Brown and Mason Summons Rammer Power

One of the world’s leading exponents of power station demolition techniques is calling upon the power of a Rammer 5011 hydraulic hammer as it tackles the deconstruction of the Kingsnorth Power Station in the south of England.

A new Rammer 5011 hydraulic hammer is spearheading the demolition of the Kingsnorth Power Station in the south of England.   Mounted on a Komatsu PC490LC hydraulic excavator, the 4,750 kg hammer is responsible for breaking out the heavily-reinforced concrete plinths that supported the power station’s massive boilers.   The work is being carried out by world-renowned power station demolition specialist, Brown and Mason.

Powering Down

Kingsnorth Power Station was a dual-fired coal and oil fired power station on the Hoo Peninsula, Medway, Kent.  The four-unit station, owned and operated by E.ON UK, had a generating capacity of 2,000 MW and was capable of operating on coal, oil or both though in practice oil was used only as a secondary fuel or for start-up.

The station closed as a result of the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), which requires stations that are not equipped with flue gas desulphurisation to close after 20,000 hours of operation.   Kingsnorth ceased generation on the 17 of December 2012 at 15:10, having consumed all its LCPD hours.

A replacement power station, also coal-fired, was once considered.   In October 2006 E.ON proposed the construction of two new coal-fired units, Kingsnorth Units 5 and 6. The proposed construction of two new 800 MW supercritical coal-fired power units on the site, was expected to be operational "as early as 2012".

But on 20 October 2010 - in the face of mounting environmental protest – plans for a replacement on the site were permanently shelved.

Demolition of the former power station commenced in 2014, with Brown and Mason anticipating a four-year deconstruction programme that commenced with an extensive asbestos strip.

Heavy Duty

As a company specialising in power station and heavy industrial demolition, Brown and Mason places very specific demands upon its equipment fleet.   “Demolition specification excavators exist, but nothing can prepare a machine for this environment,” says Brown and Mason site manager Matthew Gillon.   “Power station demolition is like the ultimate acid test for construction equipment.   If a machine can survive this, it can survive anything.”

It is testament, therefore, to the company’s faith in the Rammer brand that it has updated its equipment fleet with the purchase of another hydraulic hammer for this application.   This time, the company opted for the Rammer 5011 supplied by sole UK importer Murray Plant.

“We have used a Rammer G100 for a number of years and that has proved to be extremely reliable and highly productive,” Gillon explains.   “When we needed a replacement, we had no hesitation in buying that model’s direct replacement.   And we haven’t been disappointed.   The Rammer 5011 is every bit as powerful but it is quieter.   And the addition of automatic lubrication is a huge benefit in an application in which dust is a constant presence.”

The application at Kingsnorth Power Station could hardly provide a sterner test for the company’s new hammer.   Built in the 1960’s, the power station is enormously over-engineered.   The boilers are manufactured from incredibly thick steel; and each sits on concrete that is over 1,500 mm in thickness and heavily reinforced.

But the variable blow rate of the Rammer 5011 is more than a match for the concrete, removing each concrete plinth in roughly half a day.

“The Rammer hammer is playing a pivotal role on this contract,” Gillon continues.   “In order to access the boilers, each plinth needs to be broken out.   Without the power of the Rammer hammer, our progress through the main boiler house would be slowed.”

Despite being three years into the Kingsnorth contract, Brown and Mason still has another year to run.   But the company is already gearing up for yet more power station demolition works.   The company recently won the contract to demolish what remains of the Didcot A Power Station and initial work is already underway at the Longannet Power Station in Scotland.