Client problem

Thyssenkrupp is one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, producing elevators, automotive components and various other types of goods. They have been expanding globally for decades, with lots of manufacturing plants in developing markets, such as China and Mexico. Their steering business division manufactures some of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced steering components for most of the large car manufacturers, such as Audi and Volkswagen. Such clients have relentless quality requirements for their manufacturers, which they audit in great detail on timely basis. Smallest defects in quality will have immediate monetary impact on the co-operation between the car manufacturer and the steering parts manufacturer.

Visual ethos of the manufacturing, and tolerance of the manufacturing facility floors are amongst the important audit criteria of the car manufacturers. Thyssenkrupp’s new factory and warehouse complex in Shanghai has experienced massive growth, and was in a need of expanding production to a space which had originally been designed as a warehouse to store ready steering components. The expansion into production space would inevitably increase the loads on the concrete floor, and thus exceed the designed limits. Thyssenkrupp’s engineers identified a potential risk of future subsidence, if the expansion was to be carried out without making sure that the floor and foundation design would be increased to match the increased loads.

Alternatives

Companies like thyssenkrupp have large internal database of contractors from all over the world, so naturally they evaluated the options with their internal team. There were two main options; cementitious piling of the slab to reach the targeted 80kN bearing capacity of the floor, or resin injection down to 4 meters to achieve the same end result.

Cementitious piling was a known method for thyssenkrupp engineers, which would have meant a programme time of approximately 12 weeks for 2000 square meters of floor, and demolishing and recasting the whole concrete floor. They would have had time to facilitate this programme as their production expansion was scheduled to begin only later in the year. The concern they had was the warranty provided by a local contractor, and the fact that there would be a construction site in the thyssenkrupp area for several months, which could cause disruption towards customer audits and internal visitors.

Resin injection was proposed to be designed to improve the bearing capacity by 60% with sufficient before and after testing, and to prevent future subsidence by forming a water barring perimeter around the foundation, stopping potential ground water flows from adjacent future construction sites. Resin injection would be completed from 16 – 32 mm holes without need to demolish and recast the concrete slab.

Why thyssenkrupp chose Geobear

Against the three main criterias; price, warranty and local credibility; Geobear scored even in price against the local piling contractor, and exceeded the warranty and credibility requirements because of its established presence in Europe and China,  and its five year non subsidence warranty, which ensured thyssenkrupp division management of the longevity of the solution. Geobear had also served tk previously in other markets.

Results

Geobear completed the 20 day programme 3 days before planned completion, with proven increase of bearing capacity in the thyssenkrupp Shanghai location. The floor remained intact, and there were no visible construction activities outside the building under treatment. Costs realized as budgeted.

Customer testimonial

“To secure our growth in China we were planning to expand our production in Shanghai. Increasing production meant increasing loads on top of the floor of the property, which caused significant risk of future subsidence, that could stop production in the future if not planned correctly. We decided to take care of the problem proactively by choosing resin injection method to prevent future subsidence. Geobear was approximately 10 times quicker than cementitious piling, which enabled us to start the production on time, thus creating a cost saving of over 50%.”  

Dr. Daniel Fitzek / Chief Operating Officer

thyssenkrupp Presta AG