A rig mat is a portable platform used to support equipment used in construction and other resource-based activities, including drilling rigs, camps, tanks, and helipad. It may also be used as a structural roadway to provide passage over unstable ground, pipelines and more.
Plastic Mat systems are generally of two designs:
- Solid, one piece compression moulded systems
- Engineered, hollow rig matting systems
Solid Plastic Mat Systems
Solid, one piece compression moulded mats are made from recycled or virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) as well as recycled or virgin Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE). Solid mats are lighter in weight than hollow rig mats but due to the simpler connection system provide the same or similar usable working surface area per mat once connected (10’ x 8’, 13.5’ x 6.5’). Typically this means that a significantly greater number of solid mats can be loaded onto a truck resulting in a number of key benefits including larger working surface area per truckload, reduced number of transport trips per project, reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions per project, and reduced transport costs per project. A simple connection system, using standard connectors and tools, is used which means that mats can easily be installed and connected on undulating as well as flat surfaces, avoiding the need to prepare the ground surface in advance of installation. This also results in project time and cost –savings. Unlike hollow mats, solid mats cannot be punctured and therefore do not take on water (which can increase mat weight) or other fluids (such as fuel or chemicals) that could adversely impact on sensitive sites.
Hollow Rig Matting Systems
Engineered, hollow rig matting systems made up of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). When compared to traditional rig mats, composite mats are lighter in weight yet still can handle heavy loads. Composite matting is generally more expensive upfront, but as they have a much longer lifespan than wooden mats they can be more cost-efficient. Higher quality versions of the composite rig mat will include anti-static and/or UV protection additives to prevent the formation of sparks from static electricity and to prevent cracking, physical breakdown & fading of the mat. Composite mats feature a variety of connection mechanisms, from complicated systems that use small parts and specialized tools to large aluminum cam lock systems. It is recommended that you choose a system that features noncorrosive metal parts that will not break or contaminate your work site. Composite mats range in size from 4’ x 4’ to 8’ x 14’. It is commonly thought that bigger is better with access mats, but it is important that the mats can be shipped by standard means. 7.5’ x 14’ composite mats are ideal because they will be able to fit into an ISO container.
Access mats are also known as swamp mats. Most swamp mats are based on a design developed by Joe Penland in the late 20th century and consist of 3 layers of 2x8 lumber laminated together with steel bolts. Most commonly the top and bottom layer are made up of 11 pieces and the middle layer, placed cross wise, is made from 21 pieces. In the USA, the majority of swamp mats are made from mixed hardwoods, although they are often referred to as Oak. It is also usual to find hardwood mats in Canada, however the availability of durable coniferous species such as various firs, pines, and spruces make their use a more economical prospect. Common dimensions are 8' x 14' and 8' x 16'. Thicknesses vary between suppliers from 4.5 inches to a full 6 inches. Swamp mats are produced by a large number of small and medium-sized manufacturers, and quality varies dramatically within the industry.
Patented by Strad Energy Services, the SteelLock interlocking mat is constructed without nails, bolts or pins. There are many kinds of interlocking steel mats. Some designs are patented, and some are not. Strad Energy Services is one of many suppliers.
Also known as wood and steel mats or steel frame mats. These mats are commonly made of spruce, pine, fir or a combination thereof encased in a steel frame. The frame is normally I Beam or HST steel. The steel is used to strengthen the mats, enabling the manufactures of the mats to build them in larger sizes and to support more weight compared to all other types of mats. Common sizes are 8' x 20', 8' x 30', and 8' x 40'. One great advantage is the ease of repairing the wooden inserts which gives new life to an already long lasting and durable mat. This method of repair can be completed on both I Beam and HST style mats.
Access Mats are a lightweight matting option manufactured from various types of wood including Douglas Fir, Hem-Fir, and Oak and are held together with approximately 180 nuts and bolts per mat.
Crane Mats are constructed of 12"x12" timbers and are affixed by steel bolts. The timber species used in these mats is generally Douglas-fir and Hemlock as this species of wood has superior strength characteristics compared to other western softwood. The construction process of these mats allows for versatility as different size, length and quantity of timbers can be used to make different dimension mats. Most crane mat manufacturers are in the Western states and Provinces. Canada Rig Mats Ltd. is one of the largest manufacturers of crane mats in Western Canada.
The rubber mats evolved by industries being pushed to use sustainable products made from recycled materials. The rubber crumb recycled from scrap tires is a primary petroleum based material, using materials like this in products such as rig mats became a perfect sustainable product for the Oil & Gas Industry where rig mats are primary used.
Depending on the site soil conditions, there are various thicknesses of mats that can be manufactured. The base material of the rubber mat is crumb rubber, urethane, and fibre from recycled motor vehicle tires. The production of one typical mat uses up to 350 tires which makes the product environmentally friendly. The mats are moulded into conventional 14’ x 8’ sections and the body has an embedded patented rigid spine which makes each mat extremely durable and virtually indestructible. The surface is textured and designed to provide excellent traction for all types of traffic and have been proven to be a viable and economical solution for long term use under some of the most unruly site conditions and usages across North America.