We’ve all walked past construction sites with metal buckets hanging off cranes shifting dirt, stone and all sorts onto trucks. That dirty world of construction turns into stunning architectural masterpieces whether they’re building wharfs, bridges or anything else the inventive human mind can come up with.
So when a video from Powerpac turned up on my innovation feed featuring a construction skip, I’m not gonna lie – I was a bit surprised… and skeptical. Here we go… another marketer gone off the reservation.
I mean – it’s just a steel bucket dangling off a chain for crying out loud, right!? Surely that technology was pretty much perfected by the Ancient Egyptians at the latest… surely!
Well turns out I know less than nothing about construction, so I called Powerpac and spoke to someone who does – Ben Suckling – who was kind enough to school me on the basics.
It’s all about speed and safety.
Okay, you’ve been tasked to move a mountain to make way for a flash new apartment building. You bring in your big yellow diggers and start filling skips. You lift these skips weighing thousands of kilos high up in the sky and dump your spoil into a truck and repeat… again… and again… and again, hundreds of times.
This much I understand, but what I did not appreciate is how dirty and hazardous this process actually is.
“Traditionally, you’d build a gantry, park your truck under it and drop your spoil from a height of a couple of metres”, says Ben. Depending on your aim, there’s probably a bit of spillage to clean up and off you go.
The new system by a British company, Gecko Innovations, ditches the gantry all together. Instead, you can lower the skip all the way down to the truck and the operator uses a wireless remote control to unload the skip into the truck. This comes with a few key benefits. First of all, you drop all your cargo into the truck, which is great. It also takes much less of a toll on the truck because you’re not dropping 20 tonnes of rock from 2-3 metres height crashing on it. I’m sure these trucks are rugged as, but I can only imagine what that kind of repeated punishment does to any equipment.
The other benefit, says Ben, is that you’re no longer relying on a fixed location gantry, which is great in built up areas where space is at a premium. “Just park your truck wherever there is space on the side of the road and off you go.” You also skip the need to queue your trucks to wait for their turn under the gantry.
The new Gecko system requires no personnel anywhere near the discharge zone and the discharge is completely controlled. “It can even be stopped”, added Ben, and that makes it phenomenally safe for all involved.
Building up New Zealand
With all the construction going on in Aotearoa, there’s untold amounts of earth being moved, money being spent and amazing future spaces being created. Anything that speeds up these builds and keeps our builders safe is surely a welcome innovation to our construction sites.
Of course you don’t, but IF you do, just call the folks at Powerpac and they’ll put one in the post for you.