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Oct 13, 2023Oct 13, 2023

Larry Busacca / Getty Images

Forks-based manufacturer Victaulic provided groove-based pipe couplings and other equipment used to build U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Philadelphia Eagles will play the New England Patriots on Sunday in Super Bowl LII.


Denise Robers work on the Paint Line at Victaulic on Kesslerville Rd. in Forks Township in November. Victaulic is a producer of mechanical pipe joining systems and is the originator of the grooved pipe couplings joining system. (MONICA CABRERA/THE MORNING CALL)

Depending on whom you ask, U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis looks like a Nordic warship or a massive shard of ice.

What no one sees upon beholding the 1.75-million-square-feet stadium that hosted the Philadelphia Eagles and Super Bowl LII are the Lehigh Valley-made products holding everything together.

Victaulic, a Forks Township-based manufacturer of grooved pipe-joining systems, sold its "installation-ready" couplings, riser manifold assemblies and pre-action check valves to Harris Mechanical, which was awarded the main mechanical contract for the construction of the $1.1 billion stadium.

The use of the pre-assembled couplings in particular helped Harris finish its portion of the project six weeks ahead of schedule.

As CEO John F. Malloy explained in November:

"In order to put an a grooved coupling on a pipe, we used to have to first disassemble the coupling and bolt it back together on the pipe. [Victaulic] came out with our "installation-ready" coupling that you can push right onto the pipe. Then you can join the second grooved pipe end and then tighten the nuts and bolts. This saves contractors a lot of time."

The installation-ready couplings install up to 10 times faster than welded joints and up to six times faster than flanged joints. The simplicity of installation allows contractors to "optimize crew size and better manage their labor risk," spokeswoman Andrea Coyne said.

Victaulic products were used in perhaps the stadium's most-challenging mechanical projects: a snow-melt system and enormous storm drain system to handle run-off and prevent a roof collapse like the one at the Minnesota Vikings’ former stadium, the Metrodome.

A six-foot-wide and 10-foot-deep gutter surrounds the large roof, and circulating hot water helps melt the snow that accumulates.

"We’ve been using Victaulic for more than 25 years and continue to find time savings in every project," Chuck Schmaltz, project superintendent from St. Paul-based Harris Mechanical, said earlier this week.

U.S. Bank Stadium, designed by HKS Architects of Dallas, opened in July.

Victaulic has nearly a thousand employees in the Lehigh Valley and remains one of the region's largest employers of steelworkers, with plants in Northampton and Lehigh counties.

The company works with contractors, owners and engineers across every phase of construction, ensuring projects run as efficiently as possible through its design services and piping system solutions.

In November, the company announced it would invest "tens of millions of dollars" over the next two years building a light assembly operations facility in Lower Nazareth that features cutting-edge technology. It also will upgrade plants in Forks and Lower Macungie and add up to 50 jobs in Forks.

The company's products have been used to build many of the most recognizable stadiums around the world, including Yankee Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, and the Olympic Stadiums in Beijing, London, Rio de Janeiro and Vancouver.

More locally, their products were used in PPL Center in Allentown and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

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