In an age when the building, tunneling, and in some areas, min­ing industry, is thriving in North America, we in the shotcrete industry should be looking for ways to increase productivity and save on ever-increasing labor costs. This type of thinking often requires the use of products that we either are not familiar with or have never used at all. Since we are in an industry where our chief concerns are keeping a safe workplace, while at the same time, trying to increase production or speeding up project comple­tion time, we are often times unwilling to try new technology because we are afraid of the unknown. We fear a decrease in pro­duction, having to buy new equipment, and worst of all, lost­time accidents.For this reason-the unknown-many shotcrete contractors and mine managers have shied away from the use of steel fibers in their shotcrete. Their arguments against using steel fibers are often the same. “We use mesh or rebar for reinforcement because we know for sure that the reinforcement is in place before we apply shotcrete. That way, we don’t have to worry whether or not we have added the correct amount of steel fibers, or if the steel fibers are mixed uniformly, or if the fibers will do the job at all.” Or, we hear the all too familiar response, “If it is not broken, don’t fix it.”
In my opinion, this “if it is not broken, don’t fix it” attitude is keeping a lot of shotcrete contractors from increased production and greater financial successes. Sure, the economy in North America is strong now in the