ACOUSTIC BARRIER PRODUCTION FOR RAILWAYS
Z-bloc Norden AB was founded in 1999 on Öland by brothers Bo and Hans Samuelsson to exploit the licensing rights to an absorbent based on recycled tyres. The absorbent is cast in a concrete frame which fitted well with the brothers’ own long experience in the concrete industry.
The first generation of barriers consisted of large pieces of rubber that were glued together. It was therefore not long before the second generation of acoustic barrier was developed in Bo’s garage on Öland. This was a far more aesthetically pleasing product which also proved to be a considerably better absorbent, especially from a maintenance perspective.
By 2005, after six years of work, there were a number of stretches of acoustic barrier in place in Sweden and it was a natural progression for Z-bloc Norden to participate in the European Quiet City Transport project from 2005-2009. Qcity was a project whose main aim was to develop infrastructure for the efficient control of road and rail ambient noise and it was within this project that Z-bloc Norden developed the third generation of their trackside acoustic barriers, tested at Bro in Stockholm County.
This third generation had new frames and absorbent as well as completely new safety solutions for the barriers. In contrast to the previous long days, nights and weekends spent on Öland shredding and gluing together used tyres, the absorbent was now built up in an entirely new way by combining cavities with a denser rubber mat.
Even here, the aim was primarily to ensure a long working life for the absorbent but there was also consideration given to making it possible to deliver larger volumes. The ability to produce on a larger scale was put to the test in conjunction with the building of the Bothnia Line in 2009.