A special pipe transporter based on a Mercedes-Benz Actros-4141 AK 8×8 is currently helping to close the last gaps in the few unfinished kilometres of the European Olefine Pipeline System in Northern Württemberg.

The Neuenkirchen-Vörde company Finke specialises on transporting pipes for large pipeline projects as well as carrying them directly from the central pipe depot to where they are needed on-site along the pipeline route. In their own workshops and with the blessing of both the truck manufacturer and the TÜV vehicle testing association, they converted their Mercedes-Benz Actros into a specialised truck with a platform for transporting long goods.

The Actros 4141 AK 8×8 used in the construction of the Ethylene Pipeline South is one of six recently acquired Actros trucks which the Finke company has converted themselves with advice and guidance from Autohaus Anders, the Vechta Mercedes-Benz retailers.

The Actros cab was installed in a lower position in front of the tipper frame so that the unwieldy load of pipeline pipes with lengths up to 19 metres long can extend over the cab roof. In addition, the chassis also had to be lengthened to 12 metres. As part of the conversion, it was necessary to completely re-install all the cables, lengthen the cardan shaft and re-position the steering gear for the double-jointed front axles. The frame was reinforced so that the platform could be fitted.

These changes in comparison with former pipeline construction transport have become necessary as green thinking has now arrived in the planning procedures and it is now firmly stipulated that the trucks used for transport along the line have to come up to the standards of the latest anti-pollution laws. Because of this, the platform Actros trucks were ordered as soon as possible for delivery with BlueTec 5. This was especially important as these special vehicles also have to travel long distances by motorway to reach the widely-distributed construction sites and so they were able to profit from the incentives.

In connection with environmental protection, planning procedures also take a closer look at how dense the ground compression is as well as how deep the Actros 4141 AK 8×8 tyres sink into the ground. Because of this, the special pipeline Actros is fitted with low-pressure 550 tyres at the front and 700/50 22,5 at the back, well-known from agricultural transport (brands Alliance and BKT).

The great advantage of the Actros 4141 AK 8×8 is that it can drive at a good speed to European-wide construction sites by motorway with the engine performance of 408 hp (300 kW) provided by its OM 501 LA engine, but at the same time it can overcome the terrain leading to remote and muddy pipelines, often running diagonally across steep slopes, by using its 8×8 four-wheel drive.

The Ethylene Pipeline South (EPS)
The Ethylene Pipeline South (EPS) is part of the infrastructure to set up a safe and cost-effective transport of ethylene between important southern German chemistry plants, also connecting them to the European pipeline network. This requires a pipeline with all its necessary technical equipment to be laid over 360 km from Münchsmünster (Bavaria) through Baden-Württemberg to Ludwigshafen (Rhineland-Palatinate).

Ethylene is a chemical intermediate product used for a great number of synthetic materials such as polyethylene, polystyrene and PVC which are found in our daily lives, in agriculture, the car industry etc. It is necessary to transport the gas in pipelines both for economic, safety and environmental reasons.

Pipelines provide the safest and most environmentally compatible way of transporting large quantities of ethylene. This primary product can be transported emission-free and with very low energy costs in such a subterranean system.

For decades now, pipeline technology has proved to be the safest means of transport and it gives lasting relief to alternative transport routes such as road and rail. After construction work has been completed, pipelines are almost invisible so that the landscape is not spoilt. This an example of harmonious interaction between environmental protection and modern technolgy.

Source: Daimler AG