The most common question we hear is, “How long do Eucalyptus mats really last?”
The second most common question recently is, “Is your mat sustainable?” More on that later.
Of course, it all depends on machinery, ground conditions, handling, and general mat care. We set out to find out indirectly.
Here’s the short video version immediately below. Keep reading below the video for more detail.
Why did we do this test? Examining if the raw material is still good after many, many years is a good proxy for longevity prediction. In the video and photos below pay special attention to the wood quality.
Typical mats fail because of lower strength species (e.g., poplar, gum), combined with defects (e.g., rot, wane), and poor geometry. The result is that the raw material fails or rots.
Retiring Old Eucalyptus Mats
The first mats we manufactured were May 2016. These were 18’x4’x8″ pipeline mats, version 1, where the 16′ timber was in the second place.* The mats were used as a temporary road outside World Forest Group’s manufacturing facility. They were installed in May 2016 and retired in January 2023 – a little over 6.5 years.
Operating and Environmental Conditions: 90,000 lb. log trucks plus fully loaded forklifts. Rain, humidity, temperature almost identical to coastal Mississippi. The mats were in the mud constantly for that period.
When we retired the mats in January 2023, rather than composting the wood waste nearby with the assistance of a friendly farmer, we decided to experiment with the old mats.
- Trimmed to length
- Planed the surface.
- Drilled new bolt holes.
- Added end sealant and plates.
Bingo! Then we flipped the darn things 700 times. The first test mat survived intact to 700 flips, but two of the 6.5 year old timbers cracked, though the mat held together. Impressive.
Why flip tests? Flipping test mats hundreds of times is a good proxy for estimating damage from handling.
If you’d like to see photos of this flipped mat after 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 flips email and we’ll shoot them out to you.
Most mat damage occurs through handling. Forklifts are particularly rough on mats if operators aren’t careful. Dropping mats frequently is a sore point for many mat owners. If you have testing results on your Eucalyptus mats please contact us for a special bonus.
So, how long will an 8″ Eucalyptus mat last? Depends on you but likely 7-10 years with same operating, handling, and environmental conditions. The math is impressive.