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R-TECH Materials recently conducted a testing programme on the SUPERLATCH® system, which has been developed to aid in the construction of rotary-bored reinforced concrete piles and reinforced concrete diaphragm walls.

pile cage

Figure 1: Pile cage being positioned into place

Due to the length of some reinforced concrete piles, the reinforcement cages are often installed in sections, meaning that each section has to be attached to another in-situ. Not only is accurate positioning of new sections challenging, but this often raises the risk of serious injury to the workers responsible for making the connections between each reinforcement cage, as they often have to place their hands inside the cage while it is being lowered into position using an onsite crane. The SUPERLATCH® system has been designed to attach to the underside of each new reinforcement cage during off site fabrication, and ‘click’ into place around a lifting band on the top of the cage it is being attached to. Not only does this enable significant savings to be made in terms of time, but by removing the need for workers to place their hands inside the cages this system makes a significant improvement to the risk of injury.

Designed and developed by Stephen Render of Reinforcement Consultants Ltd, the SUPERLATCH® system has undergone a thorough tensile testing program at R-TECH Materials. Following this, Steve provided the following commentary:

“As Designers/Inventors of the SUPERLATCH® pile cage splicing shackle, we recently required a dynamic, UKAS-Approved testing house to both verify the proposed testing method and execute an accurate proof testing programme on each of the four shackle sizes. Our experience in working with R-TECH on this project revealed a very well-equipped establishment, operated by highly qualified, well-motivated staff. The resulting testing programme, as witnessed by ourselves, was performed efficiently. It furnished an accurate, commercially-usable set of proof test data, which has since been used to verify the use of SUPERLATCH® shackles on a number of prestigious piling projects”.

Although predominantly testing materials to national and international standards, R-TECH Materials also has the capability to conduct bespoke testing of products. With our in-house design and machine shop, we can liaise with clients to develop the right testing arrangement for their products. The testing of RCL’s SUPERLATCH® product is a good example of how we can provide novel testing solutions to resassure clients of the integrity and performance characteristics of their products.

For more information on SUPERLATCH® please contact RCL on