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Finnish concrete sheds its drab image and goes international

A Finnish company, Graphic Concrete Ltd, has developed a patented innovation Graphic Concrete™ that allows images ranging from pictures to fine line designs to be cost effectively and safely set in concrete.

The technology, which dramatically brightens up the exteriors of buildings, is about to go international with the first order going to Sweden. Interest in the technology is also being shown as far away as the USA. Samples of Graphic Concrete can be seen at the Tekes and the Academy of Finland stand (number 1.092) at the ‘Communicating European Research’ conference held in Brussels from 14 to 15 November. Versatile safe and cost effective Long been thought of as a by-word for drabness, concrete is quite literally taking on a new image. “We have developed a technology that uses different printing techniques such as Silk Screen Printing’ for applying a surface retarder on a special membrane. The technology is primarily aimed for the exterior facades and interior walls of buildings. However, the technique is so versatile a person’s likeness can also be set in concrete on small panels, though this is more expensive and is not our company’s main offering,” says Harri Lanning MD of Graphic Concrete Ltd. “The process was originally thought up by an interior designer Samuli Naamanka, in 1997. A significant advantage of Graphic Concrete is its competitive cost, which makes the process much more affordable and therefore more likely to be used. Another advantage is that the solvents used in the retarder are evaporated off so there are no safety issues to prevent its use at the pre-casters.” “Our technology enables various kinds of images to be set in concrete with different textures, different patterns, works of art detailed pictures and even written text. The results can vary from a pure cast surface or a patterned exposed-aggregate finish of outstanding quality.” ERABUILD Era-net increases networking on a European level The technology was developed in Finland by Graphic Concrete Ltd under the ‘SARA – Value Networks in Construction´ and ‘CUBE the Building Services Technology Programme´ both are run by Tekes the National Technology Agency of Finland. Although this particular project has ended, the SARA programme continues and it is involved in the ERABUILD project, which is also coordinated by Tekes. It aims at increasing networking of national programmes on a European level. ERABUILD is a network of 13 partners from 8 European countries financed by the EU's 6th Framework Programme. It is creating a mechanism for co-ordinating national research efforts on a transnational basis. Shared information is a cornerstone of ERABUILD and a database has been set up to provide research data. In the 13 months that the ERABUILD network has been working a joint call for the project of ‘Managing Information in Construction’ has already been launched. The aim is to put out a total of about five joint calls in the current ERA-NET programme’s lifetime. For more details contact Harri Lanning MD at Graphic Concrete Ltd e-mail: harri.lanning@graphicconcrete.fi http://www.graphicconcrete.com and about ERABUILD Mika Lautanala, Technology Manager Tekes e-mail: mika.lautanala@tekes.fi http://www.erabuild.net

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Finland