A large number of participants and a high level of satisfaction have been achieved by the BFT Technical Forum WetCast 2018. More than 70 experts from concrete block and precast concrete plants as well as from companies of the supply industry in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Denmark followed the call of their industry magazine, BFT International, and came to Ulm. First response: the participants were impressed by the organization, program and implementation. The balanced composition of the audience comprising representatives of wet-cast manufactures and the supply industry was also well received.
The BFT Technical Forum WetCast consisted of a lecture part in the morning held in the lecture hall of the Ferdinand-von-Steinbeis School (FSS), the vocational training school of the precast concrete industry, and two practical demonstrations in the workshop of FSS in the afternoon – that is to say, the production of a wet-cast mold and making a concrete mixture, with casting a block afterwards.
Thematically, the lecture part covered the entire process of the wet-cast production, starting with the concrete admixtures, to the molds, mixing technology, pigments, plant equipment through to the production boards. Dr. Albert Herrmann, Christian Polzfuss and Heiko Schärtel of Sika started with their lecture on the „all-around carefree package“ for wet-cast production. An overview of the history of Sika going back to more than 100 years and the company structure was followed by an outline of the offered elastomeric PUR casting resins for mold making – Sika offers the casting resins with a Shore A hardness of 30 to 95 for manual and/or machine processing – as well as helpful hints for the use of the appropriate release agent and finally information about customer requirements on wet-cast products and the corresponding concrete admixtures for achieving the quality required.
Trends in the field of wetcast
Afterwards Jürgen Reiser and Jürgen Steiger of Intexmo explained what the current state of the art in mold technology is, and which trends there are in the wet-cast sector. Their lectures encompassed an overview of the current fields of application for wet-cast products used in the design of garden, landscape and traffic areas, of the various types of molds and mold frames, and were concluded with numerous examples of product trends, starting with particularly long slabs with travertine look, to elements with wood look, fair-faced concrete elements with smooth surfaces, block steps, through to the Pool Edger flagstone.
„The mixture matters – quality starts with mixing“ that was the title of the lecture given by Dirk Heuer, manager of the business unit building materials at Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich. Based on the wet-cast manufacturers‘ requirements on the concrete and the quality of the later products, such as good workability, high early strength or high surface quality as well as precision in details, Heuer demonstrated the advantages of Eirich mixing technology and how the above-mentioned requirements can be obtained by the same.
Challenge „repeatable color result“
The manufacturers know only too well that the coloring and above all achieving a repeatable color result is a really challenging task in the production of concrete products and even more when it comes to wet-cast products. Every company is building up know-how in this field over years, and then is guarding it accordingly. Even if a lot of knowledge is already available in the companies, with his lecture „reliable coloring with color pigments“, Dr. Jörg Zimmer of Venator Pigments GmbH was able to recall once more many details, such as differences of iron oxide and carbon pigments as well as the advantages and disadvantages, and could give a lot of helpful hints for achieving repeatable color results.
Volker Nusser, Product Manager Slabflex at BFS Betonfertigteilesystems GmbH, showed in his lecture „wetcast and machine technology“ how individual the automation solutions for the manufacture of most various products and regarding the respective customer‘s requirement can be, using specific customer and project examples.
Practical demonstrations in the workshop
In the concluding lecture, Kathrin Wunder of Peri discussed the influence of production boards on the block making process and on the quality of the finished product. In addition, she demonstrated the advantages of the Peri plywood boards in wet-cast production, such as low dead weight, minimal deflection, long service life or sustainability, for instance. And finally, she showed the present wet-cast manufacturers by an exemplary calculation how they can save costs through the use of plywood boards with an appropriately determined thickness.
Afterwards, the participants watched the two practical demonstrations in the workshop – at first, Christian Polzfuss prepared the casting resin mixture and then cast a wet-cast mold with the same. Heiko Schärtel and Dirk Heuer then used the Eirich mixer to pre-mix the concrete mixture for the subsequent casting a of wet-cast block.
The event was supported by the premium partners BFS, Eirich, Intexmo, Peri, Sika and Venator as well as the partners and promoters Remei, Rhein-Chemotechnik, Schwenk and Wittekind, whom the organizer would once again like to thank on this opportunity. The BFT team likewise thanks the Ferdinand-von-Steinbeis School for the active assistance.
A video of the event will be found on the website of BFT International from mid-December 2018.