Knowledge Article: Modular Aluminum Box – a Versatile Application
The modular aluminum box is a lightweight, portable system that can be assembled by a two-man crew. Its low footprint design allows assembly by hand and minimizes transportation costs. The protective system is composed of pin-in place panels that range from 2-ft to 14-ft in length and 2-ft in height. This solution is a favorite among contractors normally used in small utility tie-ins, manhole repairs, and medium-size pipe repair projects. Also, the modular design accommodates projects with crossing lines allowing various open and close ends combinations.
Let’s take a closer look at how the application can be applied in projects with limited clearance. A recent project in the Seattle area needed to install new lift station pumps located in a utility room below an active vehicle ramp. The modular aluminum box design permitted the contractor to carry the panels of the box through the entrance of the pump room and build the box by hand in the enclosed structure. The contractor hand-assembled two 12-ft long, 12-ft wide, and 6-ft tall modular aluminum boxes. As the boxes were assembled, a Hydrovac truck would carefully position and lower each box using a stacking guide to pin the two boxes together, reaching the planned excavation limits to install the pumps.
Stacking and pinning modular boxes together can allow a contractor to safely extend the protective system’s operational reach to depths of 25-ft, while using a rubber tire or mini-excavator, keeping equipment cost down. While the list below is not exhaustive, it features a few key benefits that are understood among contractors and trench safety representatives.
Benefits of use:
- Low footprint: Lightweight, smaller carbon footprint
- Multiple configurations: Build to fit the site
- Easy installation: Built by hand with a small crew
- Low operational cost: Heavy machinery is not required; economical without sacrificing safety
If you have a limited work crew, environmental constraints, and an evolving job site with changing excavation protection requirements consider using the modular aluminum box as a solution. Contractors can benefit from lower operational costs, and in some states meet carbon emissions standards without sacrificing safety.