Intelligent demolition with AutoControl

2009 May 14

Demolition work is often associated with brute force. Professionals know better and opt for a more sensitive approach. Demolition work not only requires a fair amount of experience and a proper understanding of what has to be done. The right kind of equipment and experienced operators make the difference if the work carried out on a construction is to be efficient. That demolition work is a passion and a discipline which has to be taken seriously is demonstrated by the contractors De Meuter from Ternat in Belgium.

“Nowadays demolition contractors have to meed increasingly stringend standards”, says Aster De Meuter. “Sometimes we have to gut office buildings which are not completely vacated and must remain operational. In such cases noise is a major handicap. That is why we often use Atlas Copco vibrocilenced hydraulic breakers which are in our opinion the most silent products on the market.”

A multitude of factors must be taken into account if you want to do demolition jobs in a professional manner. For De Meuter the safety of their own staff and that of third parties is particularly important. But also the site location, the condition of the building, the handicaps related to the annoyance caused by noise, dust and vibrations as well as the ability to recycle most of the demolition material are all criteria which call for a substantial amount of experience.

The demolition of the IPM building in the Jacqmainlaan in Brussels housing the old printing shop of the La Libre Belgique newspaper is a good example. At the time the building was constructed, the foundations for the printing presses inside the printing shop were conceived as very thick concrete slabs. They are more than 2 m thick and consist of heavily reinforced concrete with an extraordinary high rebar density.

A demolition of these foundations required an extra powerful hydraulic breaker. “Usually our heavy-duty Atlas Copco, which is part of our standard machinery, should fill the bill”, Aster De Meuter explains. “But the particularly durable structure of the foundations and the location of the site in the heart of Brussels required a different approach.”

After a few days the progress achieved with two four-ton hydraulic breakers was below schedule and a different solution had to be found. The Atlas Copco HB 7000 with a service weight of 7000 kg seemed to be a good alternative. “With the AutoControl feature it is exactly the breaker we need: an automatic change-over of the number of blows controlling the impact energy to impact frequency ratio in such a way that the maximum performance is available at all times with a minimum of disturbance for the vicinity,” Aster de Meuter explains. In hard material the AutoControl increases the impact energy and decreases the impact frequency. As soon as the reinforced concrete gives way, the impact energy is reduced and the impact frequency is increased.

Experience shows that the special combination of impact energy and impact frequency is the decisive element boosting demolition progress and minimising the disturbance caused by noise, vibration and dust.

A test supplied proof: after only one day the HB 7000 already demolished more than its two smaller ?brothers? did in one week.

Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.