Recent Developments in Dry Mortar Technology in Europe


New Member
Recent Developments in Dry Mortar Technology
in Europe
Prof. Dr. Johann Plank
Chair for Construction Chemicals
Institute for Inorganic Chemistry
TU München
Lichtenbergstr. 4
85747 Garching

1. Introduction
Over the last years, the global dry-mix mortar production is increasing very fast and is approaching a volume of 100 mio. to. per year. This growth is mainly generated in countries such as e.g. Eastern Europe, Russia, Dubai and China where conventional, labor-intensive building technology converts to a more industrialized way of building, using premanufactured products such as dry mortars.
Dry mortars offer two main advantages: first, they reduce quality problems caused by improper mixing conditions on small job-sites; secondly, the allow to build much faster with ready-to-use, high performance products. In a booming construction economy such as China, the ability to build fast and at high quality is a critical one. This paper highlights some important aspects of dry-mix mortar technology and describes the current status of development in Europe.
2. The European Dry-Mix Mortar Industry
Similar to ready mix concrete, dry-mix mortar is produced in specially designed dry-mix mortar plants (see Fig. 1). By careful selection of specified raw materials, proper storage conditions and reliable, highly automatic blending processes, they provide homogeneous dry mortars with consistent quality.
A dry-mix mortar plant essentially consists of four parts: a number of silos with different volume sizes for raw material storage; an automatic, process controlled blending vessel which is fed pneumatically with raw materials; an automatic packaging unit, typically using a robot to stack and shrink-wrap valve-type sacks on wooden palets; and a huge storage area for finished product.
In Europe, dry mix mortar plants with capacities up to 0,5 mio. ton per year exist. The largest of its kind produces up to 20.000 bags per day. High output by automatic processes is one of the key factors for profitability of such a plant. To achieve this, ultra high speed blenders are 1
used (see Fig. 2). They achieve homogeneous blends of 1 ton in one batch within 3 minutes. This speed is matched by automatic packaging and stacking units (see Fig. 3). Typically, the entire process is controlled on-line from a control panel.
The concept of dry mix mortar was first developed in Europe in the 1960s. Thus, it is most advanced here. Almost half of the current global demand which for 2004 is estimated at 90 mio. mtons per year is produced in Europe [1].
The most important and high volume dry-mix mortar products produced in Europe are:
- Brick-Laying Mortar
- Renders and Plasters (interior and exterior)
- Tile Adhesives and Joint Grouts
- Floor Screeds, Self-Levelling Underlayments and Skim Coats
- External Insulation and Finishing Systems (EIFS)
- Powder Paints
- Patching and Repair Mortars