Our AI system for ready-mix concrete supports manufacturers in the reliable control of fresh and hardened concrete properties during mixing. It lays the foundation for optimizing the CO2 content and cost structure of concrete mix designs, while important raw materials are becoming worse and more difficult to obtain.
In times of resource scarcity and climate change, the system of ready-mix concrete is increasingly reaching its limits. Until now, it has been dependent on consistent ingredients, robust “one-size-fits-all” cements and experienced employees with a lot of tact and sensitivity.
But the present and the future bring something completely different: scarce and therefore variable aggregates, hardly any blastfurnace slag or fly ash, and hardly any well-trained mixing foremen and laboratory assistants willing to do the hard job day in, day out. And on construction sites, too, the professional competence to handle concrete correctly is decreasing, while at the same time the demands on the concrete and the complexity of the construction projects are increasing.
The consequences can already be seen today: no major construction project can do without concrete damage, and the costs of complaints increase. With the upheavals that are about to take place in cement production, it will probably no longer be possible to produce ready-mix concrete with the current cost structure.
With rising CO2 prices in Europe and a simultaneous shortage of granulated blast furnace slag and fly ash, limestone powder is of central strategic importance in Europe. It is the only CO2-free addition material available on a large scale. In contrast to blastfurnace slag and fly ash, however, the processing of cements with a high limestone meal content requires the mastery of very narrow quality ranges.
The narrower the control of quality, the more limestone powder can be used without risk, and the more costs and CO2 can be saved compared to competitors. The aim of alcemy’s AI control system is the scalable, automated production of a green concrete made from cement containing 50% limestone powder, which is approved for interior and exterior use (XC4 XF1).
We pursue a holistic, data-driven and practical approach. Of fundamental relevance to our system is the recording of upstream and downstream processes such as cement grinding and unloading on the construction site, as well as the digitalization of central data and processes. This way, we are already able to predict the slump diameter accurate to a few centimeters.
Dr. Olaf Aßbrock, CEO German Concrete Association
Optimisation of recipes and reduction of intentional overshoots
Mastery of green concrete with low clinker, high limestone powder cements or of other special concretes
Reduction of costs for claims, claim processing, production support by lab staff, and overall quality assurance
Use of more difficult to process, but less expensive input materials
Dr. Martin Schneider, Chief Executive of VDZ ("association of German cement manufacturers")