LafargeHolcim Ltd. unit Holcim Deutschland formulated a series of high performance concretes for elements lining a 3.4-kilometer tunnel housing the world’s most powerful X-ray laser. Located near Hamburg, Germany, the European XFEL generates extremely intense X-ray flashes researchers from around the world use to map atomic details of viruses, film chemical reactions, and study the processes in the interior of planets.
|TUNNEL PHOTO: European XFEL
Holcim Deutschland produced specialized concrete for the extensive underground tunnel system, including easy-to-pump, heavy mixes for radiation shields and underwater placement. LafargeHolcim engineers developed additional mixes meeting European XFEL contractor requirements for reduced content of aluminum, natrum, silica and magnesium—common in portland cement and concrete but potentially interfering with highly sensitive measurements in the tunnel. Some concrete mixes required the use of special limestone chippings to attain particularly low silica levels.
LafargeHolcim and its client carried out extensive chemical and physical tests for every concrete mix to ensure tunnel elements reach the highest performance levels. The producer also developed an integrated logistics solution for the European XFEL, ensuring material deliveries complied with strict traffic, dust and noise regulations. With its global research & development center in Lyon, France, and Switzerland staff and operations’ extensive tunneling expertise, LafargeHolcim is uniquely positioned to meet specifications of engineers and architects tackling technologically challenging projects across the globe.
THIBAULT HEADS FAMILIAR LAFARGEHOLCIM REGION
LafargeHolcim has elevated René Thibault from Western Canada chief executive officer to the post of Head Region North America and Executive Committee member. He succeeds Pascal Casanova, who is leaving the producer after serving as the charter head of post-merger Lafarge and Holcim businesses across North America. Thibault joined Lafarge Canada in 1989 and has held posts in Canada and France. He will be responsible for Aggregate Industries, Holcim and Lafarge businesses in the U.S. and Canada as part of a realignment that sees LafargeHolcim cement and downstream operations in Mexico brought under Region Latin America.
Concurrent with the Americas moves, LafargeHolcim has appointed Marcel Cobuz as Head Region Europe and Executive Committee member. He has held operational and executive roles in six countries since joining Lafarge Group in 2000, and succeeds Roland Köhler, a 24-year Holcim veteran transitioning to the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction chairmanship.
The LafargeHolcim Board cites adoption of “a more market-focused and agile management organization,” under which the 30 largest country organizations will directly report to the Executive Committee, to be reduced from 10 to nine members. Global Performance & Cost and Growth & Innovation functions will be merged into a new corporate department, Growth & Performance, enabling the company to build a more nimble platform for “Best Demonstrated Practice.” Heading Growth & Performance will be Performance & Cost chief Urs Bleisch, who will remain on the Executive Committee.
“Establishing a market-focused management organization is an important step towards generating an attractive growth profile and taking the company to its next level of performance,” says LafargeHolcim CEO Jan Jenisch. “Strengthening of the profit and loss responsibility of the countries and simplification of global business functions will create a leaner operating model. Countries will be fully empowered and accountable for market strategies, cost discipline and results. The new organization will be complemented by a strengthened performance management system focusing on growth, cash conversion, capital efficiency and people development.”