What image comes to mind when you think of the interior finishing of a house? Countless cables protruding from floors and walls? Not necessarily so, as Pipelife, a subsidiary of Wienerberger’s, has been able to show with Preflex Spider, its innovative system solution. Its special feature: the electrical installation is prefabricated according to a digital design.
Saving time and enhancing efficiency
“Clients receive the electrical installation tailor-made according to their requirements. Even the cables for the dishwasher can be planned in advance”, says Mark Bakker, Head of Electro Distribution at Pipelife in the Netherlands. In times of a growing shortage of skilled labor in Europe, solutions of this kind are highly welcome. The Preflex Spider facilitates the electrician’s work and saves time on the construction site. Electrical installations can be finished roughly five times faster than before.
A spider for the future
Originally used as a working title, the name SPIDER has become synonymous with the program. Laid out on the floor, the device resembles a spider, with the central connecting piece as its body and the cables as its legs. The spider-like appearance of the prefabricated installation is not the only special feature: the entire concept is based on a digital design.
The system consists of flexible, pre-wired electro conduits. At the construction site they only need to be rolled out and connected, so the entire building can be wired efficiently, without any loose cables and devices lying around. This saves time and unnecessary material costs. “Installing Preflex Spider is a bit like laying out the wiring harness in a car”, says Mark Bakker. Applications range from classic single-family homes to public buildings, for example in the field of health care, to prefabricated and modular houses.
Preflex Spider project in Waterland
“Plan Von Dis” is a residential construction project in the Dutch Waterland region. The ten single- and multi-family houses built in the characteristic Broeker style are located along waterways. A heat pump keeps the houses warm and supplies them with hot water. Installation of the prefabricated Preflex Spider saves construction time.
Intelligent design for residential buildings
As a first step, a 3D design of the electrical installation is generated, which Pipelife then uses to connect pre-wired cables. Pulling cables through electro conduits and connecting these on site is therefore a thing of the past, which saves a great deal of physical labor and is absolutely fail-safe. Customers include building developers, principals, electricians and installers. Pipelife supports them throughout the entire construction process, from the planning phase to project execution. Preflex Spider can also be used to plan electrical installations within the framework of a BIM (Building Information System) model.
Our PREFLEX SPIDER is something really special. Taking advantage of the trend toward wireless installation, we have succeeded in creating a product for the future.
The new system solution is paving the way to the smart home: instead of using a traditional switch, you turn the light on and off by means of a remote control device or smartphone. This is enabled by Preflex Spider as the power base with its wireless connections. “Our Preflex Spider is something really special. Normally, an electrical installation connects the light switch to the lamp. We have taken advantage of the trend toward wireless installation and created a product for the future”, Mark Bakker tells us.
This is how Preflex Spider is installed
The Preflex Spider project is still in its initial phase: commercial sales began in 2019. In the Netherlands, the system is already available on the market. Several thousand houses are to be equipped with prefabricated electro conduit systems in the coming years. The system will also be rolled out to other countries. According to Mark Bakker, this is only the beginning: “We started with prefabricated electrical installations. We now also want to apply this principle to drainage systems installed in the floor. Prefabrication is the future, and we want to take part in shaping it.”