New concept for excavation


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For more than 30 years the Mühlheim-Kärlich nuclear power plant has been a familiar sight in the Middle Rhine Valley and Neuwied Basin in Germany. However, everything comes to an end and it is now time for the plant to come down. Pipelines and pumps have already been removed and now the work of demolishing the 162 meters high cooling tower has begun.

For this work, a special type of machine was needed. The machine, developed by Mittelsdorf Erdbau Abbruch Recycling, is an excavator running on two wheels, one on each side of the concrete wall. For each lap around the tower the excavator removes 16 centimeters of concrete, gradually dismantling the building.

The machine can be controlled from the operator platform as well as from a ground control. IBL-Hydronic, who delivered the control system for the application, chose a remote-control system from Scanreco to control the machine.

– Scanreco has the most reliable remote-control product in the market and was therefore the obvious first choice when developing this product. You can’t tear down a structure like this, a nuclear plant, the traditional way. We had to come up with an alternative concept and for this we really needed a specialist on mobile applications, says Dr Thomas Löcher, General Manager of IBL-Hydronic.

The control system of the machine consists of two mini transmitters and two redundant control units. There is to date only one machine operating, a prototype, and it has work orders for many years to come.