UK based manufacturer Fibrelite was tasked with developing a brand new 90 tonne load rated retro-fit lightweight composite access cover that could withstand the rigours and working environment of an extremely busy UK commercial port. The covers had to be F900 load rated, provide easy and safe access, be retro-fitted into the existing frames and also provide security to prevent unauthorised access.

The initial approach came from the port’s maintenance team who were exploring alternative replacement options for the extremely heavy and corroding steel covers that required dedicated lifting equipment, which incurred substantial financial costs with equipment, manpower and time, every time fresh water was transferred to the ship.

The replacement covers that Fibrelite supplied were load rated to F900 and colour coded yellow to denote fresh drinking water supply. The regional water authority had previously specified that the covers must be secured to prevent unauthorised access so Fibrelite provided a bolt down version so that the trench covers could be secured to the existing frame.

One of the port’s work inspectors said, “You will be pleased to hear that the work was completed yesterday and going forward will prove to be a huge improvement to our delivery of water to vessels”.

Benefits of Retrofitting – Save Time and Money

The benefit of using a retrofit system is that costly and time consuming installation is eliminated. There are no break outs of existing structures and no curing time resetting structures into concrete. In critical high trafficked areas this is a major advantage to the client.

“Having re-configured the internal fibreglass architecture we can meet the permanent set and test load requirements of BS EN 124, Class F900 (when tested in accordance with the Air BP test footprint). These highly engineered composite trench covers have eliminated costly and time consuming procedures, as well as allowing for a load rating of up to 90 tonnes. The associated increase in productivity and significant reduction in costs were huge benefactors for the consulting engineers and customers alike” explains David Holmes, Fibrelite’s technical director and head of product development.

Ideal for Ports, Dockyards, Power Plants and Airports

These lightweight composite access covers can be used for a multitude of applications: from ports and dockyards, industrial facilities, airports, HGV loading areas and also power stations for example. No other covering system matches its easy lift, skid resistant or load carrying properties.

Lightweight, Strong and Safe

The Fibrelite manufacturing process uses multi-axial E glass fibre and a specially formulated resin matrix. The basic principle of this methodology is to dissipate load in the most effective way possible – something in which Fibrelite surpasses all competition.