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.

Latest innovation in tunnel segment gaskets granted UK patent

VIP's Patented Corner Joint

VIP-Polymers Ltd has been awarded a UK patent for a cast-in rubber gasket corner joint system specifically designed to reduce the risk of tunnel segment cracking during installation.

The new ‘compliant compressible corner’ ensures delivery of consistent load performance along the entire perimeter of the tunnel segment gasket (TSG).

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.

VIP, based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, is a global leader in the manufacture of rubber seals and gaskets for the tunnelling and water utility industries.

Steve Casey, VIP’s Sales and Technical Director, said: “We are delighted that the innovative design and manufacture of our new compressible corner joint, which is used across our entire cast-in gasket range, has been recognised with a UK patent. An international patent is also pending.

“Segment cracking during tunnelling operations is a significant cause for concern for both tunnel designers and tunnelling contractors. It is this concern we directly sought to address when we set out to design this new corner joint.

“Our innovation has been very favourably received within the tunnelling industry, and has already been used in a number of tunnel-building projects, with excellent results. VIP’s design has already been specified for use in future tunnelling projects.

“Tunnel segment cracking is a hidden cost in all tunnelling projects, through the need for post-installation repairs and other associated costs. By using our new corner joint, tunnelling companies can reduce the risk of TSGs contributing to these costs.”

Most cast-in TSGs are made with conventional ‘shot-joint’ corners. During the moulding process, the rubber in these corners fills the compression cavities in the extruded gasket sections, creating a solid rubber corner.

When the tunnel segments are installed, the compression of solid corners is very limited, which can result in corner point loading, thus increasing the risk of the segment becoming cracked.

Tunnel incorporating VIP's Patented gasket

Caption: Tunnel incorporating VIP's Patented gasket

VIP’s new patented corner joint is created with a unique joining process that maintains the TSG profile right to the corner edge. This makes the complete gasket compliant with all specified load requirements, which therefore provides greater assurance to designers, builders, and clients on the quality of the ring build.

These benefits have been demonstrated through rigorous comparative testing. This has shown solid corner joints are more resistant to closure, resulting in increasing loads, which could, potentially, affect closure between segments. In contrast, VIP’s new corner joint maintains a uniform closure performance around the whole TSG.

The new corner joint can also be manufactured at a variety of angles – 90 degrees, obtuse, and acute – so the TSG can be moulded to the exact shape and angle of each segment in the design. No tunnelling project is the same, however VIP can ensure a perfect fit, regardless of the shape of the segment.

VIP can also vary the profile orientation along the gasket’s Z axis. This can greatly help with the precise installation of final segments, or non-uniform segment systems, again reducing the risk of segment damage or partial sealing of joints.

Steve Casey said: “A multi-disciplinary team across our sales, laboratory, and product development departments has contributed to a new product that is now being used on international tunnelling projects, and is an innovation that can save the industry both time and money.

“Excellent test results we’ve witnessed, through to the positive feedback received from within the tunnelling industry, are testament to the hard work and collaborative effort put in by everyone at VIP.”

Your chance to find out more about VIP’s cast-in tunnel segment gaskets

You may have been unable to visit this year’s Arabian Tunnelling Conference in Dubai or the World Tunnelling Conference which was held this year in Bergen, Norway, however there’re still more opportunities to meet VIP and discover more about our tunnel segment gaskets.

You may want to find out about our cast-in gasket and how it is currently being used successfully on the Glasgow Shieldhall project, or you may be interested in hearing how our unique corner jointing process, which after listening to feedback received from tunnel designers and engineers, is designed to eliminate corner point loading which can lead to segment cracks or spalling.

VIP will be exhibiting at two further exhibitions in 2017 (see below) and we look forward to seeing your there. Along with our cast-in gaskets, we will also be showcasing our range of glued-in and hydrophilic gaskets.

TunnelTech 2017 – Sep 26 – 27


Held at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, London, Tunnel Tech2017 is the only event to focus specifically on the technologies that are driving tunnelling forward to increase performance and enhance productivity. With guest speakers from EDF Energy, Mott MacDonald, Scottish Water, Transport for London and CH2M, the two day event will be a great opportunity for open discussion on how innovation and technology can drive the industry forward.

Book your tickets now for TunnelTech2017

Australasian Tunnelling Conference 2017 – Oct 30 – Nov 1

ATS 2017

ATS2017 builds on the success of the previous show held in 2014 and will see tunnelling professionals from the area and further afield visiting the Star Hotel in Sydney, Australia for the 16th Australian Tunnelling Conference.

The conference aims to get industry members to engage in valuable discussions and keep up to date with the latest tunnelling key issues and future projects.

Book your tickets now for ATS2017