Flat hierarchies and short coordination paths enable the reliable order processing that excels Primus Line®. Our sales colleagues maintain close contact to our partners and customers so that you know them very well. But also behind the scenes, many employees work for the smooth progression of your projects. This begins with the development and production of our products and ends with shipping or installation. This series will portrait those people in the background who contribute with plenty of know-how and dedication to a solid team performance.
We start with the graduatechemist Andreas Mühlbauer who has been supporting the R&D department for more than ten years.
Andreas, what exactly is your area of responsibility with Primus Line?
I have two main areas of responsibility: Material development for existing and new fields of application of our products and the technical and hygienic approval of the final product in the individual countries.
What does the development of the liner include?
Above all, the selection of the raw materials that will be used for production. There is one central question: Can a specific medium be transported in this liner? To find this out, we perform tests. These are executed in an external laboratory under neutral supervision. There, the liner will be stored for several months at operating temperature in the respective medium. With the aid of mechanical and chemical tests in advance and afterwards, media resistance will then be determined.
Which role do hygiene regulations play in these tests?
Particularly for drinking water applications, Primus Line® has to comply with highest requirements. The testing regulations differ from country to country. The testing methods are also different. But basically, it’s all about two things: Which substances is the hose releasing to the drinking water and which types of microorganisms are multiplying in the drinking water at the liner? Exact measurements verify whether the respective demanding thresholds are met. By the way, when preparing the samples, the conditions have to be as sterile as possible: I take the hose samples directly at production. Subsequently, they will be sent to an accredited hygiene lab that will perform the examinations.
You also take care of Primus Line’s country approvals. How much effort do you put in there?
In the respective country, only approved products may be sold and installed. For this, as already said, the liners have to comply with the hygienic regulations. In particular for applications in the oil and gas sector, technical approval is required as well. Since Primus Line® is very flexible and suitable for high pressure, there are not always technical testing regulations that can be applied to our product in a standardised way. For overland piping and oil applications, new standards are currently being elaborated that shall then be valid worldwide for the respective applications. In the field of gas, the DVGW (German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water) has worked out a testing certificate specifically for us, as there were no other testing regulations available.
In standard tests, we normally check whether the liner has been designed for certain operating temperatures and pressures and whether it is suitable for specific media. As the case may be, such test series can take up to one year. Patience and perseverance are therefore part of my job profile.
This sounds very exciting. Are you involved in any further activities?
Yes. Since I select the raw materials, I also take care of their purchase. When testing new materials, I’m of course interested in the results of the goods-in control, processability in production and performance of the end product. Moreover, I attend external audits by customers and take care of patent applications in cooperation with a patent agent. Occasional visits of expert events are also a nice diversion.
A really extensive range of activities. What do you like most in your job?
Above all the diversity: There is no identic pattern for cooperating with authorities and customers. I always adapt anew to the respective situation. Furthermore, I also enjoy the customer tours through our production site. Moreover, Primus Line’s fields of application are continuously expanding and the testing methods also constantly evolving. So I never get bored!
Thank you very much for this interview, Andreas.