Concrete is one of the most frequently used building materials but has remained mostly unchanged. Traditional
concrete is cement, stone, and sand, sometimes reinforced with mesh. Strong in compression but weak in tension. Concrete is prone to shrinkage, cracking, and curling, resulting in significant maintenance budgets for
Welcome to the world’s first FUTURE READY JOINT LESS FLOOR!
SA Builder met Brett Meadway – Primekss Technical Sales Manager in South Africa, and got the insight on the flooring technology that, as he says, “will raise the design and execution methods of concrete slabs to a completely new level.”
How did your journey in PrīmX start?
Primekss, based in Latvia, EU, is the inventor and patent holder of the world’s first truly jointless concrete technology PrīmX, well known since 1997. The Company however, had a modest beginning as a specialist flooring covering (epoxy and other) company, but after some period customers complained about the quality of the finish due to the concrete below the coating failing again and again. So, they started to search for the reason…
It was clear that traditional concrete cracks and curling were due to the drying shrinkage impacting the coating that we would add. And, what started out as an effort to understand, how to improve the concrete base on which the coatings would be applied, turned into a complete focus, research and business model on how to reduce and eliminate the negative effects of shrinkage in concrete slabs.
At the same time, throughout the 1990s, steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) started becoming popular in
Europe through the life work of Mr Xavier Destrée, ir. FACI. R. and D, Structural consultant, ARCELORMITTAL.
SFRC has provided a major improvement in crack control and curling and has been adopted by Primekss and it
became a commercial success in Northern Europe. While Primekss was able to control cracking and curling more
effectively, the concrete still suffered from shrinkage.
Later Primekss secured research support from the EuropeanUnion (in 2007) to address the key issue of SFRC: shrinkage. In collaboration with academics from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Belgium and Latvia was developed a new revolutionary shrinkage controlling concrete system – the first version of what is now known as PrīmX. Very soon the worldwide patent was achieved and thus opened the opportunity for Primekss to significantly widen the
PrīmX is now selling its technology in over 25 countries. Until now, more than 15 million square metres of PrīmX
floors have been casted. PrīmX unique system has been awarded with various industry awards and is one of very
few technologies receiving four Most Innovative Products (MIP) Awards, issued during world’s largest concrete
industry event – World of Concrete in Las Vegas, USA.
So, when I was invited to join the company and open it tothe South African market, I welcomed the offer without
much hesitation. This opportunity not only allows me to connect my family in Latvia with my relatives here in South
Africa, but also gives the possibility to build a better future for my four children.
I profoundly respect Primekss’ core value – sustainable development. Climate change is no longer an issue for the
future but a reality of our present day. To help avoid the climate crisis, we need to act now and use more advanced
technologies to save our world. Cement manufacturing itself is responsible for more than 7% of global CO2
emissions, which is why PrīmX is so important – with better materials and optimized design, we significantly reduce the environmental footprint – on average saving 40% of CO2 compared to traditional concrete solutions.
Was it easy to launch the business here?
Not at all! This was a major challenge at the outset – PrīmX entered the South African market in 2014, when steel fibre reinforced concrete had just started to be introduced. It took a lot of time and energy to market Primekss high
performance SFR concrete with a focus on reducing shrinkage through addition of special additives, careful mix
design optimisation and quality control through the whole production process to ensure confidence in our system.
The only thing we source locally is the raw materials for the 30 MPa readymix – concrete stone, sand, and cement.
However, it is vital to maintain a high degree of concrete consistency and cooperation with local ready-mix suppliers
to provide a reliable and predictable standard for PrīmX.
It was a real problem before I got to know Pronto Building Materials, which is now our main supplier in SA. Fortunately, with Pronto, we were able to obtain a quality washed crushed sand as well as a washed natural river sand filler.
All cement and aggregate samples are shipped to Riga, to our Primekss lab where concrete engineers analyse the raw
materials for their reactivity with our admixtures. None of PrīmX admixtures are sourced locally as they all are under
strict patent review and we manufacture and deliver them from Europe, Latvia.
Even traditional SFRC concrete is available. What is the difference and advantage of PrīmX?
Well, that is easy to answer. Traditional concrete floor specification will be required for a standard 30MPa mix
supplied daily by a readymix plant without any specific effort to address shrinkage. The traditional solution is
limited to 30x30m (900m2) jointless panels and, depending on the load requirements (e. 75 KN btb 150 KN), a slab of 180mm could be constructed.
If the shrinkage is not addressed, 100m of joints will begin to open within months of casting and begin to curl, eventually leading to severe joint damage. Pretty soon the client willstart to have huge maintenance expense to repair 100s of metres of joints and damaged equipment, not to mention significantly higher hazard risk at the workplace.
Instead of that, PrīmX is limited only by day joints, saving 100s of metres of joint damage and allowing for a load
requirement of 75 kN btb 150 kN on a 90mm slab.
As a PrīmX floor doesn’t require additional reinforcement with mesh, construction time for the same size of a slab
is approximately 30% shorter. Imagine how much can a project manager do with an extra month or so?
With no curling and controlled shrinkage PrīmX floors when cast flat, stays flat for its lifetime, saving a lot of time and money for maintenance. Well managed quality control on site, with a backup support from an experienced concrete engineering team in Primekss lab, offers a predictable, consistent quality no matter where the project is located.
How is a consistent quality achieved?
The success of the PrīmX slab relies on full on-site supervision by a professional team. My job is to ensure
that Primekss local partner is qualified to meet all the requirements of PrīmX. All factors, impacting the quality
of the final result are captured on-line via PrīmX’s own quality control system, thus we can monitor and react to
any changes very quickly.
Can you tell more about the current projects you are working on?
Despite the lockdown this year for PrīmX South Africa has been very intense. I can highlight, as an example, these two projects:
KIT KAT Distribution centre, Pretoria West, 14000m2 –
The brand Kit Kat is recognized as one of the leading brands in the FMCG industry today, and it symbolizes the trust of our customers. In 2019, PrīmX secured Phase 1 and in 2020 Phase 2. The customer required a modern high-quality slab to compliment the brands modernization. PrīmX design offered a jointless solution and a slab so strong that 90mm could handle racking load of 75 KN btb 150 kN.
DSV Logistics Warehouse, Kempton Park, 110 000m2 – is Danish transport and logistics company offering transport services globally by road, air, sea and train. Its main activities lie within road transport (trucking) networks in Europe, North America and South Africa, and its global air and sea freight forwarding business.
In 2020, this important project was secured with a PrīmX Jointless floor. The project was divided into a 31 500m2 Crossdock and a 78 000m2 Main Warehouse. The Crossdock, was designed with Primx jointless solution
for huge loading from a sorter and mezzanine and was completed in July 2020.
The Main Warehouse required the PrīmX design to handle up to 123 kN btb 246 kN racking loads, with our system toan extremely high tolerance not yet seen in South Africa. In fact, we are currently casting the Main Warehouse and
setting a record in South Africa with 10’500m2 cast every 5 days. I am proud of my local flooring partner, Chris Howes and his company CHC-SA with whom I have a partnership.”
What does Future Ready, Joint Free Floors mean?
To cope with today’s ever-changing industrial environment, everything must be flexible. The recent global pandemic has shown that dramatic change can happen instantly: production shutdowns due to infected workers, material availability challenges, changes in many processes, and the critical need for facility cleanliness.
Every aspect of an industrial facility should be designed and built to be adaptable for future challenges, including
the floors. Only jointless, saw-cut free floors allow for the true flexibility: no limitations for racking placement, easy
system replacements, true flatness in long term for fast operations, precise slab with no shrinkage movement ready
for automated robotic solutions and more. In addition to complete flexibility, the PrīmX jointless floor is 30% faster to be installed, shortens the overall construction schedule and costs, maintains full warranty (design, materials, execution) and ensures consistent high quality in each project due to the design of the system.
To get full scope of #FutureReady concrete floors and how with PrīmX technology you can reach significant increase in ROI, you are welcome to join the upcoming webinar. The Webinar is scheduled for September 22, 2020 13:00 to
14:30 GMT, in Zoom.
During the session essential long-term benefits of PrīmX high-performance flooring solutions will be highlighted.
For more information contact Brett on +27 084 837 8654 ,email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.primekss.com