Demolition first

19 March 2008

An ideal testing opportunity–Volvo's prototype EC360B LC at work demolishing bulldings at the Basle

An ideal testing opportunity–Volvo's prototype EC360B LC at work demolishing bulldings at the Basle Medial University complex in the heart of the city.

The EC360B LC is expected to be the next high reach model to be officially launched by Volvo and obviously field–testing is an essential part of new product development. So it was natural for Volvo to supply a good customer with a prototype for evaluation purposes.

Restrukta Bau, based in the Swiss town of Root and active in the industry for the last 12 years, currently employs a workforce of some 50 personnel who carry out demolition work around Switzerland.

The reason for the company carrying out the field testing of the EC360 is simple–it is a major Volvo customer in the region, with seven demolition speced standard and mass excavator EC360 and EC240 machines making up its excavator fleet, although it does also operate a Furukawa machine as well, along with Volvo wheeled loaders. This means that its operators are well experienced in using Volvo equipment.

In addition, Restrukta is in the market to buy a new high reach, and had investigated a number of potential options–a chance to try out the new high reach rig was an opportunity it could not turn down.

Equally important from Volvo's perspective, Restrukta was able to offer a work site that would provide the kind of test conditions that Volvo ideally required–the prototype should run for the maximum number of hours in the shortest timeframe. Five hundred hours in one month was the minimum requirement for Volvo, in order to fully test the systems and structure of the new high reach design to ensure it offered the required robustness and reliability.

Restrukta came on to the Basel Medical University site in February 2007 and the job expected to last six months, with a ompletion date in July.

The most challenging aspect to this ntract has been the decontamination of the structures. Soft strip and decontamination occupied the first three months of the job, with Restrukta working in parallel with a specialist decontamination contractor. Restrukta dealt with the soft p of the buildings on the site, removing er, electrical cable runs, flooring and tion walls. The specialist subcontractor with the PCB hazards, plastic window es, asbestos remediation and other hazardous materials.

The city centre location of the site, in close proximity to large volumes of pedestrians and vehicles during the day, created another challenge for the contractor, necessitating the need for the high reach to bring the upper structure of the buildings immediately adjacent to this traffic down during the hours of darkness. For nine nights the machine worked in conjunction with a mobile crane that supported a screen to minimise the risk of debris falling outside the site area.

During normal daytime operations, eight Restrukta personnel are on site but during the night work, only three were present–the site supervisor, crane operator and high reach operator.

As much as possible of the demolition debris will be recycled. Ferrous and non–ferrous metals, plastics are wood are transported to third party recycling operations. Restrukta estimates that the site will generate upwards of 20,000 m3 of concrete waste, of which as much as possible will broken up and used as fill on site prior to the construction of the new hospital buildings. A further 25,000 m3 of red brick will be transported off–site for further processing.

So what of the performance of the prototype? No major problems have been reported with the machine apart from those you might expect with any excavator carrying out such duty, so it looks like we will see more high reach EC360Cs working on sites in the not too distant future.

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