SABIC, Mexican firm introduce composite concrete forms

SABIC and Meccano de Mexico develop one-piece, reusable concrete forms made from SABIC's high-performance LNP Verton long-glass fiber-reinforced composite.

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SABIC Innovative Plastics (Pittsfield, Mass., USA) on Oct. 5 announced an industry first: new one-piece, reusable concrete forms made from the company’s high-performance LNP Verton long-glass fiber-reinforced composite. The new corrosion-resistant composite forms were developed by SABIC and Meccano de Mexico, a Mexican construction supply company, to replace heavy traditional multi-piece steel forms, reducing weight by up to 40 percent, cutting cycle times from three hours to only a few minutes. and helping to reduce overall construction costs for more-affordable housing. 

Meccano’s new forms are used to mold concrete panels for houses; on average, 500 panels are required for a typical row house. The forms are available in a wide range of sizes and configurations: the average height is 1,100 mm/3.7 ft, and different widths (200 mm/0.8 ft, 300 mm/1 ft and 600 mm/2 ft) are available.

“SABIC provided the material technology, technical expertise and local presence that allowed us to successfully develop and commercialize this breakthrough product for our customers,” says Salvador Jalife Lozano, chief innovation and development officer, Meccano de Mexico. “Using LNP Verton composite, our new concrete forms can give contractors exceptional benefits including significant time savings, easier handling and durability for repeated use. These molds have the potential to change the way concrete panels are formed on the job site, helping to streamline construction and provide a competitive advantage for Meccano and its customers. This cooperation with SABIC reinforces our mission: ‘Building Innovation.’”

“Replacing metal forms with our LNP Verton compound material is a major step forward in building and construction because it addresses top industry demands for better materials, greater speed, lower costs and improved ease of use,” said James LeGacy, general manager, Americas, Innovative Plastics. “This cooperation with Meccano de Mexico demonstrates the multiple resources SABIC can offer our customers, from helping to identify the right material within our broad portfolio to assisting with product development on site. We are very pleased to have played a part in the success of this new application and believe it will be a true game-changer for the construction industry worldwide.”

The fabrication of traditional metal forms requires assembly of as many as 30 different components and can take up to three hours. By eliminating the need for assembly with a one-piece design, Meccano’s forms are ready in minutes, increasing throughput, and potentially allowing more contractors to build homes more quickly and reduce overall costs. This is particularly important for construction of government-subsidized housing or other projects where containing costs is a concern.

In addition, the light weight of LNP Verton compounds compared to metal (20 percent lighter than aluminum and 40 percent lighter than carbon steel) allows the forms to be transported and maneuvered on site more easily and without the need for specialized equipment or cranes.