Lafarge meets the needs of concrete Brick and Block makers
Identifying closely with its brick and block customers, Lafarge South Africa’s ongoing technical innovation with the formulation of Lafarge Powercrete plus cement is proving highly successful. “In this tough competitive market, precast concrete bricks and blocks are a healthy growth sector in an otherwise economically depressed infrastructure environment,” says Lafarge Industrial Sales Head, Dirk Odendaal. “The market-leading reliability and cost-effectiveness of our cement is meeting the need to add value for customers.”
Lafarge South Africa is the local presence of the international LafargeHolcim Group, a world leader in building materials. The Group is committed to creating innovative materials and building solutions that contribute to more durable, sustainable and beautiful environments for all. Aiming to meet the challenges of the ever-changing construction industry, innovation is at the forefront of the Group’s major investment in research and development.
Lafarge Powercrete plus cement meeting the need for cost-effective,
high productivity brick and block making.
Powercrete plus is a Premium Technical CEM II 42,5R Portland-composite cement that combines high early strength performance – in fact, excellent strength at all ages – with versatility and enhanced durability benefits. It is produced exclusively at the Lafarge Lichtenburg cement works, enhancing the reliability of its quality through being derived from one source of consistent clinker.
An especially beneficial feature for brick and block customers, ranging from those manufacturing industrial type concrete bricks, blocks and pavers to those making light commercial bricks or pavers, is the incorporation of Ash Resources’ (also a member of the LafargeHolcim group) renowned classified siliceous fly ash, DuraPozz® in the Powercrete plus formulation. “This provides better workability and easier compaction in the moulds to produce denser, stronger products,” says Roelof Jacobs, Lafarge’s Integrated Solutions and Innovation Manager. “While the fly ash contributes to cost-effectiveness, the innovative Powercrete plus can also be extended further with additional fly ash or slag to customise various end-user precast product requirements.”
Powercrete plus is fully supported, as are all Lafarge products, by the unique technical and laboratory resources of the Lafarge Integrated Solutions and Innovation Centre (ISIC – until recently known as QDSA). ISIC operates one of the largest and most respected SANAS accredited Civil Engineering testing facilities in South Africa. Complying with ISO/IEC 17025, the facility has a proud record of continuous accreditation since 1996.
Lafarge’s Premium Technical CEM II cement
ISIC provides comprehensive technical support covering aspects such as formulation design optimisation, material quality testing and trouble shooting. One of ISIC’s many facilities is a concrete block making unit used to test formulations and offer a training service, particularly for emerging contractors. “Innovation drives us and we continually endeavour to create the best possible outcome for our customers and end users,” says Jacobs.
The innovative CEM II formulation of the versatile Powercrete plus retains the early strength gain characteristics of a CEM I cement, while producing concrete mixes with better workability and higher ultimate strength. A specially developed strength enhancer is interground with the clinker to optimise strength development in cement containing fly ash and/or slag.
The formulation of Powercrete plus also typically contributes to a reduced water demand
of the concrete mix by between 2% and 5% compared with a CEM I class cement. The product’s potential for further ‘extendability’ has been demonstrated with trials using 20%
up to 40% of DuraPozz® fly ash, or 30% up to 50% of slag.
In addition to being an ideal choice for sophisticated brick and block makers, the reliable quality together with the versatility of Powercrete plus enables contractors to have the scope to produce on site a range of specific, cost-effective mix formulations, which provide solutions to requirements for strength, durability and workability. The product’s outstanding characteristics have also made it a leading cement choice among ready-mixed concrete producers. Specialised applications range from manufacturing post-tensioning concrete items to custom blends for dam and reservoir construction, structural concrete and tunnel lining.
“Powercrete plus epitomises Lafarge’s leadership in innovation, together with the other cements in our unique range of designed-for-purpose solutions such as Rapidcem, Fastcast, Buildcrete and Durabuild,” comments Odendaal. “It is immensely rewarding to see our technical prowess helping our customers achieve better value and enhanced competiveness.”