My thesis project is about turning a car park into multi-generational council housing. A car park is mainly made of big concrete slabs, so as a sort of material research for my thesis project, I went to the company Eurodal, a Belgian manufacturer of industrial concrete floor slabs. I visited the company to have a closer look at the material concrete and how it’s made
From the highway, I could already see the stacked-up piles of concrete slabs, which made me really eager and excited to see more. Philippe Segers, one of the CEO’s of the company gave me a tour and a detailed explanation of the whole working process.
At Eurodal they make the steel moulds for the concrete by themselves. These moulds have a maximum size of 200x200mm. Different measurements are possible within the range of 200x200mm.
First the mould gets a coating by a robot. This coating determines the finishing look in the end. In the earlier days, it was done by hand, but with the machine the coating is spread more evenly.
After the coating a steel grid is placed in the mould to create reinforced concrete. This is done to resist tensile stresses in particular regions of the concrete that might cause unacceptable cracking and/or structural failure.
After that it’s time to put the mixture of water, aggregate, cement and additives in the mould. This mixture will harden to become concrete. Eurodal is a central mix plant which means they offer more accurate control of the concrete quality through better measurements of the amount of water added, but must be placed closer to the work site where the concrete will be used, since hydration begins at the plant.
When the correct weight of the concrete is ready to be poured into the mould, the mould starts to vibrate, so that when the concrete sets in the mould, all the air bubbles can leave the concrete mass.
After the concrete is dry, a robot takes the slab out the mould and adds 3 bricks on top of it, so the next one can be stacked upon it.
Philippe explained to me which different finishes are possible and how they are made. They use mats with a certain structure that they put inside the mould before the concrete gets poured. In the product range they have brushed, checkerplate, wave and line finishes.
Another nice feature he explained was how to make holes within the mould. They do this by using Styrofoam. When the concrete is dry they just knock the Styrofoam out and it leaves a beautiful shape.
It was really nice to get a better insight into the process of creating concrete slabs and the different things you can do with the material and shapes.