In this article, we will focus on the cost efficiency and productivity benefits of using ALIMATS® crane mats and outrigger pads by Brilliant Ideas. It will discuss the various features and advantages that contribute to improved construction operations and the overall financial benefits for clients.
The challenge with non-handleable systems is that before work on site can begin, the crane mats have to be craned into position because they’re too heavy to offload and position by hand. This can be time consuming and incur additional project costs. Using a crane to move and position non-handleable mats isn’t good practice either, because the crane has to partially extend its outriggers. Cranes should only operate when the mats are insitu.
Due to the weight of non handleable systems it also means that they can’t be delivered to site on a small van – which is a further additional cost in organising heavy transport.
It was for these reasons, along with our proven track record in innovation, that we made the decision to develop our own patented modular system, called ALIMATS®. Our interlocking range of mats are manufactured from an extruded aluminium making them strong, handleable and cost efficient. Two operatives can offload, position and adjust the modules directly under the crane – no heavy plant is needed – and delivery to site can made using a small van or pick-up.
All of Brilliant Ideas innovations are about creating safer, quicker and cheaper solutions for construction sites.
In 2023, Brilliant Ideas won the British Construction Industry Award for IPA’s Industry Innovation Champion – a Government backed construction award supported by the Infrastructure Projects Authority. The ALIMATS® system also won Most Innovative New Product for our load spread solution for MEWPS. In 2022, we won Equipment Specialist of the Year at the Construction News Specialists Awards.
Every aluminium mat module in the ALIMATS® range comes with handles as standard. The weight range starts at 13kgs for our 0.58m mini module up to 48kgs for our extra-long 3.48m module. During our research and design phase, 48kgs was a weight we were not willing to exceed because we wanted every single module to be handleable for two operatives.
It’s another reason we chose Aluminium in a truss like form. It has lightweight characteristics, but the material is extremely strong. Using a truss profile is industry tried and tested especially for the construction of large-scale bridges and large span roofs. We also selected a material that could be certified after repeated use.
Setting up the mat configurations is quick and easy because of patented interlock.
Fast and efficient set-up on site is just one of the reasons why temporary works engineers choose ALIMATS®. They also specify them because:
To see how the interlock works, watch our video below:
The ALIMATS® design ensures a more even load spread.
During development, we analysed a variety of profiles and different manufacturing techniques. We finally settled on a triangular shaped truss profile, opting for a manufacturing extrusion method. To optimise structural performance and load spread we also looked at how the outrigger load could be distributed more effectively – which is where the patented interlock comes in. By having an interlock along the longitudinal joint, a greater load spread is achieved.
The type of mat material is also a critical factor. That’s why we believe the material of the outrigger mat should have known structural properties at the time of use. That’s because the area is determined by the load spread requirement – and for load spread to occur, the system needs to be able to spread that load. In our opinion, plastic is not stiff enough to achieve this as structurally intended – and used timber doesn’t have any certification at the time of use. Timber also deteriorates with age when exposed to the elements and subjected to repetitive use.Download our materials and certification report
For good practice, we also recommend placing Ethafoam under the mats on hard or slightly uneven ground as it allows the mats to deflect during operation further optimising structural performance.
Innovation is important to us. That’s why we developed our 2.175m long and 3.480m extra-long interlocking modules to support our 5.04m², 6.05m², 7.06m² and 8.07m² larger mat configurations. This enabled us to offer a far greater variety of mat sizes without losing the core benefits of this unique system. It’s an engineered equivalent to a timber sleeper. We achieved it by re-engineering the internal truss design; and analysing multiple profiles.
One of the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations we did, was a compression test to the point of failure on two modules side by side. When applying a 500mm x 500mm square outrigger load, internal rib failure occurred at 616 tonnes, which is the equivalent to 2464 tonnes/m².
This innovation caters to a wider range of construction projects and requirements. For example, it enables a handleable load spread solution for larger mobile crane configurations. And for powered access it provides an ideal track solution with regards the tracking load case. Due to the load capabilities, it means additional modules can be placed directly on top which allows an enhanced load spread to deal with higher concentrated loads when it comes to the operating load condition.
ALIMATS® is a modular load spread solution for cranes and powered access including MEWPS, Scissor Lifts, Pick and Carry Cranes, Spider MEWPS and Scissor Lifts. End users and main contractors also hire ALIMATS® for use under scaffolding and concrete pumps.Download our ALIMATS® drawings for cranes and powered access
The value of a flexible, multi-purpose solution is the range of module sizes. We can adapt the load spread solution to suit site constraints, for example, with our 3.02m² load spread configuration we actually have around four different variations with regards the size (footprint), so if there is limited space adjacent to the crane outrigger, we can adapt our system accordingly.
We employ eight dedicated drivers to deliver ALIMATS® nationwide, 24/7 – so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of getting crane mats to site. We offer guaranteed timed drop-offs and collections on our fleet of FORS Bronze vans to reduce congestion around site, single day hires Monday to Sunday, and free technical support.
If you need a hand offloading and setting up, just ask our driver. They are all CSCS card holders, carry their own PPE and most are CPCS certified.
Hire the ALIMATS® system for a single day, weekly or long-term project. Main contractors tell us that our hire costs are competitive because they’re getting a quality product and service. If you hire ALIMATS® from Brilliant Ideas, you can be sure they are properly maintained. Each time they come off hire; they go straight into our depot to be inspected by our team who make sure they’re in the correct condition before being sent out on another project.
But if you prefer, you can purchase mats from us instead. Buying ALIMATS® is an extremely good investment. Berry Cranes first bought a set in 2010, and they’re still in circulation.
Neil Berry recently bought his second set. Here’s what he had to say about his investment:
Three good reasons for buying:
Purchasing also gives you the option of having them painted in your corporate colours where you can choose from more than 200 classic RAL shades.
By investing in a set of modules, you can expect the system to last for years, as they’re extremely strong – and when handled in line with our Risk Assessment/Site Placement Guidelines, damage to the mats is extremely rare.
The overall benefits of ALIMATS® for cost efficiency and productivity in the construction industry are:
Our latest innovation complements the ALIMATS® range. Called the Half Loader spreader module, it spreads the load much more evenly across two locations, instead of one. We’ve designed it to be used with our larger configurations starting at 6.05m² and on configurations where the outrigger load is excessive. This new development also removes the requirement for crane pads.Watch our Half Loader explainer video
If you’d like an ALIMATS® quote for your next load spread or load transfer project, please get in touch with the team today on 01355 345111 or email email@example.com