Sharing best practices within a group and a company both working together: that is the objective of the VINCI innovation awards and the Eurovia experience feedback awards. These two prizes reward ideas, tools and products that contribute to sharing and valorizing knowledge in all activity sectors. Solutions that provide concrete benefits to teams, clients, users...
The Vinci Innovation Award:
Whether it is improving safety on a job site or creating a new tool that makes a task easier, or by designing a product, The Vinci Innovation Award, open to all employees, rewards new innovations used in the field. In 2011 Eurovia submitted 219 entries, of nearly 1,717 to the VINCI Innovation Awards. This is proof of the involvement of Eurovia's teams in this project.
At Eurovia, innovations, handy gizmos and even original ideas are made available online by everyone, through the Neva intranet, in the Experience feedback database. This data is then used for the Experience Feedback Award, created in 2007, and open at the international level since 2009 (North America, United Kingdom, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic). Prizes are awarded every two years for the four best acknowledged projects, in addition to two special edition prizes for projects that have been best used by the company.
Worksite pickets and organic barrier tape
In public works, pickets and barrier tape are generally used to mark out the work zone. Eurovia network entities took the initiative of making a number of improvements in this equipment, introducing an insulating stake designed to prevent electrocution and a 100% biodegradable tape.
These innovations represent major safety and environmental improvements, two key goals of the company. Eurovia therefore decided to use them across the board....
This kit for marking out worksites that combines safety and sustainable development was awarded a Dissemination prize in the Dissemination-seller category.
International Safety Day
Eurovia's several years of hard work (involving improvements in tools and processes, training and awareness raising, etc) reduced the workplace accident frequency rate from 15.27 in 2004 to 9.45 in 2008. If further progress was to be made, it was clear that a new type of programme was needed to ensure that each and every employees is aware of his or her role in preventing accidents and changing behaviour....
The method used was to organise an International Safety Day on 26 May 2009. On that day, Eurovia's 40,000 employees are mobilised at their workplaces for the event, which takes place uniformly across the entire company and comprises:
- a video message from the Chief Executive Officer
- screening of a video about the consequences of workplace accident
- awareness raising workshops
- commitment by the teams to improve the safety conditions of their worksites.
The impact of the initiative on employees immediately proved highly positive. The team commitments were incorporated in the division' safety actions plans. Given the success of this event, top management decided to repeat it every two years.
This initiative was awarded a Safety prize in the Management category in 2011.
Light rail track system
Since the return of light rail systems to city centres, light rail rolling stock has been spectacularly brought up to date. This is not yet the case for roadbed and track structures, and contracting authorities are still waiting for solutions that reduce the depth of earthworks, shorten construction times and cut costs....
A cross-business working group was set up within Eurovia in 2010 to come up with a technical solution making it possible to build faster and perform less earthworks. The group came up with a solution that consists, among other things, in combining the surface course and the track support.
First estimates show that the cost of this new track structure is competitive with the conventional solution, with the amount of execution time saved depending on the complexity of the project. This innovative integrated design concept also lends itself to PPP (public private partnership) type contracts.
This first integrated technical solution was awarded the Innovation Breakthrough prize in the Materials, Process and techniques category.
Reducing dust released into the environment
Dust emissions caused by the movement of machines and vehicles in a quarry must be reduced since they constitute a nuisance for local residents and a health risk for
employees. The method traditionally used consists of spraying water on the ground using a tractor equipped with a tank. At the Chailloué quarries, which has 15 km of tracks, this method was inadequate and needed to be rethought....
The best idea that emerged was to have the job done by the dumpers which travel
continuously between the cutting face and the unloading point. Technically, it required adapting a tank and a sprinkling bar on the dumpers and providing a fixed filling
installation at the skip-filling platform. Thanks to a very simple control system, the driver fills his tank and sprays the water on the part of the track that requires dampening.
The dampening team no longer has to deal with the extraction point and the tracks
leading to it, and can concentrate on the other operating tracks, leading to more effective reduction of dust emissions. Since filling and emptying the tanks is done as part of normal operations, the new method has no negative impact on production.
This system was awarded a Sustainable Development prize in the Materials, Processes and Techniques category.
From sludge to sand in eight cylinders
In quarries where materials are processed using water, the resulting fines are recovered in the form of sludge. Because of their volume, and the difficulty and cost of recycling them, we needed to find a technical improvement that would reduce their volume at the processing stage. This is a particularly tricky problem in maritime work given the small size of the processing platforms, which are located in ports....
After laboratory tests and a study focusing on the possibility of recycling the fines, a “cyclone” manufacturer (machines for separating solids from liquids) was asked to find a way of recovering very small fines according to supplied specifications. The manufacturer suggested adding eight “micro-cyclones“ to the existing equipment, allowing fines of between 25 and 63 microns to be recovered and reincorporated into the product sold. Another benefit is that either all or just a certain range of the 0-25 micron fraction can be reincorporated, depending on the product.
Use of the new equipment has generated a double benefit: the volume of sludge is reduced by 40%, leading to lower transport and evacuation costs, and the use of recovered fines generates more product for sale. This has led to a sharp improvement in the company’s competitiveness and the innovation has already been transferred to the new Graves de Mer facility in Dieppe (Seine-Maritime).
This process was awarded a Sustainable Development prize in the Materials, Processes ans Techniques category.
Low-granulometry surface dressings
In some road works, use of certain dual gap-graded asphalt mixes (2/6 or 4/6) leads to under-utilisation of the 2/4 grade. Both grades are produced by the same fabrication process in volcanic rock quarries, but the 2/4 grade is frequently under-used and needs to be stored definitively....
To meet reasoned use of resources criteria, one of the principles of sustainable
development, we tested this low-granulometry material in traditional road surfacing
applications. Three pilot surface dressing projects were carried out in 2008 and 2009 in the Nièvre department to measure the product’s application capacity, its durability over time and its acoustic properties.
The first positive point of the trials was actual execution, without major difficulties, on three sites employing a 2/4 single surface dressing or 4/6-2/4 double chip surface dressing. Initial inspections carried out at the beginning of 2010 detected no signs of deterioration. The trials were judged very encouraging on the acoustic level, since the noise levels measured are similar to the results obtained with porous asphalt.
This innovation was awarded a Special Marketing prize in the Materials, Processes and Techniques category.
Self-cleaning bitumen filter
Bituminous binders are filtered on bulk delivery to coating plants or road binder plants. The residues they contain are recovered and stored in “filter baskets” which have to be regularly cleaned. The procedure entails production stoppages and risks (burns, splatter) for the operators....
The device developed allows the basket to be cleaned without dismounting it. It consists of three blades powered by a slow step-down motor that scrape the inside wall of the filter. The residue falls to the bottom of the basket from where it is recovered by an Archimedes screw and extracted by a sliding valve.
Designed in 2008, the device was tested throughout 2009 on the Styrelf® production
unit in Périgueux (Dordogne), where it filtered around 30,000 tonnes of bitumen without having to be dismounted. Since 2010, 14 self-cleaning filters of the same type have been installed in Eurovia’s bitumen reception stations over the whole South-West region.
This innovation was awarded an Equipment and Tools prize in the Equipment and Tools category.
Improving sorting techniques for building and construction waste
Until now, recycling platforms for collecting and processing building demolition
waste produced materials suitable only for use in road building. In response to a call for projects from the environment and energy agency with the help of Eurovia’s technical department, DLB tested new equipment designed to accept a wider range of materials and expand the recycling process to include production of aggregate for
Different techniques were tested to optimise the sorting phase, taking materials standards into account. The aeraulic process which eliminates a high proportion
of potentially recyclable materials that are then sent to landfill, was ruled out. Conversely, a combination of hydraulic and optical (based on colour) sorting, generally used only for high value-added products, gave very convincing results.
The combination of hydraulic and optical sorting processes successively eliminated
the unwanted lighter materials, then separated crushed concrete from the mineral fraction not suitable for this use but which can recycled in road building. It responds perfectly to the goal sought and, more broadly to directives based on the Grenelle Environment Forum concerning recycling of building and construction waste.
Producing aggregate for concrete was awarded a Materials, Processes and Techniques prize in the Materials, Processes and Techniques category.
Design and fabrication of a lifting triangle
In building a bridge over an active line in a location with limited access, Blythe Construction needed to find a way to vertically lift and set five 65-tonne, 140’-long (42.7 m) girders without encroaching on the railroad tracks or affecting rail schedules.
A specially fabricated lifting triangle is used to transfer the load between two cranes located on either side of the rail track.
At the start of the operation, the first crane raises the end of the girder and moves it over the rail track. The lifting triangle is then used to transfer the load supported by the first crane to the second. The first crane is then free to lift the other end of the girder and place it in its final position.
All five girders were able to be set in eight hours with no stoppages or delays of trains
travelling along the rail tracks. The operation met all safety goals with no incidents or injuries. The lifting triangle makes it possible to use cranes with lower lifting capacity with minimal hands-on contact by team members.
This conception was awarded a Special keep it simple prize in the Materials, Processes and Techniques category.
Granulat+, “making known” your “know-how”
Over the last few years, teams working on Carrières et Matériaux de Méditerranée (Eurovia) sites have invested a great deal of time and energy in enhancing the
technical aspects. They are now able to recycle 100% of their excavation materials and have recycling installations with a much higher treatment capacity than the competition. But lack of communication meant that clients were unaware of this service....
A communication strategy was put in place starting in 2009. It consisted of creating
a brand, Granulat+, and a logo to raise visibility of every aspect of the service: products, sites and, responsible management of the resource. The campaign was rolled out via the media and targeted approaches by the entities to clients, local authorities and contractors, along with various other communication platforms website, brochures, etc.).
The reflection encouraged by the communication effort across the network allowed
us to gain an objective view and fostered emergence of a new vision of the business as a whole – more sustainable and more responsible.
This approach was awarded a Marketing and Services prize in the Marketing and Services category.
Firejack combined vest and harness
In building demolition trades, certain work is carried out by blow-torch operators and welders. These operations expose them to various risks (burns, spatter, shocks, falls), requiring them to wear specific personal protection equipment – mainly protective clothing and a harness....
An in-house working group met to define specifications for personal protection equipment meeting all the requirements. A prototype vest equipped with fire-proof protection and shockresistant elements (Kevlar lining), a harness, reflective strips and
removable thigh protectors was produced. It was tested on a worksite, giving the manufacturer the opportunity to improve it and produce a second model baptised Firejack.
The Firejack safety vest avoids blow-torch operators having to “choose” between separate personal protection equipment. It responds to six protection indexes. It was tested on the deconstruction worksite of the Strasbourg thermal power station.
This personal protection for demolition was awarded an Equipment and Tools prize in the Equipment and Tools category.
Monitoring a vle (very low energy) roadway structure
Recycled, cold-treated materials can be used to build VLE (very low energy) roads in urban areas. These roads use less energy because they are made of recycled materials that are not heated before mixing, unlike conventional asphalt mix. Testing was performed to verify that this new concept will be compatible and usable in areas with long, severe winters....
Tests were performed on pavement of varying thickness. The instrumentation measures any deformation of the pavement resulting from different loads, humidity and thermal evolution. Probes are connected to software that tracks the data continuously.
This is the first time that Eurovia has conducted in-situ testing on this type of road. The process achieves a 50% energy saving and a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The initial results are very encouraging and will enable future pavement design (nature and thickness of the layers making up the pavement) and wide dissemination of this innovation throughout the Group.
This tool was awarded a Materials, Process and Techniques prize in the Materials, Processes and Techniques category.
Recycled materials and cold processing for low-energy road pavement
The need to reduce the environmental impact of our activities and respond to our clients' development-related expectations compels us to use recycled materials and cold processing techniques. In late 2008, DJL Construction, a Eurovia subsidiary in Canada, produced its first low-energy road pavement for the city of Montreal.
Low-energy road pavement (featuring reduced thickness layer) combines a Recyflex insulating layer consisting of reprocessed gravel, a Recyflex bitumen and cement emulsion layer, and an Ecolvia bituminous concrete emulsion surface layer. The worksite's environmental impact was gauged using Gaïa.BE: this type of road pavement reduces natural resource use by 25% and greenhouse gas emissions by 31%.
This process received a Sustainable Development Prize in the Materials, Processes, and Techniques category.
A bucket rack that facilitates and optimizes storage
A trenching bucket, loading bucket, draining bucket, hoist block, forklift - the Mecalac is used for many purposes on public works projects. All it lacked was a storage system. Eurovia Dala designed a customized metal rack with multiple benefits, including reduction of falling risk, no need for manual handling, no need for transport by truck, buckets in close proximity to machines, and more orderly work conditions and therefore reduced accident risk.
In the evening, 40 seconds is all the time that is needed to safeguard the device: the arm is simply placed over the rack, thereby preventing the possibility of theft.
This system was awarded a Grand Prize in the Materials and Tools category.
Insulating stakes to prevent electrocution
Metal stakes that are used as markers or to cordon off a specific area at worksites can sometimes strike and breach an underground electrical cable (which can conduct up to 20,000 volts). This represents a major risk for employees assigned to the task of installing the stakes. The division in Basse-Normandie worked closely with a plastics expert to design an insulating plastic and fibreglass stake with a metal end with a protective capacity of up to 100,000 volts.
The new stakes are lighter and more flexible and feature higher-resistance heads. At first, the new stakes were used at Company worksites; in the medium term, their use will be extended to other settings.
This tool was awarded a Materials Prize in the Materials and Tools category.
Orthoplast®, a new portable sealing solution
Since the 1970s, Eurovia had been using a binder that was very difficult to transport as a sealant for engineering structures with steel decks. The challenge was how to convey the sealant to worksites in regions where the Company had no binder production plant. A case in point was the Grande Ravine viaduct at La Réunion.
Following two years of effort and testing, Eurovia's research centre developed Orthoplast H®. This new sealing complex is transportable and consists of the prefab sheet - which replaces the cast sealing membrane - and a coating with a modified and additivized binder designed to improve ease of handling. Its cost is comparable to the previously used process. Following its inaugural use at La Réunion, Orthoplast H® opens up new markets abroad for Eurovia which were previously inaccessible due to the complex and costly logistics associated with the former process.
This new process won a Grand Prize in the Materials, Processes, and Techniques category.
Viasphalt®BT: environmentally friendly low-temperature asphalt
Poured asphalt coatings consume a great deal of energy as a result of its high production temperature, which is close to 240°C. The negative environmental impact of asphalt production is due to the heating of the mix ingredients and the time required for mixing, which generate large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions....
In efforts to reduce air pollution and related nuisances, Eurovia's research centre has developed low-temperature Viasphalt BT, a process that yields a 60°C to 80°C drop in production temperature depending on the type of asphalt as well as more comfortable paving conditions. The process results in major energy savings and virtually eliminates vapour emissions.
This process received a Special Sustainable Development Prize in the Processes and Technique category.