ICCX Cape Town 2007

South Africa’s concrete industry is going precast

ICCX Cape Town was held from 14 - 15 February 2007 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa, featuring close to 70 exhibitors and a total of about 600 delegates. The technical presentations covered a wide range of aspects relevant to the booming South African concrete and construction industries and were perceived with great interest. ICCX Cape Town 2007 was preceded by the fib Model Course on the Design of Prefabricated Concrete Building Structures, which took place at the University of Cape Town, 12-13 February 2006 and was jointly organized by fib, CPI-worldwide and the Concrete Society of Southern Africa. Site visits to precast yards on 16 February rounded of the programme and completed this exceptional “one whole week of precast technology”.

The ICCX events, previously held in St. Petersburg, Dubai and Berlin, address the growing economies worldwide and aim at informing the concrete producing industry about new trends and developments on the international market. The combination of trade exhibition and technical conference enables suppliers and users of concrete materials, production technology, and related services to establish and strengthen relationships and business contacts, and in the same time gain knowledge on new technologies and international developments. The first ICCX in South Africa came as a logical consequence of the country’s current construction boom and found great interest in the local concrete industry.

Trade exhibition with close to 70 local and international exhibitors

The trade exhibition offered a comprehensive insight into 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. In total, close to 70 exhibitors took part in the event, establishing new contacts and strengthening existing business relationships. The exhibitors were generally very satisfied with the success of their participation, which is a result mainly of the high quality of the conference participants, most of which were members of the local concrete producing industry.

The local supporters and sponsors helped to make ICCX Cape Town a great success. The event was supported by the leading South African industry representatives, namely the Cement and Concrete Institute (C&CI), the Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA), the Concrete Society of Southern Africa (CSSA), and the South African Readymix Association (SARMA). The 2 sponsors of ICCX were Holcim and Sika South Africa, whose contribution and assistance in organising pro- ved to significantly add to the success of the event.

A comprehensive technical programme for the booming South African concrete industry

The conference featured 18 technical presentations from South African and international delegates. Conference session themes and topics of individual presentations were designed to address the current challenges of the booming South African concrete industry and lead the way forward to accomplish the numerous building and construction projects of the coming years. The broad conference themes comprised Concrete Technology, Self Compacting Concrete, Architectural Concrete, Precast Concrete Technology and Application, Precast Concrete and Infrastructure, and special aspects relating to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Dr. Holger Karutz (editor in Chief, CPI), Gerhard Klöckner (publisher of CPI worldwide), and Dr. Hans-Dieter Beushausen (editor, CPI) formerly opened the event and introduced Charles Naude, Commercial Director Holcim, who presented a short overview on current developments in the South African concrete and construction industries. Next to the construction of new sport stadiums and the upgrade of existing sport facilities for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, large infrastructural projects are currently carried out or planned for the near future. The residential housing market and the development of low-income housing projects are booming. The cement and concrete industries in South Africa are greatly benefiting from these recent developments and have experienced continuous growth over the past years. This growth is expected to continue during the coming years, resulting in shortages in material supply and technical expertise. Rising demands in quantity and quality of concrete and concrete products are currently tackled industry-wide by upgrading existing and establishing new production plants. International quality standards and technologies for concrete manufacture are adopted rapidly to meet the challenges resulting from the current construction boom. These developments mark the reason why ICCX Cape Town came at an opportune time in order to provide an international platform for networking and the exchange of technical knowledge and practical experience.

Recent international developments in concrete technology

Professor Joost Walraven, Delft Technical University, the Netherlands, started the technical part of the programme and spoke about new concretes for special requirements, in particular giving an overview on recent international developments in the fields of self compacting, fibre reinforced and high performance concretes. Following the opening presentation, Professor Mark Alexander, University of Cape Town, informed the delegates about new developments in the South African performance-based durability design and specification procedures. These procedures have changed the South African construction practices in recent years and resulted in increased durability of concrete structures, which goes in line with international advances in durability specifications. The next technical session was assigned to self compacting concrete. Professor Wim Bennenk, the Netherlands, presented mix design principles for SCC and, in a second presentation, spoke about special aspects of SCC applied in the precast industry. Selection of constituent materials, cost effectiveness of SCC, and improved working conditions in precast plants were discussed. Michael Khrapko, New Zealand, gave an overview on the New Zealand experience in production and delivery of SCC, especially in view of the Readymix industry.

Architectural concrete – manufacture and application

Following the lunch break, 3 presentations on manufacture and application of architectural concrete were given, including aspects of concrete colouring techniques and the production of architectural concrete facades. Papers were presented by Hugh Fraser, South Africa, Dr. Jörg Zimmer, Germany, and Alfred Lamsbach, Germany. Day one of the conference was concluded by presentations given by Dr. Frank Dehn, Germany, and Arnold Van Acker, Belgium, who spoke about recycled aggregates concrete and application fields of precast technology respectively.

Camps Bay Beach – the perfect place for a conference dinner

The conference dinner and show programme took place on 14 February right in front of Camps Bay beach, which ranks amongst the 10 finest beaches in the world. The natural show programme consisting of mountain and ocean scenery, palm trees and blood-red sky sunset was accompanied by a South African Marimba band and a world-known magician, who did not take long to convince members even of the concrete industry that not everything we experience can be explained on a rational basis. Local cuisine and sea food, as well as a selection of South African wines added to the success of this social event, which was sponsored by Holcim and attended by about 350 delegates.

Precast concrete technology for the 2010 World Cup

Day 2 of the technical event focussed on large construction projects in South Africa and different aspects of precast concrete technology. Moira Tlhagale, leader of the 2010 Technical Task Team of South Africa, opened the first session and presented an overview on construction projects relating to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Bryan Perry from the Cement and Concrete Institute connected to this presentation and provided concrete solutions to infrastructure needs. He discussed how concrete technology can be applied in various fields in order to meet the challenges arising from the South African construction boom. The following session on precast technology comprised presentations on the alternative use of hollowcore slabs (John Cairns, South Africa), fibrereinforced concrete and precast applications (Dr. Gregor Fischer, Denmark), and concrete connections (Professor Bjoern Engstroem, Sweden). The topic of precast concrete for the infrastructure was once again tackled after lunch with presentations on precast solutions for railways (Jack Van der Merwe, South Africa), concrete pipe technology (Dr. Karsten Koerkemeyer, Germany), and permeable paving (Dr. Soenke Borgwardt, Germany).

Innovative precast solutions for affordable housing

In the last technical session of ICCX Cape Town 2007, Markus Brueck, Reymann Technik, Germany, presented a new precast system for affordable housing, which was recently developed in Germany and successfully implemented in Mexico, using SCC technology. Charles Van Eck, South Africa, concluded the technical session with a presentation on the tilt-up building technique and its application fields in South Africa.

Site visits to local precast production plants

The plant tours on 16 February led the delegates to 2 local precast plants in the vicinity of Cape Town. The South African precast industry is characterized by a large number of building and construction projects that demand individual design
and production techniques for non-standard elements. Concrete Units (Pty) Ltd, the first of the plants visited, sets an example for innovative in-house design and production techniques, specializing in the design and manufacture of standard products such as pipes, manhole covers, and bridge beams to any kind of non-standard product. At the time of ICCX, Concrete Units manufactured a range of different elements, including the most famous South African precast invention, the Dolos, a massive shoreline protection unit that characterize the country's coastline. Resulting from the current building and construction boom, new precast plants are opened all over South Africa and existing plants are upgraded. Requirements for high quality and time efficiency open a large market for foreign production technologies. Topfloor, the second plant visited, has been operating a single precast production facility in the Western Cape, and recently they started production in another precast yard with two hollow core machines. Two additional production lines were installed, with 2 more lines to follow this year, making Topfloor one of the leading hollow core manufacturer of the region.

ICCX Sun City 2008: 19 20 February 2008

During ICCX Cape Town both delegates and exhibitors acknowledged the success of the event and expressed their interest in a follow up event in South Africa. Based on general and individual feedback it was decided to announce the date of the next ICCX South Africa before officially closing ICCX Cape Town 2007. To attract an even wider audience and organize the event in the industrially most active region of the country, it was decided to host the next ICCX South Africa close to Johannesburg. The conference delegates were enthusiastic about this future outlook and many of them committed themselves to the next event of this kind in South Africa – ICCX Sun City 2008, held in the region with the largest construction industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. Don’t miss it.