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CONSTRUCT Concrete Structures Group visit Invisible Connections

We were delighted to welcome Ian Burnett, General Manager for CONSTRUCT Concrete Structures Group to our Oxfordshire site.

CONSTRUCT represents circa 80% of UK concrete frame contractors and is dedicated to improving the safety and efficiency of building in-situ concrete frames and associated structures. Invisible Connections has been a CONSTRUCT member for six years. As part of the concrete frame community, Invisible Connections values its membership of this proactive trade association.

The site visit included a tour of the factory floor. As well as our innovative telescopic connectors for supporting precast concrete elements, Invisible Connections is the specialist manufacturer of FERBOX reinforcement continuity system, to application requirements.

CONSTRUCT Concrete Structures Group visit Invisible Connections

Derek Brown, MD of Invisible Connections (left) and Ian Burnett, GM of CONSTRUCT Concrete Structures Group (right)

Designed to maintain structural continuity across construction joints in reinforced concrete structures, FERBOX reinforcement continuity system offers a key advantage over off the shelf systems: it is made-to- measure, which means there is no cutting or wastage on the contractor’s site and site workers are not exposed to the safety risks associated with cutting tools. Strict quality control is in place to ensure that each component is supplied as specified.

FERBOX bespoke reinforcement continuity system

FERBOX bespoke reinforcement continuity system

Derek Brown, Managing Director of Invisible Connections talked through safety procedures and accuracy specification: all of which ensure that FERBOX meets the requirements of UK Cares technical approval.

Manufacturing FERBOX involves a mix of automated systems as well as hands-on fabrication. Initially, steel reels are automatically fed into machines which cut the steel reinforcement to shape and size. Operatives then cut and bend the steel into 2D U-bars before adding an additional bend to each leg of the U-bars, making them into 3D shapes.

 
Steel reels are fed into machines which cut steel reinforcement to shape and size

Steel reels are fed into machines which cut steel reinforcement to shape and size

FERBOX steel reinforcement sits inside galvanised steel cases, sized to suit the reinforcement shape and dimensions. To make the bespoke cases, flat steel panels are fed into a crimping machine which imprints a heavily indented pattern: it’s these indentations which provide a key for the concrete when cast and embedded into the concrete wall.

Fabricating the galvanised steel cases which house the steel reinforcement

Fabricating the galvanised steel cases which house the steel reinforcement

Machinery then folds these crimped sheets to form U shapes which are hole-punched to receive the steel reinforcement. Galvanised steel lids are also folded into U shapes and each lid receives a unique label, to inform contractors of exact positioning within the structure, as well as providing traceability data.

The steel reinforcement is then inserted through the pre-punched holes by operatives, who adjust the bars to ensure a perfect fit within the crimped cases.

Inserting the steel reinforcement through pre-punched holes and adjusting the bent bars to ensure a perfect fit within the case

Inserting the steel reinforcement through pre-punched holes and adjusting the bent bars to ensure a perfect fit within the case

Finally, the completed FERBOX reinforcement continuity system is palletised, wrapped and labelled – ready for despatch and delivery, normally on a just-in-time basis.

FERBOX palletised, wrapped and labelled - ready for despatch and delivery

FERBOX palletised, wrapped and labelled – ready for despatch and delivery

We’d like to thank Ian for taking the time to visit us in Thame and look forward to engaging with CONSTRUCT and other members at future events.

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