Enrique Coronado
Commercial Director
Doka Mexico

Strong Formworks Essential for Mining Infrastructure

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 17:09

Formwork systems are far more important than is commonly known, as they are the molds that create structures, from bridges and dams, to offices and processing plants. These systems are typically temporary and are used to contain poured concrete, to mold it to the required dimensions, and support it until it is able to support itself. Among those providing formwork services, Doka stands out, boasting a long history of formwork expertise and a commitment to local projects on a global scale. Enrique Coronado, Commercial Director of Doka Mexico, believes that “Doka’s formwork structures represent our greatest contribution to the mining industry. Although we have only been in Mexico for just over five years, it is already a very important market for the company. Our main targets here are infrastructure projects at mining sites, highways and bridges, housing, public buildings, and offices; however, mining holds many possibilities for us to grow the company in Mexico.”

As a pathway into the Mexican mining market, Doka is supplying construction companies like Dycusa, Kepler Constructora, and Trax Construction with the needed formwork systems for Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista del Cobre mine in Sonora. The company focuses primarily on openpit mining projects and offers an array of systems that can be used to construct walls, tunnels, and even dams. Based on clients’ needs, Doka’s engineering team is able to recommend a flexible solution that enables companies to create a range of structures, as well as systems that allow for the construction of a specific edifice. “Frami and Framax Xlife are our main systems for wall construction; the load-bearing D2 and Staxo 100 towers can be used for supporting heavy loads such as thick slabs, and the H20 circular formworks can be used for curved walls,” explains Coronado. The company offers over 60 products with a range of applications for mining sites, such as the construction of beneficiation plants and offices. This variety has seen Doka able to supply major construction companies such as Ingenieria de Ciudades and ICA Fluor, as well as those aforementioned.

Given its vertical integration, the company produces over 90% of the formwork components in its native Austria, then transports them to its operations in Mexico, the US, Canada, Peru, Chile, and in other countries. “It takes around 40 days to bring the material from Austria,” explains Coronado. “In order to meet the demands of the mining industry, we predict the amount of formwork systems we will need for an entire year based on a list of aligned projects.”

As can be imagined, transporting formwork components is one of the most important yet challenging aspects of Doka’s business. “The entire system needs to be delivered to the mining site at different times, so we first send the formworks that are needed to build the initial structures,” describes Coronado. “If the system does not arrive as a complete set or on time, we run the risk of being penalized by our clients. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that the logistics are well-planned and properly executed.” To avoid delays, Doka’s offices are in daily communication with its clients and constantly review the logistics program to ensure that the formworks arrive when needed. In the case of Buenavista del Cobre, one truckload of formwork components takes up to four days to arrive to the mine once loaded up in Mexico City. For this reason, the plan must be carefully executed so that the systems arrive when expected and in full form, enabling construction to go ahead on time.

Since infrastructure for an open-pit mine requires millions of dollars to organize, it is vital that the material can also withstand the weight of the concrete and the harsh environmental conditions commonly found on mining sites. “The quality guarantee that we offer our clients comes from relevant European certifications and the technical calculations of our expert engineers,” tells Coronado. “Our engineering and calculations must be flawless to avoid accidents or improper construction of cement structures. If the project requires it, we bring in experts from Doka branches in other countries, but for the mining sector in Mexico, that has not been necessary thus far.”

As projects expand and mines are developed, Doka looks to position itself as a reliable partner and formwork expert, as it has in other Latin American countries such as Peru. “If any construction process allows for the use of formworks, we want to be involved,” concludes Coronado.