Making headlines in trenchless circles is the recently announced strategic partnership between two established, global trenchless innovators: Aegion and Rädlinger Primus Line GmbH (Primus Line). The agreement gives Primus Line a North American-based distribution arm through Aegion-company Manufactured Technologies Corp. (MTC), an Aegion Company, which is based in Chesterfield, Missouri.

The partnership has been in the works for some time and was formally announced this week at the NASTT No-Dig Show in Minneapolis.

Primus Line is part of the Werner Rädlinger Group, headquartered in Cham, Germany, with eight national and international locations. A family-owned and operated company, its pressure pipe relining products have been used all over the globe, with more than 750 miles installed over the last 20 years. Primus Line entered the North American market in 2016, headed up by John Moody, director of sales for North America. To date, Primus Line is approaching 200,000 ft installed in this market.

Both the Aegion/MTC and Primus Line teams are excited to get started.

“We’re excited about this strategic partnership,” says Moody. “It’s a gamechanger for us. We are really excited because we can work with one of the most trusted trenchless companies in the world. Aegion is world-recognized as a manufactured, supplier, contractor and sales solution the cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) market. In terms of pressure pipe, we are bringing two of the most trusted names in the industry together to provide solutions for pressure pipes.”

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“Our objective is to grow the awareness and education of the capabilities of the Primus Line pressure pipe solution,” says MTC senior business development manager Rick Gage. “Insituform has a contracting arm that sees a lot of the potential work [involving pressure pipes] and MTC as a CIPP provider in the industry has many contractors who sees all kinds of opportunities with this liner system as well.”

Gage adds, “This gives us a another alternative solution to pressure pipe rehab, especially when it comes to very long installations. This also offers our customers an option that is highly engineered — Primus Line has had zero failures in more than 20 years with this pressure pipe solution. For us to offer a high-quality product and a solution that can do thousands of feet of install in one pull is just a gamechanger for MTC and its customers.”

According to the partnership agreement, MTC will be the Exclusive North American distributor of the Primus Line pressure pipe product line for the municipal water market from its Batesville, Mississippi location. These products serve most pressure pipe applications for potable water, sewer force mains, process water and emergency bypass. It’s the products’ versatility and flexibility that sets Primus Line apart from competitors, Moody says.

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Moody says Aegion and MTC are the perfect partners to bring the Primus Line product to the North American market, without delays. “Currently our lead times are anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks, as we are shipping [product] from Germany,” Moody says. “But once we have it on the ground [in Mississippi], we’re talking three to five days. That is huge.”

primus line spools

Primus Line and Aegion are far from strangers when it came to working together — that relationship dates back to 2013 where the two worked on a bridge rehabilitation project together. “That was our first interaction,” Moody says, explaining that Insituform (Aegion’s contractor arm) chose the Primus Line to use because of its flexibility and versatility.

“While there is some overlap between Aegion’s CIPP pressure pipe technology and the Primus Line product,” Moody says. “We believe they are very different solutions for very different processes and projects. We dovetail very nicely into these companies and can work with them as an added benefit to the pipe owner at the end of the day. We can provide a whole solution.”

Gage agrees, noting that the Primus Line system allows contractors to rehab longer runs vs the shorter ones that Aegion product offers. “This product will give contractors piece of mind, as it eliminates all the concerns and worries of whether the pipe was installed in the ground properly,” he says, adding that as this solution does not involve curing or thermoset resins, those concerns are off the table.

The Aegion-Primus Line partnership while a win-win for both companies also highlight the continued growth of the pressure pipe rehab market — a market that has been burgeoning for several years. Moody and Gage describe this market as “untapped potential.”

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“Pressure pipe rehabilitation is becoming a greater and greater need in the United States. Over the last 30-plus years, the focus has been on the trenchless rehabilitation of gravity lines with cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) and there are a multitude of technologies that address these issues,” says Primus Line director of sales for North America John Moody. “Pipe owners are realizing they are also having multiple failures with the aging infrastructure of the pressure pipes and those pipes were beginning to fail at an exponential rate. Pressure pipe is a product that has been in the ground for a long period of time.”

This is the second high-profile partnership involving Aegion and MTC in 2022. In February, Innovative Sewer Technologies-North America (IST) and MTC announced an exclusive partnership to expand the distribution of its high-quality products to the small diameter CIPP market across the United States and Canada. MTC became the exclusive supplier of IST consumable products in North America beginning March 1, 2022.

As a result of this agreement, lining companies, plumbers, pipe contractors, and municipalities will have access to the internationally recognized IST brand of consumable products with the convenience of ordering through MTC. The partnership will simplify and accelerate the distribution of IST’s quality products, including CIPP liner kits, both traditional and UV cured, as well as T-wraps and a host of pipeline repair solutions.

Gage points to the recent acquisition of Aegion by the private equity group New Mountain for these moves to be made. “We’re closing out some things we’ve been working on for quite some time. Our goal is to become the one-stop-shop for our customers’ pipe needs.”

Sharon M. Bueno is the editor of Trenchless Technology.

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