In the previous blog Bendt described the origin of Hi-Cons UHPFRC material platform called CRC, Compact Reinforced Composite, and the many reasons for staying with this old well-documented and well-proven material. He also mentioned the paradox of our claim to being front edge innovators while using this old material, originally a registered trademark on its own (CRC®).
The reason for this apparent conflict requires a bit of explanation that I’ll try to give in this entry.
Hi-Con was founded as a classic - although innovative - production company, selling and manufacturing primarily balconies and staircases in UHPC, mainly to the Danish market.
In 2009, the strategy and vision of Hi-Con was completely transformed, and a transition towards an innovation organisation aiming to explore the full potential of UHPFRC globally, based on innovative business models, was initiated. This process is still ongoing.
This also meant that the boundaries for application of the original CRC® material were stressed, and consequently, the material – through well-documented modifications – was adjusted to improve the workability using the latest developments in chemical admixtures – an industry that has seen tremendous change in the past years. The carefully validated modification of course ensured that the past documentation and experience remained valid.
This new version was christened CRC i2®, which since early 2015 has been the brand name for the improved CRC version, and the material used for most applications of CRC.
In 2011 Hi-Con joined a development project aiming to produce hybrid wind turbine towers. That project is still waiting to find its conclusion - but, as a partial outcome, Hi-Con in 2016 launched the CRC i3® after five years of intense material testing, documentation and validation.
The CRC i3® is specifically designed for use in larger structures, incorporates larger aggregates, exhibits lower shrinkage and improved stiffness, but otherwise show the same ductility and durability properties as the CRC i2®. It has so far been used for bridges in Hi-Con Netherlands.
An older sibling of CRC® is the CRC JointCast®. This variant was an integral part of the original documentation of the CRC concept back in the 80’s, and was first established as an independent product in 1995 – at the time named Densit JointCast.
CRC JointCast® (still using the original formulation and documentation) is used to fill joints in-situ to “glue” CRC i2® or CRC i3® precast element together with very narrow joint widths to form rigid monolithic structures – as in the bridge example above, or for special staircases like Per Aarsleff.
At Hi-Con, our vision is continuously to explore the boundaries for the potential of UHPC’s globally using innovative business models through cooperation.
In that context, we expect the CRC family to continue to grow – and actually, in late 2016 a prototype production using a non-structural CRC i4® was completed to create a series of unique benches designed by Zaha Hadid for the Winton Gallery Science Museum in London.
I invite you to come up with an idea for the next step in the CRC evolution.