Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, owned by EDF Energy, is Britain’s biggest construction project since the second world war and once complete it will provide electricity for around six million homes whilst also making a major contribution in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.
Delivering the sites main civil engineering works is Bylor, a joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics and Laing O’Rourke. During the project they will erect and maintain a total of 50 tower cranes, use 1.2 million cubic metres of concrete and build the outer shells of the reactors. They are also expected to be on site after the power station is built in order to backfill the land which has been used to extract materials for the site.
The large scale project has required Bylor to invest in over 4,000 pieces of equipment including a variety of Komatsu machines ranging from 8 – 26 tons.
Their largest excavator is the Komatsu PC360LC-11 fitted with a long reach boom and arm which they received in November 2019. The complexity of the site means that larger machines have less room to manoeuvre and have restricted access to certain areas. However, by having a 17m reach, this machine can be placed further away from the work area and still get the job done efficiently.
Alongside having to find ways to operate around the intricate site, Bylor and EDF Energy both have a zero harm culture at the heart of their operations to keep all employees safe. In order to achieve this, Bylor must consider safety across all their processes, including their choice of heavy machinery.
The Komatsu PC228USLC-11 excavator, which they also received in November, has a bundle of safety features including a front dozer blade used to stabilise the machine when it’s digging on slopes or rough terrain. The blade also allows the excavator to complete dozing and backfilling jobs, making it extremely suitable for a variety of applications.
The 22 ton machine also has an ultra-short tail swing radius allowing it to work in confined areas where conventional excavators would pose a safety risk. Whilst working at Hinkley Point C, the machine will complete a variety of tasks including working at the processing yard.
To assist with fine grading jobs, Bylor recently made the decision to purchase their first Komatsu bulldozer, a D37PXi-24 fitted with intelligent machine control technology. When used in automatic mode this machine can greatly enhance the efficiency and productivity in this application.
It is also the smallest and most compact in Komatsu’s range of bulldozers, allowing it to easily manoeuvre in tight, narrow areas and it can be easily transported to different areas of the large scale site. To improve site safety, the machine has a super slant nose design to give the operator greater visibility of the blade and any potential obstructions.
With each of their new Komatsu machines, Bylor made the decision to purchase a long term service contract and warranty order to reduce their own engineers’ workload and ensure maximum productivity.
“The site has lots of tight schedules everyone must stick to, fortunately we know we can rely on Marubeni-Komatsu’s field service engineers to arrive on site when we need them.” Says Lilli Thompson, one of Bylor’s apprentice engineers. “So far the Komatsu machines have been reliable, and the operators have all commented on how smooth they are to use.”