National manufacturing centre for internationally certified FRP composite bridges officially opened in South Australia

Processes now being used in a new factory at suburban Wingfield in South Australia will revolutionise the Australian infrastructure sector with production now underway of strong, damage-tolerant FRP composite structures through an international manufacturing deal.

National manufacturing centre for internationally certified FRP composite bridges officially opened in South Australia

4 minutes, 50 secondes

Beginning of this month, Hon. Nick Champion MP, South Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Minister for Planning, officially opened this state-of the art manufacturing facility. Highlights from speeches on the day included…

  • Commencement of manufacturing for lightweight fibre composite road and pedestrian bridges and jetties being distributed, and installed throughout the Oceania region.
  • In the shift from the Old Economy to the New Zero Carbon Economy, FRP products have a far lower carbon footprint than traditional bridge building materials like steel and concrete. Therefore, FRP products are a significant move towards a zero-carbon outcome.
  • Main market is infrastructure; road/pedestrian bridges, jetties, wharves, pontoons and lock gates.
  • Bridges now under construction, on the factory floor, for top level Australian clients and about to manufacture two bridges for New Zealand.
  • Bringing back manufacturing and innovation: Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) products patented by InfraCore® Europe and now licensed to SIS for the Oceania Region have enabled SIS to invest in a manufacturing facility in Wingfield.
  • This has created 15 jobs and will generate trade opportunities, supporting employment growth.
  • The use of recycled plastic waste is a considerable challenge, but we have invested in research that will enable the use of recycled waste elements in the manufacturing of FRP structural decks.
  • The facility delivered its first contract in June, a 24m overpass pedestrian bridge deck for the Rail NSW Waterfall Station in New South Wales.

SIS Managing Director, Nick Wotton announced a commitment after completing engineering studies to
move to manufacturing bridges with a core made up of at least 50% recycled plastics as of June 2023 –
with a goal to move to 100 per cent over the calendar year.

“Aside from creating employment opportunities with up to 15 new jobs in the first 12 months, cuttingedge technology used in the material will be a game changer in the way bridges and other structures are manufactured and installed in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands,” he said.

SIS Launch_Nick Wotton, Nick MP and Uni Adel Professor Scott Smith.

“We’ve had a contract with InfraCore for the past four years and ultimately worked out that sea freight
costs and long lead times were not working, so we wanted instead to set up an Australian manufacturing facility.”

SIS moved to Wingfield in January after fully upgrading an existing 1800msq manufacturing facility.

“We believe that having spent almost 30 years in sustainable infrastructure we know the timing is right and the support is there from local, state and federal governments, along with the private sector, to be
investing here,” Wotton said.

Local Educational benefits: International President of the Institute for FRP in Construction (IIFC), and University of Adelaide Professor of Structural Engineering, Professor Scott Smith, endorsed the benefits of this new facility to Australia.

This event is the culmination of an intense 4-year program of technical collaboration between Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (SIS AU) and Dutch firm InfraCore® Company, (Rotterdam, Netherlands) a global leader in fibre composite infrastructure.

Aside from creating employment opportunities, with up to 15 new jobs in the first 12 months, cuttingedge technology used in the material will be a game-changer in the way bridges and other structures are manufactured and installed in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Nick Wotton from SIS with model and the big mould behind.

The first pedestrian bridges bound for a commercial customer were completed in April for a contract with acclaimed international engineering & construction company Laing O’Rourke, for the NSW Government’s ‘More Trains, More Services’ development program.

SIS Managing Director, Nick Wotton has been involved in the sustainable product sector for 27 years mainly through recycled plastic and recycled wood-plastic composite products and structures. He was responsible for the design and construction of Australia’s first bridge made entirely of recycled wood plastic composite and is regarded as a pioneer in using recycled plastic to make sustainable products, including the product that won the 2008 ‘Best Green Product’ at the Infrastructure Australia Awards. Nick coordinates a team of designers, engineers and product development personnel. One of his contracts supplied products to a Jane Goodall Institute chimpanzee sanctuary in the Congo.

“We’re a born and bred SA business with a proven track record in sustainable product development and we’re excited about bringing new jobs into SA with a local production facility. Discussing recycling at its core, Nick said: “Without manufacturing uses for processed recycled materials, the circular economy simply doesn’t work and with our bridges we plan to use a significant amount of post-consumer waste plastic that would otherwise be sent to landfill”.

SIS Associate Director, Engineering, Luigi Rossi said: “This international cooperation also is about reflecting the company’s ethos; to take environmental sustainability to another level in infrastructure. It will reduce freight costs and lead times for our clients and will revolutionise the way bridges are manufactured and installed in our region, as we ramp up opportunities for export trade growth.

“There are many advantages of low weight FRP Bridges, including minimising on site safety risks as the construction of bridge elements occurs in manufacturing facilities. Being controlled environments, there is much less that can go wrong when it comes to safety. The next advantage comes by reducing the disruption to surrounding road or rail infrastructure during installation. Off-site production gives more predictable costs and minimises complications that can arise on a construction site. These FRP bridge elements are virtually maintenance free which assists stakeholders manage long term budgets”.

InfraCore co-founder/CEO Simon De Jong; speaking from Rotterdam: “It is a real honour to know that our high tech InfraCore® technology is now represented in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands by this great company, SIS – Sustainable Infra Structure Systems. Our cooperation will have a huge impact on the future of bridge building in this part of the world.”

The InfraCore® technology offers a standardized and modular structural approach, which creates proven and validated cost-effective, prefab composite (FRP) structures that are easily scalable, lightweight, sustainable, maintenance-free, heavy-duty, damage-tolerant and load bearing.

Globally, more than 1,400 structures, from pedestrian walkways to high-volume traffic & harbor bridges have been installed in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, China, Canada and the US. The environmentally friendly fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) structures are lightweight and incredibly strong, allowing for spans of up to 36 metres with a 100-year design life and maintenance-free system, based on a composite material of structural glass fibres in a thermoset resin matrix.

More information www.sisau.com.au