16 September 2015


ERMCO News - 2015/09


Welcome to the autumn 2015 issue of our newsletter.  We hope you have enjoyed the summer holiday, if you had one!

In this issue:

ERMCO Congress
23rd ERMCO Congress - Istanbul, 3-4 June 2015
In June, the Turkish Association, THBB, hosted the 23rd ERMCO Congress, which was a great success.  Several hundred people attended the meetings in the historic Istanbul Military Museum and the gala dinner, held on a spectacular island in the Bosphorus. The highlight of the technical sessions was the keynote speech on Advances in Concrete Science in The Last 50 Years, delivered by Professor Surendra Shah, one of the world’s leading concrete engineers.  The audiences could then choose between papers delivered in two parallel sessions. Please click here to watch the video of Professor Shah’s presentation, or here to download the slides in pdf format.
The whole ERMCO Congress was recorded and all presentations are available in multimedia format so you can see all the papers and hear the actual presentations given in Istanbul. Check this page of the ERMCO 2015 website to see them.

New structure for ERMCO activities
Because of the increasing importance of sustainability issues in ERMCO’s activities, the Board has decided to split the current EcoTec Committee and to establish separate Technical and Sustainability Committees, to be chaired by Olaf Assbrock and Jean-Marc Potier respectively. 
Olaf Assbrock, appointed Chairman of the ERMCO Technical Committee Jean-Marc Potier, appointed Chairman of the ERMCO Sustainability Committee
A  meeting will be held next month to discuss the scope and programme of these two committees. 
The Board also appointed Marco Borroni as new Chairman of the Strategy & Development Committee.
Marco Borroni, appointed Chairman of the ERMCO Strategy and Development Committee
You can see the backgrounds of the three new chairmen here.

This is a good moment to offer heartfelt thanks to the outgoing chairman (since 2002!) of the EcoTec Committee, Tom Harrison, for his hard work and efforts over the last 13 years.  He has made a massive contribution to ERMCO and to the concrete industry generally.  We are delighted that he will continue to work with us on a consultancy basis.

Changes to the ERMCO Board
The Board has re-elected as ERMCO President Stein Tosterud and as Vice Presidents Erwin Kern from Germany and Yavuz Isik from Turkey. New Members from Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland have joined the Board.

We regret to announce that for economic reasons, the Slovak Association, SAVT, has been disbanded – so ERMCO has lost a long-serving and helpful member. Our thanks to them and in particular to Pavol Knaze, who has served for a number of years both in the Committees and in the Board.

SNBPE Environmental Awards
SNBPE infoAfter a gap of fourteen years the French Association has revived its awards.  Recognising particularly the improvements in landscaping, the Association gave awards in six categories: Architectural Innovation, Urban Integration, Rural Integration, Recycling, Materials Management, and Innovative Design.  If you can read French, click here to read the article in SNBPE magazine; and even if you can’t, the competition was partly photographic, so it’s worth looking to see the great photos and clear advances in the environmental treatment and design of readymix plants.

Developments in concrete practice
Recycled aggregatesHere are three innovations in concrete practice that we have come across recently.  First is a new test method for assessment of pumpability.  Though experienced concrete people often say that the concrete pump itself is the best test for pumpability, it is too late when you discover that concrete won’t pump, and several loaded trucks are already on the road - you need to be certain that the concrete is OK before you dispatch it.  Many of us have also experienced problems, particularly with small mobile pumps, when concrete from the same plant is OK on one site, but not on another with a different pump.  Putzmeister have now developed a test method (a simple rheometer) that can be used in the laboratory or on site.  Read the details here.  We would be interested to hear if anyone has practical experience of this method.
Second, we read in Concrete magazine of a new robotic method of cleaning truckmixer drums, originating in the US.  It uses water blasting, and removes the need for anybody to climb inside the drum.  Obvious health and safety benefits, and claimed to be very quick, so that the truck can be available within a couple of hours.  Read more here, and again, please let us know if you can tell us more about it from practical experience.
Third, a recent edition of Concrete Engineering International described a new admixture-based approach to treating returned concrete.  The process converts returned concrete directly into useable aggregates; the ‘new’ aggregate is coarser than the original, less dense, and with a higher water absorption.  Comparisons of concrete made with the new aggregates (at 30% replacement) with normal concrete seem to be satisfactory.  The article does not discuss any effect on, or saving of, wash water.  Read more details here.

A practical look at carbonation
betoniCarbonation of concrete is an issue which will increasingly concern concrete producers.  It is increasingly a matter for concrete practice as well as science:

  • how to deal with it in terms of CO2 uptake (a kind of negative emission) is one of the points at issue in drafting Product Category Rules which will be needed for producers to write Environmental Product Declarations for concrete;
  • and carbonation resistance is certain to be one of the properties assessed when the industry gets round to specifying concrete by durability. 

Often it is a matter for academic research rather than practical investigation, so it is good to read in the Finnish concrete magazine, betoni, of an extensive programme of such practical research in Helsinki.  The programme goes back to 1994.  Some of the buildings studied have been demolished, but this was for reasons other than carbonation removing the corrosion protection of the concrete.  Read an English summary of the research here.

Permeable concrete
In the United States, permeable concrete is seen as one of the great marketing opportunities for the readymix industry.  In Europe we seem to have given it less attention.  However, the Finnish industry has taken some important steps, with an organised development programme.  This was reported recently in betoni magazine, and you can look at it here.  It is, of course, in Finnish, but there is an English summary at the end.  Again, the photographs are very informative, demonstrate the visual possibilities and, generally, give a good idea of what can be done with this type of paving.  We have translated the text for the photographs (thanks to Ari Mantila and Vesa Anttila) - click here.