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SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE TO STEEL REINFORCEMENT


The precast industry usually relies on steel reinforcement for concrete structures, however, steel is heavy as well as difficult to handle and correctly position – and therefore costly.

The precast manufacturer Uniblok – a Velatia company in Toledo, Spain – achieves extraordinary results with their concrete by mixing in a lightweight alternative: MasterFiber. The advanced fiber technology from Master Builders Solutions strengthens concrete and reduces the amount of steel reinforcement required.

A story with amazing Quantified Sustainable Benefits.

Abel Medel

“MasterFiber has enabled us to save on both production time and materials.”

Abel Medel, Technical Manager at Uniblok, Toledo

Uniblok in Toledo, Spain

Since its establishment in 1991, Uniblok has produced over 100,000 of its customized prefabricated concrete chambers. Abel Medel, Technical Manager of Uniblok, is responsible for the construction materials. “What defines us as a company,” he says, “is the constant search for cutting-edge technologies and offering our customers the best solutions available in the precast industry.” MasterFiber – an advanced fiber technology from Master Builders Solutions – significantly contributes to this solution offer.

Quantified Sustainable Benefits


Using MasterFiber, Uniblok achieved significant Quantified Sustainable Benefits. The facts:

10%
More efficient production processes

The amount of steel required is limited to the technical optimum as the existing steel mesh section and complementary PP fibers contribute to the tensile strength whilst reducing the width of cracks. This saves on steel – and thus time and money – as well as energy.*Figures provided relate to the steel reinforcement and are based on data from a joint study with Uniblok’s precast concrete factory in Toledo, Spain

20%
Less steel by weight

Up to 20% less steel is required to provide the necessary tensile strength properties and improve crack behavior.*Figures provided relate to the steel reinforcement and are based on data from a joint study with Uniblok’s precast concrete factory in Toledo, Spain

21%
Lower Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Less steel significantly reduces CO2 emissions. Similar benefits are observed for other environmental impact indicators, such as POCP (Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential), AP (Acidification Potential) and Total Resource Depletion, which are all reduced between 20 and 25%.*Figures provided concern the reinforcement part and are based on data from a joint study with the precast concrete factory Uniblok in Toledo, Spain

“MasterFiber is a product that really convinces us.”

Abel Medel, Technical Manager at Uniblok, Toledo

One of the key challenges in manufacturing precast concrete is the steel reinforcement. It is costly to purchase and requires intensive labor to form and position. MasterFiber offers a great advantage: mixed into the fresh concrete, the fibers form an internal network and add superior tensile properties to the concrete elements. The result is improved crack control and stronger concrete, which requires less steel reinforcement. “We can provide a higher quality and a more durable solution to our clients,” says Mr. Medel. “And from an environmental perspective, it is the more sustainable solution because we have reduced the amount of steel reinforcement used.”

“BASF doesn’t only sell a product, but the whole solution to the client.”

José Maria Vaquero, Senior Manager Market Development Fibers Europe, BASF

To find the optimal mix of steel mesh and fibers, the Master Builders Solutions expert José Maria Vaquero and his team provided support to the manufacturer by means of structural calculations. They also helped install automatic dosing equipment and carried out cost-saving analyses. “We have optimized the reinforcement to the real need. Using the latest polymeric fiber technology, we use up to 20% less steel, whilst providing the required strength properties and increasing the durability of concrete structures,” says Mr. Vaquero. “An amazing and unchallenged result.”

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