Coventry, CV2 2ST Phone +44 (0)2476-535 535 uk.ps@georgscher.com www.georgescher.co.uk USA George Fischer Inc. Tustin, CA 92780-7258 Phone +1 714-731 88 00, Toll Free 800 854 40 90 us.ps@georgscher.com www.us.piping.georgescher.com George Fischer Signet Inc. El Monte, CA 91734-1770 Phone +1 626-571 27 70 signet.ps@georgscher.com www.gfsignet.com George Fischer Sloane Inc Little Rock, AR 72206 Phone +1 501-490 77 77 sloane.ps@georgscher.com www.sloane.georgescher.com All other countries Georg Fischer Piping Systems (Switzerland) Ltd. 8201 Schaffhausen Phone +41 (0)52-631 30 26 Fax +41 (0)52-631 28 93 export.ps@georgscher.com www.piping.georgscher.ch