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Pipe Express®

The semi-trenchless construction method for installing pipelines

New standards for installing pipelines: The Pipe Express® system developed by Herrenknecht.

By developing Pipe Express® Herrenknecht AG has set new standards for installing pipelines. With this system, no groundwater lowering is necessary and, in comparison with the open construction method, routes can be considerably narrower. This has a positive effect on construction costs. Because it is highly ecological and cost-efficient procedure, the development of this new system is being subsidized by the German Environment Ministry.

Innovative procedure reduces environmental impact and cost burdens

Pipe Express® is a new mechanized method for the near-surface installation of pipelines of up to 2,000 meters in length and with diameters of 900 to 1,500 millimeters using the semi-trenchless construction method. A TBM loosens the soil which is then directly conveyed aboveground using a milling unit which is carried along. The pipeline is installed underground simultaneously. As earthwork is reduced to a minimum using this construction method and no groundwater lowering along the route is necessary, Pipe Express® has only very little impact on the environment.  To install pipelines, the soil is removed directly instead of being pushed aside. Pipe Express® offers great advantages, especially in projects where the groundwater level is only a few centimeters below the terrain's surface in mainly swampy terrain or when nature protection is of special importance.

The modular design of the entire system includes a TBM that works underground and a milling unit as a vertical connection between the TBM and the terrain surface. An operator vehicle accompanies the installation system, providing the entire logistics: the control stand for the operator, the power unit room, a high-capacity pump and a storage container for bentonite. With the integrated crane system, assembly and dismantling work can be completed in a very short period of time. The thrust force for the excavation unit and the pipeline is provided by a Herrenknecht Pipe Thruster from the launch position. As the operation vehicle is remote controlled, it requires minimum manpower and a high degree of work safety is ensured.

With versatility through all geologies and areas

Modular design: A TBM that works underground and a milling unit as a vertical connection between the TBM and the terrain surface.

The new method has a positive influence on the costs for realization and renaturalization in particularly challenging areas with unstable ground, aquiferous layers and at great installation depths. With Pipe Express® the route width can be reduced by up to 70 percent in comparison to the open construction method, thus reducing the necessary earthwork. As such, there is more acceptance by the population, land users and land owners because the use of large equipment is reduced and construction periods are shortened. Moreover, due to the quick installation of the pipeline in one work step and fewer conventional construction machines needed, emissions of exhaust gases and noise can be considerably decreased.

In view of the expected extension of the worldwide pipeline network by around 25,000 kilometers a year, Pipe Express® is a trend-setting alternative that is rapid, environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient. By expanding its portfolio for installing pipelines for gas, oil, fresh water, district heating or protection conduits for power cables in all geologies and areas, Herrenknecht AG is well positioned as an innovative company.

Find more information:
in the VDMA film Pipe Express - Revolution Underground
in the Herrenknecht film Pipe Express
in the press information regarding the bauma Innovation Award 2013
in the press information regarding the IPLOCA New Technologies Award 2013

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