Group photo in front of the company voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl in Kapfenberg

© Dagmar Fischer

Institute field trip 2018

After the big tour of France last year, a one-day excursion on June 5th, 2018 was on the agenda again this year. The excursion started with a group of around 40 people at voestalpine BÖHLER Edelstahl in Kapfenberg. Unfortunately, there was a strict ban on cameras on the factory premises, which is why only our institute photo at the entrance could be taken as evidence.

Nevertheless, we were warmly welcomed and given an insight into the world of stainless steel processing. During the tour of the individual production halls, we were shown all kinds of rollers, presses, drills and other unidentifiable giant machines. For a better visualization of the effort to produce a machine, a Ferrari conversion was given for each device (i.e. how many Ferraris would you have to exchange so that you could call the same machine your own at home). The performance is very impressive: the drill can reach a length of up to 10 meters, in the multi-line rolling mill the wire rolled from a block reaches a speed of 40 m/s at the end point, with the largest press a pressure of up to 350 meganewtons ( corresponds to 35000 tons). Some processes, such as metal powder production (supposedly the most expensive technology at the site), where the steel is melted and sprayed into micrometer-fine powder, also sounded very impressive. Of course, our hosts at Böhler also knew that the average temperature in Vienna is not comparable to the cool temperature in the Murtal and have taken precautions accordingly: Since they feared that we would be too cold even in long pants and protective coats, they took care of us freshly pulled the stainless steel blocks out of the 900-1150°C warm furnaces and the factory air conditioners, which according to the guide were in operation that day, turned up to summery temperatures, so that we felt as comfortable as in Vienna and some also felt soaking wet .

After this exciting and sweaty three-hour tour of the factory premises, a hearty sausage or cheese roll snack rounded off the morning. Thanks and appreciation are due to the colleagues who arranged snack bags for the entire group before the early morning bus departure from Vienna to Kapfenberg.

Group photo in front of the Kaiserbrunn Water Pipe Museum

© Christian Zaruba

The bus took us to the Kaiserbrunn water pipe museum, where we were warmly welcomed by the manager of “Wiener Wasser Hirschwang” Ing. Hans Tobler and a colleague. After a short greeting outside, we went straight into the museum. Ing. Tobler immediately wanted to answer all of our questions on the subject of "Viennese water" without bothering with his input. However, Prof. Kozeschnik was able to motivate him to follow the conventional procedure - first a lecture, then a question. The small but fine museum, combined with the explanations of Ing. Tobler, gives a good insight into the long history of Vienna's water supply.

Photo of the source of the 1st Viennese aqueduct

© Dagmar Fischer

From today's perspective, the conditions that prevailed in Vienna up to the end of the 19th century in terms of water supply (quality and access) and hygiene are unimaginable. The rapidly growing population of Vienna drew groundwater from wells, which was heavily polluted and therefore led to epidemics such as typhus. Albert Kasimir of Saxony, Duke of Teschen, took a first step towards improvement with the construction of the Albertine water pipeline, completed in 1804, from the area of today's Hüttelbergstraße in Vienna Penzing. Since the water supply for the ever-expanding Vienna could not be adequately covered, the Vienna City Council decided in 1869 to build the first Viennese high spring water pipeline from the source area of Rax and Schneeberg. The decision was preceded by many years of planning, whereby the undertaking could only be implemented through the acquisition of the forests and land by the City of Vienna. Anton Gabrielli was commissioned to build the water pipe. After a construction period of four years, the first Viennese high spring water pipeline (numerous tunnels and 30 aqueducts) was ceremonially opened on October 24, 1873 by Emperor Franz Joseph I. At the same time, the high-jet fountain on Vienna's Schwarzenbergplatz, which master builder Gabrielli had donated out of gratitude for the large order, was put into operation.

It soon became clear that a second high spring pipeline was necessary to supply Vienna. On December 2, 1910, it went into operation, fed by springs from the Hochschwab area (more than 100 aqueducts). At 675 m2, the source protection area of the two lines is larger than the area of Vienna. The care of the protective forests is extremely essential, because the forest floor stores the water and serves as a filter. Suspended matter is filtered out of the water, for which the local mixed forest (spruce, fir, beech) is ideally suited.

Graphic of Vienna's mountainwater pipelines

Due to the natural gradient from the Lower Austrian-Styrian Limestone Alps to Vienna, a gravitational supply is possible without pumps, the water runs, so to speak, from the mountains to Vienna. The 1st spring line ends in the water reservoir on Vienna's Rosenhügel, the 2nd in Mauer. From there, the water distribution for Vienna to 27 water tanks begins, in which so much water is stored that the city could be supplied for four days. The journey of the water from the Rax-Schneeberg area takes around 24 hours, from the Hochschwab area 36 hours.

Photo of a colleague at the fountain

© Dagmar Fischer

Due to the height difference of 360 m, the water speed is around 5 km/h and the water temperature is 6-8 degrees Celsius. We found it very interesting that at peak times the mountain spring water is mixed with Vienna's groundwater (around five percent is fed into the pipe network) in order to be able to cover the demand. Vienna needs around 440 million liters of water per day, with 130 liters per day being consumed by every Viennese.

The fact that Vienna was voted the most livable city for the 9th time is certainly also due to the excellent quality of the drinking water. Today, the water quality is monitored around the clock using the latest technology. If the values do not match, the water is diverted into the surrounding rivers before it reaches Vienna. Ing. Tobler made people sit up and take notice with the following anecdote: A few decades ago, the test of water quality was not so technically sophisticated, a quality newspaper was placed under a glass jug filled with water and if you could read it well through the water, the water became sent to Vienna.

Group photo in front of the Kaiserbrunn water castle

© Christian Zaruba

After our visit to the Kaiserbrunn water pipe museum, we decided to hike part of the first Viennese water pipe path. This section leads from the Wasserleitungsmuseum along the Schwarza to the Rax cable car. The scenically impressive area is also known as the "alpine climbing system" and leads through the Höllental, a narrow valley between the limestone massifs of Schneeberg and Rax.

Landscape photo of the 1st Viennese water supply route

© Christian Zaruba

Landscape photo of the 1st Viennese water supply route

© Dagmar Fischer

Dagmar Fischer on the 1st Viennese water supply path

© Ernst Kozeschnik

[Translate to English:] Foto beim Heurigen in Gumpoldskirchen

When we arrived in Gumpoldskirchen, we were welcomed by the friendly staff of the "Weiberwirtschaft". Shortly afterwards we were already sitting together over wine and eating schnitzel, roast caraway and curd cheese strudel with vanilla sauce (also called Quarkstulle by the locals). The bus then took us back to Vienna, so we could look back on a successful institute excursion in 2018.