Our inspiring ventures
While at Hilti we produce tools to build some of the world’s most impressive buildings and bridges, we do so much more than that. Here are just a few of our recent ventures.
Keeping top speed for Japan’s remarkable bullet train
It’s testament to our products that we’re supplier of choice for a project that’s defined by its speed, efficiency and safety.
The project in this case is Japan’s famous bullet train, or Shinkansen as it’s known, the slick high-speed rail network that other countries aspire to - and that Hilti helps to keep running smoothly.
Shinkansen comprises some 2,600km of track, with trains reaching speeds of up to 320km/h, as well as various other branches of shorter distance commuter lines.
The original Tōkaidō Shinkansen, which connects Tokyo and Osaka, carries 151 million passengers a year, making it the world's busiest railway of its kind. The service runs much bigger trains and at higher frequency than most high-speed lines. At peak times, it takes up to 13 trains an hour in each direction, every 16-car train containing 1,323 seats.
Shinkansen’s punctuality is legendary: delays amount to a matter of seconds per year. This is partly thanks to its robust technology, and partly down to the exceptionally good maintenance of all its components.
And this is where the network relies on super efficient engineering work in very tight time frames. There’s a window of just four hours a night – between the last train on one day and first train on the next – in which to do any upkeep and repair tasks on the rails.
Hilti’s east Japan sales team provides a consultancy service to help Shinkansen’s maintenance contractor, Rent Corporation, choose the best products for the job. Our SIW 22 T-A cordless impact wrench, for example, achieves incredible throughput in a very short time. “It offers great flexibility, long battery life, fast charging, low weight and complete reliability,” sums up Nobuaki Isshiki, deputy general manager of Rent Corporation in eastern Japan.
As well as providing the right tools, Hilti offers a suite of business solutions, including the option to buy or rent our products, depending on a client’s needs. “We also do fleet management services for large contracts like Shinkansen,” adds Hidekazu Takahashi, key account manager of Hilti’s rental business unit in Japan.
“It’s such an exciting project to work on,” he goes on. “Shinkansen already links all the major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and more services are planned to include the northern island of Hokkaido in 2016. It’ll be great to be part of that new development too.”
MAX IV lab, Europe
Advancing world science in Sweden
We’re delighted to have been part of the new MAX IV laboratory at Lund University - a world-leading synchrotron light source facility and Sweden’s biggest research infrastructure project of all time.
MAX IV was a five-year development, successfully completed in September 2015 and due to start producing light on the (poetically chosen) summer solstice of 2016.
In the world of science, Lund University is synonymous with excellence in disciplines like chemistry and physics, medicine and mechanical engineering. It’s also home to MAX-lab, where scientists from all over the world use electromagnetic synchrotron radiation to carry out research in areas ranging from archaeology and nanotechnology to electron spectroscopy.
MAX IV is the next-generation MAX-lab, which houses 28 beamlines and 19 experiment stations for up to 2,000 researchers each year.
At double the capacity of previous labs, MAX I, MAX II and MAX III, the facility’s structure called for the most advanced electromagnetic radiation technology coupled with the rigorous safety standards you might expect for a research centre of this kind.
Construction was a joint venture run by Swedish property developers Peab and Wihlborgs. They turned to Hilti for our measuring, anchor, fastening and installation systems – and, with them, our engineering expertise. We came on board with a team of trained craftsmen and offered a customised rail and fastening technique that proved considerably more time and cost efficient than conventional systems.
Along the way, we worked with Imtech Nordic to install the project’s heating, sanitation, sprinkler and processing systems. For a building whose stability is more than put through its paces, these needed robust protection against vibration and noise. Our engineers were on site to help plan and calculate for this, and also to ensure the free-flowing supply of quality installation material.
The beams, for example, were prepared using Hilti tools, which added huge value in terms of speed and efficiency. As Krister Andersson, project manager at Imtech Nordic, explains, “Beams were ready cut, marked up and delivered in sections, which meant 30% time savings across the different building phases.”
Construction was split into two major phases. First, a 420m-long tunnel with a width of 10m and walls of up to 2m thick concrete to hold the synchrotron linear accelerator. Second, a new laboratory - a circular building with 12m-high ceilings and a circumference of 650m - to house the large storage ring. Also in remit were a new office and visitors’ centre, as well as several technical buildings. In total, some 20 buildings with a gross floor area of 50,000m2.
Thanks to investment in MAX IV, the Lund area of Sweden expects a new city district to emerge, attracting businesses, residents and visitors to the region. When fully built, an estimated 50,000 people will work and live in the new city district.
It’s always great to know you’re part of something bigger – especially when the original venture is as phenomenal as MAX IV.
US Bank Stadium, North America
Impressing the fans of Minnesota Vikings
It’s always a thrill to shape city skylines. This project was especially exciting because, on top of giving Minneapolis a new silhouette, it reformed the landscape of America’s biggest sports.
US Bank Stadium is the jaw-dropping new home of NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, and the chosen venue for Super Bowl LII in 2018, as well as the NCAA’s men’s basketball Final Four in 2019. So we’re really proud to say that our tools and teams were part of the big build.
At more than 30 stories tall, US Bank Stadium stands in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. It’s an iconic design with capacity to hold up to 73,000 people. This includes 131 suites, 8,000 club seats, 430 concessions and a Vikings museum and hall of fame. It has a translucent slanted roof and facades and movable front windows, so fans can experience games in good weather while staying snug on wet play days, and all the time enjoying plenty of natural light and views of the city.
The $1.1billion project called for Hilti products right from the beginning. But more than that, we provided our technologies, services and expertise, with teams on the job throughout.
When it comes to large stadium projects, we believe it’s never too early to get involved. So we promptly put all the right people in place to develop rapports with chief decision makers. We already had strong relationships with architects HKS and developers Mortenson, so we built on these to familiarise ourselves with the project’s different teams.
We needed to know every contractor on site, their trades and applications, so we could understand the various construction and engineering requirements, and recommend the most efficient tools for each task.
As Hilti regional manager Curt Lehman explains, “With more than 100 different contractors on the job at any given time, keeping tabs on who was who was challenging but essential.”
As for the construction itself, we took a ‘high, deep and wide’ approach. We provided all of the stadium’s key firestop applications, as well as all the anchors. Our HY 200 Safe Set anchors proved such a success on the Vikings project that they’ve since been used on stadiums for the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Falcons.
But US Bank Stadium is about more than hosting high-profile national competitions. It will also be an asset for the city of Minneapolis, available 355 days a year for public events like high school and amateur sports, cultural celebrations, business conventions and music concerts. And, for us at Hilti, this impact on the wider community is the icing on the cake.