Five key components to look for in a hydrodemolition machine

Published 9/3, 2021 at 15:45

Richard von Harpe, Aquajet’s area manager for Latin America and the Caribbean, believes that hydrodemolition solutions offers contractors a number of benefits. These range from productivity to peace of mind. However, he believes that not all hydrodemolition machines are the same, providing five key components to consider when selecting a hydrodemolition robot.

 Equal distance control 

Maintaining a close and constant working distance between the nozzle and concrete maximises efficiency. Imagine a swinging pendulum; the jet of most hydrodemolition robots works in a similar fashion. With a standard system, operators can experience as much as 254mm of variance as the water jet moves to the extreme left and right across the work surface. This variance leads to a loss of as much as 20% of the power before the water hits the concrete, greatly reducing productivity and increasing waste. Hydrodemolition robots from industry leading manufacturers with advanced systems, on the other hand, are able to maintain a preset distance from the nozzle to the concrete surface, regardless of the attack angle of the water jet, allowing for precise, controlled concrete removal over the entire work surface. This saves energy and removes concrete more efficiently both above and below the rebar. Overall, this advanced system allows operators to effectively remove 20% more concrete per pump hour compared to standard systems, adding up to significant energy and fuel savings and increased productivity.


 Ceramic nozzles 

Inefficient nozzles waste time and increase operating costs. Steel might be stronger than ceramic in some situations, but not when it comes to nozzles for hydrodemolition applications. Depending on water quality, ceramic nozzles from innovative manufacturers can last more than 350h compared to less than 50h with standard steel nozzles. Using steel, a contractor would need to replace a single nozzle more than 10 times during the lifetime of one ceramic nozzle, incurring hours of unnecessary downtime. While steel nozzles are readily available at a lower cost than ceramic, more frequent change outs mean contractors end up spending more on steel nozzles before replacing one ceramic nozzle. This results in large expenditure over the course of the hydrodemolition robot’s lifetime.


 Computerised robotic management 

Control is necessary to be efficient, and efficiency leads to profitability. Hydrodemolition robots with an advanced but intuitive robotic control system give operators ‘futuristic’ levels of precision. Using cutting edge technology, these systems allow operation at different depths in the same pass. A state of the art display panel uses clear and simple symbols combined with multi language text, making it very easy to programme the most advanced operations, including geometrical figures such as circles, triangles, squares and rhombuses.



Accessories are vital to maximising a hydrodemolition robot’s value. From road and bridge repair to industrial cleaning applications, accessories increase the robot’s capabilities, helping contractors complete challenging projects in tough to reach areas or hazardous conditions. Hence users are advised to look for hydrodemolition robots with a full suite of attachments for maximum versatility. This can include extension kits and spines to extend the robot’s reach. Depending on an operation’s service offerings, though, it might also include rotolances for surface preparation or circular attachments for concreate removal around pillars and columns. Some manufacturers also offer kits especially designed for applications in pipes and tunnels.


 Hassle free transport 

Trailers add additional purchase and maintenance costs. Some manufacturers offer a unique solution with a self-contained high pressure pump/engine system. Housed within a container, these compact units provide ample space for transporting the robot and accessories, eliminating the need for a transport trailer altogether. Once on the jobsite, these units can provide a secure work area, with amenities such as a built in workbench with a vice that provide contractors a space for jobsite maintenance and a place to store spare parts.  Advanced silent running units are also available that further decrease overall costs. These units can reduce idle time by as much as 50%, while operating as high as 3,000bar and providing ample power for hydrodemolition applications such as concrete renovation and road and bridge repair.

Like any piece of equipment, the safety and productivity of hydrodemolition robots depends on available features. For maximum efficiency, Richard advises that users look to partner with innovative manufacturer for the most advanced solutions.

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