Which size bog mat should I use?

Choosing the right size bog mat doesn’t have to be too difficult. Often you can be guided by the job you are working on, including the ground conditions, the type of traffic – pedestrian, vehicle or heavy plant – and the amount of weight you need to spread over a larger area.

Timber mats serve a range of different purposes. On soft ground, they can be a way to create a stable platform and to distribute pressure more evenly to prevent machinery from sinking.

Alternatively, they can be used as a demarcation system to show the route that should be taken along temporary walkways and temporary access roads. This can help you to choose the best size bog mats for the job.

What size are bog mats?

Bog mats normally come one metre wide, and either three or five metres long. Regardless of thickness, most of the timber mats for sale and hire on our website are either 1m x 3m or 1m x 5m.

You can easily place multiple mats alongside each other to cover a larger area, for example to create a staging area for materials, a parking zone for vehicles, or a lifting platform for cranes.

Alternatively, place bog mats end to end for a long, narrow line that can work well as a temporary walkway for pedestrians, especially where space is at a premium and you don’t want a wide walkway.

How thick are bog mats?

In terms of thickness, there are several options to choose from:

· 70mm bog mats for loads up to 35 tonnes

· 100mm bog mats for loads up to 45 tonnes

· 150mm bog mats for loads up to 60 tonnes

For even heavier loads, we can supply 200mm and 250mm timber mats, in sizes of 1m x 6m. These are some of our most durable timber mats for heavy-duty operations, and for use on very soft ground such as in tidal areas.

How to safely set up your crane

The tower and mobile cranes setup procedure requires meticulous setup to avoid any catastrophic accidents during lifting operations.

This includes instability and damage caused by:

· Soft and undermined ground conditions

· Hidden utilities and conduits

· Overbalanced cranes

Ground protection mats help you to control for these common crane hazards by spreading the pressure of the crane over a larger area, as well as expanding the base area over which the centre of gravity can be safely located.

Using crane mats to build a lifting platform

First of all, crane safety requires to have a competent person with the relevant safety training to survey the ground in order to identify any hidden hollows and other potential hazards below the surface.

These can create pockets that the crane can fall into – and even a small cavity can leave the crane leaning in a dangerous position.

Crane mats can be used to span smaller spaces below the surface, by ensuring that the pressure is applied over a level lifting platform instead of on a single point of contact.

Widening the base area

Outrigger pads are a way to increase the effective base area of the crane so that the centre of gravity cannot move to an unstable position.

Again, using outrigger mats spreads the pressure of the crane’s outriggers over an area, reducing the risk of crane accidents due to an outrigger sinking into soft ground or breaking through into an undetected cavity.

They also help to create a flat and level surface for the outrigger to make contact with, which can be helpful if the ground itself is not completely level or even.

Things to consider

It’s important to assess the type of outrigger pads and crane mats you need, according to the soil type, the size of your crane or other lifting equipment and the total load you need to lift, among other things.

You might want to consider:

· The size of outrigger mats you need.

· The type and maximum load of crane mats.

At all times, make sure you observe your lifting platform, crane mats and outrigger pads carefully, and halt your lifting operations if you notice any significant deformation.

For more information about crane mats, lifting platforms and outrigger mats, contact Timbermat today and we will be happy to help.

The Bangkok crane fall that highlights importance of crane mats

An incident that left ten schoolgirls injured in Bangkok provides a stark reminder of the importance of crane mats and outrigger pads to create a stable lifting platform for cranes and other lifting vehicles.

In mid-June, a tower crane used in the construction of a 20-storey hotel in the Thai capital fell on to an adjacent building, the Assumption Convent School, leaving ten of its female pupils injured.

The incident was not the first problem to occur at the construction site, which had previously been the subject of complaints after contractors working there dropped debris on numerous occasions on to the school grounds.

On April 1st, a suspension order was issued, calling for an immediate halt to all construction work on the River Garden Hotel site.

But the contractors ignored this, paving the way for the collapse of the tower crane some 8-10 weeks later.

Any failure of equipment is regrettable but when innocent young people are injured in a preventable incident, this is even worse – so how can crane mats help?


Creating lifting platforms with crane mats

Some reports describe how the crane ‘toppled’ before raining debris on the school, much of it crashing through the roof of the gymnasium during a PE lesson.

It is essential during any lifting activity to ensure that the crane is stable, including taking into account the shift in its centre of gravity caused by the additional weight of the load it is trying to lift.

This can cause a significant movement in terms of where the pressure of the crane is exerted on the ground.

Crane mats interlock to create a consistent lifting platform, helping to spread this pressure over a larger area and dissipate those highest downward forces.

On unstable ground or where there is a possibility of hidden cavities, underground storage tanks and utility conduits, this helps to reduce the risk of breaking through and toppling the crane.

Meanwhile outrigger pads effectively increase the base area of the crane or lifting vehicle, making it less likely that the centre of gravity will move fully beyond the base and create the necessary instability for the crane to topple.

Together these measures can help to improve stability of the crane structure and of the ground on which it stands – reducing the risk of an avoidable incident like the one above occurring at all.

How to free heavy machinery stuck in mud

If you need to free heavy machinery stuck in mud, you’re likely to need two things: more heavy machinery and a way to reach your bogged-down equipment.

Where to start with mud-trapped machinery

Assuming the machinery already stuck is not able to escape the mud even with a dry clean roadway, then it’s important to consider not only the weight of the equipment used to pull it out, but also the additional forces that will be exerted during the pulling or lifting process.

Because of this, it’s crucial to spread the load of the lifting vehicle so as to minimise the downward pressure on the mud and prevent another vehicle from getting stuck.

How can Timbermat help?

We supply heavy equipment mats for some of the most challenging working environments, as they can be used in different configurations to overcome obstacles like waterlogged land and even bridging across gaps. These uniquely engineered timber mats are substantially stronger than standard bog mats and are fully tested, making it possible to calculate specific deflection and ground pressure conditions under certain loads.

On extremely boggy land, heavy equipment bog mats can be laid in an H-configuration with mats laid across beneath the main temporary roadway, effectively acting as outriggers to spread the pressure over a larger area.

This can create an access roadway even on extremely challenging sites, providing a means for the rescue vehicle to reach the swamped equipment and haul it out on to the roadway.

Can you build a road to freedom?

In some cases where equipment is only partially bogged down but unable to move, it may be possible to free it by laying a clean, dry and solid temporary roadway right up to the tyres to provide some purchase.

Again, heavy equipment mats are a good choice for this on very wet ground, and we have an extensive range of alternative options that could also be suitable in less challenging conditions.

For this purpose, the idea is to lay a dry roadway in front of the vehicle (or behind it, if attempting to reverse out of a mud slick) and use its own engine and tyre tread to establish enough grip with the textured surface of the timber mats and transfer enough power to drive out on to dry and solid ground.

Timbermat can help free your trapped equipment. Just get in contact with us today to discuss options. It might also be a good idea to be prepared for next time!

American Oak Quercus Alba crane mats take the strain

Timbermat American Oak Quercus Alba crane mats, temporary roadways and ground protection mats are an excellent option on sites where you need to create a safe and stable platform for heavy-duty mobile equipment and protect against penetrating the surface below.

Already in September we have seen the importance of crane mats in Manchester city centre, after a wheeled crane vehicle broke through the pavement outside the Debenhams department store on Market Street.

Images of the incident posted on social networks show the vehicle at a sideways tilt, with one rugged tyre buried in the broken flagstones and the corner entrance to the store completely blocked as a result. Council workers later fenced off the surrounding pavement, in an attempt to prevent passers-by from being put at risk.

Over a week later, the vehicle still had not been recovered, and it is largely down to chance that the shop has been able to stay open just using other entrances, and the nearby Metrolink service has been able to continue operating too.

American Oak crane mats – thick, heavy, sustainable

Our American Oak Quercus Alba crane mats provide a sustainable way to spread the weight of heavy crane vehicles, delivery trucks and other vehicles and mobile equipment to reduce the risk of putting a tyre or track through a paved surface, or through any other unstable or fragile ground layer.

American white oak is sustainably produced under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, so you know when you buy Quercus Alba crane mats or hire American Oak ground protection mats from Timbermat, you are complying with import regulations and protecting the environment too.

The timber is medium-strength against crushing and bending, with low stiffness, making it ideal to absorb the shocks of heavy equipment passing overhead – the flexibility dissipating the peak forces throughout the mats rather than exerting it on a specific spot at high pressure.

We supply American Oak timber mats in thicker measurements, and in larger sizes, to maximise this dissipation of forces across a larger area, reducing the risk of an incident like the one that took place on Market Street in Manchester earlier this month. If you have specific requirements, get in touch today and a member of our team will discuss options with you.

Five steps to a firmer foundation with crane mats

Crane mats are an essential step in laying a firm foundation when using heavy lifting equipment including vehicle-mounted cranes, and if you are not 100% certain of what lies beneath ground level, laying crane mats is an absolute must to help minimise the risk of subsidence during lifting.

Here are five steps towards safer lifting operations, thanks to the firm foundation laid using crane mats and outrigger pads, and a few simple precautions before and during the lifting operation itself.

1. Check the ground conditions

There are a few things to consider here – the type of ground surface, loose soil, wet sand etc, as well as any hidden risks below the surface, for example cavities left behind by underground storage tanks and utility ducts.

2. Choose your crane pads

Consider all of the characteristics of the crane pads you choose – their size, thickness, flexibility and load-bearing strength – and how these correspond to your lifting equipment and the ground conditions on which they will be used.

3. Add outrigger pads

Lifting equipment is more stable with outrigger pads – it’s as simple as that. They significantly broaden your contact base with the ground for a much more stable effective centre of gravity, and provide an extra layer of defence against the crane vehicle or other lifting equipment toppling over under an uneven load.

4. Lift evenly and within range

Don’t over-extend the lifting arm or try to hoist too much weight at once. If necessary (and possible) split the lifting operation into several parts so you can carry less weight or cover less distance, to keep all the variables within range – and look for signs of the outriggers starting to lift off of their outrigger mats, which could be a precursor to toppling over.

5. Watch for deformation

Crane mats and outrigger pads are designed to flex and absorb some of the pressure exerted on them, but look out for the entire mat sinking into the ground, as the soil itself might not be able to take the pressure, and this can quickly destabilise your vehicle or equipment.

Talk to the team at Timbermat to place an order for crane mats or outrigger pads today.

Azobe mats for heavy duty crane operations

Azobe mats are our most durable timber mats for heavy-duty crane operations and give you a safe and stable platform for crane outriggers to stand on, spreading the load across an even larger area on the ground where stability is still a concern.

Why use Azobe timber mats?

Azobe is also known as Ekki and belongs to the botanical species Lophira alata, a durable tropical hardwood placed in Durability Class 1, with our highest volume mass, elasticity and flexibility strength.

Each of our most heavy-duty crane pads measures 1m wide, 1.5m long and 200 mm thick, with two steel-reinforced lifting points for easy manoeuvrability.

Inside each lifting point is an M24 steel bar, secured on the side of the timber mat with a countersunk steel bolt and washer for a surface finish that is flush with the surface of the wood itself.

The dual lifting points not only make it easier to move these heavy duty ground protection mats from location to location as the crane needs to move, but they also ensure that the mat itself stays stable when in motion, with two points of contact with your lifting equipment.

All of the timber used comes from sustainable sources in accordance with present-day laws on hardwood manufacture and procurement, and this is verified via registration with the Forest Stewardship Council, so you can have complete peace of mind that you are using outrigger pads made with sustainable timber.

The crane operator ultimately bears the responsibility for the use of crane outrigger pads, and by opting for a Class 1 durable hardwood like Azobe, you benefit from high-density timber mats with excellent strength and elasticity.

Also in Durability Class 1-2 are Okan and Dabema timber mats, both of which also offer high slide strength and pressure strength, along with flexibility and elasticity that comes a close second to Ekki timber mats.

Meanwhile for less heavy-duty applications, our American and European Oak mats, as well as Beech timber mats, offer lower volume density, with slightly lower pressure and slide strength, but still good flexibility and elasticity – and every species of timber mat has its own applications for which it is ideally suited.

To find out more about the best timber mats for your upcoming project, call Timbermat today on 08000 12 1231 and we will be happy to discuss your options. Alternatively, you can view our hire and buy pages for more information. 

Crane mats reduce your biggest risks

Crane mats do more than just protect the ground – they also protect you against some of the biggest risks you face on an active job site, where instability of heavy lifting gear or crane vehicles can lead to a costly catastrophe.

The safety risks of tower cranes

HSE statistics show that since 2001, there have been more than 60 reported safety incidents involving tower cranes in the construction industry, with 25 people seriously injured and nine people killed.

Along with this completely avoidable human cost, there is the financial cost – the destruction of cranes that topple on unstable ground, the value of anything destroyed where they land, the potential health and safety fines, and the lengthy interruption to construction work.

The sheer size of cranes and the quantity of goods that they can lift means the destructive forces involved in a collapse can be huge – but crane mats can help to make sure that the ground surface is properly prepared, to improve the stability of all lifting equipment, from the very largest to a relatively small vehicle-mounted crane.

How do crane mats work?

When you lay crane mats, you can create temporary roadways for crane vehicles, or stationary platforms for static lifting equipment, so that you know what surface you are working on.

The mats help to spread the pressure and the downward forces from the crane’s legs, wheels or outriggers, and this in itself means you are less likely to sink into soft ground or break through into a hidden cavity below.

You can combine this with outrigger pads where appropriate, to achieve the same added stability for individual outriggers, rather than putting in place a completely solid platform or temporary roadway.

You reduce the risk of the ground giving way beneath the crane by distributing the weight more evenly; you lower the risk of the crane toppling if the ground on one side is softer than on the other; and where necessary you construct a temporary roadway that doubles as a demarcation system to highlight the safe route.

On top of all of this, crane mats deliver the general benefits of ground protection mats, protecting exposed earth, soil and lawns against being churned up by bulky crane vehicle tyres, and reducing landscaping costs to put it right again when construction is completed. Timbermat is able to provide you with the crane mats necessary to ensure your construction site is safe.

Crane mats give solid surface to earthwork platforms

We often talk about using crane mats and temporary access roads to overcome challenging ground conditions on a particular construction site, or along the route vehicles and equipment needs to take to get there.

But on large sites undergoing intensive redevelopment, the work itself can transform the landscape, making it even more important to use crane mats to spread the load when machinery is placed on top of earthworks that are not yet fully settled or compacted.

Crane mats in real world use

For example, in the ongoing work currently taking place on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, the future A1270, 1.2 million cubic metres of earth has been excavated, with over 11,500 tonnes of this used to build crane platforms, piling mats and other on-site structures.

Other excavations on the site include more than 400 archaeological trenches, about a third so far of the 33km of drainage that needs to be installed, and a protective lagoon in the vicinity of Wensum Valley.

The junction with the A140 Cromer Road is ‘grade separated’, meaning the A140 crosses the A1270 on a bridge, with major construction work needed to build the slip roads and embankments here, while a further seven bridges and a bat underpass also form part of the project.

On any ambitious scheme such as this, heavy machinery is a must to keep work on schedule and to move the vast amounts of earth that must be relocated, but safety is also of paramount importance.

Rely on crane mats for ground surface safety

Crane mats give a more reliable ground surface by spreading the pressure of heavy vehicle tyres and tracks over an even wider area – they can be used on wet sand in tidal areas, which gives an idea of their suitability on recently moved soil that has not yet been compacted down.

And on transport infrastructure projects in particular, temporary access roads are an ideal way to provide safe routes to the interior of the site for works vehicles, until the new finished road surfaces are poured.

Contact Timbermat to discuss your options. We’ll be able to advise on the best mats for your project.

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