News

03/01/2017

Famesa present in the largest modern engineering project: the expansion of the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is one of the most important mega constructions of our time. When we think of the worldwide supply chain, we think of Panama, a country that, due to its geographical position and canal, has made distances smaller and served as a hub for redistributing products to different countries in the region.

Since it opened 100 years ago, today, after extensive studies and analysis, Panama has decided to expand this route by adding a third lane of traffic to double its capacity.

The expansion of the Panama Canal consisted of building two sets of three-level locks, each with three water-saving basins per level, one in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic. This project also involved widening and deepening the existing navigation channels of the Gatun Lake and entrances from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as deepening the Culebra Cut.

Famesa, with over sixty-three years’ experience in the explosive products and accessories industry, took part in this mega project to expand the Panama Canal.

When designing the new canal locks, the Gatun Lake needed to be deepened and widened.

In order to extend the lake bed, forty-five 9 meter holes were drilled and loaded with explosives. The cartridges used measured 10cm in diameter and 45cm in length. Each hole had a different charge and a specific number of explosives, some weighing up to 114kg, in order to remove and deepen the bottom of the lake. Then, detonators were installed on buoys in order to create a chain explosion, with a millisecond delay between each one in order to maximize rock fragmentation.

Approximately 3 tonnes of Famesa underwater explosives were used in this operation.

Due to their quality, safety and technology, Famesa products have been used in large scale projects around the world.