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Media / Application stories / Rapid optimum performance in bridge demolition thanks to comprehensive equipment by Atlas Copco

Rapid optimum performance in bridge demolition thanks to comprehensive equipment by Atlas Copco


A reinforced concrete bridge over the Autobahn 8 between Merklingen and Nellingen in Southern Germany was successfully demolished overnight due in no small part to the efficient, reliable performance of Atlas Copco hydraulic attachments. In addition to the different demolition grippers, breakers and pulverisers, the demolition team also made impressive use of the HM 2000 hydraulic magnet to demolish structures and sort demolition waste. There is now nothing to stop the widening of the A 8 to 6 lanes or construction of the parallel high-speed Wendlingen-to-Ulm railway link.

Breakers and cutters in bridge demolition
"A logistical masterpiece," declares Jörg Hamann, spokesman for Deutsche Bahn Projekt Stuttgart–Ulm GmbH, in praise of the meticulously planned feat of civil engineering. Required to make way for planned infrastructure improvements, demolition of the bridge, including all ancillary tasks, was scheduled to be completed within just 14 hours. The contracted company Fischer Weilheim GmbH effortlessly finished the task well within the given time frame. They used 8 caterpillar excavators with an operative weight of up to 50 tons to remove the 1,500-ton "Blaubeurer Weg" reinforced concrete bridge measuring 64 metres long and 6 metres wide. Several heavy-duty Atlas Copco grippers, breakers and concrete pulverisers weighing up to 4 tons were used as attachments.

Joachim Schmid, the demolition company CEO, is impressed by the capabilities of these state-of-the-art machines: "Such structures would have been dynamited in the past." Today's excavators and their attachments are so effective that such a demolition project can be completed in next to no time. "This was a construction job where coming back to finish the task the next day was not an option," explains Schmid regarding the need for reliable machines and work processes.

Tasks were completed in quick succession on the construction site. As soon as roads were blocked off, workers disassembled the crash barriers and central reservations and then lay down non-woven fabric and gravel to protect the road surface. Next, the bridge railings were removed followed by the solid concrete sections and the entire superstructure.

Even if the technical procedure for bridge demolition is broadly similar every time, Mr Schmid affirms that each project has its own special character. "Each bridge is a unique piece." This particular overpass spanning the A 8 did not feature a central support. As a result, excavators could not operate from above, the usual approach, but from down below only. It was therefore all the more important that attachments could be applied exactly where they were needed using precisely the right amount of force.

It was not only the time-tested grippers and breakers which helped to dismantle the bridge successfully; a HM 2000 Hydro Magnet also gave an impressive performance. As a rigid magnet for carrier vehicles between 14 and 45 tons, it is eminently suitable for separating scrap metal from other demolition waste. It ensures greater profit thanks to optimum use of scrap steel and also provides fast, highly effective sorting and efficient recycling. What's more, cleared construction sites mean significantly less damage is sustained by machines and equipment.

Now the bridge removal is complete, the Deutsche Bahn project company is now starting to build a new overpass structure across the A 8 with an overall length of around 87 metres and a height of up to 6.4 metres. Costing around 600,000 euros, the replacement structure should be finished by January 2017.

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Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and service focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2014, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 94 (BEUR 10.3) and more than 44 000 employees.

Atlas Copco Construction Tools is a division within Atlas Copco´s Construction Technique business area. It develops, manufactures and markets hydraulic, pneumatic, and petrol-driven equipment for demolition, recycling, compaction, rock drilling and concrete applications. Products are marketed and sold under several brands through a worldwide sales and service organisation. The division is headquartered in Essen, Germany, and has production units in Europe, India and Asia.