ICCX Russia 2005 - Review

ICCX St. Petersburg 2005 tops the expectations of exhibitors and participants and asks for a repeat in 2006

Nearly 500 participants and 50 exhibiting companies took part in ICCX St. Petersburg 2005, which was held from May 18 to 20 in the Hotel Pulkovskaya in St. Petersburg, Russia, and which included a number of excursions to regional concrete manufacturing yards. For participants and exhibitors, the event offered a high quality technical programme, excellent opportunities to create new business contacts, a comprehensive overview on latest products, machinery, and innovations in the precast industry, as well as an unforgettable insight in one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

The former Soviet Union recognised the advantages of precast technology in its early days, and exported its somewhat unpopular plate building style for apartment blocks, which was typical for the decades following World War II, all over East Germany. Later, the fall of the most well-known precast construction initiated by the Soviets, the Berlin Wall, opened up the way for new, more innovative technologies from the west. Finally, in the mid 1990’s, the building industry started to undergo major restructuring processes and invested in modern production facilities. Western quality standards were accepted with the expansion of the infrastructure, as well as the industrial and housing sectors, which experienced continuous growth. Nowadays, approximately 80% of the Russian concrete and precast manufacturing facilities are still equipped with relatively old technology, despite ever increasing demands.

This obviously holds tremendous potential for the producers of concrete manufacturing facilities and related industries, especially in view of the growing competition in the precast industry. With this convention, CPI Worldwide, who initiates and organizes the ICCX events, found the perfect time and theme to react to these developments and once again acted as the internationally connecting body between precast producers, machinery suppliers, related industries, and the academic world. The combination of technical lectures and an integrated exhibition was very interesting especially for the Russian participants, who learned about recent developments in concrete and precast technology and in the same time were introduced to the machinery and equipment with which these new technologies can also be introduced to the local industry. For the exhibitors, the trade show offered not only the possibility to introduce and market their products but also the chance to communicate with the local concrete industry, identify their needs, and hence develop effective marketing strategies for the future.

The local industry showed great interest in this event, which was the first of its kind in Russia. During the first day of the congress, a press conference was held, during which some 20 journalists and a TV team interviewed the organizers of ICCX together with selected European and North American experts. The main theme of the press conference were the latest developments in the concrete manufacturing industry, which resulted in the organisation of ICCX St. Petersburg. The TV show, which was broadcasted countrywide, can be accessed on the webpage www.iccx.org.

It was not only the technical part of the congress but also the city of St. Petersburg that had its share in the success of the event With St. Petersburg, which recently celebrated its 300st birthday and which since then, after a long renovation, appears in its old, original beauty, a location was chosen that does not only offer a booming construction industry but also a first-class tourist destination that in its kind can be hardly found anywhere else in the world. St. Petersburg meets every expectation created by travel guides or TV shows and is undoubtedly one of the architecturally and culturally most beautiful and exciting places on the planet. The hotel Pulkovskaya, which is situated on the former front line of the German siege during 1941-1943 and therefore surrounded by numerous monumental buildings and statues, offered next to first-class, modern conference facilities enough space to host the 50 exhibitors in the integrated exhibition hall.

The nearly 50 exhibitors were most of all impressed and satisfied with the expertise level among the conference participants

The trade exhibition offered members of the local concrete industry an extensive insight into modern concrete manufacturing techniques and related products. The exhibitors consisted of well-known and internationally leading companies in the fields of manufacturing machinery, technology for mixing, casting, placing and curing of concrete, specialised formwork, conveyer and storage systems, special concrete products, admixtures, cement extenders, pigments, placing technology for paving and blocks, reinforcement steel, and IT products and software. The nearly 50 exhibitors took the chance to establish contacts with the local industry and were generally very satisfied with their success during this first precast concrete convention in Russia.

Most of all they were happy about the level of expertise of the participants visiting the exhibition, all of which were specialised in concrete manufacture and hence offered high potential for fruitful business contacts. The technical conference consisted of a range of research- and practice orientated lectures and offered a detailed insight in the possibilities of precast technology.

The technical conference included 23 lectures from international and Russian speakers. Presentations were held in German, Russian, or English and translated into the other two respective languages. The conference was formally opened by Gerhard Klöckner and Dr. Holger Karutz, publisher and editor-in-chief of CPI worldwide respectively, and for the remaining 2-day period chaired by Hans-Dieter Beushausen from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Representatives of the local department of construction and building and the association of precast manufacturers addressed the audience with welcome addresses. The first technical presentation was given by Professor Joost Walraven, Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands. Professor Walraven, an internationally well-acknowledged expert in the field of concrete technology, gave an insight into recent developments in the fields of Self Compacting Concrete, High Performance Concrete, and Fibre Reinforced Concrete, as well as currently important research issues such as concrete durability. The remaining 22 presentations primarily dealt with issues concerning the manufacture and use of concrete and concrete products, and the application of concrete technology in practice.

The first session of the conference, which consisted of several presentations, dealt with the general theme concrete properties and mixing technology. Dr. Axel Jung from Rockwood Pigments, Canada, who is considered to be inventor of granulates for the colouring of concrete, presented an overview on different techniques for the colouring of concrete and concrete products. The main aspects of his presentation considered application, advantages and disadvantages, as well as economic aspects of different colouring techniques including pigments powder, liquids, and granulates. In the following, Dr. Schwabe from the research institute IFF Weimar, Germany, gave an overview on present research activities in the fields of mixing and compaction technology and demonstrated through illustrative computer simulations, how different production techniques can be optimised for individual concrete mix proportions. Different types of concrete mixers were discussed and compared and a range of compaction methods and formwork options for precast production were introduced. Dr. Lichtmann from the Steag AG explained in how far sustainability, production economics and high concrete quality can be combined by using Fly Ash for the manufacturing of concrete and concrete products. Subsequently, Andrey Ishakov from the Russian Readymix producer SZKN presented an insight into local construction activities and introduced his market strategies for the Readymix industry.

After the lunch break, the conference continued with a session on concrete paving and slabs. With its 36 manufacturing plants, the Ehl AG, Germany, is a market leader and trend setter in the production of garden and landscape products in Europe and presents a perfect example for competent management. Uwe Schmidt from Ehl AG talked about the marketing and production strategies of his company and presented product quality, marketing, staff motivation, and the constant development and combination of new products as the key to success. In the following, Stephan Steffen from SF-Kooperation/ UNI-International discussed several different systems for infrastructure and landscape products and gave an overview on recent developments in the precast industry of western and eastern Europe. He portrayed international cooperation as the most efficient tool for success, which corresponded to one of the main messages of the ICCX. Achim Witzgall, Awing Germany, introduced the whole range of available methods
for mechanical surface treatment of concrete products and compared application fields, machinery and equipment, and costs. Presentations by Viachelslav Zasukhin, marketing manager of Meliconpolar, and Jury Kostikov from the company Lenstry- detaijl, representing 2 of the leading paving manufacturers in the St. Petersburg region, completed the session.

Company management, concrete technology, mixing and placing techniques, and special concrete products were part of the diverse conference programme Dr. Karsten Körkemeyer from the Züblin Pipe manufacturing plant Schermbeck, Germany, opened the next session on concrete pipes and gave an overview on the company history of Züblin, one of the world’s biggest construction companies, and discussed marketing strategies that have helped shape Züblin’s history of success. In addition, a comprehensive overview on different pipe systems, cross-sections, applications and requirements was presented and modern technologies were illustrated through interesting case studies. In the following, different pipe manufacturing techniques were discussed by Dr. Schwabe, IFF Weimar. Recent developments in the Russian concrete pipe market were presented by Tatjana Vasilievna Efremova from the company SiB-Center, and Vladimir Vasil’evitch Kondratenko, the general manager of Metrobeton, representing 2 of the leading pipe manufacturers of the St. Petersburg region.

The next morning, despite the well- attended and long-lasting evening with an excellent dinner, show programme, Russian Champagne and Vodka, the conference was punctually opened by Ty Gable, the president of the National Precast Concrete Association NPCA, USA, who presented a comprehensive overview on the production and application of precast concrete products in North America. It was a great compliment for the organisers of ICCX that Ty Gable,

The session on the general theme of precast technology, which carried on over the remaining period of the conference, was continued by Dr. Kahmer, Director of the Syspro Group Building Products, Germany, who discussed different innovative precast concrete slab systems for floor and wall constructions. Subsequently, Arnold van Acker from Belgium, who looks back on 44 years of experience in the precast industry, presented an overview on different concrete floor systems and their applications. This presentation, as well as an additional one by van Acker on precast bridge systems, were some of the highlights of the conference and initiated lively discussions on the diverse use of precast components in the international construction and building industries. Alfred Kneißl, head of the railway construction division of Max Bögl, Germany, introduced a range of different precast systems for rail traffic and discussed interesting projects like the Transrapid in Shanghai, China. Different software systems for production optimisation of concrete and concrete products were introduced by Dr. Lorenzoni from the company Geodata. Professor Willems from the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, concluded the conference with a presentation on the use of vacuum panels for the insulation of buildings, which is an interesting topic especially for Russia, bearing in mind their famously cold winters.

Site visits offered an insight into Russian production techniques and market characteristics

On the third day of the event, a total of 5 site visits to concrete manufacturing plants were organised, which attracted more than 100 participants. The visits were hosted by leading concrete manufacturers of the St. Petersburg region and included the companies Meliconpolar, SiB-Center, DSK-BLOK, Group 45, Lenstojdetal, and Metrobeton. These visits offered a good overview on the Russian market for the production of precast products, paving, pipes and Readymix concrete.

The dialog between researchers and practitioners, as well as producers and users of production technology, is the key to success

The conference offered a balanced mixture of the fields of concrete research and applied precast technology and paid its tribute to the fact that only the dialog between theory and praxis can identify the need for future research and give end-users the opportunity to adjust their production techniques to modern technology. The presentation of modern manufacturing equipment and related products in the trade exhibition effectively complemented the technical programme of the event and offered participants and exhibitors an excellent opportunity to establish new contacts and deepen existing relationships. Following the success of this event, the next ICCX St. Petersburg is planned for the period from April 19 to 21, 2006. Whoever has the chance to be there should not miss it.

ICCX Russia 2005  - Review.pdf