"We now offer the equivalent of a 90-lb. breaker that hits as hard as a 120-lb. breaker would," Bigwood notes. Called the LH40E, it has spring-mounted anti-vibration handles which considerably reduce the vibration felt by the operator. This new machine only throws off 6 meters per second squared of vibration, not too much more than a hand-held electric razor which vibrates at 2.5 meters per second squared. The reduced vibration and the low weight of the power units are causing hand-held hydraulics to gain in popularity compared to pneumatics.
The biggest advantage of the more traditional hand-held pneumatic tools is that they use compressors, which many contractors already own, for power. They include chipping hammers and rivet busters for walls and finish work, cutoff saws, rock drills, which are faster than core drills for setting charges, and breakers. Improvements in these products come from the addition of vibration reducing handles and better mufflers.
Whole building demolition jobs may require the use of rig-mounted attachments, which are put on skid steers or mini and large excavators. They include breakers, crushers, which are used after implosions for taking down large buildings, pulverizers for reducing concrete slabs to rubble, cutters for scrap cutting, shears for cutting steel frames and the universal processor, a combination machine that both cuts and crushes. These rig-mounted tools are highly productive because they can break up much more concrete in the same amount of time than hand held tools, Bigwood noted. Operator comfort is relatively high, as there is less vibration than with hand-held tools and much less noise because the operator works inside an enclosed, air-conditioned cab.
Atlas Copco is introducing the CC1700, a new combi cutter designed to increase worker productivity. Its benefit is how easy and fast it is to change the jaws from crushing to steel cutting, as the process takes only 15 to 20 minutes compared to up to four hours for traditional machines.
More repair materials
While decorative floors can be used in residential restorations, Miller says they are often found only in high-end homes.
tandard residential applications usually involve putting ceramic tile over a wood floor. In this case, contractors must first check for soundness and then use a self-leveling underlayment. This is followed by the use of thinsets, grout and adhesive.
For commercial establishments where a decorative concrete floor is desired, Mapei products range from Ultraplan M20, a midrange product that is popular in large retail establishments as either an underlayment or a wear surface, to Ultratop, a highly durable wear surface product. "With Ultratop, you have the capability to get a very high quality of finish with a virtually crack-free floor," Miller says. "You can diamond polish the product if you want. It acid stains very well. It takes integral color very well. It's a very stable, versatile canvas for anything decorative." The result is a new floor that will have a long, cost- efficient lifecycle.
In addition to products for complete floor resurfacing, there are also patch and repair mortars appropriate for either interior or exterior use. Because they are light gray in color, they blend in well with existing concrete. They set quickly, are durable and easy to use.
Jean Feingold is a Gainesville, Fla.-based writer who frequently covers concrete and other construction-related topics.