Nailing their colours to the mast
As the concrete mixer slowly rotates, we can hear knocking, rattling and bumping. Passing before our eyes at regular intervals over and over again, we see three colours: blue, grey and black. These colours appear on thedrum of the cement mixer, combined with a vibrant red — a colour that is carried through to the cab of the DAF CF Construction. The noise from the motor suddenly increases, as does the speed. The drum begins to rotate faster and the colours begin to merge into one another.
The red is now the only distinguishable colour. Then we hear a 'clacking' sound and the concrete flows out of the mixer and into a mobile pump with a large boom. From here, the concrete will be routed to the fifth floor of a building that is currently under construction at the fish market in Kiel. After a few minutes, the 8.5 cubic metres of concrete has disappeared into the building. The drum returns to rotating slowly and the three colours, which together with the red create the corporate identity of Thomas Beton, once again become distinguishable. "For us, red represents the passion that all our staff bring to their work, producing excellent, high-quality products for our customers", says B. Rainer Brings, Managing Director of Thomas Beton in Germany. "The red connects the blue, grey and black, and the position of the colours is designed to represent the mixing process."
Production m3 (mln)
At Thomas Beton, black is associated with the various additional materials that are added to the products. Employees in the R&D department strive continuously to create the perfect formulation for each customer, using a stock of 2000 existing formulae as the basis. They are constantly developing new mixes that cater for the specific features of a building and customer's needs. Grey represents the end product — the concrete and the numerous special products that the company produces in every conceivable variant and about which, Thomas Beton staff can provide customers with tailored advice. The blue is intended to represent some very special properties. Brings explains that blue is not just about the purity and the clarity of the water: "For us, blue also represents sustainability. That starts with the composition of our products and extends to the vehicles that are part of our fleet." When producing its concrete formulations, the company always ensures the greatest possible sustainability.
"We are continuously searching for alternative binders, especially given that in the cement factory, the highest production of CO2 occurs during cement
production", says Brings. In order to operate as CO2 neutrally as possible, Thomas Beton uses multiple flat stages. And in the US, the company is looking into options for mixing CO2 with the concrete, in order to make the concrete stronger. In addition, during the course of its lifecycle, concrete reabsorbs from the environment approximately 20% of the CO2 created during production.
The company also recycles its old construction materials. Chunks of concrete can be used as a partial filler in the production of new concrete, or as a structural layer in road construction.
The new DAF CF Construction is another important element of the strategy for ensuring enhanced sustainability. This DAF vehicle consumes almost ten litres less diesel in urban traffic than other brands. Its lower weight is a factor here. "We can convey 8.5 cubic metres of concrete using the DAF vehicle. That figure is only between six and eight cubic metres using our other trucks", explains Dirk Nickelsen, Fleet Manager at Thomas Beton. Fewer trips are required as result, which in turn has a positive effect on the CO2 balance sheet.
The new DAF vehicles also help Thomas Beton to achieve another of its objectives — ergonomic placement of the instruments and a comfortable work environment in the vehicle, boost employee motivation. One employee who enjoys using the new vehicle is Thomas Weber. "I am part of a large and reliable team of 97 professional drivers, and I have the opportunity to drive a brand new comfortable cement mixer from DAF", says Weber. "There is no jolting or creaking — the DAF is wonderfully quiet", he adds. It's amazing to think that Thomas Beton's decision to start using DAF vehicles was really just a coincidence. "It was a year ago that the DAF dealer persuaded us to test drive a DAF, and we are still so pleasantly surprised by the vehicle that we are already in talks about acquiring more", says Nickelsen. It was last summer that the company's fleet was expanded to include two DAF CF 410 FAD 8x4 Construction models. The vehicles comprise a DAF chassis with a Day Cab and a 410-hp MX-11 engine.
The automated 12-speed TraXon transmission delivers smooth gear shifting. "If the saying that 'first impressions last' turns out to be true, it's definitely feasible that DAF trucks could replace one of the otherbrands in our fleet", says the Fleet Manager. The collaboration with Putzmeister is also nicely on track. The construction manufacturer is responsible for mounting the drum, featuring the Thomas Beton colours on the chassis.
For Thomas Concrete Group AB, with operations in Sweden, Norway, Poland and the United States, sustainability is an important corporate objective. The Swedish parent company even publishes a sustainability report stating that it produces low-CO2 products. This strategy also applies to the 26 Thomas Beton factories in Germany, which are located in the German states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony. The company's portfolio includes the production and sale of high-quality concretes for all business types within the building and construction industry. The company provides its customers with advice and technical support and also manufactures and transports the concrete for them. It has set itself the objective of being "the best company in the industry".
He drives wonderfully quiet
Dirk Nickelsen, Fleet Manager
We can convey 8.5 cubic metres of concrete using the DAF vehicle.
That figure is only between six and eight cubic metres using our other trucks"
B. Rainer Brings,
Managing Director Thomas Beton Deutschland
"For us, red represents the passion that all our staff bring to their work,
producing excellent, high-quality products for our customers."