Advanced Engineering 2019

Fibrelite Expands Range of Composite Access Covers

18 June 2013

Fibrelite now offers company logos and other brand markings on its full range of access covers.

The company says that any logo, or other marking, can be permanently moulded into the upper surface of the cover, in single or multiple colours and that this would be ideal for branding and product identification, or to blend in with the colour or layout of where it is installed.

By introducing the pigment directly into the composite resin during the closed-moulding process, Fibrelite ensures that the colour is not merely applied on the surface of the cover. Instead, the colouring is evenly and completely infused throughout the composite cover and will not fade or wear over time.

Fibrelite’s Managing Director, Ian Thompson confirms, “Customers as diverse as electrical and energy utilities, water and water-treatment plants, commercial and industrial developments, resort hotels, colleges and universities are using our moulded marking and colouring process in unique and highly visible ways. Our covers are improving the appearance of city pavements, college campuses, sports arenas and even the interior spaces of corporate office buildings.”

“Our customers are also using colour as a quick and reliable coding method to identify what’s below ground. Colour-coding covers provides maintenance and emergency personnel with more accurate information about any hazards or special conditions related to the underground infrastructure.”

Metal manhole covers, as we know them, first appeared in the late 1840s, with the advent of gas companies and waterworks. The cover surfaces were originally designed with raised patterns to prevent horses’ hooves from slipping when wet. These decorative, heavy cast-iron covers were used to protect, and allow access to, the vast underground network of sewer systems, water pipes, and utility and telephone lines. For years, artists have decorated manhole covers across their towns and cities to reflect the culture, history, landmarks and local festivals.

Manhole-cover design and marketing has now moved onto a new, more functional level with industries personalising their covers with branding and colours.

Today, composite materials are used in the wind-energy, marine, construction, aerospace, military/ defence, and automotive sectors; and in sporting goods, pipes, access covers, tanks, and many more applications. Composites offer several advantages over traditional materials: higher tensile strength; lighter weight; greater corrosion resistance; no re-sale value (making them unattractive to thieves); better surface finish; and easier processing.

Although they can be more expensive than traditional materials, such as aluminium, steel and concrete, composites are preferred where corrosion resistance, weight savings, fuel savings and other performance essentials are crucial. There are also costs associated with the handling, and health-and-safety issues, associated with lifting heavy items. According to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) Health and Safety Statistics for 2011/12, there were 30,663 handling injuries to employees, making up 28% of all injury reports.

Whilst not every application currently requires the composite alternative, the costs of metal theft, manual-handling injury claims and corrosion are causing many industries to rethink traditional materials and begin to consider the use of modern, composite products.

Trade magazine, Composites in Manufacturing, reports, in the May 2013 issue, “To further cement the benefits of composite covers, Fibrelite has also overcome any reservations in its customers’ minds that they can obtain the same performance from a composite material cover as they can from a traditional metallic alternative.”

Photo provided by Fibrelite

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