Swiss company Geobrugg, a world leader in the design and manufacture of high-tensile steel-wire mesh for Geohazard Solutions and Security Engineering, has established a manufacturing plant in Perth to supply mining and civil engineering clients in Australia and New Zealand.
Located in Malaga, in Perth’s northern suburbs, the plant was commissioned in September 2011 and doubled its output capacity in April 2012 with the installation of a second specialised Geobrugg-designed production machine. The 1,000m2 production area provides the potential to install two further machines to meet growing demand.
Geobrugg’s general manager for Australia Roland Bucher said the decision to build the plant was prompted by the need to reduce lead times to Australian clients, who have previously had to wait up to 12 weeks for mesh to be shipped from Europe, "Our TECCO® high-tensile steel wire mesh is rapidly becoming a protection material of choice for the mining industry here in Australia, and we recognised the need to be able to respond quickly to urgent orders,"
"We now hold local stocks in Perth, enabling us to turn orders around on a 24 hour basis, and we also have the capacity to respond in just a few days to requests for non-standard TECCO® mesh lengths and widths," he added.
According to Mr. Bucher, who has headed Geobrugg’s operations in Australia for nearly four years, currently 85 % of the company’s products are supplied to the mining industry, the balance being used in civil engineering projects. He that said the strength and corrosion-resistant properties of the company’s range of high-tensile wire mesh products (DELTAX®, TECCO® and SPIDER®) made it ideal for the tough environmental conditions often encountered in open-cut mines in remote locations. "A good example is the massive mine remediation project on Koolan Island, which incorporates what is believed to be one of the largest rockfall mesh drape mining applications in the world," said Mr. Bucher.
At the Koolan Island main pit remediation, TECCO® mesh is used primarily as a drape but in certain areas also acts as a stabilisation system, in conjunction with cable bolts, to protect personnel and infrastructure when the pit resumes production. Mr. Bucher said Geobrugg also expected strong demand for mesh for underground applications using the revolutionary MESHA® installation handler mechanised chain link mesh handling system, developed by drilling and ground support contractor ROCK Australia. Geobrugg have an agreement with ROCK Australia to supply MESHA® installation handler units for underground applications where Geobrugg mesh products are used.
The MESHA® installation handler is a bolt-on unit that can be retro-fitted to the feed component of any multi-boom underground jumbo, while still maintaining the two feeds for drilling. In operation, the unit mechanically places and holds the Geobrugg mesh in position, where it is bolted to the back and walls using friction bolts or grouted / resin bolts, in the traditional way. This system offers mine operators two major benefits: it can reduce installation time by up to 40 % compared to the time to install welded mesh using conventional methods, and up to 70 % compared to the time to apply shotcrete.
"More importantly," continued Mr Bucher, "it eliminates manual handling of heavy mesh sheets by the jumbo operator and ensures that he is, at no time, exposed to working on unsupported ground,"
The Geobrugg Malaga manufacturing unit was officially opened on May 3, 2012, by Mr Otto H. Suhner, the director of the board and main shareholder of the privately owned Swiss company BRUGG Group. The BRUGG Group has an annual turnover in excess of AUD$750m, and is one of Europe’s largest steel rope and associated product manufacturers. The company already has manufacturing plants in Europe, North America, China and Japan.