GCP Applied Technologies invests in Speciality Concrete technical service and research facility in the North West

By Construction Tech Review | Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Leading global provider of construction solutions, GCP Applied Technologies has invested in the creation of a bespoke technical service and research facility in Greater Manchester.

Designed to support research and development of specialist concrete admixtures, the new Technical Centre in Dukinfield was officially opened on schedule at the beginning of August - without any delays or disruption caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

GCP Applied Technologies has a proven track record, spanning over 85 years, in delivering speciality concrete and cement additives for the built environment sector. By always putting innovation first, the company has been involved in some of the largest construction projects in the UK and Ireland - including Crossrail, the QE2 Hospital Birmingham, Liverpool Arena and the Dublin Airport runway extension.

Building on this success, the company has now made this substantial investment in customer support and innovation, as part of its wider strategy to create a UK hub for its Speciality Construction Chemicals and Speciality Building Materials business areas.

The investment went towards the construction of the bespoke technical service and research facility, which boasts five separate laboratories - each specially designed to develop new high-performance concrete admixtures for the EMEA region. This will enable GCP to support both ready-mix and pre-cast concrete producers with the optimisation of their mix designs to meet specific application requirements.

As the concrete industry faces increasing challenges - from the scarcity of raw materials, through to the introduction of new environmental regulations and evolving technical requirements - GCP aims to use the investment in R&D to find new solutions that address these issues.

Working in the new facility, GCPs technical service and innovation teams will focus on developing new high-performance admixtures that are specially designed to enable the production of good quality concrete, while using lower quality aggregates, low CO2 cements and other new raw materials. The team will also look at developing new admixtures that create entirely new categories of concrete.

Located at GCPs long-standing Dukinfield manufacturing site just outside Manchester, the new Technical Centre of Excellence is strategically-positioned within the UK. Despite the national lockdown, GCPs operations team ensured the building works were delivered on time, without any disruption caused by Covid-19. The laboratory facility took a total of four months to complete and was officially opened in August.

Jason Armstrong, Product Marketing Manager at GCP Applied Technologies, comments: As we continue to focus on developing innovative solutions that reduce complexity and add value to our customers business, we are delighted to announce the opening of our new Technical Centre in the UK.

He adds, This move marks a new beginning for our technical service and innovation teams, while strengthening the position of our existing Dukinfield site as a leading manufacturing plant in the UK.

Concrete Challenges in 2020

1. Scarcity of raw materials

Concrete producers are having to adapt their products to find alternative solutions for increasingly scarce raw materials - such as fly ash and high-quality sands - replacing them with more readily-available materials. This means new admixture solutions are required to deliver high-performance concretes.

2. Changes to environmental regulations and standards

There have been lots of recent changes to environmental standards - particularly around CO2 reduction - and these also impact raw material choices. New greener concretes use recycled or waste materials in place of standard raw materials to reduce the environmental impact “ these also require new admixture solutions to be developed and optimised.

3. Evolving applications and technical requirements

With new application requirements come new challenges. GCP sees the new research facility as an opportunity to work much more closely with both new and existing customers by providing state of the art solutions.

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