Precast is gaining momentum in Russia
The third ICCX St. Petersburg was held from 5 – 7 December 2007 at the Hotel Pulkovskaya in St. Petersburg, and topped all previous ICCX events in Russia, attracting nearly 1.000 delegates and close to 100 exhibitors. The technical presentations covered aspects relevant to the booming Russian construction and building industries, such as modern concrete production technology, new types of concrete, automized production of precast components, mixing technology, concrete additives and cement extenders, and architectural concrete. The industry specific large trade exhibition featured all important aspects of modern concrete production technology. Delegates and exhibitors alike judged the event a huge success. As a result, the next ICCX Russia is planned for December 2008.
Owing to its constant growing popularity, ICCX St. Petersburg has developed to be the most important international event in the Russian concrete producing industry. The ICCX events, which have also taken place in Germany, Dubai and South Africa, address the growing economies worldwide and aim at informing the concrete producing industry about new trends and developments in the international market. The mixture of technical conference and trade exhibition enables suppliers and users of concrete materials, production technology, and related services to establish and strengthen relationships and business contacts.
The trade exhibition at ICCX St. Petersburg 2007 offered a very detailed overview on modern concrete production technology and associated branches of the industry. The exhibitors presented their range of products from the fields of plant technology, mixing and formwork technology, transport and handling systems, special concrete products, cement extenders, admixtures, pigments, connection and fastening systems, placing technology, and reinforcing steel. The local sponsors helped to make this event a great success. Main sponsor was the company Barrikada from St. Petersburg, accompanied by Meliconpolar, SZNK Beton and Group 45.
Modern precast technology for high quality construction
The conference featured 18 technical presentations from Russian and international delegates. Gerhard Klöckner, publisher of CPI worldwide formerly opened the event, followed by further welcoming addresses by Dr. Holger Karutz, editor-in-chief of CPI worldwide, and Dr. Hans-Dieter Beushausen from the University of Cape Town, who then acted as conference chair for the coming 2 days. The technical presentations covered a broad field of topics related to design, manufacture and use of concrete and concrete products. The focus was put on practical aspects, accommodating the interests of the audience, which was made up mostly of members of the local concrete producing industry.
Modern types of concrete
As a result of the construction boom and the increasing application of modern concrete technology, the Russian concrete industry is especially interested in new types of concrete such as high performance, fibre reinforced and self compacting concretes. Consequently, several speakers were invited to discuss these aspects in view of design, production and application of such concretes. High performance and high strength concretes, for example, are commonly used for special applications in Europe and the manufacture of such concretes is made possible by the use of adequate design and production techniques. During ICCX St. Petersburg, technology and application of modern concretes were presented, which resulted in lively discussions between audience and podium. Next to presentations covering general aspects of high performance and self compacting concrete technology, a specific presentation concerned the optimization of aggregate and cement grain grading for the production of concrete with a strength class of B80.
The cost and time efficient production of precast concrete elements is greatly enhanced through application of automized manufacturing techniques. So far, automized production techniques have been successfully implemented mainly in technically advanced regions such as Japan, North America, and Western Europe. Principles and examples of automized manufacturing technology were discussed to identify ways and means to remain competitive and meet the demands for high product quality on the local market. Other important issues to be considered in precast production are health and safety aspects. These were covered in a presentation that explained the health and safety principles applied in the German construction industry and which have helped to drastically reduce safety hazards and accidents. For optimized concrete production, not only the manufacturing technology but also mix design and material selection have to be optimized. This topic was covered in a lecture dealing with mix design optimization of dry cast concrete members, in particular in view of obtaining the most favourable properties for strength, freeze-thaw resistance and production costs.
Market overview on the concrete block market in the USA
How can an emerging industry learn better than from the experience of existing successful industries? During the conference, the Russian delegates were exposed to a comprehensive overview on the concrete block making industry in the USA, mainly focussing on the various applications of concrete blocks for multi-storey residential and commercial buildings.
Concrete additives and cement extenders
In Russia, increasing prices for cement have resulted in an increase in the application of cement extenders. The delegates therefore perceived with great interest a presentation on the use of fly ash and other industrial waste products for the production of concrete and concrete products. Another important issue is the application of additives in concrete production, which was discussed in a different presentation covering the range of available products, their physical and chemical properties when used in concrete manufacture, their application fields and their limitations in view of fresh and hardened concrete properties.
Structural aspects and design of concrete structures
The advantages of precast technology for the construction of seismic resistant structures were discussed, based on technology applied in New Zealand. The most important new development in this field are the so-called Engineered Cementitious Composites (ECC) for unreinforced concrete with high ductility. In another presentation, recent advantages in the construction of multi-storey precast frame buildings were discussed. Examples of 37-storey high precast frame structures with heights of 130 m were given and their technical particularities explained. Further, the new European code for the design of precast concrete members was presented, focussing on guidelines and recommendations for design, manufacture and installation of various precast components.
Presentations made in the broad theme of architectural concrete covered the topics of formwork release agents for better concrete surface aesthetics, design possibilities and production technology for architectural façade elements, and architectural concrete in Russia. The presentations focussed on practical aspects during design and manufacture, material technology, including the use of pigments, and special aspects such as self-cleaning concrete.
Concrete pipe technology
An application field where precast concrete technology is especially successful is pipe construction. In 2 presentations on precast concrete pipe technology issues such as guidelines for material selection, pipe durability aspects, and design recommendations were discussed.
A colourful evening programme rounded off the programme
The evening programme and dinner function, held at the Hotel Pulkovskaja, was as colourful as during previous ICCX events, the show programme including different themes of dancing, magicians, jugglers, live music and singing, and other stage performances. Delegates, who had some time to spare before or after the ICCX, could make use of the opportunity to visit the city of St. Petersburg, arguably one of the architecturally most exciting places in Europe. One of the highlights is certainly the metro ride from the hotel to town, which, thanks to poor geotechnical conditions in the originally swampy marchland, takes its passengers deeper into the ground than any other subway track in Europe, making use of possibly some of the longest escalators in the
world. Other sites not to miss are winterly St. Petersburg city centre with its ice blocks on the partly frozen river Neva and the 18th century architecture covered in snow, as well as the broad streets and monumental buildings from the Soviet area in the suburbs.
Site visits to local precast production plants
On day 3 of the event, plant visits were organised to provide an insight into local concrete production techniques, featuring some of of the largest and most modern precast plants in Russia, producing concrete elements for any type of application mainly for the building industry, dry mortar, and aerated concrete products.
ICCX connects the concrete industry world-wide
ICCX St. Petersburg made use of the successful strategy of combining concrete research and development issues with applied concrete and precast technology. In connection with the trade fair, the event once again led the local industry towards modern production technology, effective marketing, and international cooperation. As a result of the continuous demand for such high profile events in Russia and the extremely positive response from the local industry, the next ICCX Russia will take place from December 9-11, 2008, in St. Petersburg again.