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Contractors World International - 2015 Vol 6 No 1

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Remote Controlled Excavators - continued

JCB Remote Controlled Ecavator configured for demolition work at Birmingham New Street Station, UK

The development required close co-operation between Coleman Engineering Services, dealer Gunn JCB and JCB Heavy Products.

The new excavator is working 20 hours a day on the highly prestigious redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Train Station. It has been purpose designed for the project at the redeveloped station and Grand Central shopping centre.

Its work involves the removal of existing reinforced concrete floors to create a void beneath the new atrium roof.

Coleman is the principal demolition contractor working on the project and is now in its fifth year on site. The current phase sees the removal of 6,000 tonnes of mass reinforced concrete during 2014/2015.    Some beams weigh as much as 80-90 tonnes and are 2.5 m wide and 1.5 m deep.

On an industrial site, these would present a significant challenge, however this project is taking place inside, directly beneath the newly constructed, multi-million pound atrium steelwork structure which must be protected from all aspects of the demolition.

It is also taking place within a live construction site while 140,000 people continue to travel through the station each day.

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 twelve live train lines carrying thousands of passengers per day.

The new JCB machine is expected to work on the project for the next 9 months. Once completed, it provides Coleman & Company with a 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.

Remote control enables the operator to work the machine while positioned in a mobile elevated work platform or cherry picker above the beam being demolished allowing for close assessment of the task in hand. Coleman had already identified the specific multi processor attachment as the only existing attachment that complied with the project specification when it commissioned JCB to develop a 21-tonne machine capable of operating it.

The next challenge was to prepare the machine for the high-risk environment in which it will operate.

Remote control enables the operator to work the machine while positioned in a mobile elevated work platform or cherry picker above the beam being demolished allowing for close assessment of the task in hand.

The 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, TAB (triple articulated boom), range control plus many more safety devices..
The Future is Here

As more and more contractors learn of this possibility, so remotely controlled excavators and other equipment will be developed and deployed. Where the slope is too steep, close to a drop or in any environment where it is not safe to ask an operator to go, this is the solution.

Coleman Demolition


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