Content Notice

The following articles are taken from the MC aktiv publication and curated by Buidling Chemical Supplies Ltd. Content contained is therefore the property of MC-Bauchemie Müller GmbH & Co. KG.

Strong Opposition to REACH

REACH, the proposed new EU regulation governing chemicals is reaching a critical phase: it is anticipated that consultations within the EU council of ministers and the European Parliament are to be concluded by the end of this year. At the moment it is still possible to avert the disastrous effects that REACH, in its present form, would have on the industry, but the draft proposals will need a complete overhaul.

As mentioned in our last issue of »MC aktiv«, the proposed new law stipulates that manufacturers need to demonstrate and document that the products they produce or use are non-hazardous and environmentally sound. This entails a time-consuming and costly bureaucratic process, involving registration, assessment and approval of chemicals.

The proposal has met with strong opposition, leading to the formation of an action group comprising over 240 medium-sized chemical companies from all over Germany, campaigning under the banner of "Objection! Say NO to the EU politics of illusions". MC-Bauchemie is one of six companies initiating a campaign that is also receiving strong support from many companies across Europe. Through strategic activities the campaign group aims to inform both public and politicians about the detrimental effects of the proposed regulations and will demonstrate reasonable alternatives.

This is by no means opposition in principal to new legal chemical regulations. On the contrary, in the view of the action group, new, up-to-date and improved regulations that protect environment and consumers alike are desirable and necessary. However, the proposed measures, in their current form, are impossible to be realised by small to medium-sized enterprises (SME's). Implementation will threaten their very existence. In medium sized companies alone it is estimated that up to 50,000 jobs will be lost. On top of that it is feared that the cost of product registration would amount to a colossal 50% of annual turnover.

Companies are organising central activities and regional information events throughout 2005, confronting politicians with sensible and logical arguments and demanding a total revision of REACH. The action group decided to go public in order to emphasise their point and to achieve more impact. On the 21st April an impressive political demonstration with more than 1,100 participants took place in Berlin, with a delegation from MC-Bauchemie, accompanied by Dr. Bertram R. Muller, strengthening the cause. The group gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate and formed the word "Einspruch" (objection) with red umbrellas. They demanded amendments to the plans put forward by the EU commission. In its present form the legislation would ultimately curtail innovation and threaten the very viability and existence of chemical companies. This demonstration earmarked the start of a Europe-wide campaign against the proposals from Brussels.

Reach Protest

Since then the campaign has received support from some political corners. Dr. Peter Paziorek, speaker on environmental issues for the Christian Democratic Union/ Christian Social Union faction of the German Parliament, and Marie-Luise Dbtt, responsible for reporting on environmental issues for the German Parliament, made the following comments after the demonstration: "It's a misconception to believe that the new EU product policy only affects the chemical industry. Countless industry sectors will directly or indirectly feel the effects of the new regulations, from car washes and fragrance producers to the cement industry. Should the REACH draft remain in its present form, SME's in particular will be faced with an unbearable financial, personnel and bureaucratic burden. It is therefore right that these medium-sized firms have today raised the alarm in Berlin."

The action group is about to stage further activities so as to pool opinions, formulate members' concerns and to encourage the relevant politicians to revise the REACH proposals. MC for instance, being directly affected by these plans, has organised a podium discussion for the autumn time. MC was able to sign up well-known TV-journalist Dr. Franz Alt to host the event. On the guest list are politicians, union members and members of the action group ''Einspruch", while numerous media representatives from regional and business press will also be present.

DySC Technology

High Resistance through DySC® Technology

Concrete, mortar and cement-bound repair materials are porous substances. Even if concrete gives the impression of a dense and solid mass, it still has measurable porosity, or in other words a cavity structure.

The cavities may be interconnected in parts or in their entirety. This makes them accessible to gases from the outside, which is frequently beneficial, in particular in view of diffusion capability of building structures. On the other hand it can be a grave disadvantage in special application areas such as water structures. MC research has now developed a new technology in the nano area which reduces concrete porosity to such an extent that it becomes negligible and which makes it possible to produce a building material of extreme strength, density and durability.

A normal concrete classified as C 25/30 has a porosity of approx. 20%. This means 20 % of the overall volume consists of cavities. These pores are either filled with the pore solution of water or air, depending on ambient conditions. Overall porosity and especially pore radii distribution are an important quality criteria and a characteristic value for durability. A low ratio between water and binding agent (cement, pozzolan, latent hydraulic substances) lead to a low pore volume in the cement matrix. A low pore volume increases the mechanic characteristic values such as compressive and tensile strength and reduces permeability. At a pore volume of under 10 Vol. % a concrete is classed as tight or impermeable. There is no corresponding pore structure and the transport processes that are caused by permeation and capillary suction are disabled.

Today it is possible to develop cement-bound building materials that have an overall porosity of under 5 Vol. %. Here only minor gel pores occur. These pores of nano scale (diameter of approx. 0.1 to 10 nm) are always filled by way of the physically bound mixing water. Transport processes are diffusion- controlled, hence all connected transport rates are extremely low. Such so-called Ultra-High-Performance Concretes (UHPC) are as a matter of principle achieved by taking the following steps

  • Using the most dense sphere packing
  • A low water/cement value
  • Use of suitable concrete admixtures

Dynamic Syncrystallisation

By using various latently hydraulic and pozzolan substances such as Centrilit NC a matrix of the densest sphere packing, i.e. porosjty and cavities are on a nano scale almost imperceptible. Furthermore, the cement binder matrix is compacted and consolidated through a complex corresponding process, the "Dynamic Syncrystallisation" (DySC®) developed by MC.

Mode of action

The strength of the concrete develops as clinker components in the cement are crystallised out, whereby tiny crystal needles form on the interior surfaces which firmly interlock. The crystal growth continues for months so that the final firmness is only reached a long time after concreting. Nano particles in the cavities now act as additional crystallisation seeds that lead to phase regeneration and therefore to a complete mineralisation of the cavity structure.

From the pore solution gels are formed in the alkaline zone, which consolidate the matrix further and which seal it. Crypto-crystalline gels stand in a dynamic equilibrium with the crystal phases. In interdependence with the exposition re-crystallisation and further mineral regeneration occurs. Over time the matrix is structurally refined, overall porosity decreases and pore radii distribution is optimised.

Conclusion

The concept of "Dynamic Syncrystallisation (DySC®)" results in extremely watertight, durable construction materials that feature high hydrolysis resistance and low elution properties.

Several MC-Bauchemie products have already been adapted with the DySC® Technology, for instance MC-RIM PW10 and MC-APC have been reformulated achieving a completely new performance spectrum. The new generation of ultra-high-strength and acid resistant concretes are also based on this mode of action.

Investment in Local Engineering

As an international company with a presence in 40 locations in 30 countries. MC has a history of investing where customers need solutions for modern construction and repairs that are fit for practice and economical. A combination of customer proximity, high quality standards and personal assistance are the guiding principles of this independent company's mission statement. As the benefit to the customer rules rather than investors' interests, MC manages such challenges also in a time of global economic and financial crisis.

With an increase in Local Engineering and their own production in regional subsidiaries MC addresses the particular and rather diverse needs of local markets in a targeted way. Raw materials are formulated locally into construction-chemical products, which are needed there for concrete enhancement, or for coating or injection technology for instance. This way MC subsidiaries are able to operate independently in their respective country and can cater for regional particularities, especially since the main application areas lie primarily in the infrastructures that are typical for any given country.

MC-Bauchemie Factory

At the same time raw material production in Bottrop is also expanded. Here the experience gained in the practical application of the end products can be put to use in the conception of raw materials. This also makes an important contribution towards the long-term innovation strength of the company.

MC Bottrop

For 2010 MC is planning to construct a new, ultra-modern plant in Bottrop to produce basic raw materials that are intended for the production of concrete admixtures and other products. In the future this investment will make the company less dependent on having to purchase raw materials or any potential shortfall of resources on the global market and can thus secure its long-term delivery capability.

The new raw material warehouse, which is already under construction, is going to offer improved availability of production components, combined with more flexibility in production. New premises for small filling processes, sample production, labelling and to house the printers make the operational process simpler and faster. This way the flow of goods and turnover rate are improved. For customers this means shorter delivery times.

New Production

Service Center Sud

In the course of the extensive investment measures undertaken during 2008 in the Service Center Sud now also the silo installation for powdered products is being expanded by another six components. The feeder machines for sands and cements are planned to be fitted with a new control and a separate weighing machine. To ensure better environmental protection the entire plant will be encased and the efficiency of the filters will be monitored by a police filter. Sustained investments and the stable economic environment mean the Service Center continues on its successful course.

MC Czech Republic

A new production is being established in the Czech Republic in order to be able to supply customers with modern products specially designed for the Czech market. To this end the existing warehouse hall will be extended by an equally large production area for concrete and mortar admixtures. In addition to manufacturing a construction lab is being built to perform their own formulations, quality assurance and laboratory works. The official opening is planned for the autumn of 2009.

MC Romania

In Romania, too, a new production plant for cement-bound powder products as well as concrete and mortar admixtures is being constructed in order to improve customer proximity. Last year MC acquired the premises roughly 60km from Bucharest. In addition to warehousing facilities and premises to house offices, application technology, seminar and deminar events, laboratories are also planned that will give the company the opportunity to formulate products on the basis of the raw materials, being able to take into consideration the needs of regional particularities.

Since the construction works are progressing well and rather rapidly, the start of operations is planned for the first half of 2010. The new location enables a logistically efficient and flexible support for customers in Romania and Bulgaria. For future expansion adjoining premises are at hand already.

New Production

MC Poland

Already last year extensive investments were made including a new high rack warehouse, a silo for coarse sands and an 8,000-m2-large, almost self-supporting hall roof construction. This year sees not just a slab production, but also a butyl rubber production plant for double glazing sealants. To this end a testing plant for formula development and to conduct test runs has been set up for the time being, whose know-how is to be transferred to the new plant. Mainly double-glazing manufacturers will be benefiting from this self-production. They are getting a perfectly matched product programme from a single supplier.

MC Brazil

The success of modern PCE technology in Brazil and the exemplary customer services delivered by MC Brazil have clearly lifted this regional subsidiary, which is achieving above average growth rates in international comparison. At the start of 2009 the estate adjoining the plant was bought so as to be able to respond to future capacity expansion needs.

With these investments that are counter-cyclical in the face of the current economic crisis, MC has created a sound foundation from which to meet the respective customer requirements in regional markets – at the very latest when the economy is starting to recover.

Adjustment to DIN EN 1504

Since the 1st of January 2007 DIN EN 1504 has been in force as part of the harmonisation process of European Norms. This range of standards comprises almost all areas of concrete protection and concrete repair and applies to all European countries. However, in Germany parts 2 to 7 are still burdened by additional national regulations despite the co-existence phase having expired. This results in increased planning expenditure as old national regulations are required to still be observed as well.

Organisation of DIN EN 1504
Part 1Definitions
Part 2Surface protection for concreteHarmonised Product Standards
Part 3Repair mortars, structural and non-structural
Part 4Structural bonding materials
Part 5Concrete injection materials.
Part 6Anchoring of reinforcing steel bars
Part 7Reinforcement corrosion protection
Part 8Quality control and evaluation of conformity
Part 9General principles for the use of products and systems
Part 10 Site application of products and systems and quality control of the works

The DIN EN 1504 range of standards "Products and Systems for the Protection and Repair of Concrete Structures" aims at reducing technical barriers and at simplifying the free trade of goods within Europe by creating a uniform terminology and uniform test methods. This is a path with future orientation - backed by MC for years. MC products bear the CE logo, have been through the conformity approval system and can now be used across Europe in accordance with this standard without the need for further national accreditations. For the products and systems from MC part 2, "surface protection", part 3, "concrete repair" and part 5, "injections" are of particular relevance.

What's more, with the approach "Freedom for the designer", the standard is opening up new avenues. The idea behind it is that experienced engineers are able to select building products in accordance with a performance concept outlining specific character profiles (obligatory and optional characteristics such as stability, diffusion resistance etc.). The materials' conformity with the standard is identified by bearing the CE symbol. This gives engineers maximum freedom and flexibility.

However, for many years the RILl-SIB has formed the basis for repairs in Germany, which enjoys great acceptance in the market. In contrast to DIN EN 1504 it describes systems, but not characteristics, which has meanwhile resulted in the additional introduction of so-called residual-standards (DIN V 18026 to 18028) as a link between European and German standards.

As a consequence serious "transposition problems" between the two systems exist:

  • In principle European right overrides national right. This means that the RILl-SIB has practically been non-effective since the 1st of January 2009. However, until now this has not been implemented in Germany, which represents a great handicap to trade.
  • The two-year long co-existence phase was not used during the transition. Even to this day there has been no tender in accordance with EN 1504.
  • For part 2 "surface protection systems" an additional external monitoring has been introduced in form of the residual standard DIN V 18026 whose legality is currently being decided by the EU.
  • For part 3 "concrete repair" a great number of additional characteristics were demanded in the residual standard DIN V 18027, so that on a national level an agreement about the implementation of DIN V 18027 has as yet not been reached. For this reason the general certificates issued by the construction authorities (AbPs) are said to retain their validity, which is a clear case of conflicting double-legislation and is highly questionable from a European point of view.
  • For part 5 "injections", the residual standard DIN V 18028 has been introduced. Here, too, the EU has made corresponding objections.
  • The consequences for the planning process resulting from this are serious: the engineer is obliged to tender in accordance with the European repair standard DIN EN 1504. He or she is, however, not familiar with it and can potentially also not cope with the hailed "freedom and flexibility" in all its complexity. In addition to an increase in planning effort this also results in a higher burden of planning responsibility.
  • On top of it the engineer also has to take into account the common German regulations, but the two regulations differ, so that at present no formal clear solution exists – at least as far as concrete repair is concerned. It can only be hoped that the existence of two parallel running directives will soon be history. Unfortunately however, the adjustment is not expected to be completed before this year is out.

Residual-standards as a link between European and German standards

European Product Standard Remaining German Regulation (systems/special properties) German Implementation Regulation
EN 1504-2
"Surface protection products"
DIN V 18026 "Surface protection systems" DAfStb Repair Regulations (RL StB)
EN 1504-3
"Concrete repair"
General authorisation from the construction authorities*
EN 1504-5
"Crack filling materials"
DIN V 18028 "Crack filling materials with special characteristics"
Regulated Repairs

*former abP + Uz regulation will be running parallel to EN 1504.

MC actively supports a uniform European solution and is demonstrating this by having completely implemented the CE labelling of its entire product portfolio.

New Laboratories in Bottrop and Zebrak

Research and development have always been important to MC-Bauchemie. The company's laboratories not only develop new products. They as well make a significant contribution to customer satisfaction as a result of the thorough quality control and the formulation of products tailored to specific applications. For this reason, MC continually invests in the development and improvement of its laboratory infrastructure.

At MC's headquarters in Bottrop, the entire laboratory area is being redesigned. The quality control laboratory has moved directly next to the production. Employees at quality control and final inspection department not only check the composition of the products. They check as well the condition and quality of the packaging and labels, ensuring that customers only receive perfect and clearly marked products.

The new quality control (QC) and final inspection laboratory has been established on the ground floor in a 130m2 area. In addition, another room is available storing retained samples. The immediate proximity to the production area allows quicker communications between production and quality control.

Furthermore, the concrete laboratory was extended, offering now an increased capacity for customer pilot-tests and a unified centre of competence.

Today, the new storage area offers space for the material samples room and its own fully-equipped laboratory, a storage room and an explosion-proof area for combustible substances. Product samples according to customer's demand are produced here.

The paints, varnishes and sealants laboratory moved into the old "powder tower': The first floor is now used by the concrete admixtures laboratory for new product development. The new concrete laboratory is currently being set up on the ground floor. The objective is to increase the capacity for responding to customer service requests, thus the concrete laboratory is extended. Admixture Development department is to be relocated onto the first floor and parts of the second floor.

Lbratory staff in Bottrop. Germany

All laboratories are equipped in accordance with the latest technology and fulfil all health and safety requirements. For example, extraction units are available to withdraw all dust and solvent vapours which may occur. To store gas bottles, solvents and toxic chemicals, special cabinets have been erected, offering state-of the-art safety levels.

With the investments made in the new laboratory areas, internal operations have been accelerated. Today customer requests are handled considerably faster and even more flexible.

New facility with laboratory in Czech Republic

The Czech MC-Bauchemie s.r.o. has its own laboratory with an application technology centre available now as part of the new Zebrak plant concrete admixture production area. On this newly developed area rooms for admixture quality assurance as well as a concrete laboratory and technology centres for the PT and Botament divisions are available.

The concrete laboratory is equipped with a concrete mixer of 70 ltr. volume. The most diverse concrete designs using the customer's basic materials can be produced. Other equipment includes a press with a maximum capacity of 2,000 kN for ability and compressive tests, a water permeability tester and tempered curing tanks for concrete samples. Czech Republic's strict regulations for concrete exposed to de-icing salts required the installation of suitable additional test equipment.

Since January 2011, Michal Cizmarik has been responsible for quality assurance and the concrete laboratory in Zebrak. He has been prepared for this new task with intensive training. Amongst this, he completed a six-week training course in Bottrop, introducing him extensively to the laboratory area associated tasks.

The next step, is to receive accreditation for the new laboratory in accordance with EC VO 765/2008. As a result, MC-Bauchemie s.r.o. can carry out all relevant tests in its own laboratory and must no longer rely on external service providers. This means that customers will be offered full service from one single source in the future. Everything will take place within the company from product selection and specific formulation to testing and documentation.

The Civil Engineering Materials Testing Institute (MPA) in Brunswick checked MC-Injekt 2300 top for its adhesive strength and breaking strain among other things.

International training seminar for application engineers in Bottrop

Dr. Claus-M. Muller personally welcomed the application engineers, expressing his appreciation for their reliable technical support worldwide. He underlined the importance of this now traditional international training course held regularly once a year as a platform for information and experience interchange. In closing, he wished the participants a fruitful and rewarding two days.

Demonstration at MC-Bauchemie Training Seminar

During the course, the application engineers were offered insights into product innovations, new projects and various wider-ranging new developments from the PT unit, and also had an opportunity to apply the theory learned to practical problems.

Frank Huppertz, Head of Technical Marketing at PT, provided information on the new EU Building Products Regulation which came into force on 1 July, 2013. Together with Patricia Steffen, Junior Product Manager Flooring Systems, he also presented the new high-performance roller coating, MC-Floor TopSpeed, and explained the marketing campaign and PR offensive supporting its launch (for more information, turn to page 1 0). Patricia Steffen also demonstrated to the gathered elite of MC's application engineers a new chemical-resistant compression joint system and the new weather- and frost-resistant binder for the laying of outdoor stone carpets, MC-DUR 2207 SC.

Full programme

Holger Graeve, Head of Application Technology and Group Leader Injections, presented the three-product injection system for carrying out extensive repairs in multi-storey and underground car parks, and similar engineering constructions. This comprises the injection resins MC-Injekt 1264 compact (rigid binding and sealing), MC-Injekt 2300 top (flexible sealing) and MC-Injekt GL-95 TX (soft elastic sealing). The technical interrelationships involving chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering and building material technology were also extensively discussed. Following discussions, Robert Schnell and Frank Benten, both application engineers from Bottrop, provided practical examples demonstrating the grouting and subsoil consolidation effect, and also the realignment and repair of structural components, that can be achieved with the duromer injection resin MC-Injekt 2700.

Discussion at MC-Bauchemie Training Seminar

The participants were also able to see for themselves the advantages of strengthening building components with CFRP strips and how to use them to the best possible effect. Christoph Lohbeck (Technical Support/Back Office ombran) presented a number of new ombran products: ombran flex, the permanently flexible coating for sewerage manhole constructions, ombran FG, the fast-setting hydraulic mortar for manhole frame grouting, and ombran MHP rapid, a very quick-hardening, highly sulphate-resistant mortar for the reprofiling and coating of structures in sewerage systems. Rafael Sass, Product Manager Concrete Repair, brought the participants up to date on developments in the field of concrete repair systems. He also presented MC-RIM PROTECT PLUS, the new integrated system for surface protection in sewerage systems, and instructed the participants in its practical application.

Application engineers Robert Schnell, Christopher Woodward, Ralph Raab, Frank Benten, Mario Wollny (all stationed in Germany) and Traian Tonea (Romania) presented a selection of current projects on each of the two days. Despite the packed agenda, the participants had time both during the two days and at a convivial dinner in the evening for questions, shop talk and the occasional animated discussion.