Published 02-09-2021

Virtually indestructible UHMWPE outrigger pads answer safety challenges on diverse, remote, hazardous and emergency sites


Virtually unbreakable outrigger pads that can withstand rated loads of more than 50 tonnes per point on a solid foundation are engineered by Cut To Size Plastics for high stability jobs involving construction, resources infrastructure, exploration, mobile worksite equipment and emergency use.

The light, easily handled and pads – weighing as little as 14-21kg for point loads of 40-70 tonnes depending on foundation – are custom-fabricated from the proven Wearex™ UHMWPE (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) family in particular shapes required for diverse ground conditions.

The strength of UHMWPE comes from its long polymer chains and high molecular weight, which give it some of the greatest impact strength of any thermoplastic that’s currently being manufactured, says Laurie Green, Managing Director of Cut To Size Plastics.

“UHMWPE outrigger pads can flex slightly on rough terrain, which protects them from breaking when under stress. Less safe materials such as wood are susceptible to breaking and splintering, and they also expand and warp due to moisture absorption, which weakens the pads. UHMWPE is far longer lasting. Instead of replacing outrigger pads regularly, users get longer and safer lives out of this ultra-tough, ultra-dependable pads in diverse and critical applications,” says Mr Green, who has more than 40 years’ experience in specifying the best engineering plastics for particular jobs. 

These include materials for conditions encountered by truck cranes, rigger cranes, mobile cranes, auxiliary cranes, mobile concrete pumps, manlifts, access equipment, mobile drill rigs, 4wd service vehicles and by machinery used for agribusiness, oil and gas, mining, pipelining, civil engineering and similar applications.

The Wearex family is particularly suitable for operations where safety and ergonomics are a major concern, including the transport, lifting and placement of pads and their ability to withstand extreme loads without permanent deformation.

Compared with steel plates, they offer very high recovery during deformation – making them ready to use for a much longer period. Because they are virtually indestructible, they are also highly cost-efficient, says Cut To Size Plastics.

Cut To Size designs and manufactures components for applications across Australasia from its Head Office in Sydney, where facilities include CNC machining facilities coupled with GibbsCAM™ and Solidworks™ software.

“The low weight of cast Wearex material float pads makes them easier to handle during use and assembly. Ergonomic machined or rope handles can be integrated in pad design.
They are easily transportable in 4wd, diesel trucks and machinery, for example, such as those used across mining, infrastructure, construction and energy sites across diverse and often remote worksites.

Wearex’s material elasticity makes them sturdy and secure even if there are smaller bumps and edges to contend with. The Wearex family can be completely recycled and is resistant against fuels, lubricants and chemicals and suitable for use in high ambient temperature (max. 90ºC) and high moisture applications.

Cut To Size’s experience with Wearex extends over a huge range of environments for which it is suitable, ranging from marine facilities such as ports and oil and gas exploration, through to outback mining and civil engineering and on-site maintenance facilities where fuels and common chemicals are an issue,” says Cut To Size.

Emergency use

Wearex pads are exceptionally suitable for emergency and remote use, because they are easy to transport, even by air, and can be placed promptly and precisely to give a sure footing, and to prevent sinking into softer ground, says the company, which has more than 40 years’ experience in the application of engineering plastics.

Wearex can also be used to fabricate portable roads to provide access on unpaved services and to protect sensitive environments such as parklands, grasslands, recreation facilities and damage-prone areas on construction sites where vehicle and machinery access is required.

Mechanical properties of typical Wearex outrigger pads include:

Shore D hardness 15s – Value (Skala D unit, DIN53505 test method) 64-68
Ultimate tensile strength (N/mm2, DIN53455) 30
Modulus of elasticity (N/mm2 DIN 53457) 900
Application temperature (Min and constant deg C) -200/+80
Dimensional stability under heat (Deg C DIN53461) 47
Moisture absorption (%) < 0.01

Pads may be custom-manufactured from members of the Wearex family to achieve required performance characteristics.



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