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FIP MEC: Made in Italy engineering that protects against earthquakes

A maxi-sphere between the 87th and 92nd floors, built by FIP MEC and tested by engineer Renato Vitaliani, saved Taiwan’s Taipei 101 from the recent earthquake.

reading time3 minutes

If it had collapsed, it would have been a catastrophe within a catastrophe; instead, the violent earthquake that shook Taiwan on 3 April miraculously left unscathed the Taipei 101 super-skyscraper, more than half a kilometre high, a tourist attraction, office and shopping centre visited by thousands of people. Built 20 years ago, with its 509 metres and 101 storeys, Taipei 101 is still among the eleven tallest buildings in the world. The skyscraper withstood the terrible 7.4-magnitude earthquake thanks to a sophisticated 100% Made in Italy anti-seismic system, which bears the signature of the Italian company FIP MEC Srl of Selvazzano Dentro, Padua.

Research & development to stay at the cutting edge

Founded in 1945, FIP MEC is still a benchmark for engineering in our country. FIP MEC specialises in structural bearings, expansion joints, anti-seismic devices, tunnel products, and accessories for civil and infrastructure engineering. The company is headquartered in Italy, operates on an area of more than 50,000 square metres, and is present in forty countries through a network of subsidiaries and representatives. FIP MEC’s strengths lie in its research and development programmes, conducted in its own laboratories and in which 10% of turnover is invested yearly.

FIP MEC is an active member of the working groups that develop sector standards at the national (UNI) and international (CEN) levels. Thanks to its extensive experience in technical specifications and standards in many countries and the skills required to adapt products, it has a long list of approvals and certifications. The company has held CISQ-ICIM Quality System certification since 1992, which is in line with the International Standard ISO 9001.

Tuned mass dumper: what it is and how it works

Back to Taipei 101 and the terrible earthquake that rocked Taiwan, it was the ‘tuned mass dumper’, a kind of maxi-pendulum that was able to absorb and balance the quake’s energy. It is a gigantic 600-tonne sphere with a diameter of 5.5 metres made of 41 discs and supported by eight hydraulic pumps. The device is positioned between the 87th and 92nd floors and, as engineer Renato Vitaliani, who tested the damping systems, says in an interview with ANSA, it acts ‘in phase opposition to the oscillations induced by the tower and significantly reduces them.There are also energy dissipators around it, damping systems that block the pendulum when the earthquake ends to prevent damage to the structure.

Congratulations to those who bring Italian engineering to the world!

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