Amiblu: Designing GRP Pipes for Sustainable Water Infrastructure
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Dr. Alexander Frech, CEO
“Contributing to build sustainable water infrastructure, to value and carefully manage every drop of water as a resource is an urgent need today,” remarks Alexander Frech, CEO of Amiblu. The world is witnessing a severe water crisis with the growing population and rapid urbanisation—the reason why there is an increased demand for strengthening the water infrastructure everywhere. In this backdrop, Amiblu finds its mention in the water management market. They are a joint venture of two strong brands—Hobas and Flowtite, emerging out as a leading manufacturer of world-class GRP pipes and fittings to enhance the infrastructure of pipelines for drinking water, water retention tanks, wastewater, and stormwater solutions. Their reliable and long-lasting GRP pipes also find application in mining companies, hydropower, cooling towers for nuclear power plants, and big data centres. They have a robust internal team of application engineers from various nations and profound expertise, designing and creating projects customised as per requirements, with the highest quality standards. Amiblu also has rich market access in over 125 countries with a large customer base worldwide. They believe in knowing their customers well, developing a strong relationship with them, understanding the needs, and offering the best solutions to ensure customer success.
Amiblu, though a relatively new company, holds a long history tracing back to the fifties and sixties of the last century millennium. This long-drawn history pinpoints several loopholes existing in the conventional pipe systems across the globe. Most old drinking water and wastewater pipelines and the majority of current ones are made of materials like ductile iron, steel, or concrete that can be toxic to the environment and are prone to corrosion. Many countries face leakages of transported water of up to forty per cent, which is not just a source of losing drinking water as a resource but also a major source of pollution, in case untreated wastewater leaks. Amiblu perfectly addresses these challenges, leveraging GRP to design pipes for generations and eliminate the traditional pipes' fallacies. Their pipelines offer longevity, reliability, and leakage proof features, which can smoothly serve more than a century in best quality conditions. Additionally, GRP also reduces the carbon footprint to almost half of what the other competing materials produce. As an assemblage, GRP comes out to be the most viable option that caters to environmental sustainability, maintains social aesthetics by refining the infrastructure, and also offer cost benefits—the drivers that encourage Amiblu to bring GRP as a material out of the niche market into the mass market as a substitute of the conventional materials. Identifying the large share of pros that GRP upholds, Amiblu aligns its vision to sharpen the technological capabilities to accommodate GRP production. "We serve the purpose behind the pipes; our material solution is more than twice as reliable and leakage proof, which serves easily 100 plus years at highest standards with carbon footprints reduced significantly,” says Alexander.
Being tech-driven, Amiblu lays a deep focus on leveraging technological innovations required to enhance GRP pipes' production. Their venture brings together two prominent technologies for designing sustainable GRP pipes, namely the Hobas centrifugal casting technology and the Flowtite filament winding technology. The centrifugal casting (CC) technology uses glass fibre, resins, minerals, and silica sand with a 100 per cent computer-controlled process to produce circular pipes with uniform wall thickness along their lengths at an exact outer diameter. This technology ensures high longitudinal compressive strength, high temperature and load withstanding capabilities, and comparative cost advantage.
We serve the purpose behind the pipes; our material solution is more than twice as reliable and leakage proof, which serves easily 100 plus years at highest standards with carbon footprints reduced significantly
The methodology eases rehabilitation methods like trenchless pipe lining and sliplining for pipelines requiring high stiffness, such as pipelines below airport infrastructure. On the other hand, the continuous filament winding technology also uses similar components as the CC technology but focuses more on high-pressure capabilities. The protective layers of the pipes enhance the tolerance to high internal pressure, with the capabilities to handle large loads and maintain long-term stiffness. Both the technologies ensure long-term reliability and abrasion resistance, which allows for a broad spectrum of applications, including potable water, irrigation purposes, hydropower systems, cooling pipelines of power plants, etc. The Hobas and Flowtite glass fibre reinforced plastic pipe systems by Amiblu are products of over six decades of experience, innovation, and development, featuring outstanding composite engineering that points to an expected service life of more than 150 years.
The third wing to Amiblu’s technology catalogue is the Non-Circular (NC) technology. Amiblu has developed a new generation of production machines for its NC pipes. NC profiles have extensively been installed for the rehabilitation of old sewer systems in many cities around the globe.
Substantiating the advantages of the innovative technologies, Alexander mentioned one of the biggest client success stories of sewer rehabilitation of the German city, Dresden. Two of the main channels of about 25km in length and 3.6m in height that transport the city’s sewage to the main wastewater treatment plant, Dresden-Kaditz, required proper rehabilitation. For the latest renovation of one of these channels, Amiblu custom-designed and supplied NC GRP pipes of a total length of 935.5 m, with cross-sections of 1900/1820 mm, 2060/2010 mm, and 2240/2180 mm. Major parts of it were installed through trenchless relining, trimming the total installation time. The CEO also mentioned Amiblu’s recent Bouake project securing potable water access in the Ivory Coast. This EBRD funded project addresses the urgent water crisis plaguing the region due to rapid urbanisation. Amiblu’s durable pipes with best-in-class carbon footprint have proved their efficiency in transporting freshwater for over one million people in Bouake and 120 surrounding localities with drinking water. This project assures to solve the water problems of the region till 2045.
Amiblu is focused on constantly innovating their business processes and digitalise their infrastructure to meet its goal of bringing GRP to the mass market. They put substantial efforts into R&D to help establish GRP as a standard product in the market with a decreased delivery time. Amiblu possesses a research lab in Norway with approximately 40 people and scientists working full time on R&D to sharpen production processes and perform raw material research. Today, this is the biggest and certified GRP laboratory in the world.
With the proficiencies in designing GRP pipes, Amiblu has successfully expanded its decentralised production footprint, acquiring and building more production plants and testing facilities. Recently they have closed the deal of acquisition of Amitech Morocco, a 70.000 sqm plant, enabling them to serve the West-African market better. Amiblu has also signed a joint venture with the Reliance Group in India. They are currently exploring options to buy three GRP producing plants in Columbia, Mexico, and Argentina managed under Amiblu’s licensee. More importantly, being a merger of two already dominant players in the market gives Amiblu the scope of not just increasing its footprint but progress with its goal of introducing ways to bring GRP to broader sections of the market. Amiblu’s 'nothing-is-impossible' attitude and abilities to customise products as per requirements have driven them to acquire its current strength in the market. Besides, the CEO also hints at launching a new generation of manholes this year, again working on their long-term sustainability goals to resolve the water challenges prevailing today.
Description Amiblu is a world-class manufacturer and technology partner for sustainable GRP pipes and fittings for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater solutions, as well as hydropower and industrial applications that assures up to 150 service years. Their venture brings together two prominent technologies for designing sustainable GRP pipes, namely the Hobas centrifugal casting technology and the Flowtite filament winding technology. The third wing to Amiblu’s technology catalogue is the Non-Circular (NC) technology. They possess a research lab in Norway with approximately 40 people and scientists working full time on R&D, which is biggest and certified GRP laboratory in the world
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