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manroland print advice: halls that withstand earthquakes

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Generally speaking, printing halls must have particularly stable structures, if only to withstand the powerful vibrations caused by the rotation of the presses. However, the construction of such halls in the vicinity of volcanoes or in earthquake-prone areas poses exceptional challenges for the planners and structural engineers of printadvice/Eurografica.

The demands on construction projects are very ambitious – conversions and additions are supposed to be integrated into existing building structures during running operations with minimum interruptions and within a short period of time. This requires complex, quick, and very detailed planning. On the one hand, existing and new areas must be optimally used in terms of production processes and work paths. On the other hand, the geographic, geologic, and climatic parameters, in conjunction with statutory obligations and regional mentalities, render every project unique. A strict timetable helps. However, merely possessing the experience and technical expertise is not enough. A project can only be successfully implemented with the right partners on location.

Complicated plans within a short period of time
Latin America, Iceland or Bulgaria are especially demanding regions in which printadvice, the manroland subsidiary Eurografica Systemplanungs GmbH, has already successfully implemented projects. "A project in Ecuador featured almost all factors that make a construction project particularly demanding," said Karin Sieber-Huber, project manager of printadvice. The production site of the daily newspaper El Comercio in Quito was to be expanded to accommodate a new UNISET press. "In addition to the location at 2,800 meters, which is especially challenging for printing presses and dryers, there were variously active volcanoes and regular earthquakes, while a high groundwater table additionally impeded construction," she summed up. The project had to be completed in only one year, from the day of approval to the start of production. Therefore, all strategic, conceptual, and detailed planning had to be completed in ten weeks or less. "In just under two weeks, we developed three possible construction variations for El Comercio. The decision was made at the presentation on the last day on location," Sieber-Huber remembers. "The approved version was not our favored one, but rather one with slightly longer paths. Yet it preserved the soccer field that is very popular among the staff and crucial to the sense of community." Thus, projects are also always subject to social and cultural aspects.

Local networking
Depending on the country and the authorities involved, the approval of building applications requires different amounts of time. The translated plans have to be submitted in accordance with local formal and content requirements, as well as safety stipulations. Frequently, much more precise information is required than by German authorities. To ensure smooth proceedings, printadvice works abroad with internationally positioned partners, who handle the local procedures and are the first contact point for all required trade services.

Realistic estimates
"Our main task is to estimate the project costs realistically and in detail from the outset, also incorporating any potential changes. It is difficult to receive additional funding in the course of construction, which can unnecessary delay an entire project," says Sieber-Huber. Once the application is approved, things have to happen quickly. printadvice coordinates among the customers, suppliers, and local partners. However, not everything can be planned and anticipated in advance. Changes to the given situation immediately require alternatives that deliver the same quality without substantially affecting the timeframe and allocated budget.

Plan B is always at hand
In Ecuador, the initial plan called for installing the UNISET press on a machine base that was dynamically separated from the production building, via AirLoc KombiRoc plates and a solid foundation block. On the one hand, this would protect the surroundings from disruptive vibrations from the operating presses. On the other hand, it would actively prevent settling of the foundation or loads on the building from dynamic force effects for many years. At the same time, the planning had to provide passive isolation from outside tremors, such as earthquakes. All these structural engineering measures additionally would have a positive effect on lowering the noise level in adjacent rooms while prolonging the service life of the printing presses due to reduced wear. However, it was found to be too difficult to procure specific components and materials for plan A in South America and too expensive to order them from the USA. Instead, according to plan B, 98 AirLoc leveling blocks were delivered from Europe relatively inexpensively by ship. In conjunction with locally available IDEX hydraulic presses, they precisely compensate for settling as minute as 1/100 millimeters, without great expense, production loss or diminished quality. "A project is alive until the end," explains Sieber-Huber. "Regardless of whether new requirements are added or unexpected situations occur in terms of structural engineering. There is always a different approach available. An equally good alternative can always be found, often one even better than the original plan."




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