Going Global for the Panama Canal
Putzmeister America, Inc. and its Special Applications Business (SAB) group are providing their complete global systems approach, including their pumping and material placing equipment, to the historic Panama Canal Third Set of Locks project. The locks will create a new third lane of traffic along the Canal, doubling its capacity and allowing more traffic and longer, wider ships to pass through.
The Canal’s History
Interest picked back up again and studies in recent years by the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (ACP), the owner/developer of the project, pointed to the same solution as was deemed in the 1930s, that a larger, third set of locks would be the most suitable, profitable and environmentally responsible way to increase Canal capacity and allow the Panamanian maritime route to continue to grow.
There are four objectives the ACP has put forth for this project, and they include: making long-term growing and sustainable contributions to the Panamanian society through the payments the Canal makes to the National Treasury; maintaining the Canal’s competitiveness as well as the value of the Panama maritime route to the national economy; increasing the Canal’s capacity in order to capture the growing demand with the appropriate level of service for each market segment; and increasing the Canal’s productivity, safety and efficiency.
There are three main components of the project.
The design-build contract for the project was awarded to the consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), which is made up of four companies: Sacyr Vallehermoso S.A., Impregilo S.p.A., Jan De Nul n.v. and Constructora Urbana, S.A.
“SAB is a partnership between Putzmeister America, Inc., Allentown Shotcrete Technology, Inc., Esser Pipe Technology and Maxon Industries, Incorporated,” says Mr. Weiglein. “This partnership offers a complete systems approach that offers all products to all projects around the world, to customers in tunneling and mining, dams and power generation, transportation, and marine and offshore industries.”
In the meeting it was expressed that flexible, maneuverable and mobile material placing systems were key because of the job site’s unstable terrain.
“Just as the original Canal faced land slides and flooding,” explains Mr. Weiglein. “Today’s worksites have areas of flooding and unstable banks as well as solid rock.”
After the meeting in Italy, SAB and Agreconsa, Putzmeister’s local dealer for 24/7 parts, service and support in Panama, worked together to determine what system solutions would be ideal for various components of the project.
“Agreconsa is a well-respected distributor in Panama and takes great pride in the sale and service of Putzmeister equipment,” says Mr. Weiglein. “They are committed to Panama, its economy, and work together with us to provide exactly what customers need.”
There first was a need to place concrete and gravel for the project’s batching and crushing plant’s foundation.
The Telebelts do not need to be permanently mounted to the ground or a super-structure. In the event the equipment has to be moved due to changing terrain conditions the TB 130’s quick setup and tear down provides the flexibility required on the jobsite.
“Another benefit of the Telebelt is that multiple types of material can be placed with one piece of equipment, and in the same day,” explains Peter Mamopulakos, owner of Agreconsa. “Since both concrete and gravel are being placed on the site this feature is an invaluable asset. The TBs are true multi-taskers.”
Don Matthews, Putzmeister’s field service technician for Telebelts, went out for the first two weeks the Telebelts were on site to help start up the equipment, train the local operators, and ensure the customer had everything they needed.
In addition to the Telebelts, SAB and Agreconsa will be delivering a considerable amount of equipment, ranging from Thom-Katt® trailer pumps to boom pumps for other portions of the project.
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