Tag Archive for 'hydrodemolition'

Aquajet Launches Ecosilence 3.0 For Quiet Operation and Reduced Fuel Consumption

Aquajet’s new Ecosilence 3.0 offers a number of innovations including an integrated, low-emission engine with the latest technology and a liquid-to-air cooling system. It employs auto start/stop technology, which temporarily shuts down the engine when not in operation, reducing idling as much as 50%.

Aquajet, a global leader in manufacturing Hydrodemolition machines, introduces the Ecosilence 3.0 that reduces noise and allows for a more compact jobsite, while enhancing environmental stewardship and lowering overall operating costs. The new Ecosilence features integrated auto start/stop technology that improves fuel consumption, which saves as much as 6.6 gallons ( 25 liters) fuel a day for a smaller carbon footprint. The re-engineered Ecosilence is more compact, as well, with the entire self-contained system now fitting in a standard, 20-foot shipping container. It also produces less noise while in operation, making it ideal for use in urban areas with limited space and strict noise restrictions. The new unit also has dramatically improved pumping pressure, operating as high as 43,511 psi (3,000 bar), and providing ample power for Hydrodemolition applications such as concrete renovation and road and bridge repair.

“The original Ecosilence achieved the low noise levels our customers needed but could not match the power of our standard Power Pack, which was necessary for certain applications,” said Roger Simonsson, Aquajet managing director. “We knew we could do better, so our engineers went back to the drawing board to provide the best of both worlds — power and quiet operation. Along the way, we were able to incorporate the latest automatic technology and take 3 feet off the overall length for a brand-new Ecosilence.”

The self-contained Ecosilence 3.0 fits in a 20-foot container size for easier transportation, while maintaining ample space for a work bench, tools, hose storage and an Aqua Cutter Hydrodemolition robot. The container has an innovative sound-absorbing design to reduce noise.

The Ecosilence 3.0 features an environmentally friendly, low-emission engine and high-pressure pump to power Aquajet’s range of Aqua Cutter Hydrodemolition robots. The skid-mounted unit employs auto start/stop technology, like that found in many modern automobiles, which temporarily shuts down the engine when not in operation to reduce idling time by up to 50%. The engine automatically starts up when operation resumes. In this way, the new Ecosilence saves money and significantly reduces emissions. The integrated engine and high-pressure pump unit pairs with a state-of-the-art liquid-to-air heat exchanger to provide quiet, efficient operation for all Hydrodemolition applications.

The new, skid-mounted engine and pump are isolated and heat regulated in a sealed compartment at the front of the container, limiting noise to allow operation in urban areas and other noise-sensitive environments. This innovative design also prevents debris or outside air from entering the engine chamber during operation. Because of this, the new Ecosilence can be used in harsh environments such as harbors or cold weather without negative effects. 

“Aquajet always strives to provide innovative solutions that meet our customers’ challenges head on,” Simonsson said. “The Ecosilence 3.0’s key features are the result of these customer-driven answers. For example, a contractor working in a harbor struggled with fog filling the unit because the engine was exposed to the cold, wet air. By isolating the engine and pump, the new unit eliminates these challenges.”

The new Ecosilence features integrated auto start/stop technology which temporarily shuts down the engine when not in operation to reduce idling time by up to 50% and improve fuel consumption by as much as 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of fuel a day.
 

Like all previous Aqua Power Packs, the Ecosilence 3.0 is easy to transport and set up. It measures 20 feet by 8 feet by 8.5 feet ( 6.1 meters by 2.4 meters by 2.6 meters) maintaining innovative sound-absorbing design features. This includes insulated walls and doors, as well as seals on all doors and hatches. Despite the shorter overall length, the container still provides ample storage for the company’s Aqua Cutter robots, accessories and tools. Additional options are available to customize this work area, such as a built-in workbench with a vise that provides contractors a space for jobsite maintenance and a place to store spare parts. 

The Ecosilence 3.0 is available in several pressure and flow combinations, allowing operators to scale equipment to meet their specific needs. To help contractors select the ideal unit, the company launched a new online tool, the Aquajet Configurator,  that walks operators through a number of standard and optional features for a totally customized Ecosilence 3.0.    

Learn more about the Ecosilence 3.0, as well as Aquajet’s full line of efficiency-enhancing Hydrodemolition products at www.aquajet.se.

About Aquajet

Aquajet, which was acquired by Brokk AB in 2016, is known as the industry leader in Hydrodemolition machines and solutions, both in terms of quality and volume. The company’s headquarters and production facilities are in Holsbybrunn, Sweden. Similar to Brokk, Aquajet sells globally. For more information visit: www.aquajet.se.

Workforce Woes

Maintain Productivity Amid a Skilled Worker Shortage with Compact Hydrodemolition Robots

By Keith Armishaw

If you had to guess, what would you say is the number one concern of today’s contractor? Managing tight deadlines? Ensuring worker safety? Keeping up with developments in technology? How about input costs?

Many concrete repair contractors are turning to remote-controlled Hydrodemolition robots to improve workforce utilization and jobsite productivity. 

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, what keeps contractors up at night is the availability – or more accurately, the lack – of skilled labor. In fact, 82 percent of firms expect it will remain difficult to hire qualified workers in the coming months due to older workers leaving the profession during recession years and younger workers seeking less labor-intensive jobs. In addition, the world construction market is projected to grow 85 percent by 2030, adding stress to an industry already struggling to keep up with demand. 

The circumstances for concrete repair contractors are particularly challenging. In an April 2018 news release, the Portland Cement Association predicted cement consumption will grow from an estimated 109.5 million tons in 2018 to 116.9 million tons by 2020 due to a number of economic factors, including an anticipated increase in infrastructure spending – all while the skilled labor force continues to dwindle. 

To add to the dilemma, contemporary concrete demolition methods are not exactly scalable; the only way to increase output is with more workers. Many concrete repair contractors rely on manual concrete removal methods, such as pneumatic paving breakers or hand lances that use a high-pressure water jet. However, some contractors are finding a productivity boost from another type of equipment: compact Hydrodemolition robots. The system allows a project to be completed as much as 10 times faster than with hand lances, reducing fatigue, labor costs, and improving safety and quality of work along the way.

Remote-controlled compact robotic Hydrodemolition systems allow workers to stand at a safe distance and monitor the equipment, reducing operator fatigue while simultaneously increasing precision and efficiency.

More Work, Fewer Workers

Though widely used, hand lances do little to advance concrete contractors’ goals of improving productivity to match growing demand. The tools, inherently saddled with issues of fatigue and injury, drive up workman’s compensation costs. And due to design limitations, hand lances provide limited value in terms of power, precision, and productivity.

Some are finding that the solution to increasing productivity lies in recruiting machines rather than additional people. Many concrete repair contractors are turning to remote-controlled Hydrodemolition robots to improve workforce utilization and jobsite productivity. These machines allow workers to stand at a safe distance and monitor the equipment, reducing operator fatigue while simultaneously increasing precision and efficiency.

Some manufacturers now provide the same advanced technology of standard Hydrodemolition robots in lighter, smaller systems. At a fraction of the cost of standard machines, compact robotic Hydrodemolition systems provide a cost-effective mode of entry for concrete repair contractors who want to add Hydrodemolition technology to their operation. 

The Cost of Being Tired

Tired workers can be a significant drain on jobsite productivity, dragging out project completion and racking up unnecessary labor costs. The National Safety Council estimates that reduced performance due to fatigue can cost businesses up to $3,100 per employee annually. 

Since compact Hydrodemolition robots can be mounted on standard scaffolding and work in tight spaces, including next to ledges, concrete repair contractors save time from not needing to set up fall abatement systems

Hand lances cause workers to fatigue quickly because they must resist back thrust as they operate the water jet. A worker using a 30,000 psi hand lance must constantly fight up to 54 pounds of force for normal operation. The physical exhaustion translates to less productivity and greater cost for the business owner. 

Remote-controlled compact robotic Hydrodemolition systems, however, combat worker fatigue. Ergonomic controls mounted at waist height allow operators to work for hours without tiring, improving productivity and allowing concrete repair contractors to scale their operations without spending more on labor resources. 

Productivity from Safety

Because they combine high-powered water jets with the possibility of human error, hand lances are inherently dangerous. The pressurized water they emit poses a threat to anyone nearby, even if they are wearing protective gear. This can be especially risky on a busy jobsite where workers are often focused on their own tasks rather than being wary of the location of the hand lance. 

Compact Hydrodemolition systems allow operators to stand back from the area where concrete is being systematically removed, keeping them safe from flying debris and silica dust. And unlike hand lances or handheld pneumatic tools, these compact robots don’t require workers’ bodies to absorb any shock from the concrete removal process, preventing injuries to hands, wrists, shoulders, and backs that are common with regular operation of handheld tools. 

Unlike hand lances or handheld pneumatic tools, Hydrodemolition robots don’t require workers’ bodies to absorb any shock from the concrete removal process, preventing injuries to hands, wrists, shoulders and backs that are common with regular operation of handheld tools.


Since compact Hydrodemolition robots can be mounted on standard scaffolding and work in tight spaces, including next to ledges, concrete repair contractors also save the time of setting up fall abatement systems. Operators can remain a safe distance from fall risk areas, eliminating the need for time-consuming assembly and tear-down of these systems.

Eliminating the Power Struggle

Though some hand lances can be operated at comparable pressure to compact Hydrodemolition robots, they fall short in terms of water flow rate and reaction force, inhibiting their ability to remove broken or damaged concrete at rates fast enough to handle tough projects. 

Achieving a high water flow rate and reaction force is vital for water jetting tools to achieve the depths of removal necessary to complete most concrete structure restoration jobs. The lower flow rate of hand lances makes it difficult to remove concrete beyond a depth of 1/2-inch. While hand lances can only safely offer 5-6 gpm, compact Hydrodemolition robots can safely handle about 30 gpm. These machines can handle up to 1,000 newtons (225 pound-force) of reaction force compared to only 250 newtons (56 pound-force) produced by hand lances.

What does this mean in terms of productivity? Imagine a large parking lot in need of spot work. Bringing a hand lance to the job may get it done, but much slower than robotic alternatives. Compact Hydrodemolition robots can remove concrete at rates of 10 cubic feet per hour, compared to just .5-1.0 for a hand lance. That means a job completed almost 10 times faster with a compact Hydrodemolition robot rather than a hand lance. 

Compact Hydrodemolition systems allow operators to stand back from the area where concrete is being systematically removed, keeping them safe from flying debris and silica dust.

Robotic Precision

Compact Hydrodemolition systems can work faster, more efficiently and with more precision than a human behind a hand lance. This eliminates the unknowns in performance and provides enhanced and consistent productivity. 

The robots can also be programmed to maintain a specific depth of removal, a feat impossible from handheld water jetting tools. Constant depth control eliminates the unknowns in performance, giving concrete repair contractors more control of their projects and assurance that they can meet promised deadlines.  

Compact Hydrodemolition robots can remove concrete at rates of 10 cubic feet per hour, compared to just .5-1.0 for a hand lance.

Now more than ever, construction businesses need to adopt high-tech equipment to retain their workforce, increase efficiency and improve jobsite safety. With no end in sight to the skilled labor shortage, contractors can – and must – adapt new methods into their business model to thrive in a changing economic environment. 

Bridging Safety and Productivity with Modern Solution

Using High-Tech Demolition Increases Productivity and Safety in Bridge Work

By  Lars Lindgren

Every day in the United States, 188 million vehicles pass over a structurally deficient bridge. Each year, hundreds of injuries and even deaths occur from decaying infrastructure. It’s a major problem – and one that’s been well documented by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Out of over 614,000 U.S. bridges, almost 40 percent are 50 years or older and 9.1 percent are structurally deficient. A recent estimate lists the U.S.’ backlog of bridge rehabilitation needs at $123 billion. 

When infrastructure funding comes through, contractors need to be ready with the fastest, most productive options to take on the heavy, urgent workload. 

In certain cases, a remote-controlled unit equipped with a breaker attachment and controlled by an operator and one spotter can break up 2 square feet of bridge deck concrete in 15 minutes. The same area in the same amount of time would require three workers with handheld tools.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More and more are turning to remote-controlled demolition and hydrodemolition 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 machines provide more safety, productivity and efficiency for removing concrete around rebar than handheld tools, mini excavators, and backhoes. That adds up to a fast ROI.

Improved Productivity

Traditional bridge deck work involves a lot of workers with handheld pneumatic tools breaking through concrete to expose the rebar below. A major limitation of handheld tools is the operators. A person can’t apply nearly as much force into the tool or do so as consistently as a remote-controlled demolition machine can. Although machines don’t fatigue, operators do – and they do so incredibly faster when powering a jackhammer as opposed to operating a control box fastened around their waist. 

Some hydrodemolition models can remove as much as 800 square feet of bridge deck at a depth of 4 inches per hour, a fraction of the time it would take a crew of workers with jackhammers to accomplish the same thing.

Remote-controlled demolition machines come in varying configurations and weights so that the most productive option can be matched to each job. In addition, contractors can choose between electric- and diesel-powered models.

Remote-controlled demolition robots cut the number of necessary laborers and speed up the concrete removal process. In certain cases, a remote-controlled unit equipped with a breaker attachment and controlled by an operator and one spotter can break up 2 square feet of bridge deck concrete in 15 minutes. The same area in the same amount of time would require three workers with handheld tools. Productivity is increased as a result, reducing labor costs by about 33 percent while accomplishing the task in less time. 

Some hydrodemolition robots use jets of water at pressures of about 20,000 psi to quickly remove layers of concrete.

Innovative remote-controlled hydrodemolition robots are an emerging method offering similar benefits to the more established remote-controlled demolition machines. Some hydrodemolition models can remove as much as 800 square feet of bridge deck at a depth of 4 inches per hour, a fraction of the time it would take a crew of workers with jackhammers to accomplish the same thing.

The result of either type of equipment is hours, if not days, of savings over the course of a job. That adds up to potential bonuses for early completion as well as improved chances at more contracts. 

Damage-Free Rebar

When it comes to bridge or road repair and rehabilitation the need for precision and minimal microfracturing are major considerations. Handheld tools combined with operator error simply don’t make the cut. Similarly, an excavator paired with demolition tools lacks the precision to effectively accomplish the task without damaging rebar. In this instance, hydrodemolition robots shine. 

Hydrodemolition is devastating to concrete but leaves rebar clean and unscathed

The technology virtually eliminates the possibility of unintended damage during bridge repair or rehabilitation. Typically, jets of water at pressures of about 20,000 psi are directed at the surface of the bridge deck, quickly removing layers of concrete but leaving rebar unscathed and clean. There’s no need to spend extra time carefully avoiding rebar because the high-pressure water­ – though devastating to concrete – doesn’t damage the metal bars. This maintains bridge safety and saves time and money replacing and repairing damaged rebar – a process that can delay a project by days and cost tens of thousands of dollars in repair. The method also doesn’t cause vibrations, eliminating the possibility of microfracturing that could threaten bridge stability.

Hydrodemolition is devastating to concrete but leaves rebar clean and unscathed

In some applications limited in scope, remote-controlled demolition machines’ offer the ability to perform precise “dental” work on bridge decks. Because the force of the breaker is matched to the robot and can be adjusted based on the conditions, the possibility of damaging the underlying rebar during concrete removal is drastically reduced. 

Less Manual Labor, More Safety

Even the most productive tool needs an operator. As the workforce ages, contractors are having difficulty recruiting younger workers pivotal to helping meet the infrastructure demands to come. Remote-controlled robots can help attract millennials by appealing to their fondness for technology and innovation. As a result, they are often fast-learners with the equipment. 

Improved safety from the high-tech equipment also helps recruit new workers and retain existing employees. Remote-controlled demolition and hydrodemolition robots allow laborers to monitor their work a safe distance from flying debris and edges that pose a falling risk. The elimination of the need to stand next to a ledge also means contractors can minimize setting up fall protection systems. In addition, where large equipment such as excavators require multiple lane closures, demolition robots typically only require one lane closure, minimizing traffic impact. 

Also consider worker strain from handheld pneumatic tools, such as rivet busters, that can result in more workers’ comp claims and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. The equipment’s heavy vibrations can lead to injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve damage and hand-arm vibration syndrome. Remote equipment eliminates that risk and prevents fatigue-related mistakes and injuries common after long periods of time operating handheld tools. The machines’ safety benefits mean some companies receive insurance discounts when adding such equipment to their fleets because the provider sees how safety on the jobsite has improved.

Remote-controlled demolition machines’ offer the ability to perform precise “dental” work on bridge decks. Because the force of the breaker is matched to the robot and can be adjusted based on the conditions, the possibility of damaging the underlying rebar during concrete removal is drastically reduced. 
 

Advanced Solutions

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. 

Respect the Water — Tips for Operating Hydrodemolition Robots Safely