Law of attraction: Magnetic formwork systems increase efficiency

The precast industry is ever evolving with producers looking for more efficient ways to increase production, save money, simplify processes and create consistent and great looking finishes. Variables such as using the correct admixture, proper type of release agent, and an effective formwork system are important components to achieve these desired results.

Sideforms butted against each other on the outside of the formwork. The internal formwork is easily created using a miter saw to cut the sideforms to size.
Nox iii

Cross section shows Spartan Sideform’s reinforced internal structure. Engineers have made simplicity the key in the system, which can be deployed with an Allen wrench to swap out adapter plates, plus the capping removal tool.
Nox ii

Magnetic precast formwork innovations such as the Spartan Formwork System comprise magnets and corresponding aluminum sideforms as well as various accessories. One advantage to aluminum sideforms is reusability. These durable forms can be reused time after time, which eliminates the cost of replacing worn wood between pours as well as being more environmentally friendly. Shipped in 19-ft. sections, the sideforms come can be butted up next to each other or cut, depending on the required dimensions.

Spartan sideforms feature PVC caps that can be interchanged with other types of caps to incrementally increase sideform height by either ½ inch or ¾ inch, or change from a square to chamfer edge profile. In addition, a replaceable rubber base seal helps prevent concrete bleed water seepage plus the material and labor costs associated with having to apply and remove the silicone used with other types of sideforms. If there is unevenness or wear on the steel table the rubber base seal will compensate for the difference and maintain a tight seal.

Using a magnetic formwork system also has the advantage of not damaging expensive steel tables by eliminating the need to weld or bolt sideforms, which leads to labor and costs tied to restoring the table’s smooth surface when a different configuration is required.


Magnet clamps such as the Titan impart the advantage of being able to quickly set up, move and adjust formwork on a steel table. If minor adjustments need to be made to the formwork, crews simply set the magnet to the semi-engaged setting; the magnet can then be moved precisely while still managing to hold its position. When fully engaged the lightweight magnets have a pulldown force of 3,968 lbs. and a shear force or load resistance up to 1,054 lbs.—made possible with the aid of a rubber skirt on the bottom of the magnet. Because of the strength of the internally braced aluminum sideforms, only one magnet is required for every 6 feet of 6- to 8-in. sideforms or every 5 feet for 10- and 12-in. sideforms.

Special features have been incorporated into the Spartan system to make clean up easier and ensure its longevity. In addition to the magnet’s housing being made from a non-stick glass reinforced plastic, a rubber flap was incorporated to protect the handle from concrete splatter. Sideforms are epoxy powder coated to ensure a smooth surface that can easily be cleaned when necessary with the Spartan Capping Removal Tool.

Patrick Linn is responsible for Precast Sales at Nox-Crete Products Group, Omaha, Neb., and can be reached at 800/669-2738 or 402/341-2080, or [email protected]