The Graphic Concrete manufacturing process is basically the same as with a fine exposed aggregate surface produced by a liquid retarder. A dry special retarder membrane is placed on the bottom of a mold, and concrete is cast on the membrane. The actual pattern on the surface of the concrete results from the contrast between the exposed and smooth concrete finish. There are different retarder strengths to choose from; which one to use depends on the concrete mix and casting conditions and has to be determined by testing.
All Graphic Concrete products and concrete recipes used need to be tested by the producer of the concrete in real production conditions using production size sample panels.
When casting smaller samples, you need to simulate your real production conditions as well as possible. For instance, place insulation on the top of the slab to increase the temperature and use normal timing between casting and compacting even if you make a small sample.
The membrane must be stored in a dry, warm space protected from sunlight, moisture, oil, dirt and dust.
Handle the membrane carefully to prevent wrinkles or creases.
When stored in its original package, the membrane can be used for one year from the production date.
Technology Training must be conducted prior to commercially using the Graphic Concrete technology. This helps ensure a high-quality end result and production efficiency.
The training includes trial castings as well as large scale production. Preferably the training will be conducted at the production facility by a certified trainer. Smaller initial tests can be carried out without training.
Sample slab production begins with cleaning the mold. The mould should have an even and clean surface. Even the smallest irregularities or contaminations on the mould surface will be visible on the concrete surface.
Use an industrial vacuum cleaner to remove all loose dust and sand particles. Do not use mold oil or release agents.
Press the membrane tightly against the surface of the mold table. As little air as possible should remain between the membrane and the table surface. When casting a small sample the membrane can be locked under the mold edges.
With larger samples the membrane should be free floating; cut slightly smaller than the mold on all sides in order to allow the membrane to flatten out as the concrete is cast on top and air pushes out from underneath the membrane.
Pour the concrete mix. When making a larger sample, start pouring from the middle and move outwards in order to allow the weight of the concrete to push out possible air from underneath the membrane.
Use external vibration for compacting the slab in the normal way. Use sufficient compacting time but keep it as short as possible. Self-compacting concrete may also be used.
After the concrete has cured, de-mould and remove the membrane. Pressure wash away the unset cement with water.
A graphic concrete surface can be sealed and anti-graffiti treated in a normal manner.
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