>B< Press selected for European Space Agency - New Norcia station in Western Australia



Chris Musgrave Engineering, specialist leading contractors in the design, construction and certification of mechanical and electrical services, installed Conex Bänninger’s >B< Stainless Steel press-fit solution for the cooling water network in two high power amplifiers in the antenna pedestal that are used to communicate with spacecrafts after launch, in low earth orbit, in geostationary orbit and deep space satellites including the Rosetta Probe and Mars Lander.


Conex Bänninger’s >B< stainless steel press – fit system has been specified for a new cooling water network at the European Space Agency’s New Norcia ESTRACK Earth station in Western Australia.

Chris Musgrave, Managing Director of Chris Musgrave Engineering, said: “We have developed an excellent relationship with the European Space Agency over the years for providing a first class service when maintaining and servicing critical equipment on-site.  We were therefore delighted to be awarded this contract.  

“It was an extremely challenging project.  The system operates at 700pa working pressure, with the high power amplifiers rejecting approximately 100kw of heat when fully operating.  The existing cooling water network was supplied by a rubber hose system that, due to the temperature and pressure changes, had deteriorated badly with cracking and presented a mission critical risk to the operation.  

“The European Space Agency tasked us to research ways of installing a new stainless steel network as a permanent fix to this issue.  Stainless steel was the ideal material choice as the water is de-ionised to prevent electrical arching due to the very high voltages in the high power amplifiers. Conex Baninger’s >B< Press Stainless Steel press-fit system met and exceeded the demands of the project.”

Chris’s team of highly skilled engineers initially had to remove the old system from difficult to access locations within the building.  This was done in two phases to ensure there was minimal disruption to the European Space Agency’s operations.  

“We specified Conex Baninger’s >B< stainless steel press-fit system from Reece -Malaga because it is simple to use and features a durable three-point ‘B’ profile press to maximise system performance,” continued Chris.  “The European Space Agency wanted a solution that could offer long-term reliability and safety and a manufacturer backed 25 year warranty.

“Another key reason for choosing a >B< stainless steel-press fit system was the benefits it could offer over traditional welding.  This technique would have been far too difficult because of the multitude of other services in the area.  It would also have been extremely costly and time consuming due to the amount of pipework needed; the hot works alone would have be prohibitive.” 

>B< stainless steel press-fit is a flame free solution, eliminating the need for welding to give a permanent, leak free joint.  This means no hot works permit giving flexibility during installation and increasing productivity significantly enabling the client to continue operation seamlessly.  

Chris concluded: “All of our engineers were trained on >B< stainless steel press-fit to ensure the system was installed to Conex Baninger’s manufacturing recommendations, giving my client additional peace of mind.  The entire network consisted of 50mm diameter 316L tube, with required amount of fittings in each system’s.  Once installed, the system was pressure tested to 100kPa for 24 hours, with no leaks detected and a 100% pass rate. 
“It’s the first time I’ve used >B< stainless steel press-fit but job specific I will definitely use Conex Banninger again as our preferred brand.  Along with the ease and speed of installation, it’s also a solution that aesthetically looks good, which was important on this project as the work being carried out was visible.  In total, I estimate we saved at least 50% in labour installation time because we used a >B< stainless steel press- fit solution in comparison to traditional weld jointing methods, with this crucial project taking just four days to complete.”

For more information on Conex Bänninger’s complete range of valves and fittings solutions, visit www.conexbanninger.com.