Marking 35 years in operation in 2006, precast panel manufacturer Fabcon, based in Savage, Minn., attributes its longevity to the leveraging of technology to continuously improve energy efficiency and design flexibility for commercial construction.
Marking 35 years in operation in 2006, precast panel manufacturer Fabcon, based in Savage, Minn., attributes its longevity to the leveraging of technology to continuously improve energy efficiency and design flexibility for commercial construction. From its start in 1971 as a single concrete manufacturing facility, the company has expanded to a four-plant operation fabricating more than 16 million square feet of concrete product annually for customers in North America. Today, company officials note, Fabcon helps businesses construct attractive and energy-efficient facilities quickly and cost effectively.
Dissatisfied with local precast producers, David Hanson, a former Spancrete executive, and Gerald Rauenhorst, founder and president of Opus Corp., established a plant in Savage, Minn., thereby creating Fabcon, one of the first companies to brand a prestressed hollow-core wall panel. Currently, Fabcon continues to cast concrete panels using its original process of pouring panels on moving beds that circulate among stationary equipment. The process allows Fabcon to cast customized panels in a quality-controlled environment as it provides maximum production flexibility, allowing the company to service national customers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target and Wal-Mart.
Fabcon’s technological innovations have been gained through decades of experience. For instance, the producer optimized the structure and capabilities of precast wall panels by adding insulating foam within the panels. Today, VersaCore and VersaCore Plus help improve heating and cooling efficiencies by as much as 30 percent and remove limitations on specifying door and window openings. Additionally, notes Fabcon President and CEO Mike Le Jeune, Through our technological investments, we’ve lightened our panels from 65 pounds per square foot to 50 pounds per square foot, without any decrease in strength or stability.
Under Le Jeune’s leadership, Fabcon has more than doubled its construction capacity over the past decade. In 1995, the company acquired the American Precast Co. and plants in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. In 2000, Fabcon expanded again with its fourth facility near Allentown, Pa. Based on 25-plus years’ experience working with the construction industry, Le Jeune predicts an ever-growing demand for precast wall panels.