Hospital safety

After gaining positive experiences over the last five years on various projects, the public health authorities in Ecuador are continuing to put their faith in mageba seismic isolator bearings to protect their hospitals in the event of an earthquake.

A country’s hospitals must be relied upon to survive any earthquakes that might be expected – and not just to survive but to remain in service throughout the event so that the staff and patients are protected, and so that people who have been injured in the surrounding area can be treated without delay. In an ongoing project in Ecuador to rebuild hospitals that were badly damaged in a major earthquake in 2016, care has been taken to design and construct the new hospitals for the next big seismic event. mageba is proud to be playing a role in this important work, providing the seismic isolators that support the new structures and protect them against violent ground movements. For the fourth time in five years, RESTON®PENDULUM isolator bearings were selected for use in the reconstruction of a hospital in western Ecuador – this time the general hospital of the city of Pedernales. 99 of these pendulum-type isolators (also known as curved surface sliders) were designed and fabricated to support the building, and two further units were supplied for prototype testing at Sismalab in Italy. Following design of the isolators by mageba to meet all requirements, and fabrication in mageba’s Shanghai factory, they were shipped to site in closed containers and installed under mageba supervision. The isolators were designed to carry loads of up to 1500 kN, and to accommodate movements of up to +/- 400 mm during an earthquake while dissipating seismic energy before recentring the supported structure in its original position.

The RESTON®PENDULUM isolator is just one of mageba’s wide range of key bridge components that is designed, or can be detailed, to enhance a structure’s seismic safety. Most of these can generally be equally well applied to buildings, bridges and any other type of structure that is especially important to its owners or to society. Other types of isolator bearing include LASTO®LRB lead rubber bearings and LASTO®HDRB high damping rubber bearings, while devices such as RESTON®SA shock absorbers, RESTON®STU shock transmission units and RESTON®PSD preloaded spring dampers protect structures by dissipating seismic energy or optimally transmitting seismic forces. The FUSE-BOX feature is designed to protect expansion joints from destruction during an earthquake, leaving the bridge it serves in a serviceable condition when it is needed most. And mageba’s range of structural health monitoring (SHM) solutions can be detailed to provide real-time, highly detailed information of any sort relating to a structure’s condition and performance before, during and after an earthquake, while the off-the-shelf, IoT based ROBO®QUAKE system is specifically designed for seismic applications. With products such as these available to help protect structures from destruction during an earthquake, it should be possible to greatly reduce the amount of death and destruction caused by future seismic activity around the world – if only the same importance was given to all critical infrastructure as is currently being given to the hospitals of Ecuador.

Building designer: Sísmica Ingenieros Consultores Cia, Ltda.
Owner: Ministry of Public Health of Ecuador

The basement level of the new general hospital of the city of Pedernales in western Ecuador, with concrete pillars on which mageba seismic isolators will be placed to support the superstructure

Some of the 94 RESTON®PENDULUM seismic isolators, carefully protected and securely fixed in a closed shipping container for transport to site from mageba’s Shanghai factory

A mageba installation expert was on site for supervision and training purposes, ensuring the high quality of the installation work

Correct levelling is important to help ensure the seismic isolator bearings’ proper functioning

Care must also be taken to ensure proper alignment of the bearings beneath the structure they will support

A RESTON®PENDULUM seismic isolator bearing in its final position, ready for grouting to ensure proper transmission of forces between the bearing and the supporting pillar