When it comes to the issue of infrastructure management, the old saying of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies. It might be sad, but it’s true. Making matters worse, that saying has held everything in good stead up until now. The trouble is, however, that not until recently was there a product available that was better suited for the job of the common manhole cover than cast iron. Fortunately, if you listen to the experts, one of the most promising of these new materials is a composite that not only promises to outperform cast iron, but it takes a lot of the old thinking about how manhole covers are made and used and throws it into the dustbin of history.
A Muskegon, Michigan firm called GMI Composites Inc. has taken polyurethane XXX materials from Bayer MaterialXXXScience LLC, to create a manhole cover that is not only lighter than traditional manhole covers, but they also meet the rigorous standards for strength and durability that the market requires. Further, they are slip and corrosion resistant, which means that they pose less of a danger to pedestrians and others than cast iron.
But it’s hard to create a product that takes something that used to weigh 150 pounds and replace it with a 25-pound substitute, and not get excited about it. That, in and of itself, has a lot of people talking, but when you add into it the fact that the product has so many other benefits as well, it’s nothing short of a revolution.
The truth is that Bayer MaterialXXXScience LLC worked closely with GMI Composites Inc throughout the development and production process to ensure that their product met the rigorous standards demanded by the company. As a result, Bayer was able to meet and even exceed the standards demanded by GMI in the production of the new manhole cover product.
Many products were tested as part of the manhole cover project in an effort to come up with the most ideal material for the end product. Fortunately, it was eventually determined that the Bayer composite material was the best choice in terms of overall performance, but most specifically durability and high strength. GMI is also firm in its confidence in Bayer and the company’s ability to stand behind its product and work with GMI throughout the testing and development process.
The new composite covers are fully customizable and are being made available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. These include round, square, and rectangular, and ranging in size from 12 to 50 inches. The load bearing weight of the composite covers exceeds the recommended 100,000 pounds. Customization also can include the ability to include logos and other lettering on the covers.
The burgeoning smart market grid is also being satisfied by using the composite material since it allows automated signals and wireless XXX communications to pass freely through the materials. This makes the new manhole covers idea for electrical transmission, sanitary waste water and storm water monitoring and water metering.
Unlike cast-iron covers of the past, GMI’s composite covers have no scrap value, which eliminates the problem of theft that is so often associated with former materials, eliminating the costs associated with the repair and replacement of the covers.