HOW HILTI MAKES THE PERMANENT FORMWORK PROCESS FASTER

Permanent formwork applications for building construction

Permanent formwork applications for building construction

Anybody in the construction industry with an ear to the ground will be well aware of permanent formwork, and how it is revolutionising construction in Australia. To briefly summarise, this process uses systems with hollow panels to replace traditional block and brick work. Concrete can then be directly poured into these hollow panels, and hey presto, you've got a permanent structure. It essentially works like a mould, and the impact has been huge.

We have a range of products that are perfectly tailored to permanent formwork systems.

Companies such as Dincel, AFS and Ritek are leading the permanent formwork charge, and as a result we are seeing a rapid increase in construction speed. In the past, formwork has been mostly associated with putting down horizontal slabs, but new technologies and methodologies have made it possible to pour vertically and create walls. Perhaps most importantly, the process has also been embraced by architects, so we can all expect to see a lot more permanent formwork applications over the coming years.

With all of these factors in mind, we're going to take a closer look at the process, as well as how Hilti's product range can make it easier, quicker and better.

Permanent formwork

Permanent formwork is still a relatively recent development in the world of construction, but we're already seeing its impact in the incredible speed with which new buildings are springing up - especially in large cities like Sydney. We at Hilti pride ourselves on staying right at the cutting edge of our trade, and accordingly, we have a range of products that are perfectly tailored to setting out and erecting permanent formwork systems.

It's important to note that although each formwork system is different, there are quite a few strong similarities that unite them. This means that we can offer a relatively generic basket of associated equipment and solutions that can be applied to almost every scenario.

BX3 laying track

Laying the track

Many of these similarities come during the installation steps, with the initial setting down of a track an essential part of the process. This track is what the physical forms and mould are attached to, with bracing occurring afterwards to ensure the system doesn't fall over once concrete is poured. Laying this track is one of the first areas where Hilti products can make a difference, as Hilti Trade Manager Martin Stirling explains.

"Hilti fastening products [such as the BX 3-ME battery-actuated direct fastening tool] can be used to shoot the track down instead of traditional methods of anchoring, which are more time-consuming," he said.

There's a substantial need to make sure that every step of the process is safe, and this means installing the appropriate supports and reinforcements.

Shooting down tracks removes the need for any anchoring at all, and with Hilti products, it can be done regardless of whether the tracks are steel or plastic. The material that tracks are made of is one of the big differences between different construction companies, so by accommodatingly multiple options Hilti equipment can be used in a far wider range of situations.

This makes the entire process even faster than it would normally be, resulting in some truly lightning-quick construction work.

Safety, support and stability

Speed isn't the only important factor in permanent formwork applications, though. There's a substantial need to make sure that every step of the process is safe, and this means installing the appropriate supports and reinforcements.

"After laying the track construction workers also need to put a reinforcing bar, or 'starter bar', into the slab. With Hilti's cordless tools, you can drill a hole and glue the starter bars in before the moulds go up and are filled with concrete. We can also use our products to attach the braces to walls and floors," Martin summarised, outlining just how the Hilti product range can be utilised within these systems.

We also supply epoxies (such as the HIT-RE 100 epoxy mortar) that can set in damp environments, which comes in very handy when gluing in rebar when the hole itself is full of water. This provides some key benefits when it comes to working in adverse weather conditions, and means that the construction process doesn't have to be delayed in the event of rain. This also allows for construction teams to get around any problems with starter bars that are still drying while concrete is being poured.

Finally, Hilti can also supply screw anchors which screw braces directly into concrete. Again, this offers our clients time savings, as well as reducing the hassle that sometimes comes with other forms of anchor installation.

All of these different products and solutions allow the team at Hilti to offer a complete package for any of our customers that are working with permanent formwork.

Regardless of what sort of system you are working with, get in touch with Hilti today to find out more about how our products can help.

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