15 August, 2012: The common perception that concrete is cold and aesthetically-unpleasing is being challenged by Pan Mixers South Africa (PMSA) – the largest supplier of concrete, brick, block and paving making machinery and technology in Africa – which is currently in the process of constructing a modern, cutting-edge showroom almost entirely from concrete.
PMSA marketing and sales manager Quintin Booysen points out that the company began construction of PMSA’s new two-storey 700 m2 showroom, which will also house a sales and marketing office in order to fully highlight the endless creative possibilities that concrete offers in modern day construction, in May 2012.
“The showroom flooring will be completed with HTC Superfloor – an easy-to-maintain polished concrete flooring system that provides the highest shine to the floor surface, by making use of a range of HTC floor grinding machines and accessories,” he explains.
Booysen notes that PMSA will be going one step further by using HTC Superfloor to polish a number of concrete pull-up wallingpanels that will make up the showroom walls and main receptionstaircase. “A polishing and grinding machine weighs up to 300 kg and would be impossible to run against a wall. Another option would be to use a hand-held grinding tool, however that would not ensure a precision finish. PMSA plans to polish its precast panels using the HTC Superfloor system, before pulling them up by making use of a tilt-up method,” he continues.
This process will be subject to a number of challenges, due to the fact that each panel weighs up to seven tons. “These panels have to be pulled up into the right position, and they need to be positioned in such a way to ensure that they are not just decorative, but also that they are structural elements of the room. After 14 days of curing, the concrete panels are lifted with the aid of a 20-ton mobile crane and placed into final position.”
According to Booysen, PMSA is working closely with contractors to ensure that the necessary quality and precision is met to ensure a world class facility. “With conventional grey concrete pull-up panels, the perception is still that these panels are generic, grey and ugly, and only fit for purpose in industrial applications,” he continues.
As a result, PMSA will be using these panels for display purposes to highlight the potential beauty of precast concrete, by simply polishing or adding colour aggregates to it. Booysen adds: “Our main objective is to show architects, engineers and contractors that a polished precast panel can serve as a stylish and modern finish in a home, office or shopping environment.”
In addition to being aesthetically-pleasing, Booysen points out that polished concrete provides further benefits that include ease of cleaning due to a smooth surface, and a reduction in lighting bills, due to the fact that the panels reflect more light into the building. “What’s more, concrete flooring can have a lower lifetime and installation cost, when compared to traditional products such as epoxy and tiling.”
Looking to the future, Booysen is confident that construction of the PMSA showroom will be complete by the end of October 2012. “Construction work is going according to schedule at the moment, and we recently completed the casting of the concrete panels. Once building work is complete, the final touch will be to ensure that we provide a comprehensive customer service offering onsite, where clients and their employees will be trained in various fields, ranging from the application and usage of products, to operator safety and machine maintenance,” he concludes.