Tag Archives: Swiss culture
Day 2 & 3 passed in a blink of an eye…..
The 2nd day of Sika concrete experience started with a lovely sunny morning. Oliver picked us up for an hour road journey to Kichberg where a Sika admixtures plant is located at. We met Walter there and he explained the production of concrete admixtures from raw materials to the final products ready to be transported throughout Switzerland. We were quite impressed with the automated approach that has enabled such a scale to operate by less than 10 crews.
In the afternoon, we headed back to Sika BU concrete office in Zurich and worked on SCC mix design. It was quite a bit of a challenge as we have to strike the balance between targeted performance and the cost incurrence. The software developed by Sika came handy but the mix design for SCC does require understanding on the individual material properties and their relationships in the composition. It was a good exercise as we realise the difficulties in hindsight. Credit to Oliver for sharing his technical know-how in this.
We then went to Widen and had a tour in Aliva-Sika workshop where all the fabrication and manufacturing of Sika machines such as pumps, dosing units, concrete spraying systems and etc are taking place. In fact, before this, I did not know that Sika is producing mechanical products. These guys in Aliva can virtually fabricate all sorts of part that would meet the clients’ requirements. Brilliant. The day was ended with a gratifying moment at typical Swiss dinner.
This morning (3rd Day), we went to the Weinberg tunnel project site in Zurich with Juerg. It was an interesting and a challenging job site as it is located below a dense part of Zurich. Among many other major constraints for this project were the tunnel passage under Limmat river and the logistics for burrow materials. Essentially impermeable concrete is required and no prize for guessing which company plays this pivotal role. Thanks Andreas for the insight!
From the SCC mix design that we came out yesterday, we finally have the chance to test it at the laboratory in the afternoon. The first trial was lack of cohesiveness and the flow slump was slightly lower than what we have expected. We made an adjustment by adding more water and superplasticizer (Viscocrete 25MP) which had yielded better outcome. The density of the fresh concrete that we got was relatively good and it also indicates the self-compacting was working. Oliver was kind enough to demonstrate the use of Sika stabilizer admixture that improves the characteristics of SCC when it is really necessary.
We’ve got our free time for the evening and we have arrived at a common consensus to dine in an Italian restaurant and had a couple of drinks. Its pretty late and I have to stop for now as we have to get up early tomorrow for a trip to Lucerne. Good night :)
This year’s Sika’s concrete experience is in the mid point, having spent 4 days already in Zurich and getting to know the company a bit more. Tuesday was quite an interesting day, we got to see first hand how sika products were made in the Kirchberg admixture plant. It was very astonishing to see how the final product is made, even though there isn’t many people, lots of machines are working thoroughly to complete the production goal, which is set daily by the plant manager. Later on, we had a chance to work a bit on our mix design calculation at Sika’s Concrete BU headquarters. In the evening we took a short trip to the Aliva machine factory, which is part of Sika. There we had a chance to take a look on how such machines as simple concrete dosification pumps, to huge shotcrete machines were asembled.
On Wednesday we took a trip to the Weinberg tunnel construction site, where we were given a short presentation of the whole project and afterwards had a tour of the tunnel section, which is partially finished. Actually this day was the last day to see the waterproofing membrane in place, because by Thursday all the sections of the tunnel would be covered with concrete. After this amazing trip, we headed back to Sika where we made a Self Compacting Concrete with Sika Viscocrete. I can’t say we had the best results on our first try, but after making some adjustments and maybe using a bit of Sika Stabilizer, we managed to get quite a good concrete in my opinion.
So as you can see, our days have been packed with lots of interesting information as well as lots of hands on experience :) . I am looking forward for the last two days, which promise to be as interesting if not more than the first ones.
Today we visited the Weinberg Tunnel site. It was an interesting and difficult project from Geotechnical Enginering point of view, especially from my side.
First of all, they are going to build an underground station under an 200 year old train station structure without any deformation. This is a really though job, since water table is vey high. Due to the limited space of construction, top-down construction style is chosen.
Additionally, you have to construct a tunnel which must pass under a Limmat river. So, you have to be very carefull for providing water-tightness. As a summary it was very valuable experince for me to inspect such a project that close. I strongly recommend my colleques to inspect and check this huge project if they have a chance.
By this way I strongly thank to the responsible site manager for his guidence through the site visit and valuable information that he gave us. for more info:
Finaly, we made our SCC samples at SIKA with Oliver. Through his valuable advices we found a chance to prepare different SCC reciepes and observed the reactions by changing the concrete ingridents.
We also tried our samples by SIKA ViscoCrete, and prepapre our samples. It was very educational. :))
The Sika Concrete experience started today at the BU concrete’s office where we received warm welcome from the affable staffs of Sika. We were given a quick overview on the company history and its operations through presentation slides from Juerg. The company makes a lot of progress since its inception 100 years ago, no doubt about it. We then moved to technical discussions especially on the self-compacting concrete (SCC) and it followed by a tour to the laboratory where we got to see a fraction of superplasticizer power produced excellent flowability and virtually no vibration or whatsoever required after the placement of SCC. Amazing invention to facilitate the casting of concrete in difficult conditions (Like the thin concrete wall of prison toilet :p ).
The rest of the day was spent on the introduction of concrete mix design software that we will be using tomorrow before we get our hands on the concrete ingredients. The day was concluded with Zurich city tour and dinner with Juerg and Oliver. Thanks guys :)
Monday went really fast for me; I barely woke up this morning to meet the guys for breakfast since I’m still suffering from a bit of “Jet lag”, but somehow I managed to get up. Later on we met Juerg at the reception and after a quick introduction we were on our way to Sika’s Concrete BU where we met some of the people who made our experience possible and to which we are very grateful. We had a brief presentation on Sika’s history and a guided tour of the facilities here in Zurich which I thought were very interesting and impressive. We also took a first glance on what we will be working on the next few days; “Concrete Mix Design for Self Compacting Concrete”. Afterwards we headed downtown for a quick walk and had dinner with Juerg and Oliver. I had a great experience today, not only did I learn impressive things about concrete products but also I learned a lot about Swiss culture.
Sika’s Concrete Team is ready to welcome Enrique, Alex and Serkan today to the Sika Experience 2011! We are looking forward to welcoming the winning three young students from Mexico, Malaysia and Turkey this morning to a full week packed with lots of insights, applied know-how and also adventures in the concrete world! We are ready, let’s get started!
P.S. Feel free to comment the blogposts!
Finally the day has arrived; it’s time to start the Sika Concrete Experience. I have said bye to my country and welcomed this new adventure in Zurich. I arrived early in the morning this Sunday after flying 9 hours straight from Atlanta, US and 12 in total from Guadalajara, MX. At the airport I met up with Alex, one of the other participants and after asking around a bit we found our way to the hotel, traveling by train. Luckily our hotel is just one block away from Zurich HB so it wasn’t hard to find. After checking in and catching some rest we went out to the station’s plaza in search for some food, which was not an easy task for two foreigners with no idea of Swiss cuisine. After a while we managed to grab something to catch a bite on and went on for a little walk on the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street, but unfortunately most of the stores were closed. Even though it’s only been a day, I am impressed with the friendliness of the citizens of Zurich, they kindly offer to help and everybody speaks English so it’s easy to get around.
At the moment we are back in the hotel waiting for the 3rd participant to arrive and hopefully get some dinner. Tomorrow we will be meeting up with the Staff at Sika, so I am really looking forward to it.