INSEE Cement takes giant step to bring innovation to industry

Monday, 2 December 2019 00:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Dr. Moussa Baalbaki explaining about the functionality of Durability Space at INSEE i2i Collaboration Space



Dr. Moussa Baalbaki demonstrating the functionality of Aggregate Space at INSEE i2i Collaboration Space


  • The new i2i Collaboration Space to boost Sri Lanka’s construction industry


The leading provider of cement in the country, INSEE Cement Sri Lanka, has created a commendable milestone in its corporate journey by introducing an i2i (innovation to industry) open collaboration space to upgrade the national construction industry.

This is a timely initiative to meet emerging needs in a market that is changing rapidly with academics and professional bodies moving toward performance based designs. Young engineers are also becoming proficient in learning best practices. INSEE Cement was quick to identify that the industry must standardise and uplift the local industry practices and focused on promoting innovative performance based solutions by offering its Superior blended cement portfolio.  The initiative was a team work that took 18 months from concept to completion. 

INSEE Cement Marketing, Sales and Innovation Executive Vice President Jan Kunigk pointed out that innovation is important to the company. He said, “As a market leader it is our corporate responsibility to provide training and a knowledge space for new concepts, innovation and share our best practices with the industry stakeholders such as young academics, developers, designers, engineers, masons, building constructors, and yes, even our competitors.”

He further elaborated: “It is noteworthy that our i2i initiative will provide an open Collaboration Space that would be available for everyone related to the industry. They can use the space for developing innovative and sustainable concrete and cement based solutions products, share, learn and do testing. Our specialised functional spaces provide more than 40 different types of test modules for the industry. Out of 40 tests we offer, around 15 are new to the industry and to the  construction market and over 10 are comprehensive in leading industrial perspectives.”

As a result, INSEE Cement’s new sustainable and more efficient product and solutions portfolio will go beyond traditional Ordinary Portland cement and concrete designs. More importantly, the initiative will help to reduce carbon emission by reducing the total clinker factor per tonne of cementitious material manufactured. As an example, the Company’s innovative product solution, pervious concrete is today considered a green product. 

The newly launched i2i Collaboration Space is designed to operate from Monday to Saturday as a walk-in-space comprising a laboratory, auditorium, sitting and working space benefitting university students, young engineers, influencers and architects who could use the facility as a learning space bringing innovation to the construction industry. The different specialised spaces will provide opportunity to prototype and test lively innovative ideas to assess their in-built concrete performance to assure successful market launch. 

The INSEE i2i initiative will be led by INSEE Cement Sri Lanka Head of Product and Solutions Portfolio Dr Moussa Baalbaki, who reiterated “Our aim is to become the leader in providing innovative and efficient sustainable solutions based on Superior Blended Cements.”

Dr Baalbaki further said, “Overall i2i would provide space to develop and promote new products and solutions for the building and construction industry and encourage open discussion and knowledge sharing.  INSEE i2i Collaboration space will also function as an Information library to promote advanced concrete technology via mentoring and coaching by our experts at INSEE.”

Speaking at the media tour at i2i Collaboration Spaces, Jan Kunigk said: “The world is facing several environmental, economic, and social challenges. Our future depends on sustainable solutions driving resources efficiency that improve our lives. As a leading cement manufacturer INSEE is focused on producing sustainable business development models based on the triple bottom line.” 

Elaborating further he said: “Being the first recognised low carbon emission cement product of Sri Lanka, we have proved that INSEE is always the leader in protecting our environment through our Superior Blended Cement product portfolio such as Sanstha and Mahaweli Marine Plus cement, as well as by our waste management business of INSEE Ecocycle. Recently we were awarded two Gold Awards at the Presidential Environment Awards 2019. One was for our Puttalam Cement Plant and the other for our Ecocycle Pre-processing plant in Katunayake in recognition of our contribution to environmental conservation.”  INSEE i2i comprises a range of valuable Collaboration Spaces. One is Durability Space with advanced testing method that provides key durability indicators used in service life modelling for different exposure conditions for the design of concrete structure with service life over 75 years. Two, Chemistry and Rheology Space will assess fresh concrete properties in order to assure higher ‘in-built concrete quality’ that go beyond the traditional ‘slump and setting time tests.’  Another is Aggregate Space. The construction industry is facing scarcity of quality aggregates such as, river sand.  Most Ready-Mix operations are using manufactured sand, quarry dust or sea sand. Therefore, this space will provide a holistic approach to assess quality of such aggregates, especially on indicators such as clay contamination and particles shape. Four is Strength and Wet Space. Specialised tests have been introduced to the Strength and Wet Space to design, produce and test sustainable high-performance concrete. A compressive strength machine that allows to design up to 180 MPa which is double the existing strength standard practices in Sri Lanka. A state-of-the-art Swiss technology – Non- Destructive Test (NDT) that can be used up to 130 MPa for ‘In-built Structure’. This is also double that of the currently existing equipment capacity in Sri Lanka.  A new grinding machine to assure adequate surface preparations before testing is another benefit. It is important to assure centricity of the compressive load during testing of cube or cylinder when testing high strength concrete. Therefore, INSEE i2i has included the new grinding machine for strength testing. 

The initiative has brought in a new Cementometer. One of the main challenges in the operations is to assure an accurate ‘Water to Cement Ratio’ when producing concrete. New Cementometer operates based on micro waves to estimate the real water to cement ratio of a fresh concrete and even more, the moisture condition of sand and aggregate.  Finally, Knowledge Sharing space – Every last Thursday of the month INSEE will continue to conduct knowledge sharing sessions at the new i2i Collaborative Space.  Knowledge sharing sessions were introduced by INSEE in collaboration with the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) 18 months ago, every session benefitting about 100 to 150 persons from the ‘industry community’ to share the experience and allow fast knowledge transfer to the Sri Lankan construction industry and seamlessly connect to different stakeholders in an informal environment. 

There are many advanced products and services available in the global cement market and i2i will be a collaborative knowledge hub that promotes sustainable, environmentally friendly products and solutions, to fast track and elevate the local building materials industry to best international standards strengthening INSEE Cement’s vision of building the nation and build for life.