Bridging Safety & Productivity with Modern Solutions




Almost half the bridges in Canada were built before 1969, which makes bridge maintenance inspection and repairs crucial for public safety. To stay on top of high demand, contractors need to be ready with the fastest, most productive options to take on the heavy workload.

More and more are turning to hydrodemolition robots and remote-controlled demolition machines as solutions. After experiencing worker shortages, increasing workers’ compensation claims and growing insurance premiums, the higher cost of the equipment starts to take a backseat. Remote-controlled and robotic machines provide more safety, productivity and efficiency for removing concrete around rebar than handheld tools, mini excavators and backhoes.

As an example, innovative hydrodemolition robots can remove as much as 74.3 m2 of bridge deck at a depth of 10 cm in just an hour, a fraction of the time it would take a crew of workers with jackhammers.

Unlike handheld tools and excavators with demolition tools, hydrodemolition robots virtually eliminate the possibility of microfracturing and unintended damage during bridge repair or rehabilitation. The 1380 bar (20,000 psi) water jets target the bridge deck surface, quickly removing layers of concrete but leaving rebar unscathed and clean. There is no need to spend extra time carefully avoiding rebar because the high-pressure water, though devastating to concrete, does not damage the metal bars. The method also does not cause vibrations, eliminating the possibility of microfracturing that could threaten bridge stability.

Alternatively, a remote-controlled demolition machine equipped with a breaker attachment and controlled by an operator and one spotter can break up 0.19 m2 of bridge deck concrete in 15 minutes. The same area in the same amount of time would require 3 workers with handheld tools.

Remote-controlled machines drop labor costs by 33%, accomplish the job faster and greatly reduce the risk of injury. Plus, it is a lot easier to recruit young workers to run remote-controlled machines and hydrodemolition robots as opposed to handheld tools.

Until infrastructure funding is passed, the number of bridges in dire need of repair will continue to skyrocket. However, funding will eventually need to be addressed and these structures repaired before liabilities escalate. Contractors that prepare, plan and incorporate technology solutions into their business will be able to successfully, efficiently and profitably address these needs.

Source: Aquajet

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