Across the country lock gates perform a vital role in allowing boats to travel along the river and canal network but maintaining the ageing infrastructure is an extensive and costly operation. Traditionally made from wood and steel, lock gates require regular inspections and replacement costs can be very high. ECS Engineering Services is launching an innovative technology which delivers a low maintenance, lightweight and very durable alternative.
For hundreds of years lock gates have been used to bypass obstacles along navigable stretches of river and canal such as weirs, dams or rapids and as such they need to be properly maintained to ensure their continued use. Historic methods of construction have involved wood which may later be reinforced with steel. This type of design provides the necessary strength but it is prone to rotting, corrosion and is very heavy.
Modern design techniques and materials technology have been developed in the Netherlands to construct strong, lightweight and durable structures using fibre reinforced polymers (FRP). With more than 300 projects completed, this proven technology is now being introduced to the UK by ECS that has considerable experience in designing and installing water control structures.
The material technology, known as InfraCore® Inside, has a design life of 100 years and comes with a 50 year warranty, providing peace of mind that any new lock gates will not rot or corrode and also provide excellent resistance to water, salt and UV radiation. The lightweight construction also minimises the wear and tear on hinges, reducing maintenance intervals and costs.
Lock gates manufactured using InfraCore® Inside can be made to measure with a reduced lead time and the possibility to specify any colour. In addition each set of gates can be pre-fabricated with a frame, ready to be cast into a reinforced concrete lock chamber or with a non-slip wear surface and an FRP hand-railing system.
ECS Engineering is now offering its expertise in design, fabrication and installation to deliver bespoke lock gates constructed from FRP as an alternative for the many installations that it completes for clients including water utilities, local councils, the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency.