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Endurance test in the Swiss Alps
31. March 2010
[Translate to english:] Betonanlage Schweiz, Zwischbergen, Wallis

Demands are tough when Ammann assembles a JustWhite concrete mixing plant in a tucked-away corner of Valais in Switzerland. The underlying reason is the replacement of a dam wall in an equalising reservoir at Energie Electrique du Simplon S.A. (EE S). The client's strict specifications and a tricky transport route along tight mountain roads were challenges faced by all involved.


One thing in particular was very clear to Werner Zenklusen, board member at Zenklusen Bau AG in Simplon Dorf: he would have to produce the concrete for this project on site. The construction site is too far away and the roads far too tight to transport 30 cubic metres of concrete to an elevation of 1600 metres above sea level on a daily basis. What the construction company therefore needed was a high-output concrete mixing plant that could meet the client's high and particularly strict demands applicable to dam wall construction. "We spent a year conducting trials to find the ideal concrete mix", explains Zenklusen: "It consists of a rough grain and a relatively low proportion of cement. This requires a strong mixer and meticulous metering. Furthermore, the client demanded an earthquake-proof construction which necessitated a customised solution."


"We played it safe by appointing Ammann"

Why did Zenklusen opt for a JustWhite? "Not every manufacturer is able to meet such high demands. We played it safe by appointing Ammann, and had all the more reason to do so in view of a favourable price-performance ratio. Additionally, we were already familiar with the reliability and helpfulness of Ammann employees in connection with service work on our Movimax concrete mixing plant." Transporting the plant was initially nothing out of the ordinary. On the first day three low loaders drove from the production site in Langenthal to Sitten, then over the Simplon Pass to Gondo on day two where the plant was transferred to smaller vehicles. And that is when the logistical adventure in beautiful mountain scenery really began.

Hair-pin bends demanded customised solutions

Did Zenklusen have a sleepless night before the transport to Zwischbergen? "Not at all! As a local company we know the road conditions up here like the back of our hand. We needed vehicles that were suitable for tight and tortuous mountain roads. Furthermore, the high and wide aggregate silos had to be no more than 10 metres in length to enable us to navigate the tightest hair-pin bends. Ammann's designers once again proved they are worth their salt with a customised design." The final leg was anything but child's play despite the best possible preparations. But the weather gods rewarded the driver's precise navigational skills with beautiful autumn weather. There was enough time left for assembly, commissioning, acceptance inspection and comprehensive concrete trials – the latter were carried out in cooperation with the test lab on site – before the Swiss winter set in. The test lab enables Zenklusen to provide a continuous stream of samples and reports to prove the concrete quality meets specifications. Zenklusen will build the new dam wall this spring in front of the old wall, which will be demolished as soon as the reservoir is emptied in autumn.


"It worked brilliantly"

Zenklusen's interim conclusion is more than just positive: "It worked brilliantly. Ammann delivered everything we had agreed on. To me, these are pivotal prerequisites for a successful cooperation with suppliers and partners. I will not be able to provide a conclusive opinion until the service life ends. But I am very confident."