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Hydroblast breaks records with dockside hydrodemolition project

Hydrodemolition specialist Hydroblast has broken its productivity record removing concrete from a dock quay in Scotland for a project supporting the UK’s race to develop renewable energy.

A skilled ultra-high pressure water jetting team, comprising just three operatives, took 3.5 days to remove 29.86m3 of concrete from the quayside at the Port of Dundee in East Scotland.

Initially, five days had been scheduled for the work.

The fast and safe operation, carried out using robotic hydrodemolition, was welcomed by the client as it meant it could accelerate plans for the next stage of the tightly-controlled development programme.

The Port of Dundee is investing £40m to create a new wharf alongside 15 hectares of upgraded land to expand its involvement in developing off-shore wind farms and the oil and gas industry.

Hydroblast was commissioned to remove concrete along a strip of the quay nearly 150m long and two metres wide to a depth of 100mm.

The company won the work after completing a similar project at the Killybegs Harbour Centre in County Donegal, Ireland, for another client.

For that project, its teams removed 6m3 of concrete from a pier wall in support of a €30million improvement programme.

The hydrodemolition advantage

Hydroblast Operations Director Ross McDonald said: “We were delighted with the way the Port of Dundee work went, and that we could support a programme that’s so important for the port and the region’s economy.

“The project’s efficient delivery was testament both to the hard work of our teams and the support we received from our client in helping us to carefully plan and manage the work.

“Both the Dundee and the Killybegs dockside projects have clearly demonstrated the value of using hydrodemolition to remove concrete during dockside development programmes.

“It is a fast, safe and sustainable way to modify concrete structures with a high degree of precision. Hydrodemolition generates almost no dust pollution that might otherwise add to health risks and disrupt dock operations.

“Also, there is no risk of causing vibration damage to surrounded concrete structures or steel rebar, and hand-arm vibration risk is minimised, contributing to our clients’ zero harm safety strategies.”

Setting records with a robot

Hydroblast is a leading user of robotic jetting to carry out its hydrodemolition projects. It is continuously investing in new technology and developing its robotic water jetting techniques.

For the Port of Dundee project it selected an ultra-high pressure (UHP) power pack combined with an Aquajet HVD water jetting robot to deliver water at 2200bar (32,200 pounds per square inch) and 122 litres per minute.

The water jetting team comprised of two water jetting operatives and a supervisor. On the first day, the team removed 11.77m3 of concrete. On the second day, it achieved 10.5m3.

The concrete being removed had delaminated in places but its hardness had been measured at C50, which meant it had been in good condition before Hydroblast removed it.

Applying robot knowledge

Hydroblast’s application of robotic hydrodemolition in a growing range of settings and across different industrial sectors is helping it to rapidly develop its expertise in using this powerful technology.

For example, lessons learned from removing refractory from power generation furnaces were incorporated in the Port of Dundee project, contributing to the high productivity.

Tellingly, all concrete could be removed for this project using robotic water jetting alone. In many projects it is necessary to use handheld lances to remove small amounts of material.

Robotic water jetting enhances safety because the operative is moved away from the water jetting head. Also, where large areas of concrete must be removed, robotic jetting is more productive than using hand-held jetting lances alone.

  • Find out more about hydrodemolition and other water jetting services from Hydroblast, including tank cleaning, pipe cleaning, white line removal, surface preparation and water jetting cleaning. Call 01677 424542. Email: