HOBAS Opens Top-Level Research Center

The international pipe producer HOBAS has opened the world’s most modern research center for glassfiber reinforced plastics (GRP) pipe systems in Wietersdorf, Austria. After a year of construction works and an investment of 1.1 million euros, the HOBAS TechCenter was inaugurated on April 30.

Concerning quality, HOBAS has always been raising the bar. All the group’s actions are determined by its relentless strive to improve and success proves HOBAS right. From raw material choice, ongoing technological enhancements through to looking out for product innovations with even better properties: delivering unexceptional, consistent high quality is the strict basic principle in pipe design and production.

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Setting New Standards in the Market

“We cannot and will not afford stagnations. On the contrary, we want to set new standards in the marketplace. We are aware of the responsibility we bear with the delivery of our products and are wary of making promises we cannot keep,” states Doris Strohmaier, Managing Director of the HOBAS Group, defining the company’s philosophy. The establishment of a new TechCenter is yet a further step in line with the group’s ambitious mission.

Better than predicted

The laboratory is certified to international standards such as ISO/IEC 17025 (by TÜV SÜD) and is authorized to carry out product tests to prove various norm conformances for all HOBAS Organizations. Be it stiffness, ring stiffness, abrasion, burst, strain corrosion, creep, cyclic internal pressure loading or longitudinal tensile stress tests under temperatures up to 65 C – the HOBAS TechCenter with its currently 115 long and short-term testing units is now one of the world’s most modern research centers for GRP and performs on 1,000 m². Since pipes alone are only a part of the HOBAS Product Range, also couplings and fittings of all shapes and sizes are put to the test, as for example hydrostatic pressure tests on large diameter laminated bends.

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Thomas Simoner, the group’s Head of Quality Management, Raw Material and Product Development, is already proud of the first the results: “We are better even than we assumed. We tested some old pipes that had been in use for decades and they brought better results than predicted.”

A Quantum Leap

It was worthwhile investing 1.1 million euros, for with the opening of the innovative TechCenter the group took a quantum leap. “There is no certification center that is able to test 4-m diameter pipes. We can now conduct these tests in-house and if necessary the certification authorities can monitor us via camera,” explains Thomas Simoner.

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Historical review

The centrifugal casting process of HOBAS GRP Pipes was borne by chance in 1957 in a dye-works in Basel, Switzerland. The wooden cylinders, that had been utilized in the dyeing process constantly splintered and deformed spoiling the expensive textiles that ran between them. A suitable alternative material for the cylinders was found in a combination of glassfibers and polyester resin. The visionary Swiss dye-works team had proven talent with the invention of their centrifugally cast cylinders and very soon recognized that the advantages the material and its special production method brought about were suitable also in a completely different field of application: for piping. It was exactly 50 years ago that the cylinders were first utilized as pipeline to convey water. Step by step the pipes were improved, the production process automated, the product range extended and complimented with tailor-made fittings.

As internationally leading CC-GRP pipe producer, HOBAS today looks back proudly on an exciting company history and can just as positively look into the future: The establishment of the HOBAS TechCenter provides fertile base for many innovations yet to come.

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The HOBAS Group produces and markets centrifugally cast GRP (CC-GRP) Pipe Systems DN 150 to DN 3500 around the world for potable water, sewer, drainage, hydropower and industrial applications. The international HOBAS Network is coordinated from Klagenfurt in Austria. To date, HOBAS Products have been installed via various methods such as open dig, jacking, above ground, sliplining, etc. in more than 50 countries. Totaling thousands of kilometers of pipe the line would circle the world several times.

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