VIP-Weco has power to seal hydro-electricity pipe

Hydro Electric Power Station

  • VIP-Weco pipe seals prevent need for excavation at hydro-electric power scheme
  • Pipe sealed at eight locations where it failed hydrostatic pressure tests
  • Fast installation kept hydro power commissioning plans on track
  • VIP-Weco gives operators assurance of a long-term pipe repair solution

A hydro-electric water pipe that carries water from a river to a power generator has been sealed at multiple points using the no-dig VIP-Weco pipe rehabilitation system.

Joints at eight locations along the 1.5-kilometer pipe near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands had not been water tight to the pressure standard demanded for the 1.35MW power project.

Global seal and gasket manufacturer VIP-Polymers Ltd was commissioned to supply its VIP-Weco internal seals to repair the leaks without the need for time-consuming and costly excavation.
The water tightness problem had been caused by settlement of the six-metre pipe sections within the trench infill.

VIP Business Development Manager Jim Shaw said:

“Our VIP-Weco seals achieved the desired results with complete success, and with minimum disruption to the operation of the hydro power scheme.

“The defective joints were located along a 100 metre stretch of the pipe, which began 80 metres from the entry point. The partners involved in the hydro project urgently wanted a solution that was quick and cost effective to deploy, and they certainly got that with VIP-Weco.”

Gap between pipe sections  Entrance into pipe

VIP-Weco seals are used worldwide for trenchless rehabilitation of pipes for water, fuel, and gas. They use WRAS-approved material, comply fully with BS6920, and have a typical life expectancy of 50+ years.

Rubber sleeves made from EPDM or NBR compounds are applied to the inner wall of the pipe, then held in place by stainless steel retaining bands to create a safe, durable and low-cost mechanical sealing solution.

The hydro-electric pipe, which was designed to have a working pressure of 1.5 bar, was found to be unable to hold its hydrostatic test pressure of 12 bar at the eight joints.

VIP-Weco seals were installed at five locations where the pipe was 1600 millimetres in diameter, and made from GRP, and two points where it was 1400 millimetres in diameter, and made from polyethylene.

A final seal was installed where the pipe stepped down from 1600 to 1400 millimetres, with a section of 1600mm ductile iron between the two. A bespoke seal was manufactured, with an extra retention band, to accommodate the 200mm variance in pipe diameters.

Inspection post installation   480mm Stepped VIP-Weco   280mm VIP-Weco

Minimising downtime was essential to the success of the pipe rehabilitation project. The metal retaining bands for each seal were supplied in two sections, making them easier to transport into and along the pipe.

Five VIP-Weco seals were installed in one day, with the quickest installation time being just 16 minutes. Two more seals were installed the following day. The final seal was installed two weeks later, in line with the client’s operational requirements.

VIP, based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, was commissioned to supply the seals by Fusion Pipe Products. The installation was carried out by authorised VIP-Weco installers JM Contracting.

JMC Managing Director John Mitchell said:

“The joint failures had been caused by settlement of the six-metre pipe sections within the trench infill, which resulted in pipe deformation.

“The flexibility of the VIP-Weco system could accommodate this deformation and still achieve the desired pressure standard with ease.

“The VIP-Weco design, based on split retaining bands, allowed us to quickly traverse the pipe and install the seals, keeping operational downtime to a minimum.”

Seven of the VIP-Weco seals selected for the pipe rehabilitation project were 280 millimetres wide. The reducer seal was 480mm wide, to accommodate the difference in pipe diameter.

These wider seals can be supplied with other configurations, for example to accommodate extreme longitudinal cracking.

Both widths can be used on circular, elliptical, and egg-shaped profiles. The quantity of retention bands supplied is dependent on the infiltration pressure rating requirement, ensuring the most cost-effective solution for each project.

Captions: Top to bottom – Entrance into the pipe. Gap between pipe sections where leaks occurred. 280mm VIP-Weco seals in GRP Pipe. Stepped 480mm VIP-Weco between 1600mm and 1400mm pipe.

Download the pdf version of VIP-Weco has power to seal hydro-electricity pipe

Innovative gaskets contribute to Shieldhall Tunnel success

Shieldhall Tunnel

The construction phase of Scotland’s biggest waste water tunnel has been completed with the benefit of an innovative tunnel segment sealing gasket developed by VIP-Polymers Ltd.

The 3.1-mile-long Shieldhall Tunnel beneath Glasgow has been one of the first projects to make use of the rubber gaskets manufactured by VIP which are designed to reduce the risk of segment cracking during installation.

The tunnel boring machine broke through in October 2017 after spending 15 months creating the 4.7m-diameter tunnel for Scottish Water. Its journey from Craigton to Queen’s Park, across the south of Glasgow, has created the largest-diameter bored tunnel in Scotland.

Global seals and gaskets manufacturer VIP, based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, was commissioned to provide all the tunnel segment gaskets (TSGs) by construction joint venture Costain VINCI Construction Grands Projects.

The cast-in TSGs used incorporated VIP’s new patented compliant compressible corner technology, which ensures delivery of consistent load performance along the entire perimeter of the gasket.

This eliminates the risk of a build-up of pressure at one or more of the gasket’s corners during installation, which could contribute to segment cracking.

Matthew Levitt, VIP Technical Business Development Manager, said:

“Our new cast-in TSGs have performed very well throughout the Shieldhall Tunnel construction process, demonstrating high levels of performance and reliability.

Segment cracking is a concern for all partners in tunnel construction projects as it can result in delays and additional cost. Clients have welcomed the opportunity to make use of a new technology designed specifically to minimise these risks.”

Sam Simons, Tunnel Lining Supply Manager for Costain, said:

“The decision to manufacture segments with VIP gaskets for Shieldhall was taken late in the approval process when it became clear that only VIP gaskets could meet the specified requirement for compressible corners to prevent hard spots.

The steel fibre reinforced concrete segment manufacturing process was achieved within the tightest of specifications, and all manufactured rejections were less than 0.25%, including exact gasket positioning.

Overall, the VIP gaskets contributed to an exceptionally well-built tunnel, with no reported segment cracking arising from high corner contact pressure, or segment ram loading transfer, cracks or leakage, meeting the tunnel lining specification without compromise.”

Conventional shot-joining of TSGs can result in the compression cavities within the extruded profile filling with rubber. This greatly limits compression, increasing the risk of corner point loading, and cracking.

VIP’s new corner joint, which has a UK patent, with international patents pending, maintains the TSG compression cavity profile right to the corner edge.

Extensive testing has shown this eliminates the risk of a build-up of pressure at one or more of the gasket’s corners during installation, which could contribute to segment cracking.

Prior to manufacturing any gaskets, members of the Costain waterproofing team witnessed corner loading (T and Cruciform) and pressure testing of the gaskets in VIP’s testing facilities in Huntingdon.

Over the last 18 months, VIP has manufactured more than 19,500 individual TSGs for the project. These have been cast into each tunnel segment at FP McCann’s site in Drakelow, Derbyshire, England.

Cast-In Gasket Installation Cast-In Gasket Corner Tunnel Segment Yard

Captions: Top & Middle – Installation of Cast-In gaskets into the segment moulds at FP McCann’s site in Drakelow. Bottom – Finished segments awaiting delivery to the tunnel site in Glasgow.

Dave Derbyshire, Operations Manager for Underground Products at FP McCann, said:

“For this contract we used cast-in gaskets supplied by VIP for the first time.

The geometry of the segments meant that the gaskets required intricately formed corners to fit the steel moulds correctly and provide a draft angle to the sealing face of the key and adjacent segments along the Z axis.

Technical representatives from VIP visited our facility at Drakelow prior to segment production, to ensure the correct fit was achieved on all six segment types. Once they, and ourselves were satisfied with the gasket fit, they went into production.

During the segment manufacturing programme VIP delivered gaskets on time, and to a consistent quality. Their technical back-up team was always on hand, but rarely needed.”

The £100-million Shieldhall Tunnel is one of the most important wastewater infrastructure projects in Glasgow since Victorian times. It will help tackle flooding and improve river water quality across the city.

The 1,000-tonne tunnel boring machine, longer than 14 buses and named Daisy the Driller by a Glasgow schoolboy, began the process of creating the tunnel in July 2016, and completed it on 13 October 2017, when it emerged at the bottom of a 16-metre-deep shaft.

The giant sewer will provide 90,000 cubic metres of extra storm water storage, equivalent to 66 Olympic swimming pools.


Profile: VIP028CI EPDM rubber
Number of segments in a ring: 6
Number of ring sets supplied: Over 19,500
Segment Shape: Trapezoidal with a tapered key (x, y and z draft angles)
Tunnel Diameter: 4.7m
Tunnel Length: 3.1 miles
Tunnel Use: Wastewater Management

Download the pdf version of ‘Innovative gaskets contribute to Shieldhall Tunnel success’ case study

Jet Aire install VIP-WECO trenchless repair seals

UK based VIP-WECO Jet Aire have recently completed a contract with Joyce Construction of Corbridge, working on a Sir Robert McAlpine site, to install two 1050mm VIP-WECO internal repair seals. This was the first time that Jet Aire had installed these seals on such a large diameter pipe. The project required the pipe to be cleansed using high pressure water jetting and then man entry by a qualified team of operatives, using confined space equipment. Once in place the VIP-WECO seals were installed using a hydraulically operated a hand pump with the completed repair designed to last for at least 50+ years. The seals were installed in less than a day and was performed with no disruption to the client.

VIP-WECO seals are available in diameters ranging from DN185 to DN3500+ and are suitable for potable and drainage applications. For further information, please visit:,

Video showing the concrete pipeline repaired by Jetaire using the VIP-WECO trenchless repair seals.

Low Res JPEG Jetaire

VIP Seal Farnworth Tunnel Project

VIP Seal Farnworth Tunnel Project

Global leader in tunnel sealing technology, VIP-Polymers have recently completed the supply of sealing gaskets for the Farmworth Tunnel, a Network Rail Infrastructure Project. Further details of the project can be found here:

Farnworth Tunnel is located on one of the busiest lines in the North West of the United Kingdom. To improve capacity and efficiency the diesel train line between Manchester and Preston was converted to an electrified line. In addition to new rolling stock and station overhauls the line upgrade required the tunnels at Farnworth to be enlarged to provide sufficient clearance for overhead powerlines to be installed.

The larger of the 2 tunnels was built in the 1830s with the smaller tunnel added in the 1880s and the structure has a listed building status. The large ‘Up’ tunnel was filled with expanding concrete and a 9.0 metre TBM shield (largest in use in the UK)  was deployed to install the 8.0m ID precast segment ring-sets. In total nearly 2,000 segments were installed to form the tunnel and VIP-Polymers Ltd.’s Tunnel Segment Gaskets were used as the primary seal against water ingression.

Beth Dale (Scheme Project Manager for network Rail) said “The gaskets have worked very well for the scheme and we have achieved fantastic waterproofing throughout the tunnel”.

New track had to be laid and in the following clip you can see our studded rail pads on the sleeper.

28.10.15 Up Tunnel (5) 23.7.15 Up Tunnel (12) 14.12.15 Farnworth Trains (3)

DN2000 VIPSeal coupling arrives in super quick time!

When one of the major German pipeline contractors needed a DN2000 external pipe repair coupling within 24 hours, they turned to the leading European manufacturer, VIP Polymers, for a solution. 

Dietmar Deuring, VIP’s representative for the German region, explained the client’s requirements; “The contractor called me at 11 am local time and explained that they needed a very large external repair seal to be delivered on site the following day. I explained that as an actual manufacturer rather than a fabricator who simply assemble bought in components, we are able to offer exceptionally fast response times throughout Europe”.

The VIPSeal flexible coupling was installed the following afternoon in super quick time!



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