Volvo plant demolished by the machines it created

Volvo Construction Equipment’s historic hardening plant has been demolished by some of the machines it helped to produce, 175 after production began at the site.

In its heyday, the Swedish factory, which is located in the town of Eskilstuna, hardened 3,000 tonnes of steel per year. Operations, however, came to an end in 2006 when Volvo invested more than $150m in the extension and modernisation of its main factory campus on the outskirts of the town. Demolition of the hardening plant was subsequently ordered in 2013.

Swedish firm AF Decom was tasked with the demolition of the historic factory. Workers began by cutting out the interior of the plant and emptying the structure with the help of a Volvo EC460 C-Series high-reach excavator.

“We have emptied the inside and take care of the old materials,” explained Peter Löwenhamn, project manager at AF Decom. “Our 85-tonne, 27m-high Volvo EC460 C-Series high-reach excavator was rolled into the city and slowly drove up to the back of the building to start the work.

“The building was so close to the Badminton Center we needed to get the outside wall to fall inward,” he continued. “Safety is the most important thing and over the years, our employees haven’t had a single day of sick leave because of work injury. The building was close to schools and other buildings but you didn’t even notice the work was being done unless you looked directly at the site. The Volvo machine has great control and we were careful not to make a disturbance.”

AF Decom prides itself on recycling more than 97% of demolition materials, and its work on the Volvo CE hardening plant was no exception. The building’s old concrete blocks and bricks will be reused on other construction projects in the future.

After the best part of two centuries, this Volvo facility has come full circle. Being retired by the machines it helped to create seems like a fitting end for the long-serving factory. The demolition product is scheduled for completion in February 2014.