NORMET UK LTD
UNIT 5 WHELER ROAD
SEVEN STARS INDUSTRIAL ESTATE
WEST MIDLANDS CV3 4LB
Tel: 0333 240 9966
Suppliers of: foam underpinning foundations injected grouts waterproofing concrete,
Normet are world leaders in global solutions to the construction and building industry supplying specialist chemicals and equipment for waterproofing, leak sealing, ground engineering and foam underpinning, tunnel repair along with pumps and accessories.
Normet brings a range of construction chemical products together with a world leading range of equipment for concrete spraying, explosive charging and underground logistics for the tunneling and mining industry.
Normet is a long established partner to global mining and tunnelling companies and contractors, providing a range of specialised underground equipment to the industry since 1962. Our range consists of underground logistics equipment, scalers, working platforms and mobile sprayed concrete machines.
Normet also provides a full package of solutions for modern ground support including construction chemicals for sprayed concrete, chemical and cement based injection systems for rock improvement and coal seam stabilisation, to reinforcement systems for high deformation conditions.
In keeping with advancements in sprayed concrete technologies Normet have developed state-of-the-art high performance water reducing admixture systems, hydration control admixtures, high performance alkali-free set accelerators and hyper plasticisers.
Our ground engineering products utilize innovative chemical resins and grouts offering solutions for underpinning, structural subsidence, concrete slab jacking, void filling and general ground improvement. We produce a full range of specialist resins and grouts including single and dual component polyurethane, acrylic, sodium silicates, colloidal silica and microfine and ultrafine cements.
The use of our high expansive and high compressive strength resin foams is now a worldwide accepted material for foam underpinning foundations and increasing ground bearing in suitable soil types.
Rehabilitation and Maintenance
Normet manufacture a broad range of specialist materials for the civil construction, underground construction and general building sectors. For over 35 years the TAM global brand has been prolonging the operational life of structures through the use of cement based repair mortars, epoxy mortars, epoxy injection resins and a full range of polyurethane and acrylic leak sealing resins.
Our TamPur polyurethane and TamAcryl acrylic resins include ultra-low to medium viscosity single and dual component systems for leak sealing repairs. Our resins are used extensively for water control in new build and existing tunnels, leak sealing of shafts, joints and cracks in basements, dams and reservoirs. Many of our resins are approved for use in potable water installations under WRAS.
To complement our materials, Normet provides a full range of injection equipment including single and twin piston pumps, packers, injection lances and accessories.
Our complete range of waterproofing products include both integral crystallization based concrete additives, along with brush and spray applied cement based waterproofing slurries for waterproofing walls and foundations. Our polymer range includes single component liquid based SBR and acrylic membranes for roofs, basements, wet rooms and decks.
We also supply an extensive range of sheet membrane systems. Our waterproof products have been extensively tested to local and international standard and many offer potable water certification.
Our expertise is underground
The people who follow Normet may have noticed that we pride ourselves on being experts in our customers' underground production processes. Communicating this to our audience aims to let people know that we know the processes that we develop solutions for, but what does it mean for us?
Tunnel excavation is a cyclic process with pretty much all other methods than the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). In one way or another, excavating the material is followed by getting it out of the tunnel space, and supporting the profile to be safe and ready for the next round of material to be excavated. This not only means that all the sub-processes need to be carefully planned and optimised, but also that the dependencies and impacts between them need to be evaluated and understood to optimise the whole tunnelling or mining cycle.
Chance for improvement under every rock
Let’s look at hard rock drill and blast, for example, and start our morning shift with blast hole drilling for a new round. It’s clear that the blaster would want to have those holes nicely and neatly where they should be, to be able to charge the round for optimal blasting results.
But how does this affect the following processes?
Careful drilling pattern design and accurate drilling enables for accurate charging with no extra explosives used to substitute for hole deviations. This results in reduced overbreaks, smooth surface finish, and narrow damage zone.
There will be less rock to muck out, as the overbreaks are smaller. This combined with controlled particle size will lead to shorter and more predictable mucking times with no interruptions and less risks.
Smooth surface finish and a minor damage zone will have a great effect on scaling. There are less loose rocks and uncertainties in the surrounding rock mass, and the scaling will become more systematic. Again, time will be saved, and the schedule becomes more predictable. What’s absolutely most important, scaling can be done more safely for both the scaler operator and everyone entering the space afterwards.
A controlled damage zone will reduce the need for rock bolting, and again make the work safer. Even if the rock bolting would be systematic as is often the case in civil engineering tunnels, the smooth surface will cut down time needed for bolt hole drilling and make the work easier and safer as the holes stay clean and open.
As we know, concrete spraying is a highly material intensive process. A major part of the costs of sprayed concrete are in the concrete mix itself, and pretty much all the rest are dependent on concrete consumption. Also, unfortunately the current carbon footprint of concrete is not exactly very admirable.
(But it can be reduced! Read Ross Dimmock’s (Vice President, Tunnelling) excellent Normet blog: https://www.normet.com/steps-towards-creating-zero-carbon-tunnels/)
What we don’t often consider is that under almost every rock in the tunnel there are ways to cut down on material consumption. Having a smooth rock surface with minor overbreaks is one of these ways. There is simply less area to be sprayed, and the fundamentals of good application techniques like maintaining correct stand-off distance and angle between your nozzle tip and the surface, are far easier to maintain. Spraying becomes more systematic and layer thicknesses better stay under control. This inevitably leads to less concrete consumed for the same design structure, whether spraying to design layer thickness or to design profile.
Some of the other ways to control concrete consumption are more in the hands of the dedicated sprayed concrete people. Skilful and motivated operators with tight layer thickness control and good application technique, high-quality mix design and top-class equipment can ensure that waste is kept to a minimum.
Part of the work is already done before the tunnelling even begins. I recently read how a tunnel project had been able to reduce the quantity of sprayed concrete used by 20 per cent. This was achieved by using a high-performance concrete mix and being able to design thinner layers for permanent rock support.
Saving material on all fronts
So, long story short, I’d divide the areas where excess material consumption can be controlled, to five:
Design: To be able to prescribe only the needed layer thicknesses and structures, nothing more.
Excavation quality and profile control: To leave as little extra area to be sprayed as possible.
Layer thickness control: To minimise over-spraying with good application technique and modern technologies helping the operator achieve the right layer thicknesses.
Rebound: To get the precious grey stuff on the wall instead of the floor with sharp application techniques, equipment allowing low pulsation pumping and accurate accelerator dosing, and careful mix design.
Waste and spill: To get the batching plant and delivery processes optimised so that no concrete goes to waste, and all of it goes to the nozzle.
As we see here, only two of these five areas are actually directly controlled by the sprayed concrete process. The rest are dependent on other processes of the tunnelling cycle, or even outside of it. Only being able to optimise all of these will lead to the best possible outcome considering the material consumption of the sprayed concrete process.
It’s a package deal!
So, it’s not enough to be able to look at individual sub-processes; it’s also key to understand the whole cycle and the dependencies between different parts. As well, it’s important to be aware of the stuff that is not directly on your own plate. If that driller would have gone for the shortest possible drilling time and hole count to save time, all the other processes in the cycle would have suffered.
For us at Normet, this means we cannot focus on individual products and processes and work in silos to optimise them. Maintaining a comprehensive understanding on all underground production processes and combining that with excellence in developing solutions for our customers is key. This optimises the whole excavation cycle for a more sustainable underground tomorrow. Additionally, this is why we target hiring people with industry experience in mining and tunnelling and share this underground expertise throughout the organisation to stay ahead of the game.
By the way, if you are a sprayer operator, get that driller a nice hot cup of coffee on the next morning shift. It will pay off!
Operator training in VR is renewing Normet’s training offering
Normet digital operator training team has been working vigorously during the last year to further improve our VR simulator training capabilities and compliance with industry requirements. The work has mainly evolved around building new training schemes and scenarios to both strengthen the existing course offering, and to work in cooperation with EFNARC to comply with their Nozzleman training and assessment schemes.
In June 2021 this work reached an important milestone when Normet VR Spraying Training Simulator was officially certified to be used for EFNARC C2 Nozzleman trainings. This makes also Normet entitled to organize the C2 operator training courses and assess and certify nozzlemen according to the scheme.
“EFNARC, the international association of Experts for Specialized Construction and Concrete Systems, has developed sprayer operator certification schemes to comply with the tightening industry standards, safety requirements and environmental aspects since the launch of the Nozzleman training, assessment and certification scheme in 2009,” explains Max Eckstein, president of EFNARC. “C2 is the latest development for operator training and certification with integration of VR simulator technology,” continues Eckstein. “We’re excited to have Normet on board to support EFNARC C2 trainings.”
This is a great addition to our operator training offering, as the EFNARC training schemes are widely recognized globally. It also strengthens Normet’s capabilities to help improve the sprayed concrete operations in mines and tunnelling projects for safety, efficiency, and lower CO2 emissions through optimized concrete consumption.
Sprayed concrete is one of the tightest regulated processes in underground construction. This is because especially in tunnelling the sprayed concrete structure is there to protect the underground facility and it’s users for the decades or even centuries to come. Modern civil engineering has means to design extremely durable structures with moderate layer thicknesses, but in the end it all comes down to the quality of the application. The operator and their competence plays key role here.
The simulator has also proven to be quite a success at exhibitions and demo events. Many visitors who normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to try a real sprayer have tackled the simulator challenge and participated to our infamous VR spraying contests. One unifying statement from those who have tried spraying with the simulator for the first time has been how much they now value the skills of professional sprayer operators.
For more information, please contact:
Director Underground Process Excellence, Normet Oy
Mobile: +358 50 491 0111