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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Portable rock and concrete breaker

In the Channel Islands, an enhanced Boulder Buster tool is being used for secondary breaking of 15-20-tonne boulders in an area where the use of explosives is restricted. Using Boulder Buster also means that secondary breaking can be done at any time as it is not restricted to specific areas and can be undertaken without moving machinery and equipment.

A licence is not needed to to use Boulder Buster and, with no vibration, low noise and no risk of fly rock, it can be used alongside or inside structures or buildings.

A hole is first drilled into the rock or structure to be broken and is then filled with water. An industrial power cartridge (booster cartridge) is placed down the hole; the amount depends on the depth of hole and the required result. The Boulder Buster tool is then placed in the hole and a rubber mat placed over it. An initiating power cartridge is placed in the tool, the safety firing mechanism screwed in and the lanyard attached. The operator walks 7m away (the length of the lanyard) and simply gives the lanyard a sharp pull. A shock wave is passed down the hole through the water and the booster cartridges are ignited creating a force that breaks the rock or concrete.

Where reinforcing is present in concrete, the Boulder Buster will break around the reinforcing, allowing the steel to be cut.

Other uses for Boulder Buster in quarries include the removal of blockages in crushers, toe-hole removal and general rock face work where explosives cannot be used.

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