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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Unique weir refurbishment project for Kemroc

Kemrock KR 120 drum cutter

Mathias Walter utilize Kemrock KR 120 drum cutter as part of renewable energy infrastructure project

CONTRACTORS Mathias Walter have completed a sensitive weir refurbishment project located in the town of Wettin-Löbejün, near the German city of Leipzig. The low head dam along the river Saale had to be renovated as part of site improvement works for an adjacent hydroelectric power plant that could continue to generate renewable electricity.

With the first phase successfully completed on time in spring 2020, which primarily involved removing the existing concrete foundations of the weir, Mathias Walter have decided that they will continue to use a 26-ton excavator fitted with a Kemroc KR 120 drum cutter instead of the more traditional excavator and hammer combination.

Since 2013, the historical river weir has been in urgent need for repairs and reconstruction to prevent operational failure, following a flood that damaged the core structure. The improvement works have included: upgrading the dam with the installation of steel hydraulic weir flaps; and subsequently, securing and fixing the flaps to ten concrete defensive pillars.

To create a flat surface for the construction of the concrete foundations, it was necessary to modify the existing weir structure. A wedge-shaped section, with of a total width of 120m and a height of 40cm, had to be removed from the base level below the weir.

Mathias Walter took a pragmatic approach to dismantling this part of the weir and considered viable alternatives to conventional excavation and hammer methods, as using a hydraulic breaker could damage the structure of the dam.  

The construction firm turned to Kemroc for a suitable excavator-mounted specialist attachment and the chosen KR 120 drum cutter has since proved to be a productive, safe and efficient solution for the removal of the structure.

A site engineer working on the project has clearly been impressed with the Kemroc cutter attachment, particularly the precision and quick, systematic demolition of the existing materials.

He commented: ‘We had to uncover the pile walls, a pump sump and wall connections which meant accuracy took priority over speed. In another phase, fast removal of the large volume of material from the first 60m long section was called for. The Kemroc KR 120 drum cutter achieved both objectives. However, the most important benefit was eliminating the vibration that would have caused damage to the concrete weir structure.’

Mathias Walter see further potential for the KR 120 drum cutter attachment and plan to utilize the tool for similar upcoming projects at other hydroelectric power plants.

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