The birth of the Bodygarde™
Freyssicare products are designed to enhance and extend the whole life of structural components, such as bearings and expansion joints, providing sustainable and economic benefits for both clients and the environment.
The Freyssicare Bodygarde™ is a simple yet innovative product which allows longer life/life extension for bearings by providing effective protection against elements that may cause deterioration, such as rainwater and road salts – the main causes of corrosion. By offering bearings additional protection, and avoiding the need of premature replacement, we can not only save money for the asset owner, and reduce impact on the structure and stakeholders (such as road users and local businesses), we can also prevent further impact on the surrounding environment by avoiding disruption any additional works may cause.
Patented by Freyssinet, the Bodygarde™ is designed to accommodate movement of the bearing (i.e., letting it do its job), while the intelligent cover protects it from water, dust and salt, and the hi-tech breathable material allows airflow, so the bearing is kept clean and dry.
Matthew Dronfield, Freyssinet’s National Products & Repairs Director said: “I have worked in the structural products and repair industry for over 35 years – the impact of corrosion on structures has always been an issue. I had previously investigated a protection solution for bearings, without much luck.
“Five years ago I met with a client from Connect Plus Services to discuss an increasingly prominent issue of ageing bearings on structures along on the M25 motorway. By the end of the client’s contract with Highways England in 2039, it was felt a significant number of bearings would need to be replaced, which would be both costly and disruptive unless a solution could be found to protect and extend the life of the current bearings.”
The Connect Plus Services asset team challenged Freyssinet – could the service life of the existing bridge bearings, which were around 30-40 years old, be extended? Firstly, we identified the root causes of deterioration and trialled enhanced maintenance methods/materials on existing in-situ bearings to stop/slow down the rate of deterioration. Secondly, we looked to develop a universal solution to protect bearings of all sizes from excess water and salt, and prevent dust and debris accumulating on the sliding surfaces.
Matthew continues: “The client’s issue, combined with my previous investigations gave rise to an ideal collaboration, where the needs of the customer could be translated into a product. My team and I developed several cover prototypes and trialled solutions, which enabled us to refine the final product, a bearing ‘skirt’ as it was initially known as. The Bodygarde was born!
“The philosophy of Freyssicare is to provide protection and enhancement, stemming from our key values – creating a relationship with the client, which is open and honest, doing business in the right way and delivering solutions for whole life, cost and environmental benefits. This approach is unique in our sector, as others may approach inspection and recommendations from an inward commercial standpoint rather than engaging to maximize asset life and thereby reduce environmental and economic impact.”
Steve Pattrick – Connect Plus Services Strategic Structures Asset Manager (M25) said: “Freyssinet understood our aims and quickly recognised the challenge was about providing a service to extend the life of bearings in a sustainable way as possible rather than always going directly to a replacement solution. Working together and sharing knowledge has really benefited both parties that could not have been achieved by working alone. The outcome provides a more sustainable, affordable approach to a problem that extends beyond the M25 and will have benefits for other bridge owner/operators too.”
The Bodygarde has been successfully installed on bearings on a number of structures in the UK, including M62 Ouse Viaduct, M11 Woodford East and M11 Roding Valley.
The impact of our Freyssicare Bodygarde™ – a simple and practical solution patented by Freyssinet UK, is significant. For example, structural bearings on a bridge may be replaced up three times during the life span of a structure, however by using Bodygarde™ to protect vulnerable steel elements of the structure, along with our Isoglide solution means bearings would just need to be replaced once. Maximizing the life of a structural component and avoiding preventable replacement/maintenance works considerably reduces environmental impact and cost to the client.
For more details about Freyssinet’s Bodygarde™ and other Freyssicare products, call 01952 201901 or email email@example.com