VIP to showcase innovation and performance at NMBS

NMBS Trade Exhibition 2018

VIPSealChem, the new game-changing chemical resistant flexible pipe coupling, will be a star attraction on the VIP-Polymers Ltd stand at this year’s NMBS Exhibition.

VIP is looking forward to showcasing the innovative distinctively green coupling, along with a range of other products popular with builders, plumbing, and heating merchants across the UK.

The NMBS Exhibition, organised by the National Merchant Buying Society, takes place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, on Wednesday 11th April 2018.

VIP is looking forward to welcoming visitors to its stand (number 253) where there will be a special product offer and a prize draw for exhibition visitors throughout the day.

VIP Commercial Director Jon Crean said: “This is a great opportunity to meet and talk with our many clients in the builders merchant sector. Also, to show them, and potentially new customers, what we have to offer.

“We will be displaying our range of VIPSeal® flexible couplings, which we added to in 2017 with the launch of the VIPSealChem coupling for use on pipe systems where a high degree of resistance to chemicals or extreme temperatures is needed.

“The patent-pending product dramatically simplifies the joining of pipes, speeding up installation, reducing costs, and minimising operational downtime, because it is just as easy to fit as all other VIPSeal® couplings.


VIPSealChem Standard CouplingVIPSealChem Adaptor Coupling

“VIPSealChem has been enthusiastically welcomed by builders, plumbing, and heating merchants already, so we’re excited by this opportunity to present it at such a popular trade event as the NMBS Exhibition.”

VIPSeal® is a versatile range of rubber couplings and adaptors for joining and repairing low pressure and non-pressured pipes of any material and size combination.

Products are designed, developed, tested, and manufactured all under one roof at VIP’s HQ and manufacturing centre in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Jon Crean said: “Builders merchants benefit from VIP being in control of the entire development and production process, ensuring our products set the highest performance and quality standards.

“Our ability to develop VIPSealChem is an example of the added value we deliver. It also means we can also turn around off-shelf and bespoke products in a matter of hours, not days, helping merchants deliver the best service to their customers.”

You can find more information on VIPSeal® flexible couplings and tickets to the exhibition can be booked via the NMBS website.

VIP wins contract double for major tunnelling projects

VIP has won contracts to provide tunnel segment gaskets for two major tunnelling projects in the United Kingdom and India.

VIP has also won a contract to supply its latest cast-in gasket for the 12.7km Thames Tideway Central wastewater tunnel in London and has also won a contract to supply tunnel segment gaskets for a project to extend the Mumbai Metro.

Matthew Levitt, VIP Technical Business Development Manager, said: “Our success with both projects demonstrates our ability to deliver a wide range of innovative products and technologies for supporting major water and transport infrastructure projects anywhere in the world.

“These are exciting tunnelling projects that are vital to the sustainable development and growth of two great cities, and we’re delighted to be involved with them.”

Caption: Complete Thames Tideway Project Map

Thames Tideway Central is the longest of three sections of a 25km tunnel, due for completion in 2024, designed to prevent the discharge of untreated storm water and sewerage from 34 combined sewer overflows into the tidal River Thames.

VIP is supplying its cast-in gasket referenced VIP028CI with patented corners to tunnel segment pre-caster Pacadar for the section, which will be 12.7km long, with an inner diameter of 7.8m. Supply commenced in December 2017.

Cast-in gaskets

A consortium made up of Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke (FLO JV) is the main contractor for the central section, which runs from Fulham to Blackfriars and will have 6,100 tunnel segment ring sets.

Caption: Finished segments utilising VIP's Cast-in gaskets

VIP’s compliant compressible corner technology for cast-in gaskets delivers consistent load performance along the entire perimeter of the gasket. This eliminates the risk of high loads at one or more of the gasket’s corners during installation, which could contribute to segment cracking.

The technology has already been proven on other tunnelling projects, including the 5km Shieldhall wastewater tunnel in Glasgow, commissioned by Scottish Water.

Mumbai route map

Caption: Mumbai Metro Route Map (Line 5 - pink, Line 6 - Brown)

VIP has been commissioned by J Kumar Infraprojects to supply tunnel segment gaskets for the Mumbai Metro Line 3 (Packages 5 and 6) tunnel, which is being built for the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, a joint venture between the Indian Government and the Government of Maharashtra.

glued-in gasket

The project involves the construction of a 4.5km twin tunnel, with an outside diameter of 6.6m, requiring a total of 17,800 tunnel segment ring sets.

Production of the glued-in gaskets selected for the tunnel has already begun at VIP’s factory in Huntingdon.

Caption: Finished segments utilising VIP's Cast-in gaskets

This latest contract continues VIP’s long standing position as a major supplier of TSGs in India having previously supplied four phases of the Delhi Metro project and the Ghatkopar High Level Tunnel in Mumbai.

Matthew Levitt said: “The gasket has been specifically developed as a modification of our VIP024 gasket to provide additional sealing assurance sought by project engineers as the tunnel passes under the Mithi River.

VIP says “oui” to online marketing for VIPSeal®

VIP-Polymers Ltd has launched a dedicated French language website to promote its VIPSeal® range of flexible pipe couplings.

Development of the bespoke website reflects the growing demand for VIPSeal® products in France and other French-speaking territories on the Continent.

VIP Commercial Director Jon Crean said: “The launch of our new French VIPSeal® website reflects our confidence in promoting our innovative and industry-leading products in new international markets.

“In particular, it reflects the growing number of customers our VIPSeal® range is attracting in France, mainly through the builders’ merchants.

“As in the UK, French builders’ merchants value the opportunity to promote the high quality of VIPSeal® couplings, backed by the assurance that comes from the product being designed, tested, and manufactured to global standards by a single supplier.

“We have designed our French language website to be a valuable marketing resource for our growing network of builders’ merchants in France and other French-speaking areas, such as Belgium and Switzerland.

“It will also allow us to promote the benefits of VIPSeal® pipe couplings directly to end-use customers, and help us put them in touch with local agents who can supply them quickly and efficiently with our products.”

VIPSeal® flexible couplings are designed for joining and repairing low-pressure and non-pressured pipes of any material and size combination.

VIP has end-to-end control of VIPSeal® product design and manufacture, a process that drives high levels of innovation, and underpins its adherence to exacting industry standards.

All VIPSeal® couplings are designed and manufactured by VIP in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK, using high quality rubber formulated and compounded on the same site.

The new French-language website showcases all couplings available in the VIPSeal® range – including the latest product, a chemical resistant coupling called VIPSealChem.

The distinctive green VIPSealChem flexible couplings are manufactured to BS EN 295, and can be fitted in precisely the same way as standard VIPSeal® couplings, overcoming installation significant limitations found with other chemical resistant seals currently on the market.

To view the new French language VIPSeal® website go to:

VIP Introduces Major Innovation in Chemical Resistant Flexible Couplings

VIP-Polymers Ltd has launched a new chemical resistant flexible coupling under its VIPSeal® brand that dramatically simplifies the joining of pipes, speeding up installation and reducing costs.

The new Patent Pending VIPSealChem coupling is for use on pipe systems where a high resistance to chemicals or extreme temperatures is required – yet it is just as easy to fit as all other VIPSeal® products.

VIPSealChem Standard Coupling

Sectors VIPSealChem has been designed for include the chemical and process industries, pharmaceutical, medical and research laboratories, hospitals, food and drink manufacture, and fuel storage.

VIPSealChem FKM flexible couplings are manufactured to meet the demanding requirements of EN681-1 WB/WD and EN295-4. FKM rubber is resistant to a broader chemical range and has a higher temperature resistance than EPDM rubber which is traditionally used for pipe seals.

The couplings are manufactured in a green colour to clearly distinguish from the standard EPDM and NBR (Nitrile) couplings. This, along with the VIPSealChem branding and labelling will help merchants and installers to identify that they have a higher chemical and temperature resistance.

Because this resistance lies within the rubber sleeve itself, VIPSealChem couplings can be fitted without having to incorporate additional materials required by other products on the market.

VIP Commercial Director Jon Crean said: “We have developed VIPSealChem couplings to overcome installation limitations contractors have been facing with chemical resistant seals previously available.

“As such, we believe VIPSealChem represents a major step forward in the performance of chemical resistant flexible couplings, and a significant innovation in this product category.”

Other chemical resistant couplings require the installer to stick expanded PTFE seals around each pipe before fitting the coupling, then heat-shrink an FEP liner around the pipe.

VIPSealChem does away with these processes, which are time-consuming and can be difficult to carry out within worksites that often have limited space and are generally a dirty environment.

VIPSealChem Installation

Jon Crean said: “Our in-house laboratory, testing and rubber compounding teams have formulated our own variant of the FKM rubber compound that gives VIPSealChem its chemical resistant properties.

“It means VIPSealChem looks like a VIPSeal® coupling and can be fitted just as quickly and easily as a VIPSeal® coupling. The only outward difference is that it’s green.

“The absence of extra components and steps in the installation process gives installers dramatic time and cost savings. It allows construction and repair projects to be completed more quickly, reducing operational downtime.

“Also, because of its unique simplicity, the VIPSealChem range includes adaptor couplings, allowing chemical resistant pipes of significantly different diameters to be connected to each other for the first time.”

VIPSealChem Adaptor Coupling

VIPSealChem provides a flexible, watertight connection on above and below ground, low and non-pressurised drainage systems.

It has excellent resistance to chemicals, including automotive and aircraft fuels and oils, hydrocarbon solvent, hydraulic fluids, and certain chlorinated solvents.

VIPSealChem can also withstand exposure to long term service in temperatures of -15° to 200° and for reduced periods of time, temperatures of -30° to 300°.

Jon Crean said: “VIPSealChem builds on the recognised strengths of our VIPSeal® flexible couplings range and could only be achieved with the in-house knowledge and expertise VIP-Polymers possess. It provides an unrivalled, cost-effective solution for contractors who install and repair pipes in aggressive chemical applications.”

VIPSealChem is now available through merchants and specialist distributors. For more information about the product visit the VIPSeal® website contact us on 0800 334 5547 or email 

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

VIP’s donation helps fundraising effort for Dreamdrops


In lieu of sending out Christmas cards to customers and suppliers this Christmas, VIP made a donation to the local children’s charity Dreamdrops.

Dreamdrops fundraises for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s Holly Ward and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Hinchingbrooke Hospital as well as supporting the Trust’s community children’s services in and around the Huntingdon area. The money that Dreamdrops raise goes towards the things that the NHS simply cannot afford, but would love to have.

VIP is committed to supporting and developing the local community and Dreamdrops is a local charity that makes a real difference to children’s lives at a time when they need it most.

One of Dreamdrops current fundraising efforts is for specialist toys and equipment for the Autism Corner that they are developing in the Children’s Outpatients Department at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the money donated will go towards this.

Dreamdrops Chairman, Anne-Marie Hamilton said “The Play Leaders will be thrilled to be able to provide some more for items for the Autism Corner, with VIP’s donation. I know that having a quiet area where they can feel safe, and enjoy toys that are specifically designed for them, will make a huge difference to these children when they have to come to Outpatients.”

To find out more about the charity or to make a donation, visit the Dreamdrops Website

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

VIP looks forward to a brighter more sustainable future

LED Lighting in the factory

VIP has significantly cut its energy consumption in line with a rigorous sustainability strategy by installing LED lights across its UK production facility.

As a result, carbon emissions for the site have been reduced by an estimated 150 tonnes a year.

The initiative has also reduced lighting energy costs by 20 per cent – equivalent to a saving of £28,000 a year – and increased the lux rating by 35 per cent, creating a brighter working environment.

VIP Operations Director Mick Gilchrist said minimising energy consumption was a core element of the company’s sustainability strategy.

He added: “Switching to LED lighting has had immediate benefits. As well as reducing energy costs, it has created a much-improved environment for our production teams, enhancing their wellbeing.

“From a business perspective, we expect this to deliver further gains in terms of improving staff morale, which feeds into improved productivity and quality control, and better staff retention.”

In an installation programme carried out by the in-house maintenance team, sodium and fluorescent strip lights were replaced with 182 twin-strip LED units across the entire factory floor, the rubber mixing department, maintenance areas, the canteen, and production offices.

VIP compounds and mixes the rubber for the products it manufactures. The process is energy-intensive, which makes the business particularly keen to reduce energy consumed for non-production processes.

Mick Gilchrist said: “Improving our sustainability through initiatives like this is vitally important to support our development of advanced, cost-effective manufacturing processes, and to act as a responsible international business.

“For example, we have also invested in new inverter technology that is allowing us to reduce the energy consumption of our production cooling system by up to 80% during periods of low demand.”

Taking steps to collaborate leads to natural rubber first

EMS Matting System

VIP-Polymers Ltd has collaborated with other suppliers to manufacture a ground-breaking new low smoke and low toxicity natural rubber matting system for use on the London Underground.

Development of the innovative product, on behalf of Entrance Matting Systems Ltd, has been made possible by close partnership working within a supply chain specifically put together to develop it.

The material is the first natural rubber-derived compound to meet the requirements of the EN 45545-2 (2013) fire retardancy standard for the floor composite category.

It is also the first natural rubber-derived compound to meet London Underground’s own standard for floor matting, which is based on EN 45545-2(2013).

The rubber was compounded by the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC), the UK-based research and promotion centre of the Malaysian Rubber Board.

It is mixed by BD Technical Polymer Ltd, in Corby, Northamptonshire, and then moulded by VIP at its factory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

VIP’s prime focus is manufacturing seals and gaskets. However, it is using its technical expertise and specialist equipment to support the development and manufacture of the new entrance mat, which is already in use in 18 stations across the London Underground network.

Neil Creasey, Entrance Matting Systems’ General Manager, said: “Thanks to the collaborative approach and expertise shared across the supply chain, we have the opportunity to offer our customers an innovative, sustainable natural rubber product that we’re confident already has the hallmarks of a market leader.”

Peter O’Connor, Technical Services Manager at VIP, said: “This has been an excellent and very productive collaborative project, with everyone in the supply chain working very well together to develop an impressive product.

“The additives TARRC had to put into the rubber to make it fire retardant made it a demanding material to work with throughout the development and production process.

“In particular, its consistency made it challenging to mould, while retaining the finish quality needed. What VIP could bring to bear was our expertise across all disciplines, as a rubber compounder and a mixer, as well as a manufacturer.

“This allowed us to see the product’s potential, and gave us the confidence to work with our partners in the process. It wasn’t always straight forward, but everyone involved could always see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The material was developed by the Head of TARRC’s Industrial Support Unit, Principal Scientist Dr Marina Fernando, specifically for the rail industry, which has increasingly specified the need for rubber products to have low smoke and low toxicity.

She said: “Until now, the only rubber matting that met London Underground’s fire retardancy standard has been synthetic.

“In a six-month trial at one London Underground station, our natural rubber-based compound proved to be significantly harder wearing than synthetic rubber alternatives. It also has additional sustainability benefits, because 80% of its content comes from renewable resources.

“VIP has played a significant role within the supply chain, firstly because they understood and believed in the product, and were willing to invest significant time and resources, including product testing, mould development, and many meetings with supply chain partners.

“Also, their quality assurance and technical knowledge across all product development processes was pivotal in resolving challenges in taking a material that was difficult to work with from lab-scale production to full production.”

BD Technical Polymer used its expertise in compounding and blanking to ensure rubber mixing cycles and blank production were precisely aligned with the requirements to produce the matting in a multi-cavity mould on VIP’s 1,000-tonne 3.5m strip press.

Deepak Shah, BD Technical Polymer Director, said: “The high quality of the final product, which has to withstand what must be among the highest mass transit footfalls in the world, could only be achieved by everyone working together and being on top of their game.”