The valves and fittings that HEROSE offers meet the highest standards of sealing and quality. However, they also have to be correctly installed, tested and maintained. Only then can they display their strengths to the maximum.

Solutions gleaned from challenges

At HEROSE, a special challenge often leads to a new solution. This is how the service division came into being. Here, employees use their know-how and experience for very individual solutions. Matthias Reinhardt is such an example. Since his apprenticeship in 1976, he has been involved with nothing but valves, and has been with HEROSE since 1990. As a development engineer, he re-developed the cryogenic valves at the beginning of the 1990s, and later managed design and development. Today, as an experienced expert, he oversees, among other things, the installation of cryogenic valves on ships.

Installation support as a service from HEROSE

When it came to fitting out the AIDAnova, the first cruise ship with the Blue Angel eco-label thanks to LNG propulsion, a learning process began. At the shipyard, the cryogenic valves were initially treated in a rather rustic manner and many materials in shipbuilding do not mind this. Such handling is ‘deadly’ for the cryogenic valves that feature the finest technology and tolerances of a tenth of a millimetre. So, all the valve bonnets came back from the shipyard to Bad Oldesloe, because they had been damaged by incorrect handling and the seals had become defective. There were discussions and a new awareness of the intricacies of the technology that was to be installed. The customer quickly expressed the desire to have the valves installed by the manufacturer, in order to completely guarantee the intended function. So, this is how the service division came into being. Today, HEROSE supervises the installation so that the components fully fulfil their function. “We look at what has been welded and whether the valve housings are in order so that we can approve them and then mount the entire upper parts. This means that we complete the valves on site and check for pressure sealing, so that the perfect supply to the drive system is guaranteed on the ship,” Matthias Reinhardt reports.

Checked and found to be good

The valves supplied by HEROSE are tested for 100% sealing, and are disassembled once again to weld in the housings. This installation is not a trivial task as outstanding welders are needed, who can make X-ray-safe welds partly overhead and in all possible other positions. In addition, there is the complex insulation of the piping. These are services that HEROSE does not offer itself, but the installation supervision ensures that everything is perfectly executed. Matthias Reinhardt creates the service concept and the service assignments for the cruise shipyard in Germany and Finland and the appropriate special tools also have to be on site. The shipyard has eleven ships in its programme, four are already finished and numbers five and six are currently being equipped with HEROSE cryogenic valves. Here, the know-how built up over many years in numerous projects helps to achieve the desired result.

100% sealing, even in non-stationary use

With stationary technology, a tank is built with valves and pipes. This is relatively uncomplicated because the components are stationary. With trailers on the road or on the railways, the conditions are different, because the components can begin to move. This is why the transportable pressure equipment directive (TPED) applies here, with the necessary π-approval for the valves. On ships such as the Aida, for example, the LNG pipelines pass through eleven rooms. The pipelines have to pass through various bulkheads, from bunkering to the propulsion system. When the ship starts moving in the ocean swell, everything must, of course, still remain functional. These are challenges that also apply in part to road and rail. At HEROSE, service also includes seeking solutions that are not covered by the product catalogue. This is also a special interest for employees such as Matthias Reinhardt; where are the initial points for doing something new? How can we get ideas and concepts for new developments off the ground?

Service for safety valves by authorised workshops

HEROSE safety valves can be checked, repaired and adjusted to other pressures in more than 50 authorised workshops across the world. These services are provided by companies whose personnel has been specially trained by HEROSE for this purpose. The workshops are awarded a certificate that is valid for three years, after which they are re-audited to ensure quality. Thanks to these authorised partners, customers who have special requirements for HEROSE safety valves can get HEROSE quality service on site. Many of these 50 locations worldwide have been visited by HEROSE staff for training purposes or by field staff to determine if the service company has the necessary equipment at its disposal, and if it can meet the demands of the products, starting with cleanliness, to freedom from oil and grease, to special tools that are not available everywhere. The authorised workshops always get the latest product documentation when something is changed. The agencies offer know-how and technical services according to HEROSE standards.

Ability comes from experience

There are always very special cases where customers ask how a valve can function in a certain setting. These cases are an opportunity, in particular, for the HEROSE employees to use all their experience and make their knowledge available to customers. This valve knowledge is combined with a very large network of contacts in the industry to come up with a solution together, if necessary.

Personal details: Matthias Reinhardt, graduate engineer, 61 years old

Reinhardt trained as a machinist at the MAW valve factory in Magdeburg in 1976. He then studied apparatus and plant engineering at what is now the Otto von Guericke Technical University, in Magdeburg, where he did practical research on valves in cooperation with MAW. After that, he graduated from university with a diploma thesis on the calculation of valves using the ‘finite element method’, and then worked in research at the MAW, until contact was made with Wilfried Zschalich in 1990 through a school friend. Since then, Reinhardt has been with HEROSE for 31 years, with ever-changing responsibilities in development, design, customer service, test field, and product management.

Reinhardt is also involved in national and international standardisation committees, where important product and approval standards are developed. Matthias Reinhardt developed an early affinity in his youth for water as a volunteer lifeguard. More recently, before the pandemic, he and his wife discovered a love for cruises.