We are in the Venice lagoon, in the Tronchetto fish market, to be precise, a strategic sorting point for fish species from all over the world. It is very important for a fish market to have a functioning cooling system in the summer months, which combats the rise in temperature and, together with ice containers and refrigerators, ensures that the freshness of the product is preserved. The sales area of the market, a structure with a vaulted roof and wide dispersion, did not have this feature.
Veritas (Veneziana Energia Risorse Idriche Territorio Ambiente Servizi), a multi-utility public company, the second largest in the Veneto region and one of the largest in Italy, addressed this problem by requesting the support of P-Trex.
P-Trex, the Business Unit of Fibre Net Spa, specialises in the design and manufacture of profiles, structures and fences in composite materials (GFRP), which are used in many industrial sectors as an upgrade to replace conventional materials.
All the P-Trex profiles and structures are produced by Fibre Net Spa, a leading company in the market for structural reinforcement, strengthening, improvement and seismic retrofitting of existing buildings and infrastructures. The challenge to overcome was linked to the architectural features of the building, but did not finish there. The customer had vetoed the erection of internal pillars and any other element that would affect the overall free space (including during the work implementation stage), since the market is very crowded during opening hours and is constantly crossed by vehicles. It was, therefore, necessary to work at height without occupying the floor space.
In the design phase, all the limitations and problems associated with the structure were taken into careful consideration, especially the need to find a suspended solution, in an “aerial” environment. The P-Trex team designed the creation of a false ceiling to reduce the loss of this wide area and so, enable the installation of the cooling system. Given that any other suspended metal element would have resulted in excessive weight for the existing structures, it was decided to use GFRP pultruded profiles produced in suitable lengths, suspended by steel cables/ropes and able to satisfy the structural checks of the elements.
From the definitive project, with the identification of the profiles featuring adequate mechanical characteristics, the production diagrams were created, along with custom cuts, profile machining, followed by the hole drilling and preparation of all the joints. P-Trex was also responsible for supplying the accessories, connection plates between the profiles and eyebolts to attach the bracing and support cables.
The detailed planning of the installation activities is a fundamental aspect for guaranteeing the success of an intervention. As per the customer’s request, the work was carried out without interrupting the activity of the fish market. The latter, in fact, continued to operate as usual while the activities for installing the false ceiling and systems were spread out over two working shifts when the market closed and in the early hours of the evening. The installation work involved the use of an aerial platform which advanced gradually on a daily basis.
The level of benefit anticipated from the choice and use of GFRP was immediately demonstrated by how easy it was to suspend the tubular profiles (about 1300 linear metres) and attach them to the structure, thus saving “aerial” installation time.