Unlike traditional concrete demolition methods, hydrodemolition allows for the preservation of rebar and can remove large sections of concrete while leaving the rest of the slab intact. Popular in Europe, the method sees the most use in renovation work and infrastructure maintenance.

At the World of Concrete trade show held Feb. 4-7 in Las Vegas, two Swedish-based hydrodemolition manufacturers continue their efforts to raise the profiles of their niche concrete removal technologies in the North American market.

Aquajet brought out its Ergo Climber hydrodemolition robot, which mounts to standard scaffolding pipes. With a 45° adjustable lance angle, the robot can demolish targeted areas of concrete to a uniform depth, even going around and underneath rebar. Unlike Aquajet's larger hydrodemolition machines, the Ergo Climber is designed to be small and light enough for a single worker to carry it through doorways and manholes.

Looking to address water resource issues, Aquajet also had on display its EcoClear filtration system, which treats the wastewater generated by its high-pressure robotic machines onsite for reuse, storage or safe release back into the environment.

Nearby, rival hydrodemolition manufacturer Conjet focused on what may well be the technology’s biggest hurdle: broader awareness in the industry. “We know we have some work to do,” said Robert Kreicberg, recently installed as Conjet CEO following last fall’s purchase by Swedish investment group of a majority stake in the company.

Kreicberg, a former executive with floor grinder/polishing company HTC, added that even in a limited market, there’s room for competition. “We feel this is a good market for us,” he said.