The new Mamba shotcrete pump simplifies the work of the operator.

CIFA, a leading Italian company that specialises in the design and manufacture of machines for production, transport, and placing of concrete, says its latest range of equipment for the underground construction sector is inspired by nature, with the models named after animals that have similar physical or behavioural characteristics.

“‘Inspired by nature’ refers to more than just the names of machines, it also describes our goals and aspirations when designing this range,” says a spokesman for the company, which this year marks its 95th anniversary. “We aim to make these Cifa machines as eco-friendly as possible, respectful of the environment and people, and able to transform the (notoriously unhealthy) underground construction site into a sustainable ecosystem.”

Among the latest additions to its underground range is the new Mamba shotcrete pump, which is designed to simplify the work of the operator and transform the tunnel into a sustainable environment. The pump was unveiled at bauma, the largest construction equipment showcase, which was held in Munich, Germany, in October last year.

“Mamba is a shotcrete pump designed for total automation, enabling greater productivity, and ensuring safer and easier working conditions for the operator. This is made possible by the inclusion of a laser scanning device on the machine, which allows you to take measurements of the tunnel before and after application, thus providing data about the average thickness of the layer of sprayed concrete being applied.

Mamba includes a laser scanning device to take measurements.

Mamba includes a laser scanning device to take measurements.

“All the data collected can be used in the future to determine where to spray concrete and how much to apply at a time, creating a complete digital model of the tunnel in line with the BIM (building information modelling) method,” the spokesman says.

In addition to the new Mamba, the range consists of various shotcrete models (Elk, Dingo, Rhino and Mantis) and concrete mixers (Coguaro and Myria), in varying sizes and with different features in line with their applications. All these models can also be customised to meet the needs of particular projects.

Davide Cipolla, CEO of Cifa, comments: “Manufacturers of tunnelling machinery need to work together to create a sustainable construction site in what is already a very challenging environment: an enclosed space with poor ventilation. We need to design intelligent machines, harnessing data to increase efficiency, using electricity to cut emissions and technology to simplify the work of operators. Cifa Underground is a company division with a dedicated team of professionals, focused on designing automated and full-electric machines.”

The first step towards a sustainable business model is to create intelligent machines, designed to optimise the consumption of resources. This forms part of a holistic approach that examines the overall impact of every operation, and not just the performance of the individual machine, he says.

Cifa Underground is not just a range but, more importantly, a company division, says Marco Polastri – Sales, Aftersales & Marketing Director.

“The underground market operates in a completely different way from the normal construction sector, because it involves large contracts. The demand very often comes from the contractors, and so the equipment they require must be adaptable to individual projects; the same sales cycle can involve long timescales, and the product support service needs to ensure that the machinery is always wholly reliable. Our creation of a specific business unit therefore means we have a specialist team for the development, sale and after-sales of a new generation of products, which can also draw on Cifa’s 40 years of experience in designing and servicing machinery for tunnels and mines.”

Part of Chinese industrial group Zoomlion since 2008, Cifa is one of the world’s top players in the concrete machinery sector and has a strong international reach, with sales networks and technical support on every continent. Cifa is able to provide customers not only with a range of reliable and quality products but also with financial support through Zoomlion Capital Financial Services.