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Expansion of the Panama Canal completed

The expansion of the second most important waterway in the world is finished. Since the end of June 2016, large container ships can now also pass through the around 80 km long Panama Canal which connects the Pacific with the Atlantic. For PERI, it meant that the largest individual order in the 47-year history of the company had finally been completed.

PERI supported the contractors with the planning and delivery of huge quantities of formwork and scaffolding systems. From 2011 to 2014, PERI delivered a total of 1,100 containers packed with formwork and scaffolding materials to Panama. In addition, PERI engineers provided continuous on-site.

Newly developed SCS climbing technology

For this project, an essential element of the PERI solution was the newly developed SCS climbing system. This formwork solution for single-sided applications is used, for example, in the construction of dams, locks, cooling towers, pier heads, tunnels and strongroom facilities. In Panama, this high loadbearing and flexible bracket system proved itself time and time again in countless applications.

For the expansion of the Panama Canal, the SCS 250 with 2.50 m wide working platforms was used. With this version, the formwork is mounted on a carriage and can be, for example, retracted to allow reinforcement work to be carried out. In accordance with the wide range of project requirements in the different construction areas, the brackets were combined with a flexible girder wall formwork or a panel formwork.

The climbing system is characterized by its high level of cost‑effectiveness: on the one hand, the well thought‑out modular concept complete with multi‑piece bracket facilitates easy adaptation to match project-specific requirements and geometries. On the other, the high load‑bearing capacity of the brackets allows the realization of wide climbing units. This ensures fewer anchor points and thus reduces on‑site material requirements along with the workload.

The modular construction system with multi‑piece brackets was flexibly adapted to match the structural geometry; a big advantage here was that, with the SCS, the same formwork could be used for the first casting segment as well as subsequent standard cycles.

The safety concept of the climbing system is also well thought‑out: for inclined applications, the working, concreting and finishing platforms different slants can be adjusted to accommodate all inclinations; even changes in the pitch are possible without any problems. Consequently, the construction team benefited from the safe working conditions thanks to horizontally‑positioned platforms.

Due to its dimensions and complexity, the project presented huge challenges in terms of know-how, logistics and construction site support. During the realization of this gigantic project, the close, constructive cooperation of various PERI subsidiaries in Spain, Panama as well as the headquarters in Weissenhorn in southern Germany was of particular importance. This transnational cooperation involving a diverse team of engineers, logisticians and other specialists contributed significantly to the project's success.

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Balboa, Panamá, Panama, North America - Gatun, Panama (1914)

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