A local manufacturing company has won a $1.4 million contract to supply Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) blocks for the West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne.
Foamex will supply the S Grade Polystyrene that is manufactured at its facility in Melbournes north and cut into various dimensions. The EPS blocks supplied to the West Gate Tunnel will be cut according to specifications set out by project engineers.
Justin Kelsey, General Manager at Foamex, Australia’s leading manufacturer of EPS, says the Australian construction industry is very price-driven, but notes that the COVID-19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on the importance of having a trusted supply chain that can deliver on time.
“For this particular job, there was a requirement for the EPS to fit within bridge cages. To do this, we needed to hot wire profile the block so that the exact profile dimensions are achieved,” he said.
“Our state-of-the-art equipment enabled us to create the customised profiles that also have excellent yield. This means there is very little wastage making it cost effective while meeting the brief and engineering specifications required.”
Foamex EPS profiles will be placed inside the bridge cages reducing the amount of concrete required. The EPS shapes will create a void in the manufacture of the pre-tensioned concrete beams, which are being created at a precast facility in Benalla, Victoria.
“EPS has great tensile strength which gives it the ability to resist loads without failure because of excessive stress or deformation, and this is why it is very commonly used within large construction projects,” Kelsey said.
He said the unique product benefits also reduce the overall weight of the concrete structures which can be of benefit from an engineering perspective, but also means less freight weight, which means less fuel, which is beneficial for the environment.
“Using EPS also has environmental benefits due to the significant reduction of concrete required. A lot of people aren’t aware that the production and use of concrete is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world and its use continues to grow around the world,” Kelsey said.
In 2019 The Guardian reported if the cement industry were a country it would be the third largest emitter in the world.
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