August 2021 Update

Wyndham City Council officially approves SMC Ecolite pit lids as conforming to AS3996:2019!

Explore the new composite lid testing requirements of AS3996:2019.

Wyndham City Council officially approves SMC Ecolite pit lids as conforming to AS3996:2019!

We’re delighted to confirm that Wyndham City Council has approved the use of R&S Grating’s SMC Ecolite pit lids within its municipality, finding that SMC Ecolites passed the required tests of AS3996:2019 and therefore conformed to the standard.


With the release of the revised standard AS3996:2019 Access Covers & Grates came enhanced testing and performance requirements for polymeric material access covers. Wyndham City Council took the opportunity to evaluate composite lids for conformance to the standard and are to be commended for ensuring that products used within their council conform to the high levels specified in AS3996:2019.  Non-conforming products remain a serious issue for councils, with many non-conforming products not just failing the requirements of AS3996:2019, but posing serious safety concerns for the community.


The enhanced testing of AS3996:2019 was intended to simulate the real-life experiences of composite material lids.  As composite materials behave very differently to the traditional materials covered by AS3996, in particular steel and iron, new tests were introduced that are uniquely tailored to composite materials and ensure the longevity of products and  ongoing community safety.


As an industry leader in composite lids, R&S Grating has long championed better guidance and stricter conformance requirements.  Having supplied the first full-depth composite lid in the market, we were pleased that the Standard committee saw fit to adopt the requirement of full-depth composite materials and ban the use of timber and other material in the construction of conforming lids.  Enhanced testing requirements will ensure that as the prevalence of composite lids continues to grow, local councils can rest assured that conforming products are designed to pass the most important test of all, the test of time.


Explore the enhanced tests of AS3996:2019 and the results for R&S Grating’s SMC Ecolite pit lids below or get in touch for a full copy of the test results.

Ultraviolet Testing

Why is ultraviolet testing needed?

Ultraviolet testing was introduced to AS3996 in the 2019 release for the first time.  While Australia has long felt the effects of harsher ultraviolet radiation than other parts of the world, grates and access covers have typically been made of steel, iron or concrete, which are not prone to degradation from ultraviolet radiation.  Unlike these materials, plastics in their many forms, including sheet moulded compound (SMC) and fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP), are prone to material degradation from prolonged ultraviolet exposure.  The strength and performance of a composite lid will be compromised after UV degradation has occurred.  In some instances, the lid may still function, however UV damage can also lead to the catastrophic failure of composite lids, with damaged material unable to sustain simple loads, cracking or even full collapse.

How does ultraviolet radiation damage composite materials?

Ultraviolet radiation degrades composite materials in a variety of ways, but most critically it breaks the polymer chains, causes free radicals and reduces the molecular weight of the material.  This degradation is similar to the process that causes many biological cancers as a result of prolonged UV exposure.  R&S Grating’s SMC Ecolite pit lids have a distinct advantage over biological material and inferior composite materials, in that a variety of compounds are added to the sheet moulded compound material that act to absorb UV radiation, block UV radiation and stabilise the material.  These compounds ensure that even after prolonged UV exposure the strength and performance of the material are not compromised.  In addition to the compound additives, R&S Grating’s SMC ecolite pit lids include a UV-resistant paint coating, adding an additional layer of protection.

How do we test composite materials for ultraviolet resistance?

AS3996:2019 requires that polymeric materials used in the construction of grates and covers be stabilised such that prolonged UV exposure will not compromise the product for a minimum of 25 years.  To test this, “dumbbell” sections are cut from the material.  Half of these dumbbells have their tensile modulus tested without prolonged UV exposure.  The remainder are then subjected to prolonged UV exposure by one of two methods specified in AS3996:2019. 


The SMC Ecolite material was subjected to fluorescent UV lamp exposure as specified in ISO 4892-3:2016 for a duration of 1800 hours (75 days).  After this exposure, the tensile modulus is measured using the exposed samples.  AS3996:2019 requires a change in the tensile modulus of less than 20% between the exposed and non-exposed samples.  The SMC Ecolite material had a change of tensile modulus of 14.8% after exposure, not only passing the test, but demonstrating the advantage and success of the UV-resistant compound additives used in SMC Ecolites.

SMC Ecolite "dumbbell" sections during prolonged UV exposure.

Impact Resistance Testing

Why is impact resistance testing important?

In real-world applications, light-weight composite lids are likely to experience a variety of impact events over time.  These may include heavier items being dropped, unexpected or unusual vehicle loading and any manner of event that might apply a sudden, impact load to the cover.


It is important to note that these impact events are not the typical anticipated loading, for example a car tyre traversing the cover.  This type of loading is assessed by the standard type tests specified in AS3996:2019 that apply to all products covered by the standard.  Impact resistance is tailored to composite covers and grates, with the plasticity of the composite material making it more prone to damage from sudden impact events.


To ensure that covers and grates are adequately designed to withstand these events, AS3996:2019 includes the requirement of impact resistance testing.

How do we test composite lids for impact resistance?

AS3996:2019 introduced impact resistance testing to assess covers and grates.  The test is conducted by using a solid steel “striker” that is dropped down a smooth guide pipe from a height of 2.5m.  The mass of the striker required is determined by the class rating being tested.  In the case of class B, this is 3.75kg.


The test must be conducted at the weakest point of the cover, as well as at an additional four points.  The depth of indentations must be measured and not exceed 5mm.  Additionally, the grate or cover must not crack on the top or bottom.

The 3.75kg striker used in the impact resistance test.

The test must be conducted in ambient conditions, with the cover conditioned to a temperature of 15°C–25°C, with the cover or grate secured in position and the guide pipe located a minimum of 30mm from the cover.


The SMC Ecolite was assessed to pass the impact resistance test, with an indentation of 1.2mm at the weakest point and indentations of 0.8mm, 0.9mm, 0.3mm and 0.6mm at the other four positions tested.

The SMC Ecolite after the striker impact.

Creep Resistance Testing

What is creep resistance?

Creep is the tendency for material to deform under a sustained or persistent load as opposed to a sudden or short-term load.  Such loading may occur if a cover or grate has a vehicle parked on it for an extended time, a piece of machinery may also be placed on the cover or grate, or any other loading that can be considered extended.  Under these sustained loads, composite materials may deflect and distort in different manners to how they would behave under the same load but applied for a shorter time.  For this reason, AS3996:2019 requires creep resistance testing.

How is creep resistance tested?

AS3996:2019 includes creep resistance testing requirements, using the serviceability design load (53kN for class B), with the requirement that the load be applied for 24 hours.  The test must be conducted with the cover or grate at a temperature of 18°C–25°C.  Unlike other load tests of AS3996:2019, which require that the test be conducted at the weakest point, the creep is a property of the material, not the design, and so it is conducted at the geometric centre of the cover or grate.


After the load has been applied for 24 hours and released, the creep is measured as the difference between the deflection before the load was applied and after the load has been removed.  The criteria to pass the test is a creep of less than 1 in 100 of the circular opening size.


The SMC Ecolite recorded a creep of 1.0mm, with a permissible creep of 6.97mm, demonstrating that even under sustained loads SMC Ecolite lids will return to within 1 in 100 of its original form.

Slip Resistance Testing

Why is slip resistance important?

Understandably, it is essential that covers and grates are not slippery when wet, or even oily.  This slip-resistance is not just for the obvious scenario of someone walking on a grate or cover but extends more broadly in AS3996:2019 to cover all manner of scenario where the ability of a grate or cover to provide resistance from slipping may be useful, such as car tyres when braking.  In the case of composite lids, however, the primary focus remains the safety of the community while traversing a composite lid.  Many composite lids are installed in nature strips and areas where pedestrians are more likely to be found than vehicles, meaning it is essential that slip-resistance is factored into the design of the composite lid.

How is slip resistance tested?

The measurement of a surface’s ability to resist slipping is in no way unique to grates and covers and many different testing methods are available to make an assessment.  Two of the most popular testing methods in Australia are the oil-wet ramp slip resistance test and the wet pendulum test (AS4586).


AS3996:2019 standardised slip-resistance testing for the industry by specifying the use of the wet pendulum test to determine a cover or grate’s slip resistance.


The wet pendulum test works by swinging a pendulum that is allowed to make contact with the surface and then the height that the pendulum reaches after contact is measured.  AS3996:2019 requires a result of P3, P4 or P5 in the test.  P3 is a value between 35-44, P4 is a value between 45-54 and P5 is value greater than 55.  A zero value on this scale corresponds to the pendulum swinging parallel to the ground or surface.  Essentially, the higher the value, the higher the slip resistance.  The SMC Ecolite surface achieves an SRV of 78, giving it a rating of P5, or very good slip resistance.



June 2021 Update

The Importance of Manufacturing in Australia

Our Presentation for IPWEA Victoria's Transform 2021 Public Works Conference

The Importance of Manufacturing in Australia

We were delighted to be a sponsor and presenter at IPWEA Victoria’s Transform 2021 Public Work’s Conference.  In line with the times, the conference was completely virtual, presenting a few challenges but also plenty of opportunities and the R&S Grating team embraced the process and seized the opportunity to showcase our manufacturing operations right here in Melbourne.


In our presentation, we discuss the importance of Australian manufacturing and how the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of Australia retaining local manufacturing capacity.


Our full presentation, where we explore our operations and the processes that go into making a grate, can be viewed below.


R&S Grating remain open for sales, contactless deliveries and contactless pickups, operating under the following COVID-SAFE plan.

In response to the rising COVID-19 caseload and stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, R&S Grating have implemented a COVID-SAFE plan. This plan details the changes to standard operations that have been implemented, what is required of staff and what is required of third parties during the course of conducting business with R&S Grating.


As per order of the Victorian government and stage 4 restrictions, the following are required of all R&S Grating staff and any customer or member of the public engaging with an R&S Grating employee in the course of their duties:

  • a face mask or covering must be worn at all times, except when impractical (such as when eating).
  • A minimum of 1.5m distance must be maintained at all times (social distancing).

R&S Grating’s staff have been instructed to discontinue engagement with customers or the public if these conditions are not being adhered to.


All R&S Grating pickup orders are now strictly contactless.



When arriving, please:

  • Enter the property via the left driveway.
  • Remain in your vehicle and call (03) 9238 5888.
  • You will receive further instructions then on where to park.
  • If you need to clear space on your vehicle for the goods to be loaded, please do this once parked where instructed and return to your vehicle for loading.
  • No printed delivery docket can be provided at this time. If you would like a copy you can provide an email address for it to be sent to.
  • Customers who do not remain in their vehicles unfortunately cannot be loaded.
  • After loading you may exit the vehicle to secure your goods.
  • At all times while on the premises you must wear a mask or face covering. Unfortunately we cannot serve customers who are not adhering to this rule.

As a result of these procedures wait times and loading times may take longer than normal. R&S Grating thanks you for your cooperation and for helping keep us all safe.

All orders must be placed via our sales team over the phone or by email. You can call us on (03) 9238 5888 or email

Customers who arrive at the Despatch Office without having placed an order will be asked to return to their vehicle and call the Sales Team to seek product information and/or place an order.

Unfortunately we cannot show people around our showroom or warehouse at this time.


To minimise contact between our delivery staff and the public, we are now offering contact free delivery. Our drivers will unload your order by crane or hand and place it where instructed. In lieu of signing a delivery docket, the driver will ask for the receiver’s full name and take a photo of the position where the goods were left. If you would like a copy of this photo/receiver’s name, please contact our office. All our drivers are carrying antibacterial hand sanitiser should anyone wish to use some.

We ask that all customers and contacts wear a mask while taking delivery of goods from us.


R&S Grating has taken the decision to quarantine various working groups within the business to minimise the risk of spread or exposure to COVID-19.

These groups have designated safe zones within the premises and all staff must follow strict guidelines if required to move outside their own safe zone, in addition to the government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene practices while in their own safe zone.

Production is now operating on staggered shifts to reduce numbers in communal spaces and a rigorous cleaning regime has been implemented.

All staff have been strongly encouraged to get tested should they experience any symptoms. R&S Grating is offering a Pandemic Leave payment to all staff should they require testing.


As a distinct quarantine group, our on site Sales Team of Steve Skinner, Neil Ward and Steve Nixon are available to meet customers on site with strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines. Our on site Sales Team are no longer attending the warehouse/factory and limiting their own interactions as much as possible to protect themselves and our customers. On site measures and site meetings are only going ahead where it is safe to do so.


As with everyone, we’re disappointed to see a return to the threat of COVID-19 in Victoria. We understand that the restrictions we are now imposing on ourselves may begin to impact the quality of our service and lead time. We are doing everything that we can to minimise these impacts, however our top priority remains the safety of our staff, customers, suppliers and the broader community.

Should you wish to discuss anything relating to our COVID-19 response, please feel free to contact us.

Water Flow Test of Weaved Grate

Full Scale Hydraulic Inlet Testing of a Weaved Grate

At R&S Grating, we’re no strangers to extreme testing, whether it’s throwing a fully loaded B-Double at a grate at 100km/h or putting a weaved grate through one million load repetitions, we take great pride in the quality of our product range and relish the opportunity to test them to the harshest conditions that the Australian environment can throw at it.


In our latest test, the University of South Australia conducted a full-scale hydraulic inlet test on one of our signature products, the weaved grate. The 17m x 3.2m Roadway Surface Drainage test rig, the only of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, was constructed in 1991 at the University of Adelaide and allows for longitudinal slopes between 0% – 16% and cross-fall slopes between 0% – 5%. With an adjustable approach flow between 0 – 400 l/s, the test rig features a capture and bypass pond to measure the collected water at varying slopes and approach flow rates. The rig was fitted with two R&S Grating weaved grates, measuring 1900x600mm and 1900x900mm respectively, with an additional inlet of 1900x450mm being measured by the use of plates covering part of the grates.. Weaved grates are a high strength product that offer between 65-75% open surface area, while still easily achieving the bicycle tyre penetration resistance (BTPR) requirements of AS3996.


Click to read more.


Both a standard grated inlet pit and combined side entry and grated pit inlet configuration were tested. All tests were conducted with a cross-fall slope of 3%, to simulate typical road conditions, with the longitudinal slope and approach flow rate being varied. The longitudinal slope was varied between 0.25% and 8% and was a fixed variable for each test. The approach flow rate was varied between 0 l/s and 400 l/s, with the contents of both the capture pond and bypass pond being measured.


The test rig in operation.
Figure 1: Hydraulic test rig setup at full flow rate operation.

With the grates fitted, the longitudinal slope was set for each test and the approach flow was gradually increased. The large variety of configurations and clear opening inlet sizes offered great insight into the hydraulic capacity of the weaved grate.


One of the fitted weaved grates.
Figure 2: A 1900x900mm pit size weaved grate, fitted to the rig.

With larger inlets, and the lowest longitudinal slope of 0.25%, the grate captured 100% of the water supplied, up to a 180 l/s approach flow rate. As the approach flow rate continued to increase, the grate continued to capture staggering quantities of water. At the full approach rate capacity of 400 l/s, the weaved grate captured 340 l/s, or 85% of the water supplied.


At the other end of the longitudinal slope rate spectrum, with an 8% decline, the weaved grate captured 100% of the water supplied, up to an approach flow rate of 80 l/s. At the rig’s approach flow rate capacity, 400 l/s, the grate captured 265 l/s, or 66% of the water supplied. The full results for all longitudinal slopes featuring three 1000x800mm grates are given in Figure 3.


Results for largest opening.
Figure 3: Results for the largest opening tested.

For the smallest inlet size tested, 1000x450mm, the grate captured 100% of the approach flow water up to 85 l/s with the smallest longitudinal slope of 0.25%. For the largest slope, 8%, the grate captured 100% of the supplied water up to 38 l/s. The full results of the smallest inlet size are given in Figure 4.


Results for smallest opening.
Figure 4: Results for the smallest opening tested with the weaved grate.

The impressive test rig conducted a total of 48 tests of varying inlet sizes, kerb profiles and longitudinal slope inclinations, providing superb data on the hydraulic capacity of weaved grates for almost any situation imaginable. The schematic of the test rig is shown in Figure 5.


A schematic of the test rig.
Figure 5: The hydraulic test rig setup at the University of Adelaide.

The hydraulic capacity testing of the weaved grate adds yet another tick to the impressive range of tests that the weaved grate has been subjected to and passed. Designed and manufactured at R&S Grating’s Dandenong South factory, the versatility of the weaved grate allows it to be manufactured to load ratings from class C through to class G of the Australian Standard AS3996.


The load-bearing capacity of the weaved grate has been extensively tested with both static, repetitive loads and also dynamic, high-impact loads. Now used extensively throughout Melbourne’s network of arterials and freeways, the weaved grate has stood the test of time in every application.


To learn more about weaved grates, how they’ve been tested, where they’re used and what the possibilities are, please visit


Download our publication in the Spring 2017 Access Magazine (2.42 mb) below, or access a copy from the MWOA website:


Download this article in PDF format here.

If you’d like a full copy of the test results from the University of Adelaide, please contact R&S Grating by phone on (03) 9238 5888 or email

Small Gap, Big Difference!

We had a bit of an Abbey Road moment capturing these photos, but the scenario perfectly highlights the benefits of heelguard (small gap) grates!


We recently manufactured and supplied 600mm clear opening heelguard trench for a busy intersection in Cecil Street, South Melbourne.  The roundabout forms a junction between residential properties, community parks and local pubs and cafes, making it a thoroughfare for all manner of pedestrians at all hours of the day and night.  Complicating the design was a history of damage from garbage trucks and buses.


Heelguard grates were the ideal solution, ensuring the area could be safely accessed by pedestrians, bikes, wheelchairs and even those wearing high heel shoes.


Our very own Abbey Road moment on Cecil St, South Melbourne.

Read more.

R&S Grating designed a system of grating that not only provided a small gap of around 5mm, but was also class D (heavy duty) to ensure that when buses and trucks mounted the kerb there were no issues.


To ensure that the aesthetics of the popular intersection were maintained, R&S Grating meticulously rolled and welded curved bars to match the curvature of the intersection.


The heelguard bars were meticulously cut, tacked and welded to match the curvature of the intersection.

The result was four trench runs on all corners of the intersection that now allow sufficient drainage to the trenches while ensuring public safety and simultaneously providing a strong solution if large vehicles mount the kerbing.


If you’d like to learn more about this project, have a look at our publication in the Access Magazine (6mb download).