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Customized sustainability

Interviewee

Dr. Ulrich Schmidt
Global Head of Functional Applications
ECKART GmbH

Published

09.09.2020

Autoclaved aerated concrete is a building material with a bright future. Thanks to its insulating properties, it is making an important contribution in the fight against climate change. For this reason, ECKART supports manufacturers of autoclaved aerated concrete by providing aluminum flakes as a blowing agent. These kinds of flakes have long been used in markets for the plastics, paint, and cosmetics industries as well as in the inks industry. 

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Only experts can tell how valuable these flakes are for the materials or construction industry, as they are deliberately invisible for end users of aerated concrete. ECKART support also includes high-quality technical service, explains Dr. Ulrich Schmidt, End Use Manager of Functional Applications.

"Why is ECKART interested in the construction industry?"

Like many others, the construction industry is faced with the challenge of contributing to sustainability and climate protection with its products – and this is precisely where we can step in to help. As a blowing agent, our aluminum flakes can be used to tailor the properties of aerated concrete to suit individual needs. Autoclaved aerated concrete is not only ideal for prefabricated buildings – the material’s insulating properties also help to preserve resources and save energy. In central and eastern Europe in particular, it is increasingly used for insulating facades. Unlike conventional insulating materials, autoclaved aerated concrete is a non-combustible mineral material and therefore offers a significantly higher level of building safety. 

"You mentioned “tailoring” – what exactly do you mean by that?"

There are three reasons as to why you should tailor the blowing agent. Firstly, it is important to precisely match the aluminum powder or paste to the raw material composition that forms the basis for the concrete mix. Take sand and lime as an example. These natural materials are essential components of autoclaved aerated concrete and feature different properties depending on their origin. Secondly, depending on where the building material is to be applied, the aim is to achieve an exact pore structure and thus a specified thermal insulation value. And last but not least, the blowing agent must also suit the technology used by the concrete manufacturer in question. 

"Does that mean that ECKART’s aluminum flakes provide customers with a specific blowing agent to meet local plant requirements?"

That’s right – we are able to meet our customers’ individual requirements. Our specialists analyze the manufacturer’s formulations and assess the production process on-site. Based on the findings, they can then recommend a product with characteristics that are precisely tailored to the raw materials, application, and production technology in question. Customers can combine different aluminum flakes from our range, which, if required, can also be supplemented with chemical additives to obtain the desired reaction properties and profiles. The significant advantage for our customers is that they can reliably control their production process with this optimized blowing agent mixture.

"Isn’t that a very elaborate process?"

It corresponds to the standards that we have set ourselves with regard to customer focus and exceptional support. In this way, we not only offer our customers excellent products, but technical service as well, and they can rely on expertise that has been tried and tested over many years. If there are any production problems, our technical service experts are always close at hand – no matter the location. Thanks to their expertise in equipment and production processes, they provide creative ideas to ensure a fast and reliable solution. The fact is that aluminum flakes are a crucial influencing factor in the production of aerated concrete. If they are used in a smart way, they can even optimize production processes and improve product quality. And that is the kind of support our customers appreciate!

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