UK contractor Coleman & Company is using a specially developed remote control JCB excavator sporting a 4 tonne multiprocessor to remove reinforced concrete floors during ongoing demolition work at Birmingham New Street Station. The machine is a 21-tonne excavator that combines a JCB JS190 upper structure with a JS220LC undercarriage and rubber track pads that can deploy a 4 tonne multiprocessor attachment without exceeding a gross weight of 25 tonnes.
Coleman is now in its fifth year on site and the current phase requires the removal of 6,000 tonnes of mass reinforced concrete during 2014 and 2015. Some beams weigh as much as 90 tonnes and are 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide and 1.5 m (5 ft) deep. The work is taking place directly beneath the newly constructed, multi million pound atrium steelwork structure that must be protected from any impact from the demolition work. It is also taking place within a live construction site while 140,000 people continue to travel through the station daily.
Coleman & Company technical manager Chris Holland, said: “We asked JCB to design a bespoke machine that could carry out specific tasks in high risk and technically challenging environments. Nothing was ever an issue or problem. It was more a challenge the company rose to. This was very encouraging as the stakes are very high at New Street given we’ll be operating above 12 live train lines carrying thousands of passengers per day.”
The new JCB machine is expected to work on the project for the next nine months. Once completed, it provides Coleman & Company with a unique tool for highly complex demolition tasks.
Coleman & Company contract support manager Malcolm Hurst added: “The remote control machine gives Coleman & Company the option to operate in restricted and confined areas while the operator remains in a safe location. It can be used on demolition projects that are deemed too dangerous to risk an operator in the cab or in contaminated structures where human access is unsafe."
The machine’s remote control system allows the operator to work the machine while positioned in a mobile elevated work platform above the beam being demolished to allow close assessment of the work. An integrated infra-red laser fence restricts the unit’s operation to a designated safe zone, preventing it from operating too near the edge of the suspended floor.
In addition, the JCB excavator also features LED lighting for night vision, a non-biodegradable safe fuel system, a triple articulated boom, range control, on board auto fire-fighting equipment, on board dust suppression and a jet ski-style emergency stop pull chord.
The development of the machine has required close co-operation between Coleman Engineering Services, UK dealer Gunn JCB and JCB Heavy Products in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.