Probst urges UAE builders to protect workers’ backs

German plant specialist, Probst, braved the elements outside the Big 5 exhibition in order to demonstrate its pavement and kerb handling and laying systems.

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By  Eudore Chand Published  December 1, 2003

German plant specialist, Probst, braved the elements outside the Big 5 exhibition in order to demonstrate its pavement and kerb handling and laying systems. It was one of only a handful of plant manufacturers that brought heavy equipment, rather than just boxes of brochures along to the show. “We are making a big push in this region, so we wanted to make a mark at the show,” said Martin Probst, general manager for Probst. “We have been attending Big 5 for the past few years, but this is our first time exhibiting,” he added. Probst’s handling and laying systems are designed to take the back-ache out of transporting and installing paving, kerbstones and other heavy materials. Probst systems are currently being used by several Gulf building material factories, but the company now wants to expand its business by selling directly to contractors. “It has been tough until now to get our equipment used on building sites in the Middle East because our major selling point is that we cut down on the need for labour. In this region, because labour is so cheap, there hasn’t been such a need for labour-saving equipment,” explained Probst. Cheap labour, however, is not getting the job done efficiently, according to Hassan Shams Al Din, an engineer with Deewan Equipment Trading, which sells Probst plant in the UAE. “Developers in Dubai are asking for projects to be finished faster and faster. With the really big projects that are being announced at the moment, it will be essential for contractors to mechanise in order to save time. Simply doubling the amount of labour on site does not half the time it takes to complete a project,” he explained. The UAE is also beginning to take the issue of health and safety for its construction workforce more seriously. Mechanised handling and laying systems could play a vital role in improving working conditions. In the UK, for example, it is illegal for standard kerbstones to be installed by hand because of the strain it puts on peoples’ backs. Probst products like the Jumbo BV vacuum kerbstone installation machine allow a palette of 150 kg kerbstones to be manoeuvred into place effortlessly. Stones are simply sucked off a forklift truck by a powerful vacuum clamp, and can be moved into place along a pivoting arm. Large paving slabs can also be handled by the Jumbo BV, but for quick and easy laying of brickwork pavements, Probst recommends the VM 204 Robotec, which lays dozens of bricks at the same time before automatically sand-filling the joints. As a result, a single VM 204 can lay more brickwork paving in a day than 10-15 manual labourers. It also protects labourers from the back-breaking work of shifting up to 8 tonnes of bricks per day — a typical load for today’s expert pavement layers. For further information please visit www.probst-gmbh.de.

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