For more than 70 years, Weber Betonwerk GmbH has stood for innovative products and comprehensive service at all levels. The company offers a wide range of high-quality precast concrete elements for residential and commercial construction. Whether single-family homes, agricultural or industrial buildings, commercial buildings, supermarkets or garages: Weber Betonwerk generates an annual turnover of approx. 55 million euros and is a competent, flexible partner for almost all areas of modern construction.
„With a total of 350 employees, we manufacture around 6,000 balconies, 8,000 staircases, 300,000 m2 of solid walls, 100,000 m2 of double walls and 250,000 m² of floor slabs as well as 2,000 special column parts on our 165,000 m² company premises - including 17,000 m² of pure production space in 9 production halls,“ says Michael Klaus, Key Account Manager Sales and Communication, outlining the production capacity. „The balconies in particular include some custom-made products that no other manufacturer can produce so easily,“ adds general manager Stefan Schneider.
In addition to standard products such as double walls and floor slabs, there are many special shapes and special components. This is made possible by an own, fully integrated formwork construction department, which implements individual solutions with 70 employees. One of Weber Betonwerk‘s specialties is producing prefabricated balcony elements with curved edges in one piece. „We are integrated into a group of companies via the Foca Group,“ explains Stefan Schneider. „This includes the façade builder Seufert Niklaus and the company Höfling Erdbau und Abbruch, from which we obtain some of our raw materials for concrete production,“ Michael Klaus clarifies.
Production of mass-produced goods and individual custom-made products
Thanks to these synergies, the precast element manufacturer is able to produce both mass-produced goods and completely individual custom-made products in series. Working both in the background and as the digital core, over 40 employees in the planning department ensure that projects are handled in the best possible way. In addition to personal technical support, the individual construction projects are digitally processed and converted into 3D production plans. This means that each individual precast concrete component is not only approved by the customer in advance of production, but can also be digitally tracked from production to delivery to the construction site.
„We have developed our own website for this purpose, which our customers can use to access all relevant data on the projects they are implementing with us,“ says Michael Klaus, referring to the ‚WEBERonline‘ portal. „This is 1:1 data from our own system, which is why the data is retrieved in real time.“ Not only can the individual components be tracked on the online portal, but different projects can also be managed down to the individual orders. This gives customers an overview of all processes and means they are always up to date when they call up data. But that is by no means all the information that can be called up. Orders can be initiated, canceled or, if not yet produced, changed online. Delivery data can also be changed or deleted. In addition to stacking lists, i.e. the order in which the individual elements are placed on inner loader pallets, the corresponding laying plans can also be called up digitally. A good 60% of customers use the online service.
Weber Betonwerk GmbH is particularly proud of the digital delivery bill. „It saves us around 25,000 sheets of paper a year,“ calculates Michael Klaus. All delivery bills are available online, which also applies to all invoices issued. „This is a huge advantage for site managers, especially when it comes to invoicing and recalculating ongoing projects,“ adds Stefan Schneider. „You no longer have to fight your way through folders looking for the right delivery bills. Everything is available at a glance.“
Another, and without doubt, particularly important component of the company‘s „everything from a single source“ philosophy is logistics. The precast concrete manufacturer‘s fleet includes 38 of its own trucks, which are coordinated by the company‘s internal scheduling department and driven by highly trained professional drivers. „In addition, there are 600 inloader pallets with GPS coordination, which make optimal construction site logistics possible in the first place,“ emphasizes Michael Klaus. Thanks to the internal loader pallets, the elements can be pre-sorted and stored ready for collection on the company‘s own premises. A similar procedure is then followed on the construction site, where the inloader pallets are simply deposited and only need to be collected again later.
Rising energy costs require new measures
In order to counteract rising energy costs, Betonwerk Weber in Ippesheim has adopted a new approach to the curing of balconies and stairs in the precast plant. During the production of around 50 balconies and 30 staircases a day, the concrete elements are covered with a thermal concrete mat from the Danish company Combitherm to speed up the curing process and keep the waste heat in the component.
„In the middle of last year, we were looking for ways to reduce our heating costs in the production hall. After we became aware of Combitherm‘s thermal concrete mats, we carried out initial tests with a total of three mats to cover the finished concrete balcony elements,“ explains Michael Klaus.
„The first tests were so satisfactory that we ordered a total of 50 thermal concrete mats in different sizes for the winter in order to cover our entire daily production,“ adds Kevin Knobeloch, Quality Manager, Weber Betonwerk.
Thermal covers ensure consistent quality
Since the end of last year, the entire daily production of balconies has been treated with the thermal concrete mats. The approx. 10 mm thick insulation of the thermal mats is made of Polywool, a material consisting of recycled 78% PET bottles. The different formats and sizes are produced according to individual customer requirements.
„We now use the mats for every balcony because we can ensure consistent quality on the underside of the balcony and the individual balconies don‘t have any differences in quality in terms of surface structure. There are also no problems with early shrinkage cracks caused by draughts.“ Work is carried out with easily compactable concretes, which develop a higher hydration heat in order to be better retained in the component with the thermal concrete mats.
Optimized curing process and cost savings
To avoid placing the thermal concrete mats directly on the fresh concrete, Weber employees use wooden spacers that are placed over the concreted balconies. The slightly thicker thermal concrete mat absorbs condensation that occurs during the hardening process.
„We clearly see the advantages here in terms of curing, in contrast to a PE film,“ says Knobeloch. „The heat for the curing process is retained better and we have no problems with condensation.“
„Before using the thermal concrete mats, we had to heat the hall much more. The period since we started using the thermal concrete mats is still too short to quantify the potential savings, but it will definitely have a positive effect,“ summarizes Michael Klaus.
„The extent to which it would be possible to remove the formwork earlier also needs to be investigated,“ adds Knobeloch. „But for that we would need a phase with constant outside temperatures.
Well equipped for the future
High-quality prefabrication and just-in-time delivery have proven to be an important factor for success, particularly in terms of cost-effectiveness.
Weber Betonwerk‘s numerous reference projects include the Four Frankfurt, Grand Central Frankfurt, several data centers (also in Frankfurt), Baufeld 21 Mainz, Quartier Tafel Nuremberg, App Q and Studenten Kraftwerk (both Bamberg), Marie residential development (Frankfurt), Arkadien Dornstadt and Nonnenbuckel Heilbronn.
Ippesheim is also well equipped for the future. The precast experts are currently gaining a lot of experience in the production of timber-composite concrete ceilings (HBV ceilings) for the project of a well-known German general contractor. „As with the special components, we are also constantly developing in this segment,“ says Michael Klaus, summarizing the latest developments. „After all, we don‘t want to be left behind here, but want to contribute our expertise and know-how. The next big step will be to integrate the increasingly popular BIM technology. There‘s no question that it‘s the overall package that makes Weber Betonwerk GmbH so interesting for customers: everything from a single source in the highest quality.“