PDi ’s 20 years of challenges and satisfactionPublished 30/12, 2020 at 08:46
December 2020 makes it 20 years since the first issue of PDi Magazine was published, with a great deal happening in the industries PDi covers during those years.
When it all started, PDi was the only international trade magazine that actually combined all the techniques a professional demolition contractor and a concrete cutting firm uses. PDi’s content was focused on how demolition and concrete cutting firms operated, being a mix of traditional concrete sawing and drilling, use of remote controlled demolition robots, concrete floor grinding and polishing, demolition with heavy duty and long reach demolition machines and recycling with mobile concrete crushing units etc.
Some large contractors at that time kept all these services under one umbrella, while others were more specialised. The picture looks more or less the same today, but what has changed is how we work and what areas contractors cover. Over the years we have seen a dramatic tightening of regulations covering noise, vibrations, dust, pollution and working ergonomics, whilst digitalisation has also changed the daily working lives of operators while the corresponding demands placed on operators have increased a great deal. To operate today’s demolition, recycling, concrete cutting, concrete floor grinding and other equipment, takes a lot of skill and extensive training, as the equipment has developed a great deal. During the last 20 years we have for instance seen the use of high frequency machinery in concrete cutting being implemented. Although hydraulically driven equipment is still used in certain projects, high frequency equipment has come to dominate, with now the first fully battery powered professional concrete cutting equipment being in operation.
Diamond tools have also undergone a great deal of development, becoming safer, faster and more efficient, whilst at the same time reducing in price. The number of suppliers in this field has simply exploded with the increase mainly coming from Asia. A quite new branch of the industry arose at the beginning of the century, namely concrete floor grinding using planetary designed floor grinders. This industry simply boomed around 2008-2010, being adopted all over the world, particularly in the US. A multitude of new manufacturers appeared, with the industry becoming somewhat over heated. Today the industry has consolidated with there being far fewer competing brands.
An extension of the floor grinding or floor preparation industry saw the concrete floor polishing method being developed. This technique was actually invented in the late 1990s but rapidly grew in use. This involved using a new type of finished flooring product instead of applying an epoxy layer on the concrete surface. Many concrete cutting firms and demolition contractors picked up the development and technology including it in their services. Today these companies mainly offer floor prep services with floor polishing usually offered by specialised flooring contractors.
The changes we have seen during the last 20 years when it comes to hydraulic demolition attachments is shown particularly with the growth in what is now an extensive variety of types of tools and number of manufacturers. Efficiency, speed, protection of the tool from dust, etc. has improved dramatically. Thanks to booster technology the tools have become more powerful and less heavy allowing powerful demolition with extra-long booms. During the past 20 years machine operators’ daily work has been made less stressful and irksome with more ergonomic and comfortable cabins being developed that are easier to operate. The modern operator no long needs to leave the cabin to change hydraulic tools thanks to the development of smart fully automatic hydraulic quick couplers. Furthermore, the carrier sector has undergone a transformation with fully purpose built demolition machines, which were only seen with demolition robots.
Sustainability is another development that today is a major focus. For a demolition contractor now, almost all waste has to be recycled. In the early 1990s the manufacturer Nordberg (now Metso) launched a series of mobile crushers aimed at recycling called ‘City Crushers’. However, regulations did not keep pace with product development which led to the line being discontinued. With the plethora of tracked small scale recycling crushers and screens on the market, things today are very different. In order to meet the increasingly strict regulations that are now in place, these compact, mobile and efficient mobile recycling plants can handle a lot of different types of waste even with the same machine.
Well, that was a very quick flashback over what has happened during the 20 years PDi Magazine has been in business. We hope to survive for at least another 20 years and remain your source of information and news when it comes to the sectors we have covered. We wish all our readers, supporters and contributors a ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful 2021’. Let’s pray that we together can conquer Covid-19 during 2021.