30 Years of KING Shotcrete
In 1984, a study was undertaken by a team of managers at King Packaged Materials Company to investigate the possibility of expanding its market to include the supply of pre-packaged cementitious material to the mining and concrete restoration industries. During this investigation, the management team determined that with some significant capital investment and the right people in place, an opportunity existed to begin marketing sprayed concrete or shotcrete mixes for ground support applications and for the rehabilitation of bridges, dams and other concrete structures.
The new Construction Products Division was born and immediately experienced some success in the production of pre-blended shotcrete mixes for customers such as the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and The Canadian Coast Guard. The market was very small however, and for the new division to be truly successful, it would have to break into the expanding mining markets of Northern Ontario and Quebec.
King’s Technical Support Team dedicated many hours of research into what made a successful shotcrete mix design and what type of production equipment would be needed to ensure the production of consistent, high quality, shotcrete mixes. After continued technical visits and demonstrations with mining engineers, mine superintendents and mine managers at many of Canada’s top mining companies, King’s new Construction Products Division had its first taste of success in the mining industry. The division received a request to supply 150 tonnes of shotcrete for a small development heading at Kiena Gold Mines, in Northern Quebec. The overwhelming success of King Shotcrete on this small project convinced Kiena’s engineers to hire a shotcrete contractor to apply an additional 1,000 tonnes of shotcrete in several other areas of the mine.
The growth of King Shotcrete over the next several years was steady, with new mining customers such as Noranda Minerals, Lac Minerals, Falconbridge Limited, Inco Limited and Teck Corporation beginning to order shotcrete materials from King.
In 1988, the Construction Products Division worked with The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) on an in-depth study to improve shotcrete technology. The work with the Ministry led to new shotcrete specification in which only pre-packaged, silica fume enhanced, shotcrete mixes would be specified for MTO bridge rehabilitation projects. In 1994, King Packaged Materials Company joined the Industrial Chair on Shotcrete Research, through the Centre de Recherche Interuniversitaire sur le Beton (CRIB) at Laval University, to further enhance its commitment and attention to quality. This partnership allowed the Construction Products Division to further cement its reputation as an industry leader in the field of shotcrete and concrete rehabilitation.
In late 1993, an agreement was reached with Minequip Ltd. to assist with the after-sales service and training requirements of King Shotcrete, in the Northern Ontario mining markets. Minequip was recognized throughout the industry for its expertise in the use and handling of shotcrete in underground mines. The company was also known for the high quality, Aliva shotcrete equipment that it sold and serviced. Less than a year after the Minequip agreement was reached, KPM Industries Ltd. announced the acquisition of Minequip. This acquisition strengthened King’s position as a partner to the mining industry. It also indicated a commitment to build upon the technology, for the use of its products in the safe and efficient operation of underground mines.
As the shotcrete business grew, so did the King Shotcrete Technical Support Team. King management recognized the important role that a strong technical team played in the success of its shotcrete business and recruited technical staff who understood the technical nuances of shotcrete material. All members of the King Sales Team were trained on the operation of shotcrete equipment and proper shotcrete placement techniques.
In many U.S. markets, much needed infrastructure investment led to the demand for better quality shotcrete products with more demanding hardened properties. Vast quantities of King Shotcrete were used on the East Side Access subway excavation, a major public works project undertaken by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. King Shotcrete was also used on bridge rehabilitation projects throughout the United States and Canada. The development of specialized maritime packaging allowed King to expand its shotcrete market and supply projects far beyond the borders of North America. King Technical Support Staff assisted on projects as far away as Barbados, Russia and the Canadian Arctic.
King Packaged Materials Company is proud of its reputation as a shotcrete industry leader. Continued investment in people, research and plant infrastructure will allow King to maintain this position and grow as the shotcrete industry grows. Watching the progress of the first 30 years of shotcrete production has been exciting, and we believe that the next 30 years will be even more so!