8 of the Most Innovative Technologies for Precast Today

There are 1,939 precast concrete manufacturing businesses in the US today — and this number has remained steady since 2017. With more companies seeking to reduce costs, improve project timelines, and seek out sustainable pursuits, the precast market is expected to reach USD $168.17 billion by 2026.

Precast concrete products are functional, durable, versatile, and can be made in any dimension and size for ease of installation — offering a variety of design possibilities, especially when technology comes into the mix. The following products technology advancements are helping producers manufacture operate efficiently, effectively, and sustainably.

Technologically Advancements for Precast Producers

Technologically advanced concrete and construction technologies, both hardware and software, have been increasing in importance on job sites and among producers. These solutions help precast manufacturers speed up their operations and improve safety and sustainability.

1. Building Information Modeling (BIM)

A Building Information Modeling tool is an all-in-one technology combining digital technology, project management, design, and architecture, making it easier to build, manage, and design structures. This software collects and imports project data and creates a cloud-based data environment, enabling collaboration between engineers, architects, and construction companies. BIM can help manufacturers model precast concrete walls and floors and help with connection placement. Examples of BIM software include Tekla by Trimble, and BIM 360 by Autodesk.

2. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Virtual reality and augmented reality provide real-time scanning of a jobsite, helping accurately track the progress of construction without actually visiting the site. This improves communication with all stakeholders and boosts productivity. For precast manufacturers who send concrete to job sites, this process align concrete curing timeliness more accurately with site progress.

3. 3D Printing

3D printing is all the rage in every industry from the modeling of chocolate sculptures to entire housing structures. 3D printing uses computer software to create layers of material that result in precise dimensional structures, thereby eliminating human error. When it comes to precast concrete, 3D printing is especially useful for creating reusable, durable formwork.

4. Bionic exoskeletons

Bionic exoskeletons work as an extension of the body, increasing the lifting capacity of an average human. This helps humans to carry and lift heavy items more easily. Exoskeletons are currently available as full-body suits or for specific areas, such as the upper body, lower body, or back braces. This minimizes pressure on the body when doing repetitive work or heavy lifting, reducing the risk of injury maximizing efficiency. This technology can be useful for any part of the construction process to increase labor productivity.

5. Loader Cranes

Improving site organization and safety is of the utmost importance. When it comes to precast manufacturers, the loading, transportation, and placement of panels is a complicated process. A lorry loader, like the Hiab Loader, allows for efficient, safe movement and installation of precast panels. Rather than needing a crane or a second vehicle on-site to unload the lorry and an additional team to install the sections, this crane can easily lift and move the panels into position.

6. Retractable Enclosures

Retractable enclosures, like Chameleon's products, provide protective environments for indoor and outdoor curing, concrete production, aggregate storage, and dust control. These enclosures prevent product defects and shrinkage cracking by blocking weather conditions, helping to contain humidity, control curing temperature, and prevent temperature gradients.

7. P24 Delta Tie Insulation System

Dayton Superior’s P24 Delta Tie Insulation System is a non-conductive, non-corrosive fiber composite which is used as a wythe connector for concrete sandwich panel construction. The product is produced from a geometrically configured, two-dimensional truss manufactured from continuous wound fiberglass embedded in an alkali-resistant resin. The design produces a connector of remarkable strength and durability.

8. CarbonCure Precast

CarbonCure Precast works by injecting recycled carbon dioxide into fresh concrete during mixing. Once injected, the CO2 undergoes a chemical reaction where it transforms into a mineral.

CarbonCure Precast involves the installation of two boxes at the plant: The CarbonCure Valve Box and The CarbonCure Control Box. The Valve Box connects to a CO2 tank and delivers a metered quantity of CO2 into the concrete mix. The Control Box monitors the performance of the valve box system in real-time and feeds usage data back to CarbonCure (which syncs with the customer portal myCarbonCure). 

The Control Box’s software integrates seamlessly with all existing batching software, so adding CO2 into a mix is just like adding an admixture—there is no impact on batching or loading cycle time. 

With so many technologically advanced options available in the market for improving precast operations it’s no wonder that this adaptable, sustainable model of construction is increasing in popularity.

If you’re looking to take your precast operations to the next level with CarbonCure, get in touch with us today.

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