To broaden the availability of knowledge about concrete and concrete equipment to the public and industry, brick, block and paving machinery supplier Pan Mixers South Africa (PMSA) will build a training centre behind its showroom, which was launched in Boksburg last month.
“We want to teach clients about the technology of the machinery and plan on offering a range of courses throughout the year. We would, ultimately, like to offer a course a week,” he says.
PMSA sales and marketing manager Quintin Booysen notes that the closing of the Cement and Concrete Institute (C&CI), which officially closed its doors at the end of April, will leave a gap in the industry, although a new nonprofit company is being established to offer vital concrete technology services to the construction industry.
“The reduction of funding by C&CI to the Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) last year also had an impact on the CMA, a group of manufacturers producing concrete products, of which PMSA is a member.”
The reduction of funding by C&CI has led to the partial downsizing of the CMA because the association was partially funded by the C&CI and the cut- backs resulted in the association having to move to a new premises.
“We did not expect the C&CI to close, but it has made us realise that we need to be more in control of our own information – PMSA cannot always rely on outsourced information and technology,” Booysen says.
“Our new showroom is made out of concrete. The C&CI was housed in a clay brick building, which is a direct competitor to the concrete industry. Our building is constructed almost entirely out of concrete. Starting an industry-specific training centre is a definite idea for the future,” he adds.
The two-storey 700 m2 showroom also houses the company’s sales and marketing offices.
Booysen expects the PMSA showroom to set a trend in the local cement and concrete industry, as the entire building is constructed almost entirely from concrete used in new ways, displaying the different colours and textures concrete offers.
“The minimalistic building dispels the common misconception that concrete is cold and grey and used mainly for industrial purposes,” he says, adding that the company aims to shatter the public’s perception of the uses of concrete.The showroom flooring was completed with HTC Superfloor, an easy-to-maintain polished concrete flooring system that provides shine and durability for the floor surface using a range of HTC floor grinding machines and accessories.
“The walls are made out of concrete bricks and blocks; everything else is made out of coloured concrete. The beauty of concrete lies on the inside, which is why we grind through the top layer of concrete with a polishing and grinding machine to expose what lies underneath,” states Booysen.
He adds that PMSA’s main objective is to show architects, engineers and contractors that a polished precast concrete panel can serve as a stylish and modern finish in a home, office or shopping environment, while serving as a structural element.
“Polished concrete provides benefits that include an easy-to-clean surface and a reduction in the amount of electricity consumed, owing to the panels reflecting more light into the building,” Booysen says.
He points out that the PMSA showroom is also environment friendly and its daily use requires minimal maintenance and energy.
“HTC Superfloor has a lower installation and lifetime cost, compared with tradi- tional products such as epoxy flooring and tiling. The entire building is fitted with acoustic and thermal insulation ceilings to ensure that the structure is cool in summer and warm in winter, thereby further reducing energy costs and unnecessary energy waste,” he explains.
Booysen adds that the showroom will also play a major role in highlighting the capabilities of PMSA’s range of concrete equipment and associated technology, as well as its technical support and after-sales service capabilities.
“Customers will be able to touch and feel the products we offer, in addition to directly interacting with our various sales engineers, who are specialists in their specific product lines,” he continues, adding that by having all the divisions centralised in one location, PMSA can provide a comprehensive customer service offering on site.
The showroom was first conceptualised by PMSA management in mid-2011, with construction beginning one year later.
“A lot of thought and effort went into the concept of the showroom before construction began. Using a limited budget, we have created a structure that has been worth all the effort that everybody has put in.
“Having finally achieved our goal, I am confident that we will inspire various contractors, engineers and architects to use coloured, decorative and polished concrete more efficiently in the future,” Booysen concludes.