We’d like to thank Think Defence for the opportunity to provide a guest post on their site.
ERE Logistics is a Canadian company based in Calgary, Alberta and we build bridges, fast!
Which is how we ended up on here.
Think Defence had created a quite thorough post on the variety of bridges that have been available for military and civilian use throughout the years and in their follow up article our company ERE Logistics and our ERE S80T portable bridge system were mentioned. After a few comments back and forth and some emails we were asked to guest post and here we are!
We are delighted to have the opportunity to explain a bit more about our portable scissor bridge system the ERE S80T and from an obviously biased standpoint, why we think this is the best bridge around.
So, let’s start with some brief history. The president of ERE Logistics, Richard Richter has been a long time army buff with an extensive history of tinkering with all sorts of mechanical items, military related predominately. Not only has he worked on vehicles such as army hummers, 8×8 and 10×10 military vehicles, he has also owned a decommissioned Chieftain tank and a decommissioned M113 Armored Personnel Carrier which both required continual maintenance!
It was during 2006 that ERE’s sister company ERE Firesupport (a builder of extreme off-road wildland firefighting vehicles), ran into situations where life simply would be easier if they had some form of portable bridge system. Much of ERE Firesupport’s work is around the foothills of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, where often times impassable areas require hours of detours to only travel a few miles as the crow flies.
Richard thought if only there was some type of bridging that would allow them to cross a mountain stream, or uneven terrain then they could save hours of time and allow equipment to get where it needed to be and to get there quickly. From here Richard’s brain went into overdrive. We had the perfect environment for this type of product, he had the technological know how and determination to follow it through and with the assistance of his father Erich Richter the ERE S80T bridge started to come to life.
Richard’s military knowledge and his experience with military vehicles also made him realize this would be a perfect fit for many military applications. So the key factor they immediately came up with was the use of the flatrack system for versatility, cost savings, and storage capabilities.
They also required the product to be fast and expandable. Looking at some of the options out there, several unique possibilities were available, but the scissor bridge technology seemed to be the best fit. It worked quickly, section after section could be added on indefinitely in theory and it was perfect for flatracking.
After months of design and redesign the first test model was finally ready to be built and the initial ERE S80T 60 ton prototype model was put into production. When the product was finally delivered and it ran through it’s initial paces, the entire crew were ecstatic. As always, with any new product there were still some tweaks to be completed, but the initial tests went incredibly well.
A 12 metre long bridge which was 4.3 metres wide, complete with handrails for foot traffic,can be set up and be operational in approximately 30 minutes, which isn’t exceptional compared to some of the armored vehicle launchers available today, but where it stands out is the expansion. The armored launcher vehicles have one section that is installed in two to five minutes and then they are done.
The ERE S80T can add additional sections one after the other and can create a 120 metre long bridge in around five hours leaving the armored launchers far behind. The additional improvements that have also come along make the bridge even better. Load capacity has been improved to up to 90 tonnes and the original 3.5 metre legs have been replaced with 10 metre legs making larger river crossings or deeper gully/trenched areas passable.
The actual bridge system consists of three components, the bridge itself, the launcher and the legs. Being a flatrack system it is designed to work with a multitude of military and heavy equipment vehicles. It’s this flatrack design that also makes it so appealing. Now you no longer need a single purpose vehicle to launch the bridge, instead you simply grab an appropriate vehicle from the motor pool, load the system up, and go install a bridge before lunch. Or if it needs to get shipped out from the warehouse to the field, it can be transported by truck or even by air transport in emergencies.
Since the heavy lifting is all done with hydraulics it only requires a small crew of four to unload, install and lock everything into place. During an emergency situations, this will allow extra personal to concentrate on their duties while the bridge builders get building.
Overall we are ecstatic with the product and we have been receiving inquiries from around the world about our portable bridge system. Both governments and logistics companies have been looking for solutions like this for emergency road replacement situations, military use and potentially dozens of other applications we never even dreamed of.
The world is out there and now you can get to it with the help of the ERE S80T portable bridge system!