Technology has made tremendous progress over recent decades. Development is welcome and it is needed: there has never in human history been so much wealth as now. However, as everyone knows, there is a downside to it – environmental overload. In spite of being aware of this, we have forgotten the environmental impact and the pace of development is too fast; we can see and feel the pollution in every major city across the world.
It is important to recognize that ambitious objectives and projects for the environment are not the only means to make a difference. It is possible to reduce emissions and the toll on the environment in day to day activities, also without compromising quality, efficiency, or economy. Eco-innovations hold the potential to create small changes, which have a big impact. This is exactly what Peikko has done. Peikko has successfully reduced steel waste by a million kilograms – every year. A million kilograms of steel produces approximately 1.83 million kilograms of CO2. This amount of CO2 would be the same as driving an average car for eight years without stopping once or meeting the energy needs of an average house for 141 years.
No More Waste
Let's have a look at the background information. Peikko's DELTABEAM® is a slim floor system, which forms the composite structure between the steel beam and cast concrete. Due to this combined effect, DELTABEAM® is a light, compact, and cost-efficient structural solution, which allows for long spans. The web holes on the sides of each DELTABEAM® in turn generate this composite effect where the best properties of both materials can be utilized. The plates left over from the web holes caused considerable waste, as Peikko had no use for circular steel plates. As DELTABEAM® became more popular, the amount of waste from the web holes increased, so innovation was truly needed.
Simo Peltonen, Product Development Manager, DELTABEAM®, remembers that in the early days of DELTABEAM®, a small amount of web plates was used to make yellow wall clocks, nowadays considered as classics, as corporate gifts.
“However, the majority of the plates from the holes were scrapped. Waste is never good, so we at Peikko decided it was time to come up with improvement ideas”, he says.
Kari Tuominen, at that time working as a Product Development Director and now as a Business Director of Wind Turbine Foundations, came up with the idea of using the circular plates left over from DELTABEAM® holes in free movement joints as shear dowels.
“The shape and the good load transfer capacity of the plates were perfectly suited for use in free movement joints: they allow for horizontal movement and prevent vertical dislocation. Utilizing web holes reduces waste and is better for the environment as well as for Peikko,” explains Kari Tuominen.
From Scrapped Steel to Innovation
Peikko's free movement joints are designed to enable horizontal movement and prevent cracking of concrete floors. Reinforcement is suited for all large bay methods used in foundation and pile supported concrete floors.
In addition to reducing waste, utilizing web holes in free movement joints is a good solution also from the technology point of view. Simo Peltonen says that the circular form is particularly good because it allows for horizontal movement in both directions. According to Peltonen, the demand for plates generated from the web holes has been considerable. “If I remember correctly, at some stage there was even a shortage of circular plates; not enough of them were being produced at the DELTABEAM® factory in Lahti.”
Without imaginative innovation, almost one million kilograms of steel from the European DELTABEAM® production would still end up scrapped yearly. As buildings represent about 40% of global energy consumption and 30 to 40 percent of all waste creation, we need more innovations like this. A future in which no one has to worry about environmental problems would really be one of the best legacies we could pass on to future generations.