A recovering industry is precasting its future
The fifth ICCX Russia was held from 8 – 10 December 2009 at the Hotel Park Inn Pulkovskaya in St. Petersburg, attracting 600 delegates and close to 90 exhibitors. The good attendance and the high status of delegates from the Russian industry indicated the recovery of the Russian industry after times of economic slowdown. The technical presentations covered aspects relevant to the current needs of the Russian construction and building industries, such as automated production of precast components, concrete additives and cement extenders, modern types of concrete, precast solutions for sport stadia, precast bridge technology, durability aspects for concrete pipes and architectural concrete. The trade exhibition featured all important aspects of concrete production and materials technology.
ICCX Russia has been held yearly in St. Petersburg since 2006 and has developed to be the most important international event in the Russian concrete producing industry. 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.
High turnout at the SCC course indicates large interest in modern concrete technology
For the first time, the 2009 event included a one-day Concrete Technology Course on self compacting concrete, presented in Russian by Michael Khrapko and Victor Mechtcherine. 90 delegates attended the course and learnt about aspects relevant to the design, manufacture and application of SCC, including constituents and mix designs, properties of fresh mixes and testing methods, engineering properties and durability, construction process and quality control, standards and specifications and practical applications. Like other emerging economies, Russia has so far been rather slow in adopting modern concrete technology such as SCC or high performance / high strength concrete. However, there is a lot of interest on such modern technologies in the Russian concrete industry, as the good turnout at the course indicated.
Recovery of the Russian concrete and construction industries
Following economic slowdown during 2008 and early 2009, Russia’s construction sector is now showing a steady recovery. This has affected the future prospects of the concrete producing industry, which is now again looking into expanding its production capacity and continuing adopting modern production and material technology. For international suppliers of the concrete producing industry, the potential for strengthening existing business relationships and establishing new networks in Russia is therefore promising.
Conference themes and topics
During the conference, 16 Russian and international speakers gave presentations applicable to current industry needs. The programme was divided into diverse themes, which aimed at the different industry sectors. The opening presentation was given by Jordi Pujol, who explained the business strategies of his Spanish-based company Group Pujol. Despite the recent worldwide financial crisis, Group Pujol expanded their production capacity by purchasing a large precast plant in the UK, proving that especially in times of economic slowdown it is important to expand produc- tion capacity and upgrade production facilities in order to stay ahead of the competition. Another presentation held by Viacheslav Spirov on financing and leasing plant and machinery attracted the audience a lot – a good indication for a growing industry in 2010.
Horst-Michael Ludwig referred to modern special cements for early age strength. Especially in the precast industry early age strength can lead to double productivity in case a double use of the molds is facilitated. Viktor Mechtcherine, TU Dresden, Germany, presented an overview on earth- moist concrete, which is used worldwide in the production of concrete products and precast elements. Based on fundamental aspects of concrete technology, optimization strategies for the design and production of earth-moist concrete were identified. In addition, an outlook on future develop- ments of this technology was given.
Michael Khrapko, CBE Consultancy Ltd, New Zealand, addressed the topic of self compacting concrete, focussing on specific challenges arising from mixing processes and casting methods. Some effort is necessary to meet the challenges and to gain the benefits SCC technology offers and the presentation gave an insight into the necessary practical considerations for successful implementation of SCC production. Dirk Brandenburger, BauMineral, Germany, discussed the use of fly ash for concrete production, stressing the importance of the coherence between concrete technology, economy, ecology, logistics and the proceeding European standardization in order to reap the benefits this material has to offer as a cement replacement.
Concrete production: form filling and compaction processes
Steffen Mothes, Nuedling Betonelemente, Germany presented the results of a comprehensive study on mould filling and compaction processes for concrete elements. Strategies, equipment and production sequences for successful production of high quality concrete products were discussed. This topic was of special interest for the Russian concrete block making industry, which is steadily adopting modern production methods to improve production output and product quality. Another presentation from Ivan Marchenko, Russia, about modern concrete block production in Russia completed this session.
In this session four speakers highlighted planning tools, production equipment and precast concrete bridge construction. Alexey Levin presented a paper about the variety of cutting prestressed concrete, especially hollow core slabs, with different
sawing blades. Denis Kuptsov spoke about building information modeling in the precast industry and the advantages for precast producers. And finally, two presentations from speakers from Greece, Nikos Pnevmatikos and Yannis Mantzaris, about precast concrete bridge systems up to 100m span attracted the audience since the use of precast concrete for infrastructural projects in Russia is growing constantly.
Sport stadia construction
Johann Braun, Firmengruppe Max Bögl, Germany gave an overview on the use of precast technology for the construction of sport stadia. Based on the longstanding experience of the company, strategies for project planning, logistics and construction were presented. Russia is hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2014 and Hans Beushausen, University of Cape Town, South Africa, discussed the experiences of the South African construction industry with the preparation of the Soccer World Cup 2010. Both South Africa and Russia belong to the group of emerging economies and the challenges both countries are facing in view of such big sports events are quite similar. The presentation gave an overview on construction projects carried out in South Africa for the 2010 event, including the construction of new stadia and new airports, the upgrade of existing sport facilities and international airports in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as improvement and establishment of transport facilities such as train lines and roads. Special attention was given to the use of precast technology.
Design and production of concrete sewer pipes
Mark Alexander, University of Cape Town, South Africa, presented aspects relating to the design and production of durable concrete pipelines, in particularly focussing on concrete pipe corrosion due to biogenic acid generation, which is a common problem in many large sewers. Design and specification measures were outlined that can minimise or even avoid corrosion damage.
Roland Hüttl, MPA Berlin Brandenburg, Germany, also dealt with the topic of concrete pipe durability. In his presentation, he discussed frequent attack mechanisms such as biogenic acid corrosion, carbonisation, chemical attack by salts, ingress of chlorides or organic hydrogen, or frost. Modern protection systems based on impermeable cementitious mortar were introduced based on material technological aspects and practical applications.
Architectural precast concrete in Russia
Andrey Tchoubenko, Decomo, Russia, presented the development of architectural concrete in Russia, focussing on the use of precast concrete facade elements for large building projects. Various surface design and production methods and their applicability on the Russian market were high- lighted, before the final presentation of the conference was held presenting several examples of precast frame structures in the Moscow region.
Trade fair: solutions for the practical implementation of modern production technology
Close to 90 companies took part in the exhibition and gave a broad overview of the current developments amongst suppliers and service providers for the concrete and precast industries. As always at the ICCX events, the range of products and services presented included 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.
Plant visits to modern precast plants in the region
Two plant tours were organized on the third day of the ICCX congress. On the first plant tour, participants were able to see the brand new concrete block and paver plant Cemsys. In this plant, a RH 2000-2SVA concrete block machine from Hess is producing mainly concrete blocks on 4000 wooden pallets sized 1400x1100x50mm supplied by Rettenmeier. The curing area consists of a Rotho rack system. Besides the concrete block machinery, also the mixing plant consisting of four Schlosser-Pfeiffer mixers was completely new in this plant. The second plant tour was organized to the SIB Center precast plant. SIB Center is specialised in a wide range of precast concrete elements, e.g. Elematic hollow core and prestressed beam production lines, Elematic non prestressed beam production in the outside area, Prinzing man hole production from the year 1989 and also different tables for special precast elements. In separate halls SIB Center produces all the reinforcement needed. Especially machines from MEP and MBK are here in use for cutting and welding works. The impressive big production facility of SIB is old grown but step by step modernized. The big interest of the participants was shown through lots of questions to the representatives of SIB Center.
Evening function in the Paulaner Brauhaus
The evening programme and dinner function, held at the Hotel Pulkovskaja’s in- house Paulaner beer brewery, included a show programme consisting of musical acts, show dancing and the performance of a magician. Freshly brewed German style beer and Russian Vodka in connection with excellent food kept the delegates happy, who later on had the chance to work off the day’s work stress on the dance floor.
ICCX connects the concrete industry world-wide
ICCX Russia 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 positive response from the local industry, the next ICCX Russia will take place from 7-9 December 2010, again in St. Petersburg.