And HEROSE has been supplying pertaining safety valves for the pressure chamber production for more than ten years.
Pressure Chamber Centre Karlsruhe: Lately, the Speyer Diver’s Club paid a visit to where usually patients undergo the hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The aim was to experience the decompression sickness phenomenon. Harald Barthel, HBO2 operator for pressure chambers in Karlsruhe: “I set the pressure chamber to the maximum pressure of 5.0 bar, corresponding to a diving depth of 50 metres.” What happened then he describes as follows: “The divers – all of them beginners – went completely berserk and behaved as if they were completely intoxicated.” When watching the video recording of the experiment afterwards, the group reacted in a remarkable way. Barthel: “The participants quickly lost their wits. None of them will ever take diving lightly. Each of them could experience how lifethreatening the decompression sickness can be.”
This noteworthy afternoon in the “STARMED 2200” pressure chamber equipped with HEROSE safety valves was an exception only. Usually, the Pressure Chamber Centre Karlsruhe treats patients with the hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO). This is a therapy where patients subjected to overpressure inhale medically pure oxygen. To achieve a therapeutic effect, the pressure is increased to 1.5 – 2.3 times the normal pressure. Then, the “oxygen medicament” is breathed with a respiratory mask. The lungs transfer this inhaled oxygen to the blood. Due to the increased pressure in the chamber, a considerably higher amount of oxygen physically dissolves in the blood. Consequently, body areas poorly supplied due to their location or premature damage are supplied with a sufficient amount of oxygen. This triggers biological processes that would not occur without oxygen. The HBO therapy helps patients suffering from acute hearing loss or tinnitus, bone marrow oedema, radiation damage, poorly healing wounds or the so-called diabetic foot, which is responsible for two thirds of all foot amputations.
The manufacturer of the “STARMED 2200” pressure chamber is HAUX, headquartered at Karlsbad, located some 20 kilometres east of Karlsruhe. Gerhard Haux, who had been working for Dräger in Lübeck where he had built up the Diving Technology department, founded the company in 1980. His son Jochen Haux, now managing the company together with his brother Torsten: “Some 32 years ago, my father finally set up a business of his own.” The exhibits of the small museum in the HAUX administrative building at Karlsbad still exemplify the company founder’s passion: diving. This is how the success story of “HAUXLIFE- SUPPORT GmbH” began. Jochen Haux: “Today, we serve three sectors with approximately 130 employees: underwater, medicine and under ground/ tunnel construction.“
Today, medical pressure chambers – a sector where HAUX has become the world’s market leader – are responsible for approx. 60 % of the turnover. There is a long reference list: for a hospital in Lille (France), for example, HAUX built the world’s largest pressure chamber system, featuring three therapy chambers all of which can be used for intensive care. HAUX is still very active in the Diving sector. The product range comprises decompression chambers, diving simulators and even full-fledged deep diving installations. Jochen Haux: “Deep diving installations are a special challenge. Imagine being on a space flight under water. The divers not only work in depths up to 300 metres, for example when repairing pipelines, they also spend their leisure times in a directly docked accommodation container system. And they do this for as long as six weeks.” At an overpressure of 30 bar down there, you cannot simply drive home after work… The system equipment even makes emergency surgery possible.
HAUX also is a supplier of the German Navy: a diving simulator at Kiel where prospective divers learn their difficult profession. And there is the third sector, Tunnel Construction, where HAUX comes into play when underground construction sites have to be pressurised, for example.
HAUX builds 40 to 50 pressure chambers a year. Apart from the headquarters at Karlsbad, there is a second company site at Cuxhaven dedicated to vessels and apparatus construction. At Karlsbad, the pressure chambers are completely assembled, thoroughly tested, disassembled again and finally installed at the customer’s. Torsten Haux: “We have a basic maintenance team of up to ten persons for this task.” HAUX remains an active player even after delivery. All chambers are serviced throughout their service life, some with remote maintenance.
Being true engineers, the HAUX brothers are permanently seeking for new challenges: one of them is currently posed by a leading German automotive manufacturer. Jochen Haux: “For this customer, we are constructing a burst chamber required for fuel cell testing.” Second example: The German Aerospace Center (DLR) commissioned HAUX to build a vacuum lab to simulate a space mission to Mars.
No need to mention that all HAUX products are extremely critical with regard
to safety. Suppliers are selected accordingly. HEROSE has been the leading supplier of safety valves for more than ten years. Jochen Haux: “These valves are like a life insurance for the persons inside the pressure chamber. We cannot take chances here. With HEROSE products, we know we can rely on quality.” Markus Kühn of the Ludwig Sulzer HEROSE agency at Freiburg pays regular visits to HAUX. “The customer orders type 06216/06217 and 06380 safety valves for implementation in the pressure chambers.“
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