Ozsafe Industries is an Australian company behind some of the most innovative ideas in new building products. Ozsafe has worked with Infinity over a number of years developing innovative products which are aimed at creating a safer, more efficient and effective working environment for workers in the building and construction industry. Ozsafe Industries was founded in 2003 by two tradesmen inventors who initially saw the need for safer ladders, with the result being the highly successful ‘Black Adda Ladder Leveller’.
The idea for a concrete reinforcing mesh that was not made from steel came to the Ozsafe founders while working as plumbers on building sites. They were witness to countless instances of poor building and safety practice due to steel reinforcing. The large and heavy steel reinforcing mesh requires two people to handle, is hard to cut and manipulate, and the installation of chairs that are necessary to elevate the mesh into the centre of the slab was either taking too much time, or not being done at all. Surely there had to be a better way?
As is often the case, the initial brief was far removed from the completed product. Research into suitable plastics that could replace steel in concrete reinforcement was undertaken and a prototype tool was cut to enable testing of different material properties. It started to become clear that an injection moulded plastic mesh was not going to be a suitable replacement for steel and the project looked uncertain until a eureka moment: “Why don’t we use pultrusions? The fibreglass reinforced resin has been proven to replace steel in certain applications and it is readily available in rod form.”
So the project changed tack, and we came up with a clever adjustable joining system integrated into plastic chairs that would allow the build-up of a reinforcing mesh either on-site or factory pre-assembled, using standard pultruded rods.
The Enviromesh is a strong and light weight alternative to current steel mesh reinforcement of concrete slabs. Enviromesh reduces labour during installation and is non-corrosive which means the possibility of ‘concrete cancer’ occurring is removed. Concrete cancer is caused by the corrosion of steel reinforcing mesh inside the concrete slab which is difficult to repair and dramatically affects to structural integrity of the concrete slab.
The Enviromesh is comprised of 2 different elements; the pultrusion rods and the plastic chairs. To reduce weight and increase strength as compared to steel, high strength glass fiber rod pultrusion is used. The material of the connecting chair, HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), was chosen for its resistance to water and chemical attack, and cleverly designed using minimum materials to support the weight of the installer during installation. The injection molded seating system allows for fully automated assembly of the rods and chairs. The preassembled, lightweight solution delivers precisely what the market is after in a competitive construction environment.
The Enviromesh offers a complete solution for various slab heights and integrates easily into regular use on building sites, using current practices. The product complies with current building codes.
The reduction in manufacturing emissions of the Enviromesh greatly reduces the environmental footprint when compared to steel concrete reinforcing. Transport costs are also greatly reduced by weight reduction. Since the Enviromesh system increases the lifespan of the concrete and structures it is used in, these buildings last longer, requiring less maintenance, demolition and rebuilding.
2011 World Index Awards Denmark Finalist
2010 Australian International Design Award
2010 AIDA Powerhouse Museum Selection
2010 AIDA Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design