Timber mats, or crane mats, are the most common form of construction mat used today. Built from 4 to 7 pieces of solid timber, there are three main forms of the timber mat, designated by the dimensions of the timbers used. The 12 inch, 10 inch, and 8 inch timber mats, so named for their respective depths, represent over ninety percent of the timber mats cut in the United States. Typically made four or five feet wide and anywhere from sixteen to fifty feet long, crane mats are composed of solid oak, douglas fir, or a combination of mixed hardwood depending on the application.
The word “laminated” literally means ‘constructed of layers of material bonded together.’ The most common form of laminated mats is the 3-ply swamp or road mat. These mats are most often constructed from mixed hardwoods but occasionally composed of southern yellow pine. 2-ply mats, or Truck Mats, have a similar construction to the 3-ply counterpart, but are simply made up of two layers instead of three. This group of mats is ‘laminated’ when layers of timbers are either carriage bolted or nailed together. The emtek® mat is also considered a laminated mat but is generally considered to be in a class all its own. Typically made eight feet wide and anywhere from twelve to twenty feet long, laminated mats are standard for temporary access roadways.
Composite mats, so named for the composite material used to create them, are composed of a rigid, plastic-like material. The most typical composite mats are the SureTrak® Mats, TuffTrak® Mats, and TuffTrak®XL Mats. While the SureTrak® Mats are used most commonly in light duty applications, the TuffTrak® Mats and TuffTrak®XL Mats have made quite an impact on the utility construction industry. The TuffTrak® Mats and TuffTrak®XL Mats serve the same function as the laminated mats in providing temporary access roadways, but are much lighter. This translates into substantial savings when it comes to transporting the mats.
The emtek® mats represents the most modern advances in mat technology. Using a patented heating and lamination process, emtek® mats are engineer certified to be twice the strength of their counterparts while only half the weight. A mat with the strength of a crane mat at only half the weight translates into huge cost savings as well as greater efficiency in both lay-down and pick-up. emtek® Mats range in size and dimensions to accommodate the needs of the individual project. It is for this reason the emtek® continues to be product of choice when it comes to renting mats.
Pipeline skids, or skids, are a staple in the gas pipeline industry. Skids are used to support the pipelines as they are assembled prior to being placed in the ground. While skids are not considered mats, most mat producers also cut skids due to the availability of skid material left over from pieces not big enough to be made into a mat timbers. The dimensions for pipeline skids are most often four by six inch timbers cut to four or six foot lengths.
As the name would suggest, Transition Mats provide a transition point to and from the mats. Much of the damage inflicted on timber mats comes as result of equipment tracks and tires chewing and pulling on the leading edge of a mat as they move from ground level to the surface of the mat. The transition mat eliminates this problem and in turn extends the life expectancy of both mats and the equipment. Transition Mat dimensions are relative to the mats being used on a particular project. Not all mat suppliers make transition mats due to the complexity of cutting a gentle slope.