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DeRuiter Consultancy - International Market and Investment SurveyorsDeRuiter Consultancy - A specialist company for the preparation and development of direct investments
A specialist company for the preparation and development of direct investments
DeRuiter Consultancy - When the world is your market
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Fibricon Winconcrete - From bright idea to marketplace

The basis of a successful idea is simplicity. Concrete mixed with fibres under the trade name FIBRICON Winconcrete is such an idea. Even though the concept of fibrous concrete is known to have been applied by the Ancient Egyptians, FIBRICON multi-fibrous concrete still represents a real innovation in the world of concrete today. The FIBRICON concept has now been patented worldwide as a multi-fibrous ready-to-use concrete mortar with predefined strength specifications. At the moment it is only supplied by licensed concrete-mixing plants in The Netherlands, but will soon be provided by suppliers worldwide.

Because FIBRICON multi-fibre concrete benefits from significantly improved specific tensile strength, it can be applied to replace traditional wire mesh or being additional to it, depending on the application.

Constructions can be thinner, slimmer, or proportionately more robust. The fibres in the mortar do their work in particular during the concrete´s hardening process: due to a balanced hardening of the inner and outer sides of the concrete, cracks from hardening can be completely avoided while at the same time the forming of internal stresses is suppressed. Moreover, due to the three carefully selected fibres, shrinkage from hardening is almost non-existent. This is why the boundaries of the size of a concrete application can be firmly extended. It is now possible for roads to construct concrete slab lengths of over 100 metres without any seam to be made in one pouring.

Verwaard Handelsonderneming BV, being partly owned by the large Netherlands-based Dyckerhoff Basal Betonmortel BV, initially and for many years already traded several steel fibres used in concrete, before its main shareholder Johan Verwaard started to seriously investigate the effects and specific contribution of the various fibres in use at that time in the mortar industry.

After his own basic research, Verwaard decided to embark on a more detailed and comprehensive innovation process in order to relate market requirements for concrete applications more firmly to specific types of fibre concrete, ultimately to result in a unique fibre concrete product line.

The development process should be backed up by extensive research for the exact justification of the characteristics of the products offered as well as its patenting. A consistent marketing and promotion plan should support penetration of the respective market segments and, by a step-by-step approach, capture the world market in the long run.

Verwaard engaged our company to manage the process of this innovative undertaking, of which the first phase took place between 2001 and 2005 and in which the Dutch Organisation for Applied Research TNO was also involved, as well as Prof. Dr. Ir. Hordijk (Engineering Consultants Hageman, Technical University Eindhoven), Dr. Schnutger (University of Bochum) and Ing. Verhagen (Royal Dutch Military Academy KMA).

The FIBRICON Winconcrete concept has now been well developed into a product line with 5 different types for the selected applications and 3 main market segments: industrial flooring, roads and concrete (prefabricated) products.

Each of the composed products serves a particular application, for which the specific characteristics had to be denominated, a composition formulated and the results extensively tested. Such research activity faces the common setbacks of the development process. The perceived contribution of the fibres in a particular mortar composition regularly would not materialise, at least not in the sustainable way anticipated. Two years were needed before satisfying compositions could finally be established. Even the grain size of the mortar´s sand appeared to influence the performance of the fibres in the concrete. The results, however, confirm the initial idea of Johan Verwaard: to obtain the best results from fibre concrete, all elements should be in balance with each other; it´s wasting potential to just mix fibres with any kind of mortar.

By this stage, all the products have been launched in their designated market segments. The application for road construction in The Netherlands has picked-up the fastest. The market segment for industrial flooring will most likely be the hardest to conquer, since long-established practices in the use of low-grade fibres may well prevent the acceptance of a high-grade and more costly ready-mix FIBRICON product.

Prefab products

An average of 50% of mortar produced in the industrial world is used in concrete prefab products like sewerage tubes, concrete building components, piles and many more. These products often need complicated wire mesh constructions that in many cases can be avoided by the use of FIBRICON´s 565-37 purposely composed multi-fibre concrete. This product is expected to become another cornerstone in the product range.

Because Verwaard is a long-time supplier of fibres to the Indonesian company PT Karunia Power Abadi, a FIBRICON test of ready-made concrete was also conducted in that country.

The assignment concerned the supply of high-strength concrete for a bomb-resistant wall in one of the embassies in Jakarta. A testing procedure by the principal concluded that FIBRICON 565-37 (for prefab products) would serve their requirements best.

We consider the work we performed for FIBRICON to be a good example of an all-encompassing product development assignment, because we were engaged in managing both the development process and its content. Managing a research team of high-calibre experts is a challenging task especially in the cautious world of concrete. It was also a project with a significant component of strategic marketing. FIBRICON is assured of a successful future because it represents a remarkable technology upgrade of one of the oldest materials in the world.