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Revolutionary rib-welding system for the worldwide first fully automated production of large, high quality, on-site welded tanks, bringing considerable cost savings to drinking water applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TechTanks (Revolutionary rib-welding system for the worldwide first fully automated production of large, high quality, on-site welded tanks, bringing considerable cost savings to drinking water applications)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-05-31

LIPP GmbH, based in Tannhausen in the south of Germany, is one of the leading tank manufacturers in Europe, having been in existence since the 1950’s. In the past decades, Lipp has patented over 170 different manufacturing, material and tank design technologies and is an innovative highly awarded (Rudolf-Diesel-Medaille) SME. Altogether, over 50,000 tanks and containers have been constructed globally with the internationally marketed and licenced LIPP Double-Seam Technology. Recent R&D has applied the experiences of the Double-Seam to develop a revolutionary, automated Rib-Welding System for the on-site erection of novel, flexible and large scale welded stainless steel tanks at superior quality and lower costs. An investment of € 2 million has led to the completion of 2 prototypes. Significant material and manufacturing cost reductions (up to – 45%) are possible due to the efficient, fast and automated on-site welding units. Cost reductions will lead to a unique selling position for applications in water and food industries, especially in drinking water storage. The water and food industries mainly use such types of tanks because of the strict hygienic regulations in this sector. Conservative estimations of the drinking water market allow yearly revenue of € 13 million in a billion Euro market segment after successful introduction of the technology in the next five years. The new technology is a central element for the future growth of the LIPP company. Additionally, the LIPP Rib-Welding System can be applied to conventional welded steel tanks and opens the market for large oil and pharmaceutical/chemical tank applications. This will strongly enhance profitability and growth performance of LIPP by transferring a substantially improved technology and existing knowledge into innovative, disruptive and competitive solutions, seizing European and global business opportunities.
From the beginning of the project, the existing prototype of the TechTanks manufacturing equipment has been further developed and the LIPP Rib-Welding technology has been further improved towards market readiness. Moreover, corresponding processes could be optimised.
In parallel, a strong focus was on the establishment and extension of the commercialisation network for the business innovation project.
First pilot customers and sales partners in Europe have been acquired and project results have been disseminated through various communication and marketing measures. The LIPP Rib-Welding System has been presented to potential customers and partners at several trade fairs. Results have been published in papers and workshops.
In contrast to the state of the art, LIPP can build on the strong experience with the well-known Double-Seam Technology and transfer this knowledge to the Rib-Welding System. With this technology, LIPP has an automated welding process for the fast on-site erection of welded stainless steel tanks with flexible size for drinking water storage. As the technology further allows to increase stability and simultaneously reduce material consumption, LIPP can provide its customers with tanks of superior quality and lower costs.