This project at MIT, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, truly exemplifies what sets Hascall & Hall apart from our competition. It is not every day that a commercial flooring contractor of our scale is asked by a world-class organization to provide a flawless solution that will allow a 100-ton machine to glide across the floor on a cushion of air. Hascall & Hall has the extensive field experience that allows our team to expertly assess and evaluate a site prior to implementing each unique commercial flooring solution.
We were originally called in to this project at MIT by the manufacturer of the flooring system, and introduced to the staff at MIT’s Linear Accelerator Facility, where they explained their dilemma. We were told that the unit weighed 100 tons, that it floated by virtue of nothing more than hover-craft technology under the unit. To move the expansive unit, once the air was turned on under the unit it was lifted/hovered to the precise location on the facility desired for the next scheduled experiment. The exact location was determined using lasers and transits, but in order for them to function properly the machine could lose no air pressure beneath the unit due to imperfections in the flooring. Hascall & Hall was told that if the device could not make it up and over a 20″ steel plate, the air would simply blow on by.
Hascall & Hall was selected as the flooring contractor for the project amongst intense competition from across the country. The floor plan that would best suit the unique requirements at MIT is called a “super-flat floor,” requiring grinding to an F factor of flatness—the F factor being a unit of measurement used to establish the flatness of a floor.
It was clear that we needed to come up with a process whereby we could bring down the floor and install a system that would cure quickly to a high degree of hardness and durability. We were competing against a company that specializes specifically in traveling the country, grinding smooth, super-flat floors to a high F factor.
The project started by conducting a test area for the door, which was a 100-ton unit of concrete that employed the same technology—being moved on a cushion of air. At the point where our team started participating in the project, the task of opening or closing the door took several hours.
The project initially required removing approximately ¼”–½” of the existing concrete substrate prior to applying transits and long vibrating screeds to re-pour the area with a self-leveling, rapid-setting wear surface. The entire process for the door area was completed from start to finish in just five days. When this aspect of the project was complete and they fired up the air unit beneath the door, the owner was extremely pleased, as one person could now close the door by merely pushing the door closed by hand.
Once we had resolved the problem with the door and it had been tested for a couple of months, we were brought back into the facility to address the challenge posed by the main floor. This portion of the project needed to be executed in two phases over the course of three weeks, to work around the massive unit.