Max Bögl chooses Hendriks precon for formwork for prefab sewage channel elementsWorking together on quality and safety

If there is anything that is synonymous with Germany it has to be quality. Quality for which the help of third parties may sometimes be requested. For example for the largest European wastewater project currently underway: the Emscher sewage system. Now that mining in the Emscher region is coming to an end, the wastewater can once again be discharged through closed underground channels. Under contract to Max Bögl, Hendriks precon supplied the formwork used to manufacture the channel elements.

Continuous change

Well over a hundred years ago a change was initiated. The Emscher region developed from a sparsely populated agricultural region into an industrial agglomeration in which the Emscher River served as an open sewer. Now that the heavy industry is being displaced by the high-tech sector, the wastewater issue can be tackled. In the near future it will become possible to discharge the wastewater into closed underground channels so that the river and its tributaries will once again regain their natural function.

The closed underground channels are supplied by the company Max Bögl, a construction company that operates internationally with 6,300 employees and 35 branches worldwide. The branch that manufactures the company’s products, including prefab concrete elements, is located in the town of Hamminkeln in Germany. We spoke with Mr Schulz, Production Manager, about the Emscher sewer project here. When asked whether this is the first time that Max Bögl is partnering with Hendriks precon, he answers: ‘Prior to this, we also had a pleasant and successful business relationship working together on the production of prefab concrete elements for a parking garage. It was a tight cooperative working relationship which both parties managed to get the best out of each other. We are seeing the same thing repeat here for the formwork for the Emscher wastewater channels.’

Special formwork

In total, Hendriks precon supplied three formworks. ‘The formwork is used to manufacture the various channel elements. The three formworks have the same cross-section, but differ in height. The formwork itself consists of two interior contractible cores surrounded by L-shaped components. The entire formwork is hydraulically controlled. To provide for the necessary safety, the outside formwork is fitted all around with an integrated working and safety platform accessible by ladder.

The elements produced this way, using a special certified concrete developed by Max Bögl itself, have a width of approximately 5.60 meters and length of 3.20 metres,’ says Mr Schulz. ‘The total length of the channel elements is about 3.2 km, consisting of 1,225 channel elements. The channel elements are constructed on the basis of a central plan that specifies the angles and differences in height. With the help of insert frames in the formwork, different inclines of up to ± 5 degrees can be created. This makes it possible to follow the curves in the sewer channel.’

Working together on quality

When asked about the level of cooperation, Mr Schulz responds enthusiastically: ‘To put it succinctly, the cooperation with Hendriks precon is excellent. The company always responds fast and professionally to our questions. We develop the products and solve problems together, and gratefully make use of Hendriks precon’s extensive knowledge and experience. In my view, a good example of this is the way safety is dealt with. Maximum safety is considered of primary importance within the project. We therefore conceived and developed a solution together designed to be able to safely carry out the assembly, pouring and releasing activities, as well as the switch over of the formwork. The production series is expected to be complete in mid-July. At that point the formwork will have been used more than 450 times without any problems worthy of mention.’

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