Introducing a unique modern solution in access covers which outperforms rival materials in terms of safety, security and whole-life costs
3 September 2010, News release from Structural Science Composites Company
Tightening budgets and the growth in traffic density is placing an ever-increasing strain on our highways. Those responsible for our road infrastructure are being forced to stretch their financial and operational resources to the absolute limits in order to meet their road building and maintenance targets.
As a result, they are putting more and more pressure on the road infrastructure supply chain to develop products and systems that not only offer improved functionality but also deliver significantly reduced cost of ownership.
One area of particular concern is access covers which have to provide a surface that is equivalent to a high quality road surface for the safety of road users, as well as meeting the stricter demands of communications and utilities organisations as they seek safer, more secure and affordable underground access positions.
According to access cover specialist supplier Structural Science Composites (SSC), today's requirements can only be met through a modern solution using the very latest technology. Andrew Burton of SSC explains: "It has been proved that the existing technologies inherent with traditional iron, steel and concrete access covers cannot meet the increasingly sophisticated requirements - above and below ground - of our society.
"Above ground, with the increased density of traffic on our highways, road safety is high on everybody's agenda and much research is being conducted to ascertain causes of road traffic and pedestrian accidents and how these can be addressed. Access covers have come under particular scrutiny and evidence shows that wet, worn metal covers can cause serious accidents for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists alike.
"Below ground, as the high speed of information becomes more important, telecoms companies are increasingly investing in expensive and technically advanced equipment in the form of fibre optic cabling for our modern advanced communications networks. In addition, water utilities need to protect the millions of pounds invested to upgrade current water supply and waste water systems to reduce wastage.
"At SSC, we have drawn on more than 20 years in composite cover manufacture to develop a unique and innovative range of covers for vehicular (D400) and pedestrian (B125) areas incorporating the very latest composite technology that, in addition to satisfying today's above and below ground demands, outperforms its traditional rivals in every way and points the way forward for the industry.
We have combined patented structurally superior ThruBeam technology, design and composite materials with reliable manufacturing processes to deliver a new generation of 'fit for purpose' covers that provide a modern solution in the access cover market.
Following rigorous third party testing in 2007, our ThruBeam product was approved for use in New York and is now available in the UK through builders merchants. Offered in a choice of six coloured options, all covers are 3rd party certified by Lloyds British to comply with European standards EN124: 1994."
The inherent properties of composite materials are ideal for the access cover environment. Composite covers are extremely durable and light weight - 3 x lighter than steel and iron and 4 x lighter than concrete - thus enabling single person removal preventing the risk of injury to operators.
Also, being inert they will not corrode, are not electrically conductive, are fireproof and have low thermal conductivity. Additionally, because there are lockable options and - unlike their metal counterparts - they have no inherent material value, they offer increased security.
When it comes to road safety, SSC composite access covers provide significantly more grip than iron or steel which, because of the inherent material characteristics, the tread surface becomes polished, providing a poor level of grip. This can start to occur from as little as three months after installation and can lead to serious accidents for road users and pedestrians - especially when wet.
SSC products provide a high-grade anti slip/skid surface which is guaranteed for the life of the product, minimum 15 years, with a value of PSRV50> when wet which meets the requirements of HA 104/09.
Andrew Burton: "In these tough economic times, we are very conscious of the importance of cost of ownership and have figures that prove our covers lead the way in this area. The life expectancy of SSC access covers is over 20 years and each carries a minimum 15 year product guarantee.
A recent study revealed that - in terms of whole-life costs - SSC composite access covers, when compared with traditional covers for a typical company with a 15,000 access cover estate, can save in excess of £12.5 million over a period of 15 years."
SSC composite access covers are currently being trialled by five major UK utilities/water authorities and a framework agreement bid is now in place with one leading water company.
For further information please email Structural Science Composites Company