2021-03-17

TQM Quality Report 2020:
Equipped for the future

RELINEEUROPE launches its quality offensive in 2021 with production restructuring measures.

In 2020, RELINEEUROPE set the course for a continued successful future.

Despite all the challenges this year, the RELINEEUROPE team was not only able to achieve its previous quality standards, but even exceed them. During the first lockdown phase at the beginning of 2020 in Germany, the planned sewer rehabilitation projects could largely be carried out as planned under difficult conditions, all construction sites were at a standstill for several weeks in many other countries. In particular, the cancellation of rehabilitation projects in some heavily affected countries had an impact on production volumes. Support on construction sites from RELINEEUROPE's application technicians also proved very difficult. But the RELINEEUROPE team learned a lot during this time and set up an online training concept. This enabled new customers, e.g. in South Korea, to be trained online at the construction site and several liners were successfully installed.

Contact restrictions, mandatory masks, telephone conferences and Home Office solutions characterised everyday working life, as they did throughout the economy. "We were still lucky that not all countries important to us went into lockdown at the same time," says Philipp Martin, Director Sales Europe at RELINEEUROPE, describing the situation. In the second half of the year, a large part of the cancelled projects could be made up. "Our production team at our plant in Rohrbach worked in three shifts until the last weeks of December."

Rehabilitation of a 220 metre long section of the “Landgraben” main collector in Karlsruhe with the Alphaliner1800H, DN 1750
Rehabilitation of a 220 metre long section of the “Landgraben” main collector in Karlsruhe with the Alphaliner1800H, DN 1750

Quality Offensive 2021

"We would like to thank all our customers, suppliers and employees for their professional, constructive and trusting cooperation in what has been a very challenging year for everyone, and we are particularly pleased that we were able to achieve record sales in November 2020," explains Frank Mersmann CEO at RELINEEUROPE.

In order to sustain RELINEEUROPE's successful course, which has lasted for more than 10 years, the company has decided to launch a quality offensive that will set new standards once again in 2021. Already at the beginning of December, restructuring measures were started on the factory premises in Rohrbach, which are on schedule and are expected to be completed by the end of January 2021.

The focus of these measures is to make the r GRP hose liner Alphaliner even more resistant against mechanical damage during the installation process. To this end, in 2021 all Alphaliners will be delivered step by step with improved external protection in the form of "integrated sliding foil" (IGS) and an "integrated preliner" (IPL). These investments are intended to increase not only the high quality of the products, but also the efficiency of the production processes as well as to improve the ease of handling during the installation process. "Our top priority is to continue to meet the increasing demand for the Alphaliner reliably, quickly and safely in the future," says Mersmann.

Alphaliner Quality Report 2020 Results

RELINEEUROPE's Total Quality Management (TQM) system is a comprehensive QM system that integrates users into the quality processes. This process-oriented system forms the basis for a continuous improvement process in sewer rehabilitation with the UV light-curing pipe liner Alphaliner. The use of end-to-end quality controlling from goods receipt through the individual production steps to material testing of the construction site samples, as well as precise planning and preparation, are decisive for the quality of the rehabilitation project.

As we do each year, we analysed test reports for site material samples from independent, accredited German testing institutes for the 2020 Quality Report. Some international Alphaliner users have their construction site samples tested in RELINEEUROPE's own laboratory, as no such quality check of the installed liner has been required by the client so far in their country as is the case in Germany.

RELINEEUROPE, together with its more than 100 users worldwide, was unable to increase production volume compared to the previous year for the first time in the company's more than 10-year history. In 2020, the production site located in Rohrbach (Rhineland-Palatinate) produced 8,774 Alphaliners. The data used to produce analysis results for this quality report comes from tests of 2,996 site samples.

 RELINEEUROPE TQM Quality Report 2020 - Table Analysis Results: Alphaliner Total Site Samples

Table: Analysis Results: Alphaliner Total Site Samples

* The material tests of the individual site samples were carried out by the testing institutes IKT-Institut für Unterirdische Infrastruktur (Gelsenkirchen), Polytest Ingenieure GmbH (Fürth), SBKS GmbH (St. Wendel) and SIEBERT + KNIPSCHILD GmbH (Oststeinbek), which are recognised and accredited by the DIBt (Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik, Berlin). RELINEEUROPE's own laboratory also carries out material tests for international customers.

The analysis of results shows that the Alphaliner once again attained very high values for the E- modulus, bending strength, water impermeability and wall thickness in comparison to our target certification values. The slight fluctuations in the values, which can now be compared in the table over more than 10 years, are probably due to the quality of the site samples. Here, the influences of the rehabilitation construction sites, such as small shaft sizes and/or no (accessible) intermediate shafts, cannot be completely eliminated despite the greatest possible care in sample preparation and collection.

In addition to the technical data recorded in the liner database, the feedback reports represent another central element in RELINEEUROPE's quality management. With these reports, the installing sewer rehabilitation companies can quickly report back their individual feedback on the supplied GRP hose liner. Combined with material sample testing reports, data in the feedback reports serves as a clear, valuable basis for our quality controlling.

In addition to the detailed information, the assessment of the overall process expressed in traffic light colours is also a valuable indicator of customer satisfaction. If a correspondingly weak judgement induces this, the Sales Department contacts the customer at the latest 24 hours after receipt of the report in order to discuss a solution. They may also inform responsible employees in production or order processing, depending on the problem reported. Quality feedback reports allow us to react quickly and optimise our processes as needed. 

RELINEEUROPE TQM Quality Report 2020 - Feedback report Evaluation — 2020: Excerpt of the annual analysis

Table: Feedback report Evaluation — 2020: Excerpt of the annual analysis

Once again it has been confirmed that using the TQM consistently in collaboration with rehabilitation companies results in better reliability and more consistent and better quality in our Alphaliner installation. This instrument allows rehabilitation companies to use the advantages of the TQM approach to systematically optimise and increase their efficiency on the construction site.

Alphaliner ad UV curing technology have been proven in large scale profile rehabilitations.

In 2020, RELINEEUROPE was again able to impress national and international clients, especially in the segment of large profile rehabilitations, with its system solutions consisting of the GRP pipe liner Alphaliner and the matching UV curing technology, which are unique in the industry. The outstanding project in Germany was the rehabilitation of the "Landgraben" in Karlsruhe, where the long-termn Alphaliner partner Jeschke Umwelttechnik GmbH installed the largest Alphaliner to date in Germany with a diameter of 1750mm.

The Landgraben combined sewer, built in the late 19th century, drains the Durlach district and the eastern "mountain villages" in Karlsruhe as the main collector. This masonry canal was closed with a concrete vault in 1912. During camera examinations as part of the self-inspection ordinance, it was discovered that the concrete vaulting, which was cast without reinforcement at the beginning of the last century, had cracks along a length of 220 metres that endangered its stability. Since this channel is fully utilised during heavy rainfall events, a central requirement for the rehabilitation by the Karlsruhe civil engineering office was that the Landgraben must retain its hydraulic properties to the full extent.

After examining various options, Karlsruhe decided on the Alphaliner for the rehabilitation. Since this channel has to absorb high static loads, the Alphaliner1800H, specially designed for large sections, was installed with a composite wall thickness of 17.0 millimetres. "This is a wall thickness that can still be cured purely with UV light without the addition of peroxides and the associated complex cooling chain using the REE4000 UV curing system and the Power Cube UV core with a total light output of 24,000 watts," says Philipp Martin, Director Sales Europe, describing the advantages of the technology.
Jeschke Umwelttechnik GmbH had invested in the latest curing technology, and in May the new REE4000 Professional system was delivered to the company. In keeping with the large-scale project, this was the UV curing system with the construction number 100 produced by RELINEEUROPE. With one day each for preparation and one day for liner installation and curing, the two 120-metre sewer lines were rehabilitated. The transport boxes for the Alphaliner weighed 25 tonnes and could only be moved around the construction site with a special crane. The Alphaliner1800H with a 17.0 millimetre wall thickness were each cured in about seven hours at a speed of 0.27 metres per minute.

"This refurbishment, which has received a lot of attention in the industry and from local authorities, went quite well, and the feedback from the Jeschke company and the Karlsruhe Civil Engineering Office was very positive. All results are in-house, and all target values for wall thickness, E-modulus and impermeability have been achieved," Martin summarises positively. Further projects on a similar scale are already being planned.

Rehabilitation of motorway crossings

While the rehabilitation of sewers of dimensions up to DN 1800 with UV light-curing GRP pipe liners is still a novelty in Germany, projects of this size are already the order of the day in other European countries. In France, Portugal, England and in Scandinavian countries, several large profile rehabilitations of this kind have already been successfully completed. The Alphaliner1800H with its very high mechanical standards has proven itself especially in the rehabilitation of crossings under motorways.
The operators were looking for a solution for the rehabilitation of these crossings and approached the company. In addition to a very short construction time, the requirement was that the liner should be able to absorb very high static loads while, at the same time, reducing the cross-section of the culvert only by a very small extent, so that in heavy rain the water can drain away quickly in the calculated volume. "With the engineering and technical support at RELINEEUROPE, we can work together with the customer to configure the right liner for the specific requirements, and the wall thicknesses of the Alphaliners are specifically designed for the existing traffic load in each case." In competition, says Martin, RELINEEUROPE can always score points as a holistic system provider in these projects as well: "Many customers say that if we're going to push forward in these large spheres, then we also want to work with someone who knows both the liner technology and the equipment for UV curing." If liners of these dimensions are cured with a UV technology that does not deliver the required performance throughout the entire curing process, there is a risk that the liner surface will look good but the laminate on the reverse side will remain soft and no longer deliver any output.

Quality offensive also for UV technology

In order to offer users an even wider choice for curing the different liner profiles, RELINEEUROPE has added another UV core to its range. In addition to the only UV core so far, the Power Cube with 6 x 4,000 watt output, which is designed for rehabilitations up to DN 1800 and, in combination with the REE4000 UV curing system, currently offers the most powerful UV curing technology on the market. Another core, the Rapid Cube, with an output of 6 x 3,000 Watt has been newly developed one level below. This covers rehabilitations in the medium range from DN 600 to DN 1300. 

Power Hybrid — An innovation prevails

With its Power Hybrid technology, RELINEEUROPE has implemented an innovation in 2020 that reduces the burden on the environment when renovating pipe liners. As a rule, modern UV curing systems are equipped with power generators between 30 and 60 KVA of electrical power. However, the entire power is only required during the UV curing process, which only takes place a few hours a day. With the Power Hybrid battery system, the power supply in the rehabilitation vehicle is ensured during the rest of the time with high-performance batteries and intelligent charging electronics. In addition to lower emissions, less noise and a longer service life for the generators, this innovation can save around 8,000 euros a year in fuel costs. These advantages are convincing: Among the 15 UV systems delivered to customers in 2020, only a few were without Power Hybrid technology on board. Customers have already asked to retrofit existing systems.

TQM - Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) introduced by RELINEEUROPE as a system goal, denotes the company's comprehensive quality management system that is unique in the liner sector.

In contrast to commonly used QM systems, TQM continuously and systematically integrates all the relevant material, production and transport areas of the company with Alphaliner installation results provided by customers at their various sites. All relevant data and material test results of the site samples are collected and recorded in a database specifically created for the purpose. These are reviewed and analysed on a regular basis. The results are used for optimisations in production and during installation on sites as well as for analysis meetings with Alphaliner installation partners, thus highlighting scope for further improvements.

Authors

Frank Mersmann, CEO RELINEEUROPE GmbH
Philipp Martin, Director Sales Europe RELINEEUROPE GmbH
Jens Goll, Technical Support RELINEEUROPE GmbH