Afinitas' PRIMA for the production of monolithic manhole base solutions integrates technology from Hawkeye Pedershaab Smartcast and the BFS Capitan manhole base systems to create a one-of-a-kind production system for the manufacture of wet-cast manhole bases and other specialized precast concrete products.

A unique feature of the Prima system is the ability to choose the milling device that best suits your needs. Whether it is the HawkeyePedershaab Smartcast Kuka robotic milling unit or the BFS Capitan multi-axis CNC milling device, or both combined, the user can produce an infinite number of channel flow designs.

The challenge with traditional manhole base manufacturing is that it is time-consuming, laborious and error-prone. Prima removes these inconveniences with an uncomplicated and flexible system for producing monolithic manhole bases.

HawkeyePedershaab's proven Smartcast and BFS Capitan technology is:

◎ a choice of milling system: robotic KUKA, multi-axis CNC milling or both

◎ purchase of EPS blanks from your preferred supplier

◎ readily available technical assistance worldwide.

Take your manhole base production to the next level with the integration of the Prima wet cast automation system from Afinitas

A system using CNC multi-axis milling can produce more than 30 pieces per shift and up to 15 pieces using a robotic milling device (depending on product parameters).

Nominal diameter 600 - 2000mm 24-80″) / Vertical drop up to 90M (3′)

Prima Hybrid (robotic milling arm and CNC multi-axis milling capability)
Prima Robotic Arm Milling
Prima CNC multi-axis milling

The manhole channel configuration challenge

The base section - or manhole bottom - is the lower part of the inspection chamber. Its function is to allow inspection and maintenance of the pipeline - particularly where pipelines join together. As a result, manhole bases have to be manufactured in many different configurations, since the connecting pipelines are often different sizes, made of different materials, and have different gradients and invert levels.

In manhole manufacturing, the challenge is therefore to form all the individual channels in the manhole bases so that each pipeline has unobstructed flow. This should minimize the risk of solids accumulation.

Traditionally, forming flow channels in manholes was done by hand, by making a concrete benching on site, which was a very time-consuming, labor-intensive and difficult task.

PRIMA's answer:

The Prima monolithic manhole base system replaces manual operations with an intelligent, digital configurator, that is easy to use and provides unlimited versatility. It enables you to meet your specific product production requirements while maintaining the highest quality.

Once the key variables are entered into the Prima product configurator, the system mills channel-forming molds out of a single piece of industry-standard EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) using either a programmable industrial robot (for highly specialized projects) or a CNC multi-axis milling unit for higher output projects.

There is no need to tape, glue, use screws or foam.

A user-friendly computer interface creates the world's simplest system for producing monolithic manhole bases of the highest quality.

The Prima system can be used as a simple stand-alone EPS milling station or integrated into the Prima automated production system with specialized in-line filling, de-molding and handling workstations.


Intuitive Design Software

The design of a manhole bottom is created automatically after entering parameters such as the number of inlets, diameter and orientation of inlets, height (invert level) of inlets, flow channel slope values, type of connection, angle of the manhole banquette, etc.

All data is entered via a user-friendly interface, which is available on a local server or on a web server (at your choice).

Prima can operate as a standalone system or be integrated with a company's existing ERP system.

In the web-based version, manhole bases can be designed from any computer workstation (PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone), either on-site or remotely. Once the manhole base has been designed, the full detailed drawing can be downloaded immediately, and once the design has been approved, the manhole base can be sent to production with a single click.

The list of advantages of PRIMA design software is very long:

  • ability to work in multiple languages
  • ability to connect to almost any ERP system and create in it a workflow of the project and associated paperwork (purchase orders, change orders, data sheets, etc.).
  • calendar feature to plan and/or reschedule workflows
  • ability to add barcodes to data sheets
  • ability to configure square manholes
  • all channel settings can be saved as favorites for reuse
  • ability to create special configurators for highly complex or unusual items
  • stacking software is also available.

◎ Precise and efficient milling with BFS Capitan technology

The BFS Capitan multi-axis CNC milling center can produce precise channel negatives and associated recess cores. In one shift, one operator can produce about 30 complete channels.

In addition, one polystyrene core can be used for up to five Casts. Fully automating the milling process frees up the operator to work on channel assembly, which is also a simple process performed without tools.

  • A vacuum table attaches the polystyrene blocks, and a pin clamps the hole former.
  • Any bench angle can be milled independent of inner core angle.
  • Polystyrene residuals are is automatically extracted.
  • Up to 30 products in 1 shift, 1 operator.


  Advanced milling with the HawkeyePedershaab Smartcast robot

For those who prefer an even more advanced milling technique, the system can be equipped with Kuka's robotic arm technology.

This six-axis milling robot is equipped with precision grinding head mills. Depending on the size and configuration of the flow channels, the robot is capable of producing up to 15 EPS channel shapes in a single shift of one operator. The system is easy to set up and operates without supervision.

It also comes with a suction and bagging system that collects recyclable polystyrene residue.

  • the robot can be supplied with standard robot programming software, which allows the user to use the robot for other purposes as needed
  • Six-axis robotic arm
  • High-speed spindle motor and specialized tooling
  • Unlimited design configurations
  • Up to 15 EPS channels 1 shift/1 operator


Strato - a first-of-its-kind inliner pipe

Strato is a new addition to our Prima inliner system.

This unique inliner pipe has been developed specifically for extreme conditions in sewage applications.

Strato fulfills the highest demands for durability under conditions of increased chemical exposure and can be quickly and economically introduced into the Prima production system.

The entire chamber base lining and pipe connections are manufactured outside the mold, without any joints. The production of individual chamber linings, as well as intelligent stock production, provides extremely economical production conditions, which also includes the simple recycling of polystyrene models.

Strato creates an exceptionally smooth surface with excellent hydraulic properties. It can be used with all standard sealants, and Strato's coating provides high resistance to acids up to pH level of 1. Strato also has high chemical resistance to gases and salts and is extremely abrasion-resistant.


  BFS Casacap coating for fast UV curing

After the manhole base channels are milled, BFS Casacap coating is applied to the surface of the milled EPS pieces. This results in a very smooth concrete surface in the finished product, and the release agent allows the EPS elements to be easily removed in one piece during demoulding.

The BFS Casacap UV Curing station allows the channels to be processed in less than 5 minutes.

One of the biggest advantages of Prima's monolithic manhole bases is the ease of fabricating the EPS elements, fitting them together and finally fixing them to a durable steel mold.

Competing versatile manhole systems require many complex manufacturing steps to produce the EPS core, as well as the use of multiple hot cutting machines and careful gluing processes.

The PRIMA system creates the entire EPS channel section in one continuous piece, and the connecting elements, or side cores, are simply attached to the main core using self-locking principles. In fact, the production and assembly of the EPS core cover and the process of attaching it to the permanent mold is very simple.