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R&D and testing

Aliaxis has significant facilities and resources for research, testing and product development. Our facilities are open for our customers to experience our solutions, and see first-hand how water flows through our pipe systems.

Hydro-Dynamics Experience Centre

In 2017 we launched a new facility, the state-of-the-art Hydro-Dynamics Experience Centre (HDEC) in The Netherlands. This new centre replaces our previous testing facility in The Netherlands, and now combines a testing facility with a customer experience centre, where customers can see precisely how water and air actually flow through our pipe systems. The HDEC is instrumental in testing new solutions and also simulates the performance of systems in specific situations for increasingly complex and/or high-rise buildings.

Our test facilities play a key role in the development of new products. For example, they have enabled us to continuously test and improve upon the design of our Stack-aerator solutions, first introduced as the Akatherm HDPE Stack-aerator, and now joined by:

  • The PVC Stack-aerator for both conventional and acoustic DWV applications in high-rise buildings developed for our Indian business Ashirvad in 2015
  • The PVC Stack-aerator for the Chutunic® spiral pipe system developed for our French business Nicoll in 2015

Through the extensive testing experience we have gained at the testing centres, we have also developed a strong view on testing procedures to assess the performance of high-rise drainage systems. We have determined that the most important aspects are the definition of the exact failure criteria (trap seal breach), defined as the moment when only a single air bubble escapes from the sewer system to the environment. This failure can happen a long time before actual trap seal depletion (ie. no water left in the trap). It is a strict criterion; however it ensures the safety of all inhabitants, as the risk of cross contamination between different households via a shared drainage system is exponentially increased in a high-rise building because any contaminated air will be further distributed by shared home comfort HVAC systems.

Aliaxis High-Rise Research Centre

The Aliaxis High-Rise Research Centre is hosted by the National Lift Tower in Northampton (UK). It is the world’s tallest drainage testing installation, comprising a 96 metre soil stack fitted with the P.A.P.A. System (P.A.P.A. and AAVs) for active ventilation. Electronic pressure sensors in the test rig allow readings in the pipework to be recorded and used to objectively analyse the performance of the P.A.P.A. System versus alternative configurations. In addition, industry professionals from across the globe, including building regulation inspectors, consultants, designers, international developers, M&E contractors, main contractors and public health engineers visit the National Lift Tower to conduct research, development, testing, marketing and education for industries other than lifts.

Acoustic testing laboratory in France

For many years Aliaxis has operated an in-house top-class acoustic test laboratory at our central Aliaxis R&D centre close to Paris. We’ve conducted numerous tests to strengthen our expertise and understanding of noise generation in soil and waste systems. Our studies have covered both airborne noise, typically a concern in concealed ceilings, and structure-borne noise typically generated in the vertical downpipes.

The acoustic test facility can measure noise in a global way, to understand system performance in a similar way to the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation. We can pinpoint acoustic vibrations and deeply analyse the source of the acoustic noise. These studies have been crucial in establishing the optimal material formulation for our acoustic pipe systems, the type and location of the pipe clips and the further acoustic design of the system as it integrates into the building.

Performing specific acoustic analysis, monitoring system performance and establishing best practice system design allows Aliaxis to offer systems with an optimal weight and wall thickness for the greatest possible noise reduction performance. These systems include Friaphon® in Europe (1995), dBlue® in EMEA, Australia, and South-East Asia (2010), and Ashirvad Silent SWR in India (2014).

Experience and expertise: our expert team

With over 50 years of combined experience, our expert team possesses a wealth of knowledge, expertise and skill. For Stack-aerators, our key experts are Marc Buitenhuis, a PhD with over 25 years of experience in fluid dynamics, and Bas Nolta, an engineer with over 10 years of experience in single stack solutions.

For single stack solutions with active ventilation using the P.A.P.A. system and AAVs, we rely on the strong technical expertise of Steve White, technical director at Studor for 17 years before Studor became part of Aliaxis in 2017; and Tony Hill, technical sales engineer with Studor, who has a very strong plumbing background.

Our experts are leaders in our industry, and have published numerous white papers and technical articles. Some examples: “High-Rise Testing of Active Drainage System Compared with Conventional Venting on Two Test Towers”, by Steve White and Tony Hill; and “Balancing the pressures in high-rise soil & waste systems and the road to priming in siphonic roof drainage”, by Marc Buitenhuis.

In addition, we have a collaborative partnership with the Heriot-Watt University, which performs extensive research and development on innovative new products in the field of hydro-dynamics. The knowledge we gain through this partnership supports our ongoing product development and refinement, in response to the evolving needs of our industry and our customers.