An innovative architectural concept which combines the aesthetics and practical application of stainless steel tubes in an R+D laboratory design and layout has been employed by Sandvik Hard Materials
Installed overhead and below the ceiling into a 'ring main' around the perimeter of the laboratory, a bank of six stainless steel, 'clean' tubes carry process gases such as argon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen, as well as compressed air and cooling water, around the new 600m facility.
Designed by architects Ark DM of Sheffield with building services design provided by engineering consultancy Buro Happold, installation has been carried out by ImGAS, based in Nottingham.
Sandvik Hard Materials supplies a wide range of cemented carbide products for engineered components, such as rotary cutters, can tooling or automotive components; blanks for the toolmaking industry and wear parts.
The new Global R+D laboratory will employ the latest techniques in quality control and product development and testing.
In particular, the new facility will focus on new product and process development.
Says Global R+D manager, Mathias Tillman: "We needed a gas, water and air transport system, and, therefore, a tube layout design, which would cater for current needs, meet all health and safety standards and also give us a robust structure with the flexibility to meet future services supply needs.
"The new laboratory layout has designated areas for product testing and development and also, the ability to replicate production processes such as sintering and other heat treatments in laboratory scale.
"The 'ring main' tubes concept is innovative in terms of building design but is also extremely practical.
"It allows us total flexibility to access gas, water and air services, as required, both now and in the future if needs change".
Sandvik Materials Technology has supplied all of the tube requirements for the project.
To meet the requirements for 'clean' gases, seamless, stainless steel, type 316L (EN 1.4435) tubes have been used.
Buro Happold specified the use of Sandvik Calamo tubes and Sandvik Calamo CQ and CQE grades have been installed.
These grades are non-electropolished for CFOS (cleaned for oxygen service) and pharmaceutical applications.
Inner surfaces are cleaned to surface roughness standards of Ra 15u inch and Ra 40u inch respectively and outside surfaces are buffed and brushed or polished to Ra 32u inch.
Cleaning is carried out in a workshop environment by high pressure flushing with filtered deionised water.
Drying and purging of all tubes is also carried out in a workshop environment using liquid nitrogen.
Sandvik Calamo has a quality system certified to PED 97/23/EC and all tubes are fully traceable.
Installation of tubes and gas detection systems by ImGAS has taken full account of the aesthetics of the design layout.
Completed to British Compressed Gases Association CP4 standard, orbital welding techniques have been utilized for tee and elbow joints rather than using compression fittings.
Sandvik Calamo stainless steel, 316L, CQ and CQE tubes from Sandvik Materials Technology are produced in a size range from 1/4inch up to 2inch outside diameter for seamless tubes, and 3/4inch up to 6inch outside diameter in CQ grade and 1.5inch up to 6inch outside diameter in CQE grade for welded tubes.
A range of complementary fittings - tees, elbows, reducers - is available.