Reducing the environmental impact of construction sites and roads is becoming increasingly important. Moreover, industries are eager to demonstrate greater responsibility for worker and community health, water conservation and sustainable solutions.
The Western Group keeps businesses functional, low impact and compliant, with specialist products to improve site and road stability, and mitigate impact on the surrounding environment.
Frontier Access Mats for Australia
As the latest addition to the company’s range of solutions, Western Group is now distributing Frontier Access Mats – a portable platform used to support equipment in construction and pipeline projects that may also be used as a roadway to provide passage over unstable ground.
The product’s design team consulted with an international troupe of structural engineers, designers and field technicians. The access mats create temporary surfaces, reduce ground pressure, and minimise impact on the environment, with suitability to support equipment in resource-based activities, including construction, oil drilling, remote camp projects, and to provide passage over unstable ground.
Heavy equipment may leave residual impressions on the environment, such as tyre tracks. This not only impacts the natural surrounds, but also causes degradation to equipment.
Sinking into soft soil can impede equipment progress, increase repair and maintenance requirements, and add time to project completion, so access mats minimise harm to both the equipment and the environment. The bamboo composite mats have been specially designed to overcome some of the natural limits of timber and steel mats.
Frontier Access Mats maximise the inherent flexibility of bamboo, allowing them to bend on uneven ground. Their bending strength can withstand up to double the weight that solid oak panels can, making them especially suitable for heavy steel-tracked vehicles such as excavators. By incorporating new technology into traditional design, these mats are stronger and less susceptible to breakage.
Engineering the Frontier Access Mats out of laminated bamboo creates a product that retains less than 10 per cent water, compared to at least 30 per cent moisture retention with traditional hardwood. This means that transportation costs between applications are reduced.
There are many other inherent benefits to bamboo, for example, bamboo is a grass and takes between three and six years to reach its full potential. Comparatively, hardwood forests take at least 50 years to reach full growth.
This means bamboo is fast to harvest with shorter regeneration times, making supply more reliable. Bamboo also has a tensile strength of 28,000 per inch2 (645 mm2), where steel has only 23,000, making it a more resilient composite than other materials.
Bamboo requires less energy to harvest and process than most timber products because of its structure. It is also more impervious to rot, fungus and insects, and is 20-30 per cent lighter than traditional hardwood.
What’s more, bamboo generates 35 per cent more oxygen than an equivalent area of trees, making it an environmentally sound choice. Frontier Access Mats have been extensively tested and validated, and the results are conclusive: all products have proven durability, strength and longevity.
Frontier Access Mats are suitable for a range of equipment on a variety of different terrain types.
This article featured in the October edition of The Australian Pipeliner.