Rogelio Villanueva
Director General
Trabis
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View from the Top

Prefab Solutions Save Time, Costs While Introducing Quality, Safety

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 12:23

Q: What specific services does Trabis offer the mining industry?
A: We essentially sell engineering. Every mining operation has its own characteristics and the type of solution we offer varies according to the project. For example, in areas characterized by heavy rainfall, a client may not be able to build infrastructure on-site. We can offer a prefabricated solution to support the necessary installations. Another example is the need for a truck platform to offload cargo into a mill. In this case, we will specify the design according to the weight of the cargo. Our engineering department designs all our solutions, which are then prefabricated and transported to the site, where we coordinate the installation.
Q: Why is your offer of services and products attractive for mining companies?
A: Mining operations are often located in remote areas that lack infrastructure, not only for the mine itself but also the housing infrastructure for workers. Our prefabricated solutions address the complete infrastructure requirement. Because they are prefabricated, they substantially reduce construction times. This helps the company save time and costs, while benefiting from higher quality and safer construction. We follow international standards in the design process. At our plant and at the client’s site, we also follow specific security protocols that ensure safe operation.  
Q: Trabis specializes in prestressed concrete. What are the benefits of this product and the process behind it?
A: Prestressed concrete is built using a concept that was invented in France 90 years ago. The idea is to optimize the properties of the material you are using. Steel has a great tensile characteristic. Concrete can absorb significant compression. By stretching steel tendons and casting concrete around it, you gain a product that is active. The steel will revert to its original position, and as a result it will compress the concrete. The internal stresses make the material more resilient to the external tensile forces that will be applied when in service. Another advantage is that you consume less material and have greater durability. Because the concrete is more compressed, cracks are less likely to appear and grow. It also becomes harder for oxygen to reach the steel, slowing the onslaught of corrosion.
Q: There are two types of prestressed concrete: pre‑tensioned and post-tensioned. What are the differences?
A: In the case of pre-tensioned concrete, the steel tendons are tensioned before the concrete is cast. In the case of post-tensioning, the tendons are stretched after the concrete has been cast. The tendons are in sleeves or plastic ducts to keep them from direct contact with the concrete. Post-tensioning is a bit more expensive because you need separate anchorages for each tendon. However, it does allow the tensioning to be done on-site. If an order is too big for transport to the mine site, we can take all our tools and material to the site and do the work there. Sometimes, we will do separate elements and combine them during the installation.
Q: What are your growth expectations for the next five years?
A: We are active in various sectors. We have constructed many types of structures, from bridges to vertical buildings. In the area of mining, our goal is to participate in more national and regional events to showcase our offer. Sonora, Chihuahua and Zacatecas remain very important states. We have not explored the possibility of joining an association, but we do see potential value in doing so. We have also been in conversation with the Sonora government to see how we can help the mining industry grow. The mining industry can be slow to adopt new technologies; however, it has also been the source of much innovation. We simply need to continue demonstrating that we can provide solutions for the challenges our clients encounter in the field.