Twintec shows star quality

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Beer and wine producer Constellation increased the capacity of its £40 million distribution centre by 80,000 pallets – roughly 53 million bottles of wine – when it installed a floor from Twintec.

As part of the 74,500 sq m project at the Avonmouth-based site, Twintec provided a floor slab equivalent in size to 13 football pitches – making it the largest CAT1 floor laid in the UK this year and one of the biggest ever completed in the country.

For the new 51,000 sq m main warehouse, the concrete floor specialist laid a 250mm-deep floor slab, reinforced with 45kg/m3 of advanced fibre technology, AFT, +1/60 steel fibres cast to a flatness tolerance of CAT1, all done without the need for any remedial grinding.

The contract was awarded by Fitzpatrick Contractors, on behalf of developer Goodman, for steel fibre reinforced floors throughout the warehouse, packaging hall, tank rooms and laboratories. The steel fibre reinforced concrete was integrated into the concrete on site, under controlled conditions, using Twintec’s proprietary equipment, with concrete also mixed on site by Fitzpatrick to the contractor’s exact specification.

“The high bay warehouse was initially designed to institutional standards as this was originally a speculative build,” says Twintec’s Darryl Eddy. “But, Constellation required bespoke elements to be introduced for their specialised use of the facility. This led us to making significant changes to our floor slab designs within the overall design package, requiring close co-operation between Fitzpatrick, project managers Moseley and project engineers Stewart and Harris.”

The heavily loaded, Freeplan S, suspended floor slab, was completed in four weeks, with 1,900 sq m of slab completed each day. Once it is operational in 2009, bottling capacity is expected to rise to 120 million bottles per year.

When finished, the site will be the largest bonded warehouse in Europe. The adjacent and largest wine-packaging facility in the UK, handles the bottling of bulk-imported wine from South Africa, Australia and the US. The aim of the new facility is to cut shipping and reduce the amount of imported green glass produced by British wine drinkers.

Instead the wine will be brought in 24,000 litre containers and bottled in Avonmouth before going on to be sold. According to environmental group, Waste and Resources Action Programme, the UK is the largest importer of wine in the world, with more than a billion litres imported. Bulk importation can reduce shipping costs by up to 40 per cent and benefit the environment by using less fuel for transporting full bottles.

Current estimates suggest that an additional ten per cent switch to bulk importing means 55,000 fewer tonnes of glass are imported, equivalent to 3,100 container-loads.

Advances in grinding equipment have meant that the aggregate in concrete floors can be exposed and polished leaving an attractive, durable surface that requires minimal maintenance

Tracey Glew, managing director of The Preparation Group

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