Colombian composites agency Soling SAS lately manufactured 840 GFRP dome panels to cowl the nation’s largest potable water tank, offering a sturdy and aesthetically-pleasing answer that may shield the capital metropolis’s consuming water provide from contamination for many years. In doing so, Soling additionally broke the nation’s file for the biggest half by quantity produced utilizing mild resin switch molding (LRTM).

The mission started in 2019 when the Bogota Water Utility requested Soling to develop a brand new cowl system for the 167,902-square-foot concrete tank. In-built 1971, the tank’s ageing asbestos and concrete covers have been more and more troublesome to restore and a danger to public well being.

Soling’s engineering staff selected to exchange the flat cowl panels with 25 x 8-foot GFRP semi-circular domes. The geometry ensured the perfect mechanical resistance, which was key to defending the duvet from kids taking part in an area pastime – throwing stones onto the tank from the encircling hillsides.

Designing every 306-square-foot domed half to be mild sufficient for the present concrete help columns was difficult. “Weight was the most important problem to this mission,” says Rodrigo Vergara, engineering coordinator at Soling. “We couldn’t exceed the load capability of the present construction.”

This meant that every cowl element needed to weigh lower than 706 kilos. Whereas Soling had in depth expertise utilizing open molding applied sciences to provide tanks and different water purposes, the strict weight restrict required a brand new strategy – LRTM. “It was simply not doable to do it some other means apart from closed mould to restrict the burden of the laminated covers. Open mould wasn’t an possibility,” says Andres Collazos, Latin America gross sales supervisor for Magnum Venus Merchandise (MVP), Knoxville, Tenn., which offered tools and technical help together with native distributor Minepro SAS, Medellín, Colombia.

Along with serving to light-weight the large components, LRTM additionally offered an aesthetically pleasing end. “The consumer didn’t need a pipe-like GFRP. They wished a shinier, lovely cowl and so they wished two colours – a blue exterior and a white inside,” Vergara says, “The one approach to meet these specs was mild RTM.” He says LRTM additionally offered 100% uniform components.

Pace was one other problem. The water utility wished the duvet set up accomplished in a single yr, which required fabrication of eight domed components per day. Twenty composites technicians at Soling labored on a 24/7 fabrication schedule utilizing two molds, injection tools and a two-color spray paint machine to provide 840 domed components in 18 months, ending in November 2020. “We labored every single day and night time. We didn’t cease,” says Vergara.

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