/ Innovation

Building on a century of research

Innovation at Consolis is firmly grounded in its long tradition of research, which stretches back a century.

Today’s multi-level R&D programme is based on a model of open innovation, a concept whereby both internal and external ideas, as well as paths to market, are explored to ensure the advance of technology and innovation in the industry.
Our R&D team comprises architects, engineers, industrial designers and multidisciplinary researchers from five different countries.

Not only do we work to continually develop innovative materials and construction elements, but we also focus our efforts on project management, process improvement and collaborative partnerships with key industry bodies.

BIM – A Cornerstone in the Design-Build-Operate Process

Consolis has been using BIM (Building Information Modelling) and VDC (Virtual Design and Construction) since 2006. These leading technologies help us review and refine constructability issues early on in the design process. In addition to providing a clear vision of a building’s behaviour for operation and maintenance plans, BIM and VDC are also key for sustainable design, offering feedback on environmental characteristics such as material properties, energy performance and site disturbance. Following on from our current use of BIM 4D on many projects, our objective is to use BIM 5D for 50% of our projects by 2018, offering optimized design, planning and construction costs and calculation of the Total Cost of Ownership for our clients.

Using Digital Technology in Construction

As Consolis is convinced that the future of construction will involve digital technology on all levels, from design to materials used and processes, the Group has specific R&D programmes on digital technology. Consolis is thus able to:

  • Address the increasing demand for sophisticated designs
  • Set world-class standards for manufacturing operations and tighten dimension tolerances
  • Contribute to improving on-site work with less manual intervention
  • Develop digital features, connected objects and structural monitoring to better manage product lifecycle.
Pipe pusher

Ensure safer jointing of a pipeline.

A safer working environment by reducing the need for manual intervention while installing a pipeline.

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Pipe Pusher

Carousel technologies for precast concrete

Production at high cycle rates.

A carousel system for tunnel segment has been installed to produce at high cycle rates.

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Carousel technologies

Poly Robot

Win time cutting manhole bases.

Cut the formers to precise specification ready to create channels for each bespoke watertight base.

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Poly Robot

Customer partnerships through production site labs

Our teams take their research closer to our markets by developing solutions in partnership with customers in the countries where we operate. Our production site labs go far beyond routine quality control: they provide expertise in developing complex engineered concrete products.

Moreover, they can complete prototyping case studies based on the appropriate qualification tests on request. Our technical expertise is crucial to the success of technically complex and ambitious projects.

Combining sustainability with high performance

Consolis is constantly looking to enhance the strength, ductility and environmental sustainability of its concrete products. With this in mind, it manufactures concrete that is green, high-performance and even ‘smart’.

TermoDeck®

Energy efficient building solution.

Distribution of heating, cooling and ventilation through the channels of concrete hollow-core slabs.

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TermoDeck®

Build sustainable.

Building concept for small apartments. Lower construction costs. Reduces CO2 emissions with 30%.

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Strängbetong Studios™

Cost-effective building solution.

A building system for non-residential buildings with design flexibility, easy set-up and cost-effective.

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Bashallen®

Greener concrete

The key to making greener concrete is reducing the CO2 emissions generated to produce it. Consolis does this by using local and recycled aggregates, such as waste and used glass, which lowers both emissions related to the transport of materials and the manufacture of the concrete itself.

In addition to production of concrete Consolis has launched several energy-saving initiatives on its manufacturing sites. The Group’s Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) site in the south of France has been equipped with photovoltaic solar panels on the roof since 2012, giving rise to an annual production of 260 MW of energy (equivalent to the yearly consumption of electricity of 104 households) and a reduction of 23 tonnes of CO2.

Consolis Research & Development teams are currently studying various forms of nanotechnologies to assess their capacity for absorbing mono-nitrogen oxides from the atmosphere. This research is a closer step towards the integration of these specific technologies into concrete products used in infrastructure and building construction, to absorb atmospheric pollution.

High-performance concrete

Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) and Ultra-High Performance Fiber Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) are two examples of high-performance materials Consolis makes wide use of.

Both materials are lighter and stronger than traditional concrete, offering greater flexibility in construction.

Bonna Sabla, a Consolis subsidiary, took advantage of UHPFRC’s unique properties to supply products as varied as voussoirs, cantilever beams and latticework panels for Marseille’s striking and flamboyant MuCEM museum.

 

A new material with unique properties.

Flexible architectural and strong structural properties: build with structural fibre-reinforced concrete.

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UHPFRC

A protective and durable solution.

Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete solutions offer high structural integrity and fire-resistance.

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GFRC

A drain system suited for highways.

Best Innovation at The West Midlands Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation Awards 2019.

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Aqua-Slot™ Drain

Smart concrete

Consolis is continually pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation in services related to its concrete production and installation. Case in point is its use of smart concrete solutions, where the material itself contains microchips that allow it to communicate a wide range of information once installed. The chips can provide data such as the composition of the material used, date and time of a specific manufacturing process, installation procedures, reference numbers for wear parts such as joints and seals, and data on pre-installation quality checks.
Consolis incorporated radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips in its tunnel lining segments manufactured and installed in the metro tunnels in Rennes, France. The integration of RFID in the precast concrete segments enable communication of a wide range of information once the products are assembled and fully installed. The chips can provide datas such as the composition of the material used, date and time of a specific manufacturing process and quality checks, installation procedures, reference numbers for wear parts such as joints and seals, and data on pre-installation quality checks.

An example of a smart concrete solution offered in our rail activity is Smart Sleeper. By embedding optic fibre sensors in concrete rail sleepers, Consolis is able to determine more accurately, the effect of stress and other influencers on a sleeper, leading to a greater understanding of track behaviour.

 

Ensure monitoring and traceability.

A precast tunnel segment that contains RFID microchips collecting a wide range of information.

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Smart tunnel segments

More accurate, more durable.

A greater understanding of track behaviour by embedding optic fibre sensors in concrete sleepers.

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Smart sleeper

Robust and accurate monitoring.

SHM technology provides monitoring for large concrete structures, like grandstands.

 

Structural Health Monitoring