Weckenmann partner of precast factory modernization
In 2004, Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited (ITD), one of Thailand’s and Asia’s leading construction companies, introduced the country’s first modern automated factory for the production of precast concrete elements. Originally designed for manufacturing annually 40.000 social housing units as part of a large-scale housing programme by the government, the factory became one of the prototypes and origins of mass housing production in Thailand. 10 years following its highly successful launch, Italian-Thai Development Company Ltd. decided to implement vital steps to modernize its precast factory with one of Germany’s leading precast machinery and solutions providers Weckenmann Anlagentechnik GmbH & Co. KG.
A Unique Success Story
ITD’s roots reach back to a memorable beginning in 1954, when Thai national Dr. Chaijudh Karnasuta and Italian Giorgio Berlingieri in a joint operation salvaged five ships sunk in the Chao Phraya River, leading to a strong friendship between the two men. In 1958 they founded Italian-Thai Development Corporation Limited (ITD) as a small construction company with a capital of only 2 million Baht (ca. 50.000 EUR).
After the passing away of Giorgio Berlingieri in 1981, ITD has been under an all-Thai management led by the Karnasuta family members together with a strong team of competent Thai managers and engineers, who have been striving for the company’s vision: to be the leading contractor in South East Asia. In addition to the domestic market, ITD successfully has expanded overseas to numerous countries such as India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, the Philippines, Madagascar, Taiwan etc. Under its motto “Commitment, Reliability, Quality”, today the company with more than 28.000 employees follows nine major business activities:
Large Scale Building Projects
Pipelines and utility works
Highways and railways
Airports, ports, marine works (including the construction of the renowned Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok).
Dams, tunnels, power plants
Large scale building projects and the construction of highways and railways by far are the company’s most important fields of activity, both turnover and employee wise.
In order to support the building activities of the Company, ITD has developed a range of "in-house" capabilities including a turnkey design group to provide full architectural design services, precast concrete structural panel manufacture, precast concrete beam manufacture, and precast decorative panel manufacture.
The Precast Factory
The foundation of the company’s modern precast factory goes back to the beginning of the last decade when ITD was awarded the Baan Ua-Arthorn mass housing project by the National Housing Authority comprising of 5-storey condominium buildings, each unit ranging between 24 m² and 33 m². In order to be able to meet the high production demand of the project, with more than 40.000 units annually to be delivered, ITD decided to open a new era of precast production in Thailand by opting for a combined circulation line and battery mould production approach:
Pre-designed battery moulds, already then supplied by Weckenmann Anlagentechnik GmbH & Co. KG, were used for the production of tailor made interior walls, which were demoulded with two smooth surface sides and simply had to be installed at the construction site, without any further finishing works. Once the perfect concrete mixture had been accomplished and production was fine-tuned after a short trial period, the two battery moulds produced two cycles of high quality precast elements per day.
All remaining wall elements were produced on the new circulation line, which was unique for Thailand at its time. ITD proudly introduced the new project to the market in 2004: ”The factory is an advanced high capacity computer controlled precast concrete factory for the efficient production of all types of concrete precast elements. The manufacturing process includes advanced computer design and manufacturing techniques to ensure a precise fit at installation and the strength of the permanent structure.”
Keeping High Standards through Modernization
ITD mainly produces precast elements for its own company internal demand and not the open market, but the company’s management as part of its overall philosophy places utmost importance on high quality.
Therefore, after 10 years of successful operation, the company decided to exchange its existing formwork pallets for its circulation line operation through Weckenmann Anlagentechnik GmbH & Co. KG. “The supply of formwork pallets made of single high quality steel sheets in a very short delivery time, in combination with a good service through Weckenmann Germany and its local agent in Thailand, made us feel comfortable with our decision”, comments Chayanon Chalermchaichavalit, ITD precast factory manager.
In addition to improvements to the moulding quality, ITD also decided to undergo optimization works on individual machinery and control systems, which was also successfully carried out by Weckenmann Anlagentechnik GmbH & Co. KG and personal visits through the experts from the company’s integrated control system department. Torsten Patyk, Head of the Weckenmann Control Systems Department, who supervised the modernization process comments: “Thanks to our own control system department we could quickly react to the needs of the customer and meet his requirements in the shortest possible time.”
Looking into the Future
The Thai market in recent years has witnessed the emergence of numerous precast factories, both by leading real estate developers as well as by individual companies who have started offering precast concrete products to the open market. Competition in general has surely become more fierce on the national precast market, however, due to its strong standing as one of the country’s largest and leading construction groups, ITD has successfully been able to further strengthen its foothold. This has also positively affected the company’s precast operation and the continuous need for high quality precast elements. Precast Factory Manager Chayanon Chalermchaichavalit concludes satisfied: “For the past 10 years, our factory successfully has supplied prime quality products for our projects. Due to the undertaken modernization steps we can maintain our high product quality level to be competitive for the years to come.”