Superior Industrial Productsof the UK has launched a new portable rock and concrete breaking tool which it says offers a safe and cost-effective alternative to conventional methods, especially in difficult conditions.

Called the Boulder Buster, the new tool was launched at SED 2000 construction exhibition held at Milton Keynes in the UK in June.

Elaborating on its features, a company spokesman explains: ''The Boulder Buster is used for breaking rock and concrete and is especially useful in those situations where conventional means cannot be used. For example, where there are access problems for heavy plant, environmental restrictions on loud noise or where explosives cannot be used because of nearby buildings, plant and machinery, structures or personnel. It is ideal, for example, for use in built-up areas and at a cost of under £1,700 ($2,500) can provide a safe, easy and cost-effective method of rock and concrete breaking.''

He continues: ''Using the tool is simple. A hole is first drilled in the rock or structure to be broken and then filled with water. An industrial power booster cartridge is then placed down the hole, the Boulder Buster inserted and a rubber mat placed over it.

''An initiating power cartridge is then placed in the tool, the firing mechanism screwed in, and the lanyard attached. The operator then walks away 7 m and simply gives the lanyard a sharp pull.

''A shock wave is passed down the hole through the water and the booster cartridge ignites creating a powerful force that breaks up the rock or concrete.

In case of concrete, where reinforcing is present, the tool will break around it allowing the steel to be cut by conventional means. It can be used to enhance the use of other equipment such as breakers.

''The Boulder Buster is safe to use and many units have already been sold throughout Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia into the construction, mining and quarrying industries.

Boulder Buster also has many uses in other areas where rock or concrete might be present and require removing such as farming, forestry or inside buildings, the spokesman adds.