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Published: Jul 2017
  • Ship Repair & Conversion

Viega Press Pipe Saves the Day at Sea

In the marine market, tight deadlines and budget constraints are common obstacles to overcome. Even finding a qualified welder for a marine application is a challenge, so being able to join pipe without flame can make all the difference in the marine world. Reducing time spent on repairs and labor expenses means you can focus on doing your job and keeping your crew safe. However, when dealing with a work environment that involves floating on a volatile sea, it can be difficult to ensure safety and precision while operating ocean-based support vessels, drill ships and oil platforms.

Founded in 1899, Viega has become the global leader in marine-approved piping systems like Viega ProPress for copper and stainless, Viega MegaPress for black iron and galvanized pipe, Viega SeaPress for copper-nickel systems and Viega PEX Press systems in two different materials, Zero Lead bronze and high-performance polymer. Viega ProPress, Viega MegaPress and Viega SeaPress meet the standards set forth by classification societies. The company serves many markets, but it has been particularly active on the cruise ship front, primarily providing products and systems for repair and refit out of its U.S. office.

Fast, Efficient and Reliable Connections

An incomplete connection could cause substantial damage if it holds pressure during a test and then subsequently fails. Viega SeaPress, Viega ProPress, Viega MegaPress and Viega PEX Press in high performance polymer feature the patented Smart Connect feature. The Smart Connect feature, designed directly into the fitting, identifies unpressed fittings during pressure testing.

Viega ProPress and Viega SeaPress fittings in small diameters are designed with cylindrical pipe guides to keep the pipe straight and prevent deflection, which protects the sealing element during assembly.

Fittings that do not have cylindrical pipe guides risk making an unsecured connection. Without the pipe guides, pipe deflection can occur which can compromise and damage the sealing element.

In seconds, Viega press fittings are connected in a single step by pressing on each side of and on top of the sealing element. This creates a connection that is secure and proven to last, and unlike other connections, the sealing element is not in the direct flow path.

Another significant advantage to using Viega press technology is the ability to install Viega MegaPress and MegaPressG while the vessel is at sea, making it easier and more cost effective to perform permanent emergency repairs. Viega offers training and technical support to teach designers and engineers how to convert to press technology. Viega MegaPress fittings can easily adapt to both metric and U.S. inch-size applications.

Viega press technology saves time and labor with fittings that reduce installation time by 60 percent to 90 percent, depending on the material, and connections can be made wet or dry. Without the danger and risk of welding, all the trades can work together at the same time, which allows projects to be completed in a more timely manner.

Safe Connections at Sea

Viega SeaPress, a corrosion-resistant, 90/10 copper-nickel fitting, is built especially for corrosive environments. Viega’s cold press technology makes brazing and welding a thing of the past, and connections can be completed under the most difficult conditions.

Repairs and modifications can also be carried out while under way at sea, which are ideal prerequisites to ensure you’ll always stay on course. Other Viega SeaPress advantages include easy adaptability to metric and standard systems, cylindrical pipe guides and double press action for the best possible security and an extensive range of fittings, flanges and adapters.

Viega SeaPress can be used for a great number of applications, including seawater cooling, fire main wet, dry and foam, sprinkler system and water spray, hot and cold potable water, bilge lines, foam system, ballast system and tank cleaning services.

Whether it’s working on tugs, barges, work boats, passenger ferries, casino boats or inland cruise ships, take advantage of Viega’s fast, flameless and secure connections. This is important as ships become more technologically advanced. From the world’s first vessels powered by liquefied nitrogen gas that reduces sulfur emissions, to high-tech navigational software, the marine industry is eager for technology that will keep things running more efficiently and for longer periods of time. That said, many of today’s ships maintain similar design styles to minimize risk. In order to meet the demands of schedule and budget, shipbuilders must increase efficiencies and reduce manpower. But that doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice productivity.

“The cruise sector is huge, a key segment and a growing industry,” said Yasmin Fortuny, technical manager, shipbuilding and cruise, Viega. “It’s a very high maintenance and time-sensitive segment, as these ships are in port for only a few hours, so it is essential that they have the right parts when they need them.”

The MegaPress solution is of particular interest to the marine sector, as it is a new fitting that presses onto a metric or standard pipe.

“We take the logistical worry out of the process, alleviating concern about which type of pipe is available in a given situation at a given time,” Fortuny said. “With ships, it is more about how fast can you get it onboard, as it is essential to keep those ships running, at full service, without delay.”

Viega offers the widest range of marine-approved press pipe-joining systems in the industry. Viega’s press technology extends to a full line of marine press fittings that reduce reliance on qualified welders, hot work permits, gas freeing and chemists. Viega fittings for marine are tested and comply with the International Association of Classification Societies, so the engineering approvals are already completed. Viega systems can also reduce the lifecycle cost of vessels and oil platforms.

Recently, Viega received approvals from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) for marine and offshore applications for the Viega MegaPress and MegaPressG piping system and couplings. With the new approvals, Viega MegaPress and MegaPressG products can be specified throughout an ABS-classed vessel for applications that include hydronic heating, compressed air, fire sprinkler, cooling water, low-pressure steam, fuel, lube and hydraulic oil applications.

Viega Provides Flameless Ferry Solution

The largest ferry system in the United States, Washington State Ferries (WSF), carried more than 23.9 million passengers and 10.5 million vehicles in 2015. That’s a lot of weight to bear year after year, with many of them running 16 to 22 hours a day.

A fleet of 22 WSF vessels transports commuters, tourists and tanker trucks, serving as a marine highway, across Puget Sound. The new ferries are designed to last 60 years — with many of them traveling nearly 1 million miles. Building a vessel capable of lasting this long under these conditions probably seems like a daunting task, but not for the team at Vigor. With ten facilities and more than 2,500 employees, Vigor is the largest ship building, ship repair and complex fabricator in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Vigor’s Seattle facility is located at the hub of the maritime industry in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to building and maintaining WSF ferries, the yard takes on new construction and repair for to large vessels. Vigor routinely services fishing vessels, ferries, barges, military ships, and offshore oil and gas vessels.

Kevin Hein, Director of Engineering at Vigor’s Seattle shipyard, and his team are responsible for completing the engineering at all phases of new construction.

“My crew works on production drawings, assisting in troubleshooting of components. Just this morning we were procuring a switchboard,” Hein said. “We have every conversation under the sun that has a technical thread in the shipyard. The vessels we build and repair for WSF are very complex. They consist of power generation, propulsion systems, fire protection, food service, navigation systems, structure — all of these go together into this floating self-contained city.”

As one can imagine, designing these structures takes time and precision. All the pieces must come together perfectly and be approved prior to construction starting. Adopting new technology, like Viega press technology, is changing the way companies like Vigor do business.

“We first discovered Viega during the design phase for the current Washington State Ferry Olympic-class ferries,” Hein said. “We were looking for a mechanical-type fitting that was an alternative to hot work, but through conversations with sales reps and the customer, we jointly recognized the benefits of using press products.”

At the time, there were restrictions on where Vigor could use Viega products. Those restrictions don’t exist today. After decades of performing hot work, which can damage paint and be more costly from a fire watch standpoint, Hein is glad Viega came into play. To date, Vigor has used it on six Washington State Ferries, and is working on their seventh.

“For us, it is the first push into this area away from traditional welded or brazed systems,” Hein said. “As our workforce ages and we have higher demands on them, we try to do earlier outfitting without damaging paint due to hot work. The use of ‘cold work’ piping solutions, like Viega, are more and more important.”

Hein began utilizing Viega ProPress Copper on potable water and hot water heating in 2008 and today also relies on the Viega copper nickel system for vehicle deck sprinkler systems. According to Hein, the original use of Viega ProPress was the start of the evolution of no hot work piping products and it has expanded as time goes on.

“Both are great products. They are the right choice for those systems. They meet the regulations and they are easy to install. There’s a lot of pipe in the vessel so you really see the benefit of the labor savings,” Hein said.

Vigor recently completed work on the M/V Tokitae, an Olympic-class passenger ferry. This was Vigor’s first experience with Viega SeaPress, a copper-nickel system built specifically to withstand the harsh elements of the sea.

“Even on the new construction side, the reality is that it’s so similar to ProPress, you almost don’t notice. In terms of installation, those two are direct cousins,” Hein said. “It’s good that across the Viega family of SeaPress, ProPress and MegaPress that the concepts are very similar. So from the installer’s perspective, they are very similar sets of skills.”

The similarities don’t end there. Viega systems are also designed to last the life of the system. Hein said he believes Viega represents the same life span as conventional piping products, but at a reduced overall cost. Because the majority of Vigor’s work is competitively bid against either regional or national markets, their ability to effectively implement labor dollars is extremely important.

“Seattle is not a low cost area, so anything we can do to make our labor hours more effective is part of our plan. This makes Viega a good choice,” Hein said. “Any mechanically attached fitting represents better labor dollars which allows us to deliver good value to the citizens of the state whose tax dollars fund these projects.”

Labor savings isn’t the only benefit Hein has seen, however. Whether Vigor is designing the vessel or doing a retrofit, Viega technology allows installers to reach tight spaces where traditional joining methods would prove difficult. That said, it all requires planning.

“You have to be able to fit the jaws around the pipe completely, so confined spaces do require planning just like a welded or brazed product would,” Hein said. “We have found that you really have to think about how you’re going to get it in there. For some of our smaller copper lines, sometimes they are crammed into a corner, so the operator’s knowledge and familiarity of the product is important to make sure it isn’t pushed too far into the corner.”

With Viega, you don’t need the same access required to weld or get a torch all the way around the product. That means you don’t have to cover up the paint that’s only two inches away from the pipe or the bulk head for fear of burning it. This knowledge comes not only from years of experience working in the bulk heads of these vessels, but also the expertise of Viega’s technical representatives.

“We have a very good relationship with Viega’s Technical Manager for Shipbuilding and Offshore. The fact that he’s a longtime marine professional that we’ve done business with as a designer and an engineer helps a lot,” Hein said. “I find him to be valuable because he is interested in making sure I have the right product for the right application. It’s not a traditional sales relationship, it’s a partner/provider relationship, where he’s looking at our customer’s best interest overall as opposed to just getting a Viega product in the vessel.”

Viega representatives are able to bring the technical details and the installation details to every job and for those unfamiliar with Viega’s systems, an onsite demo truck travels around the U.S. year round, allowing installers to see and touch the product.

“There’s much more to the Viega team than just our local sales rep. He is the conduit, that when combined with our material suppliers, makes sure we get the right information,” Hein said. “The Viega team has been adept at bringing the spectrum of information required for us to install piping products successfully at a competitive cost.”

Viega SeaPress Delivers Speedy Seaside Rescue

In its 20 years in business, All Points Boats, based in the Lauderdale Marine Center, has never shied away from complicated projects, but a recent re-piping job was more memorable than most.

A bilge pump is an important piece of equipment on every yacht. Its role is to take water out of the yacht, preventing it from sinking. Regulated by class societies, bilge pumps must be a certain size, have a certain flow rate and the connecting pipe is also required to be a certain size and material.

The engineering crew on the yacht tasked All Points Boats to change out the bilge and fire pumps, but make them work with the existing manifolds, which were made of copper-nickel, a high-grade, sea-worthy material.

“This was a pretty complex operation. There were big copper-nickel lines that are quite tied together,” Sheridan said. “It’s like a giant twisted trumpet or 54mm French horn.”

There were three pumps located in close proximity and each of them needed to have the ability to draw suction either directly from the ocean or from the bilge manifold. There are two options on the suction side and three options on the discharge side, each with its own manifold.

“Each of the three pumps probably required half-dozen fittings to twist and bend and curve around the corner to connect to these manifolds,” Sheridan said. “And these are all heavy-walled, copper-nickel manifolds. The material is very expensive and difficult to weld and conceptualize the solutions because of how it’s put together.”

It’s a  project that two plumbers at All Points Boats had 80 hours to complete. They were feeling pretty good about their accomplishments and were excited to show the engineering crew on the yacht their work.

But a change was needed. Three valves had to be added to the system. That was when Sheridan was glad he had chosen Viega SeaPress, a copper-nickel press fitting system.

“If you had used a welded pipe solution, this would be catastrophic. Essentially half of the work you’ve already completed would have been scrapped, and you basically would have to start from the beginning,” Sheridan said. “This yacht was also under a time crunch, so everything was stacked against us. But because we had used the Viega system, we had only dry-fitted the pipe and fittings but had not pressed them yet.”

With Viega’s system, they were able to disassemble this large, complex system and incorporate the three valves in a day’s time.

“In a welded-pipe scenario, this would have been a major change,” Sheridan said. “Not only did Viega help get us out of a pinch, we were able to finish the job on time.”

If they had welded, Sheridan estimates the job would have required 50 percent more labor, the equivalent of 300 hours minimum, and 250 hours additional hours with the last-minute addition of the valves. Dry-fitting is easier with Viega systems and it’s a practice All Points Boats employs on every job.

“We use the forgiveness Viega offers by being able to dry-fit,” Sheridan said. “By checking things two or three times prior to pressing, you can negate any changes with minimal cost in materials.”

Even if they needed more SeaPress fittings — or any Viega press fittings — Sheridan knows it’s not difficult to get products delivered when they need them.

“Because of the inherent unpredictability of what walks in the door, it’s next to impossible to guess what we’ll need, so we pretty much buy for the job,” Sheridan said. “We don’t stock any large amounts because everything is readily available.”

To meet the demands of class societies, high-quality materials and the availability of products make Viega systems ideal for marine repair shops like All Points Boats.

“Completing this job would not have been possible without Viega,” Sheridan said. “We utilize Viega systems a lot and this project has proven Viega is worth its weight in gold, or in this case — copper-nickel!”

About Viega:

The Viega Group, with a tradition of innovation for more than 115 years, has more than 4,000 employees worldwide and is among the leading manufacturers of pipe fitting installation technology. In metal press systems for industrial, commercial and residential projects, the company is the global market leader. In the U.S., Viega LLC employs nearly 500 people and offers more than 3,000 products. These include Viega ProPress for copper and stainless, Viega MegaPress for black iron pipe and Viega PEX Press systems in Zero Lead bronze and high-performance polymer. With the widest range of materials and marine approvals in the industry, Viega has become the global leader in marine-approved piping systems, such as Viega SeaPress copper nickel systems, Viega ProPress for copper and stainless and Viega MegaPress for black iron pipe.Viega also specializes in the design, production and installation of ProRadiant™ heating and cooling systems. For more information, visit

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Figure A - Barge Physical Model
page 8

Designing for Efficiency

Designing efficient vessels is the heart of what naval architects do. Efficiency in this case is defined as the ratio of useful travelled distance of goods or cargo; divided by the total energy put into the transportation propulsion means. In other words, a more efficient vessel design will require less fuel (cost) to move a given cargo a certain distance. This paper will explain why efficiency is important and will explore some aspects of small coastal vessel design that can improve vessel efficiency. We will also investigate several of the techniques that are used to analyze a vessel’s efficiency utilizing Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) units as case studies.

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