All over the world, Primus Line® is used to rehabilitate critical pipeline infrastructure safely, in the long term and, above all, trenchlessly. This year, the company from Germany with five international locations celebrates its anniversary.
25 years ago, in 1996, the idea was born for a kind of “super hose” that is pulled into aging pipelines for the rehabilitation of pressure pipelines. However, five years of intensive development work passed from idea to finished product and foundation of the company.
Managing director and owner Werner Rädlinger is all the more proud of what has been achieved in the last two decades: “We have not only developed a new, truly unique product. Especially in the early years, we also had to do a lot of pioneering work to get trenchless technologies on the agenda of network operators and utilities in the first place. That took a lot of determination, developer spirit and passion from the whole team.”
Today, the staying power of the family-owned company is paying off. Around the globe, network operators, water utilities and administrations are facing the challenge of an aging pipeline infrastructure. At the same time, the environmentally friendly and CO2-saving technology Primus Line® meets the spirit of the times in terms of sustainability and environmental protection.
Growth and expansion therefore characterized the past years of the company. New markets were opened up and subsidiaries established in Australia, China, Canada and the USA. In the meantime, Primus Line® has been installed in more than 50 countries.
“Of course, there were and also are setbacks,” Werner Rädlinger clarifies. “The coronavirus turned our international plans for this and last year pretty much upside down. But I am very confident that we will be able to resume our previous growth. The problem of aging infrastructure remains, and many stimulus packages address that very issue.”
Initially developed for the technically challenging gas market, Primus Line next entered the water market, which involves many certifications. In 2015, the oil market followed. A big step that, according to Werner Rädlinger, also required courage. Today, a separate department looks after the customers, among whom are mainly large international groups in the industry.
Regardless of the market, the technology scores as a tailor-made solution with low intervention and impact on the environment associated with the installation. Lines up to 2,500 meters through nature reserves or inner cities and under traffic routes or rivers can be renewed and maintained for at least another 50 years. Primus Line® can also be laid above ground. This was the case, for example, during an emergency operation in Messina, Italy. After a landslide had destroyed a main water pipeline, hundreds of thousands of people were cut off from water supply. The necessary equipment was delivered to Italy overnight and then installed by the Italian partner in the difficult-to-access mountain region.
The company also relies on “Made in Germany” for production. Three production lines are available in the specially built and designed production hall. In the company’s own logistics center, the Primus Liner is stored and picked according to the orders. From there it starts its journey pre-folded and wound on reels by truck, air freight or in sea containers. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the company’s own construction site teams carry out the projects. In all other countries, Primus Line works with trained partner companies, which are accompanied and supported from the beginning to the end of a project. Here, too, the company has built up a large network.
And what are the company’s plans for the future? “Quite a few things,” promises Werner Rädlinger: “We will continue to open up new markets, find new areas of application and develop our product range accordingly. In addition, we will start constructing three new halls this year to expand our logistics center. A total of 8,000 square meters of additional space will be created, which we will urgently need in the coming years.”
About the history of Primus Line:
Josef Rädlinger Senior set the course for Rädlinger primus line GmbH with Rädlinger Maschinen- und Anlagenbau GmbH (today Rädlinger Maschinen- und Stahlbau GmbH) and the takeover of the company Müller from Cham, which among other things manufactured circular looms, e.g. for fire hoses. At that time, Rädlinger manufactured, inter alia, gas pressure regulating stations and was therefore well networked in the gas industry. This industry was increasingly faced with the challenge of aging pipeline networks in need of renovation.
At the same time, Rädlinger continued to develop the circular loom of the Müller company, which had been taken over for lack of a successor. In the end, a machine was created that could do almost too much “only” for the production of fire hoses. Thus, the idea of a kind of “super hose” for the rehabilitation of pressure lines was born.
After five years of hard development work in cooperation with the gas trading company “Verbundnetz Gas”, Rädlinger primus line GmbH was founded in 2001 and the product Primus Line® was introduced to the market. In 2003, the first project followed in Leipzig. After difficult initial years and the entry into the water and oil markets, the importance of trenchless technologies increased. With the construction of the new production plant in 2008, the phase of expansion and growth began. In 2013, the first branch office was founded in the USA, and in 2016, the company conquered its sixth continent with Africa. Further branches, steadily increasing order volumes and capacity expansions followed.