Timed during World of Concrete 2012 in Las Vegas, construction materials giant Cemex S.A.B. de C.V. announced the launch of its latest ready-mixed concrete brand, Hidratium, to the global marketplace. Following the availability of the rapid-hardening concrete product Promptis in April 2011, Hidratium marks the second time the company has offered a ready-mixed product on a worldwide scale. The special concrete with self-curing properties is already being sold in France, Ireland, Mexico, Poland and Guatemala, and is ready to be produced in the Czech Republic, Germany, UAE, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Spain and China.
Hidratium’s self-curing properties are achieved through a combination of distinctive mix design principles and proprietary admixtures to provide advantages such as: replacement of external curing; elimination of plastic shrinkage cracking and reduction of long-term shrinkage by at least 50 percent; reduction of water evaporation by about 80 percent; reduction of construction time by roughly 30 percent; production of dust-free surfaces; no post-casting repairs required; and increase in the durability of concrete structures.
Hidratium was developed by the Cemex Research Group AG in Switzerland in collaboration with the Cemex Cement and Ready Mix Technology Center in Mexico. “As a global leader in ready-mixed concrete, Cemex offers an innovative concrete technology that is designed to enable our customers to avoid extra investment of time as well as money to maintain adequate levels of moisture and attain the maximum performance of the concrete,” said Davide Zampini, head of Cemex Research Group.
In an interview at World of Concrete with Concrete Products, Zampini added that Cemex’s introduction of products meant to be sold globally is a strategy the company has been moving toward for some time. “You have to be able to industrialize a new concrete product and go against the regionally driven business,” he explains. “Cemex is adapting a communication and social networking structure that can facilitate a new platform of promotion and collaboration between different parts of the company. A series of brochures, videos and other marketing materials has been developed that can be edited for the different markets. Since we don’t make our own admixtures, we don’t look at this as marketing technology, but marketing knowledge.
“In research and development, we need to work on technology that can incorporate raw materials from all over the world. With Hidratium, we generated a family of admixtures for different types of markets and properties to suit each culture. The resulting concrete is tolerant to poor curing conditions, making the construction process more labor efficient since there is no separate or external curing. The process also conserves water, saves money—since there is no chemical curing necessary—and there is no dust generated.”
Zampini added that Cemex initially began working on the idea of a self-curing concrete in 2007. Once the company had the process mapped out, it worked closely testing it with operatives in the field, primarily in France and Ireland, and developing its own tests to gauge the effectiveness of the materials and process. “Before the launch, we spent one year evaluating the admixtures in various products and did a great deal of fine tuning,” he says.
As far as a U.S. release of Hidratium, Zampini did not offer any specific timeframe, but did say that through licensing or production agreements, “We’ll get it out there.”