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Concrete Casting News from the Hill and Griffith Company

Prefabricating Individual Components Within the Concrete Manufacturing Process

Posted by Hill and Griffith Company on Aug 8, 2019 6:39:04 PM

Excerpt from the article by Thomas Friedrich in the March 2019 issue of Concrete Plant International 

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Multifunctional construction components produced with traditional prefabrication methods need themselves to be divided up again into prefabricated modules, which are then pieced together as end products. Production work in a factory consists of assembling and connecting individual components to create an end product. The greater the number of components being installed in a concrete construction component, the greater the need to connect individual components together in advance so that they can be inserted as a unit on a ready and waiting formwork table. This defines prefabrication of components either pieced together locally in a production facility or supplied as finished components as in the automobile industry. Classic processes in a precast production facility are changing as there is an increasing demand for assembly activities. Concrete acts as a glue holding all components together. This division of labor enables product quality to be enhanced while, at the same time, accelerating production processes. Pipelines can be fastened to the reinforcement, for example. Specially created meshes can be employed in an optimum way for this purpose. Other components needing to be inserted can also be fastened to the reinforcement during installation.

Photo caption: Multifunctional concrete floors: load-bearing elements with fully integrated technical building services

The trend toward multifunctional construction components and the consequences in manufacturing

In the future, there is a growing likelihood of companies producing more than just a "concrete bed." The industry is redefining increased complexity in the shape of numerous floor components.

This requires skilled labor to achieve at a construction site.

  • For example, laying empty electrical conduits during the shell construction stage can't happen concurrently with laying pipelines.
  • Different tradesmen work on the shell during different times. 
  • This strategy requires specialized firms to organize and coordinate the work and teams

The solution for flat-shaped construction components requires manufacturing processes with large-sized framework tables. Construction happens rapidly on these tables to make the most of the large expense of building stationary units on a track or tilting table.

Prefabricated reinforcing elements

An assembly unit for reinforcement generally consists of several components, such as single bars for the span reinforcement, which is supplemented with lattice girders and stirrup cages. A steel bar mesh is employed to this end that serves as a load-bearing unit for other reinforcement elements and installed components. Read more.

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Photo caption: Prefabricated meshes including pipelines for room air conditioning (cooling and heating above the concrete floor).

Supplementary elements in a composite construction method (hybrid construction method)

A composite construction method is often envisaged in order to create large web plate openings. This is because secondary moments occasioned by shear load can only be absorbed with a steel structure. Read more.

Pipelines for heating and cooling with a concrete slab (modified building component activation according to the Ceiltec® principle)

Building component activation for cost-effective heating and cooling via a concrete floor is increasingly gaining in importance. Its lower temperature level is making its contribution to this trend, along with the use of renewable energy. Prefabrication is particularly useful in creating the right pipeline arrangement for the air-conditioning planned. Read more.

Entirely prefabricated load-bearing ribs as semi-finished components

Instead of prefabricated reinforcement cages for load-bearing ribs of prefabricated slabs, the rib itself can be prefabricated as a reinforced concrete construction component and then installed with starter bars on the lower slab. Read more.

Preparation on formwork tables

Some installed components are inserted directly into the underside of the floor with multifunctional floor elements. Appropriate construction components, which can be fastened directly to the formwork base are needed for this purpose. Read more.

Process in successful manufacturing

The complexity of multifunctional elements requires different processes in manufacturing. Concrete, as a material, also makes its contribution as a load-bearing element and in keeping individual construction components together. Concrete in its hardened state offers a flexible environment for installing all components. Read more.

Results with the finished product

The result with this elaborate formwork plus all its inserted components and reinforced elements is reflected in the finished product once the concrete has hardened. The appearance of the outer concrete mantle is that of a sophisticated work of art despite the high density of components, which then disappear in the concrete. Read more.

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Photo caption: Finished floor elements for large span widths on a stationary system.

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