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Highly-engineered ‘mega-chocks’ could transform tunnel construction sector and save businesses millions after R&D investment

Fairgrieve Compression Moulding is delighted to have developed a ‘ground-breaking’ product which could transform the multi-billion pound tunnel building industry – and is already attracting interest for large-scale orders.

It comes as the firm continues to make best use of more than 100 years of experience and expertise to break into new markets and develop new innovative products under the leadership of General Manager Barry Davidson, who joined the business last year.

Mr Davidson, who has more than 35 years’ of manufacturing managerial experience and has led large-scale, multi-million pound operations across a wide range of industries, has made product development a key focus for the firm in 2022.

It is an approach which is helping Fairgrieve cement relationships with long-term clients, and importantly expand into new niche industry areas in which its expertise in moulding can bring big benefits to customers.

Mr Davidson has recently been in discussions with international businesses operating in the tunnel construction sector as Fairgrieves has developed what he says is a  ‘ground-breaking’ new product,  designed to support pre-cast concrete tunnel segments during their storage and transportation.

Mega-chock is 50% lighter – using 50% less plastic – than market rivals

The ‘Mega-Chock’ product is the latest evolution of a vital product used in their millions across the tunnel construction industry, providing stable support during the storage and transportation of pre-cast concrete tunnel segments prior to their installation in the tunnel environment.

The sector is presently dominated by the use of either expensive timber or extruded solid plastic blocks, but following a significant investment by Fairgrieves into research, design and product development, they are ready to launch their latest product which is designed to offer safer handling and storage.

The Mega-Chock – which is hollow rather than solid throughout – is made of a glass-reinforced fibre material, with integral support ribs to offer high strength capable of supporting a high tonnage load bearing.

It is also 50% lighter than alternative products currently used in the sector, which offers improved manual handling properties, and typically uses 50% less plastic in its construction.

Its thermoset composition means that it will withstand the harsh conditions from being used outdoors in all seasons, unlike expensive timber alternatives which can either shrink or expand, leading to distortion and potential safety concerns.

Depending on end use requirements the Mega-Chocks can be manufactured from materials which are suitable for hazardous environments where fire retardancy, smoke resistance and explosion resistance are critical parameters, like many of Fairgrieves existing products which are supplied into the Mining Industry.

 “I’m really proud of what we have done here as we have used our expertise gained from manufacturing other key products used in both the mining and construction sectors and have worked closely with our partners who specialise in either the raw material chemistry or precision tooling design,” said Mr Davidson.

“We have created a product which offers so many more additional benefits for this specialist industry, and crucially can be manufactured in large numbers at a much reduced cost, is much lighter for manual handling, and is better for the environment.

“From our extensive research into this market we’ve become aware that businesses have long been looking for a true alternative option to what is presently used for the safe storage and transportation of these pre-cast concrete tunnel segments”

Mr Davidson says the business has already received enquiries about providing the product in large quantities and says Fairgrieves has the flexibility to adapt to high demand in the same way it has successfully supplied to many of our existing customers over the years using surplus capacity to meet those spikes in demand.

“It is another example of how our business has the knowledge and expertise to provide solutions into many manufacturing sectors. We are always keen to speak to manufacturers who have a problem to resolve. It’s what we do every day,” he said.

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