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CPC AG and Holcim to collaborate on concrete elements

Published by , Deputy Editor
World Cement,

The Swiss CPC AG (manufacturer of carbon fibres and developer of stable but thin concrete elements) and the building materials producer Holcim (Deutschland) GmbH and its subsidiary Vetra Betonverbindteilwerke GmbH signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement in December 2020. The parent company LafargeHolcim Ltd had previously acquired a stake in the Swiss start-up CPC AG.

The aim of the cooperation is to produce high-performance thin concrete slabs with a high-strength concrete for the German, Dutch and Scandinavian markets on a larger scale in Vetra's precast concrete plants from autumn 2021. The CPC concrete elements are reinforced exclusively with pre-stressed carbon fibres. Customers receive needs-based cuts of the elements, logistics services and support in the use of innovative connection technologies.

CPC AG will supply the technology and the carbon fibres. For the production of these special carbon fibres, CPC AG will build a new plant in Switzerland. Holcim Germany and Vetra will set up the world's first major production facility and further optimise the components in terms of design (e.g. via concrete technology and composition). The general building inspectorate approval from the German Institute for Structural Engineering DIBt is to be granted in 2021. With this approval, the CPC panels can be statically dimensioned for many applications. Compared to conventional reinforced concrete elements, the required amount of concrete can be reduced by up to 75% with the same load utilisation. The smaller amount of concrete massively reduces the dead weight of the structure, lowers the CO2 footprint and the transport costs are also reduced significantly. Another CO2 reduction of the component results from the use of significantly smaller amounts of carbon instead of large amounts of steel (factor 30). The thin elements can be manufactured industrially and in large formats and then cut to size – similar to large-format panels in wood or steel construction. In addition to simple, free-form cuts, surface treatments such as milling and brushing, drilling, slot milling or pockets are possible.

“In the course of 2021, the necessary renovation work will initially take place in the Vetra precast concrete plant in Essen near Oldenburg in Lower Saxony. Production of the new elements is planned to start in autumn 2021. For these innovative concrete elements, a wide range of possible uses opens up in the construction sector – for example for filigree and sustainably produced balcony slabs, stairs, bridges and freely designed facade elements. This will also be of interest to many planners and architects who are looking for new, more sustainable solutions for their customers” explains Stefan Gramberg, Managing Director of Vetra Beton Fertigteilwerke GmbH.

“With Holcim EcoPact Zero, we have already introduced the first CO2-neutral concrete in Germany. This cooperation in the field of precast elements is another important milestone in our growth strategy and at the same time makes a clear contribution to achieving our sustainability goals. I am very much looking forward to working with CPC AG in the future. Our strengths complement each other very well and together we drive innovations for more sustainable construction. Our customers in the precast sector will thus achieve both economic and ecological advantages. Holcim is thus offering another innovative, CO2-reduced and at the same time resource-saving product that significantly improves the CO2 balance of buildings,” Thorsten Hahn, Chairman of the Management Board of Holcim (Deutschland) GmbH, adds.


“We want to continue growing together – with this new construction idea for concrete with an unbelievably wide range of applications. The exclusive cooperation with the Holcim Deutschland Group now enables us to further optimise the idea, implement necessary investments and penetrate a significantly larger market with the innovative thin concrete elements”, says Prof. Josef Kurath, member of the board of directors of CPC AG and developer of the same new production methods and the associated innovative connection technologies.

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LafargeHolcim news European cement news