The term infrastructure refers to structures, systems and facilities serving the economy in general. For FiReCo it has a more specific meaning: Development, building and maintenance of infrastructure are one of the biggest land based industries today. Roads, railways, bridges and tunnels are all natural parts of a system taken for granted, and it is the essence of what most people associate with the term infrastructure. It is also related to these applications FiReCo is a natural partner.
Over the years, trucks are getting heavier, traffic is increasing and existing infrastructure is getting old. Consequently, the need for reinforcement of existing objects and maintenance are increasing. The use of composites is rapidly growing in several fields related to infrastructure. Everywhere when stiffness/strength to weight ratio is important or corrosion is problematic, composite materials are a natural choice. The same apply to civil engineering generally. All this sums up to an increasing market for the composite industry and FiReCo.
FiReCo has been heavily involved in qualification of composite reinforcement for concrete; an area of potentially very high volumes for certain type of composite reinforcing bars. This is especially interesting in areas where light weight, high elastic elongations/deformations or corrosion resistance are cost driving elements.
Strengthening of old bridges, due to new heavier traffic loads and corrosion problems, by the use of carbon tubes/pipes is another topic where FiReCo is in the vanguard. Statens vegvesen is using FiReCo’s expertise with respect to advanced calculations, mechanical testing and material know how in these important trials.
Pedestrian bridges are a big market segment and the most famous Norwegian bridge is located next to FiReCo’s office in Fredrikstad. The bridge is connecting the city area with Kråkerøy and the university located there. The Bridge project was financed by Fredrikstad kommune and the outlines of the bridge was done by GRIFF architects. The calculations, technical and structural design and building descriptions were made by FiReCo. The bridge is today known all over Europe and is a benchmark in composite design of pedestrian bridges.
Melvold bridge’s replacement of old heavy pedestrian side sections with new light and maintenance free composite solutions is another pilot project where FiReCo is working close with Statens vegvesen and leading civil engineering consultants Aas-Jacobsen.