Concrete elements are known for being modular systems of different standard systems/elements. These systems have been improved and further developed over the past decades into a flexible solution where even complex and large-sized elements with areas of limited support are possible. New shapes, colors and sizes have been introduced, which is why you see concrete precast used in more or less all applications with all sorts of elements.
Efficiency comes in many forms and for many reasons, but one of the key reasons for efficiency for concrete precast is the controlled climate/environment inside the production areas. This enables cold regions to produce under more or less the same environment year around. This enables a constant flow of equal products which in comparison with the in-situ concreting is very different.
Besides that, precast production benefits from the whole idea of a running production line, where everything is timed and assembly line techniques minimize mistakes to a minimum. Working with concrete on-site doesn’t allow the same efficiency, as you are not able to run after a very fixed schedule and everyone knows what each other is doing.
Precast concrete is often manufactured indoors, which makes it possible to cure the concrete under an ideal environment nearly all year round. By managing the temperature and humidity in the production, a precast production can produce a consistent quality without defects and avoid problems with delays due to cold weather,
For our Maturix clients, we often use temperature and humidity sensors for climate monitoring – please check this page for further information.
As you can produce in a factory environment, you gain the benefits of having a production line with repeatable jobs during the same time as concrete. You are reducing waste, reusing concrete forms, increased speed for curing, thermal heat from concrete in captured indoors, and in modern production, you can reuse your concrete waste as aggregates.
Precast producers can control the curing conditions through:
This enables a unique setup in a controlled environment to manage even curings at very high speed, without compromising product quality. High speed production and the utilization of the benefit of having a production set-up with assembly line set-up enables a precast production to be able to compete on pricing with an in-situ casted structure.
Construction sites rely on meticulous planning, and even minor delays can be problematic. Casting elements ahead of time ensures that you can stick to your timetable without having to wait for concrete to cure.
It also saves room on the project, as an on-site casted structure often requires more space and trucks.
On a precast site, you get the advantage of having the concrete mixed, cast, and cured on-site in a controlled environment by the same workers every day. This allows a precast manufacturer to learn a lot about how to produce high-quality, efficient products at a high rate.
With multiple people/companies involved in mixing, casting, formwork setup, and curing, as well as a constantly changing environment, on-site concreting can be challenging to manage and inefficient.
Many precast concrete producers have a fixed standard program for their quality check and assurance, which you can ask for as a client.
Production of prefab concrete elements with two sides of concrete and an insulation layer is possible – a so-called sandwich element. Casting elements with insulation when the concrete is very accessible (laying down on a ground floor) is in general much more efficient compared to needing an insulation job for example, as part of a high-rise structure.