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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Technology innovation leaves AI feeling chipper

M95 AI Class chipper

Aggregate Industries’ Contracting Services division helps raise the bar in on-site safety with improved chipper

CONTINUING to raise the bar in on-site health and safety, Aggregate Industries Contracting division recently embarked on a project designed to improve existing outdated chipper technology and bring it up to modern-day standards.

The move was prompted by an incident involving a chipper in June 2016 when a supply chain operative suffered a fractured ankle.

Following this incident, Aggregate Industries’ Contracting team undertook a thorough investigation to identify how future injuries and incidents of this kind could be avoided. This included a review of the company’s own fleet and best-practice equipment across the whole industry.

The results of this investigation highlighted that what was required was a new approach to chippers.

Paddy Murphy, managing director of Contracting Services at Aggregate Industries, explained: ‘Our investigation revealed that chipper technology had changed little over the decades, resulting in equipment that had been left behind with regards to health and safety standards when compared with a lot of modern machinery used by the industry.

‘Initially, to improve operations, we considered alternative methods of placing chips but found that, in terms of delivery, the existing equipment remained the best. Therefore, we decided to take matters into our own hands and decided that upgrading the current chipper technology was the only viable approach.’

After consulting with the team of experts at the company’s National Plant Department, Aggregate Industries formulated 25 improvements to the latest chipper equipment. The company then approached industry-leading suppliers Tex Engineering to undertake the identified improvements.

In July 2017, following eight months of meetings and development work, trials were undertaken with the new chipper, which featured changes including; joystick control, a hopper-moving mechanism, improved lighting, and safety bars.

The trial proved successful and the new chipper – the M95 AI Class (pictured) – was introduced into operations for the first time at a site in Hampshire in August 2017.

Mr Murphy continued: ‘The chipper improvement project has proved to be an incredible success. From the investigation, which identified the improvements, to the technological developments created in partnership with Tex Engineering, we have seen countless examples of professionalism and expertise, and a real dedication to make a lasting contribution to improving safety standards across the industry.’

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