Elcometer & Erskine: How 15bar Blast Machines are Restoring a Landmark

The Asset:

Originally built in 1971, the Erskine bridge is the main road link between Glasgow and Dunbartonshire, providing critical access for local communities and services in the North West of Scotland.

It is the longest cable-stayed bridge of its type in the world and was recently awarded category A status by Historic Environment Scotland in recognition of its special architectural interest. Its construction is designed on the concept of a box girder suspension bridge that incorporates 11,700 tonnes of steel and stretches 1.32Km across the river Clyde.

The Project:

Spencer Group, a leading UK engineering organisation, were awarded the £18 million maintenance project in 2019.

With the bridge being used by more than 40,000 vehicles per day, a key challenge the group faced was the need to keep the bridge fully operational throughout the project. This meant that they had to find innovative ways to complete the work whilst causing minimum disruption to the local community.

Consequently, they required surface preparation equipment which could be sited at ground level but still provide optimum pressure and productivity at the blast surface. This was a huge task as the bridge's epicentre is more than 600m away from the shoreline and elevated over 40m from ground level.

The Elcometer Blast Equipment Solution

After speaking to Elcometer Experts, who highlighted how Elcometer Performance Blast Machines provide minimal system pressure loss and have the unique ability to operate with 15bar input pressure, Spencer Group were convinced by the new approach to the blasting work required.

Operating with two Elcometer Performance Blast Machines situated at each end of the bridge, blasters have been able to progress across the structure whilst avoiding lane closure and allowing the bridge to remain fully operational.

Due to the pot's high-pressure input capacity, the group have been able to maintain optimum pressure at the working nozzle, contributing to maximum blast productivity.

The static placement of the compressor, blast machine and grit filling locations also prevented Spencer Group from having to move equipment by more than 600m as the project progressed from the shoreline to the bridge centre. This created additional savings to operating expenditure, reducing total project costs further.

Independent testing highlighted that Elcometer Blast Equipment provides greater than 30% productivity gains over conventional blast equipment by reducing blast time as well as compressor fuel, grit and clean up costs. All of these aspects are fulfilled by utilising a more efficient blasting system over the life of the blasting project.

When combined with the lower maintenance needs and benefits of the ancillary equipment, Elcometer's Performance range has produced significant cost savings throughout the large infrastructure project.

The Details:

Substrate: Steel

Area Prepared: 1.32km

Elevation Height: Over 40m from ground level

Blast Machines used: Elcometer Performance M24285H-GV1-B

The Feedback:

“I have been in the industry for over 35 years and was surprised to learn that Elcometer now supply blast equipment.

Their equipment was the best choice to provide the pressure and CFM required when tackling the challenges of this project.”