2011 – that’s when it all started. At that moment, on the surge of interest in corrugated structures, MGK had established a plant of helically corrugated metal pipes (HCMP) in Sverdlov village in Vsevolozhsk District of the Leningrad Oblast, first of its kind in the Russia’s Northwest. The company was literally born “in the rumble of machines”.
A new production facility is always associated with high risk. Even though your innovative products boast undeniable advantages versus their conventional counterparts, it is never an easy task to “push the way” for them to construction sites. Customers, first and foremost, want to assure themselves of a novelty merits and therefore request a successful case history in Russian conditions.
In other countries, HCMP has been a common practice a long before. These pipes had been introduced in the 1970s. Reinforced concrete structures today are adopted in exceptional cases only when, for example, a culvert diameter exceeds 5 meters. Although over 300 HCMP production lines operate worldwide, all these reasonings were void due to lack of Russian regulations allowing employing corrugated structures in design engineering.
Step by step
A proper list of documents to pass an expert review smoothly should contribute to implementation of a unique product. A corporate standard (STO 85599441-006-2015) compliant with Russian regulations and approved by “Rosavtodor” Federal Road Agency and “Avtodor” State Company has been developed by OOO MGK and allows employing HCMP at federal-level facilities.
All this was preceded by complex and painstaking works. First of all, we should have foreign companies convinced in feasibility of products under Russian regulations.
The main problem was to ensure the raw materials of proper quality were available. While zinc content requirements adopted in the European standards are quite flexible, Russian plants were incapable to produce such a material at all.
It was solely MGK initiative. In Europe, a similar product is adopted with a similar polymer coating high-strength S275 steel coils and two types of protection – 80 um hot-dip galvanizing or 300 um WProtect 800 train (HDPE) on either side. The steel grade, however, failed to match the Russian regulations.
Such pipes might be employed at highway side areas, junctions, and grade 4&5 roads. It took about a year for MGK and a raw material vendor to test and develop process specifications for steel grade compliant with Russian regulations. Only after the raw material vendor had become convinced that MGK played the first violin in Russia in terms of HCMP production, an agreement was made to produce S 275 with bilateral WProtect 800 train coating.
We had to establish a technical supervision at the production facility to make sure the products are of proper quality and compliant with Russian regulations.
Any structure, of course, needs a competent engineering support. A need for a proprietary engineering department has come over time. Therefore, MGK Proyekt has appeared. Its experts today are eager to answer any questions on HCMP engineering, erection, and installation issues. They assist in project implementation, make sub-engineering and develop detailed design for culverts. They have also been directly involved in development of new corporate standards.
MGK Group personnel are always in touch with customers, designers, and contractors. One of the main tasks an expert faces in the very beginning is to investigate difficulties that may later occur at the design and installation stages.
The whole experience, starting from the moment the first pipe was delivered to a site and up to now, has been embodied both in a new typical design (series 3.503.3-115s.16), and the corporate standard (STO 85599441-006-2015).
MGK is confident in future notwithstanding the economic crisis and unavailability to replace previously imported raw materials. HCMP advantages have been field-tested and appreciated in various regions – from the High North and North-West to the Caucasus and the Urals. Field experience illustrates that once you have tried these products, you’d never use anything else. Ever.
Contractors all too often ask to consider similar pipes in design engineering. Sales professionals who are extensively engaged with various design also contribute to promotion.
The obvious HCMP benefit should be demonstrated – and backed by both cost estimations and actual facitily value – as early as at the very design stage. Sometimes, you can prove a cumulative cost advantage and thus convince a customer to consider helically structures instead of previously adopted counterparts. A similar situation occurred, for example, during the construction of bulk-cargo port in Taman where prefabricated structures gave way to MGK’s HCMP.
As HCMP keep on increasing their popularity, production expansion plans look very natural.
The southern regions today are growing successfully and construction activities are dynamic in the Crimea, Krasnodar Krai, Dagestan, and Chechnya. MGK’s task, among others, is to develop this market. Moreover, there are any and all preconditions for that. The sky is not the limit however, and the company intends to commission plants in the Urals and the High North in mid- and long-term horizon. Due to their versatility, HCMP applications are virtually unlimited.
It has been logical to upgrade the existing production facility in Sverdlov village in the Leningrad Oblast. State-of-the-art Canadian machines replaced the dismantled equipment. Floor area have been significantly expanded (to 4500 m2) along with output (450 tonnes / month). The personnel now are able to handle up to 4.0 mm S275 sheets and fold larger corrugations.
Previously, the facility produced 68h13 and 125h26 corrugation types (1-3 m dia.) 114h25 and 150h50 are also available today. The higher are corrugation specifications, the higher are loads a structure can withstand.
Now they may be employed directly in motor and railways with higher embankments. Their average size today is 10-12 meters. 4.0 mm thickness also contributes to enhanced load resistance (previously max. 3.5 mm).
Today, MGK holds all keys to success: a high-quality product, smart logistics and expansion capacities. Russia keeps on constructing extensively despite of everything, and MGK group personnel are confident in participation in many promising projects.