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Elcon Shape Panel

The Elcon factory

The heart of any factory is the equipment that produces the core product of the business. For Elcon, it’s the battery casting moulds. They comprise a number of pairs of specialised vertical steel ‘L’ shaped moulds. Conventional flat panel production is normally carried out using horizontal trays or beds. These take up considerable space and require to be weather protected in a permanently enclosed factory structure. Because the Elcon panels are cast vertically, a fraction of the space is required for production and an enclosed structure is only required in countries with a predominately cold climate. This means the production equipment is ‘semi – mobile’ and can even be set up on the project site. All that is needed to get into production are the Elcon battery moulds, a gantry or similar crane mainly for the handling of the finished product, steel reinforcement and concrete. It is always preferable for a factory to have it’s own concrete making facility ( a batching plant ) but this does not always mean that an Elcon manufacturer has to own and operate one. Concrete supply can be out – sourced and ready mix suppliers can establish and operate a concrete making facility within the Elcon factory. Once a concrete making facility is established, the basis of a precast factory is in place with opportunities to make other ancillary precast products such as floors, staircases and even paviors, kerbs and drainage goods.

       
       



 

The Elcon Battery Moulds

The vertical battery moulds comprise pairs of casting cells, normally 14 in a minimum two mould set – up. Typically, most Elcon factories comprise a four mould battery which gives the capability of producing 28 ‘L’ shaped wall panels in a single day. All the cells have a system of curing pipework and with the addition of a thermal heater, two casts a day can be achieved, doubling the output. Each casting cell is adaptable which means that any ‘L’ shaped panel can be cast to any size up to 6m long ( long leg ), 2.5m ( short leg ) and up to 3m high.

As with any moulding process, it is essential that no deformation occurs in the mould during the casting process. The moulds are therefore a very robust structure made from structural steel sections and plating. Once the concrete is poured in the moulds, encapture bolts and tie rods are used to fasten the cells securely to each other and then the complete battery is pressurised with a series of hydraulic rams.

On reaching initial curing, the hydraulics and encapture systems are released, the leaves forming the casting cells are opened up and the formed ‘L’ shaped wall panel extracted by the gantry crane. The panels are then stacked and left to cure before transporting to site.

 

Uses for the ‘L’ shaped panel

The end product, being of high strength concrete, is generally used as a load bearing wall member of most types of building structures. Many different types of flooring systems can be used with the ‘L’ shaped panel. As the panel has great strength, most structures using the panels do not need columns or beams. The system is ideal for compartment type structures in the form of housing, apartments, schools, hospitals, student accommodation and hotels, in fact anything with rooms up to 10m span.

Our track record over the past 30 years provides an indication of the uses of the system.

 

The Big Benefits

Speed

The ‘L’ shape means the panels are self – supporting, this means that in addition to the benefit of placing effectively two panels together, the panels do not have to be propped in the installation process. This makes the erection process far quicker than any other precast panel system. A three man gang with a crane can place around 30 ‘L’ shaped panels in a day. A typical three bedroom apartment may have around 10 ‘L’ shaped panels depending on the room configuration, therefore 3 apartment structures could be constructed in just one day by one three man gang.

Economy

Ther are several factors which make the Elcon Building System more cost effective than other building systems :-

  1. Low Capital Cost – The Elcon equipment and the factory infrastructure costs are much lower than in conventional precasting. This makes for low fixed overheads, a benefit that can be passed be passed on to Elcon customers.

 

  1. Battery casting – Vertical battery casting uses labour much more efficiently than conventional precasting.
  1. Mobility – Elcon factories can be easily and quickly established close to project sites. This means that the transport costs can be reduced and JIT deliveries made easier.

 

  1. Smooth finish -  Elcon panels are smooth finished which means that no plasters or renders are required to make the wall finish smooth as in conventional building.
  1. Frameless structures – Elcon wall panels do the work of building frames. ( columns and beams ) Conventional walls in multi – storey buildings are designed only as infill panels within a framed structure because of their low strength properties. They need a frame – Elcon structures don’t.

 

  1. Financing – Fast construction times mean earlier completions. Earlier completions means less financial exposure and reduced construction funding.
  1. De – skilling – The simple production process means that the labour force can be made of mainly unskilled and semi – skilled labour.

 

Strength

No joints at corners and fewer connections makes for great strength ( being solid reinforced concrete also helps ! ). The Elcon system is one of the few precast systems in the world that can be used in seismic situations in a multi – storey format.

Energy efficiency

Concrete has exceptional thermal mass properties. This means that concrete is a great storer of warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. A very energy efficient building can be built when Elcon external walls are insulated externally with cladding systems. This effectively isolates the structure from external ambient temperatures, therefore in hot climates rooms stay cool and in cold climates, rooms retain heat within the concrete structure. Concrete is a very dense material which makes it extremely resistant to the transmission of airborne sound. Houses and apartments built with the Elcon system provide a quiet environment for their occupants.

Robustness

Concrete is a very durable material with negligible maintenance. It’s inherently fire resistant and watertight. A factor for insurance companies and building warranty providers.

Design

All projects start with design. The Elcon system is particularly flexible and generally the appearance of a finished Elcon building will match that of a conventionally built structure. However, because Elcon adopts a systemised, off – site manufactured approach to projects, it is very preferable to consider making the building form suitable for systemising at an early stage.

Elcon can help using our consultancy partnership based in London. This partnership enables us to offer timely architectural and structural design solutions just when it’s needed.

Elcon takes full responsibility for all aspects of the structural design including the production of the working / shop drawings and structural design calculations, necessary for the project owner to obtain the necessary local consents and approvals. The ‘L’ shaped system permits considerable flexibility in layout design configurations and lends itself to an infinite variety of designs and layouts from very simple cubicle type accommodation to large multi – occupancy villas and apartments and to hotels, hospitals , schools and other large buildings. This design flexibility and the ability to make different sized and shaped panels, gives designers considerable freedom to create interesting buildings. Most other systems are modularised and therefore less design flexible which tends to lead to dullness and uniformity in mass building.
Building proposals often reflect the need to construct many units in the fastest possible time and the resulting elevations are disappointing, dull and overly uniform. Using the Elcon system, designs can be regionalised so that new buildings blend with with the cultural, historical and aesthetic qualities of an area. Elcon believes that design can be enhanced using the Elcon system, while remaining within the cost and time constraints. Retaining the overall planning concept as it stands, minor adjustments to the elevations can be made to enhance the visual presence and aesthetic quality of the building without sacrificing time or budget.

Innovations

Concrete technology has gone through unprecedented development in the last 10 years or so and Elcon has matched this in several areas :-

  1. Elcon uses self – compacting concrete as a preference in most of it’s factories. It gives a superior finish and obviates the need for vibrators in the casting process. It also produces a higher strength and requires less labour to place the concrete.

 

  1. Jointing of panels and tying in of floors is an essential detail in the structural design and practicality of installation of precast structures. The Elcon method does not rely on welding reinforcement or mechanical connectors between reinforcing bars used in connections. The system works on the principle of reinforcing bars locating in tubes, between floor planks and in edge beams, all grouted and bonded together to form a monolithic type structure.
  1. Elcon is working with the UK’s Building Research Establishment  in  developing R.F.I.D. technology. In simple terms, a microchip is placed in each panel which stores manufacturing and QA data. This not only serves as a permanent record accessible by anyone with an appropriate reader, but also enables tracking of the panel from manufacture to installation.   

 

  1. Elcon has developed a Management Information System for it’s manufacturing process which starts right from initial design. Our design partner, John Robertson Associates of London, in conjunction with Elcon, has developed software which generates panel profiles as the building is architecturally modelled. These panel profiles become issued in the form of schedules which are then fed into the MIS as production information including preparation of the individual component manufacturing drawings.

Through MIS, Elcon is able to monitor production in any one of it’s factories via the internet. Elcon’s Technical Centre provides all the production information and all factory managers receive training in recording production and installation data in the MIS. The Technical Centre monitors this information and QA data and is able to alert the relevant factory to any variance that might affect the finished product or the manufacturing and erection programme.

As production methods used in industry become adopted by the construction community and with the emphasis now on off – site manufacture, Elcon will always be at the forefront of innovation.

After all,  it’s where we started.

 

Procurement

Elcon offer the following options :-

  1. The sale of the Elcon equipment with an exclusive license to use the Elcon technology together with a transfer of technology package.

 

  1. The formation of a Joint Venture to carry out suitable design and build construction projects utilising the Elcon system under license.

Elcon’s business mission is to implement it’s technology anywhere in the world, to improve construction methods, to improve building standards, make construction safer and more efficient to the betterment of every member of society. To bring this about, Elcon has an extremely flexible approach to the procurement of it’s patented technology. As long as our clients and partners have similar objectives and share our values, then agreements can be formed, transactions completed and new Elcon businesses created.

Technical / Construction details

The following details show how various interfaces are designed and constructed. These are typical situations where Elcon panels are used in conjunction with precast hollow floors in multi – storey apartment type structures. Individual projects vary as do local building codes and country standards, therefore the ‘typical’ details will vary dependant on these local conditions.

 

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