This thin panel has conventional reinforcing steel only at the perimeter and for the lifting inserts.
Tilt-Up Concrete Association This thin panel has conventional reinforcing steel only at the perimeter and for the lifting inserts.

Applications and techniques for tilt-up construction continue to expand. Keeping up is critical for success and one of the best ways to do that is at the Tilt-Up Convention and Exposition sponsored by the Tit-Up Concrete Association (TCA); Concrete Construction is the official media sponsor of the event. This year’s show is Sept. 19 to 21 in Dallas.

One unique feature this year is the Solutions Sandbox: 13 stations with small-group presentations and live demonstrations. TCA attempted this two years ago, where everything demonstrated was a solution to a real jobsite issue. This year’s demos have a mix of ideas embracing this same mission. The products are meant to help designers and contractors increase productivity and quality.

Here are three solutions we found particularly interesting. See the box for a list of the other 10 demos. Click here to register for the 2018 Tilt-Up Convention & Expo.

Tilt-up Panel with Helix Reinforcement

Helix micro rebar and CTS Rapid Set Cement will combine to produce a panel that can be placed and lifted in one day with minimal conventional reinforcing steel.
Tilt-Up Concrete Association Helix micro rebar and CTS Rapid Set Cement will combine to produce a panel that can be placed and lifted in one day with minimal conventional reinforcing steel.

“This may be the most exciting demo because it will include an actual lift and has additional interest due to the use of high-early strength concrete and twisted steel micro rebar,” says TCA Technical Director Jim Baty.

The planned panel will be 25 feet tall, 16 feet wide, and erected the day it’s poured. The majority of the reinforcement will be provided by Helix Steel’s twisted steel micro rebar (TSMR), a 3D technology that increases shear strength, durability, ductility, and pre-crack capabilities. This panel will push the envelope of what’s possible being thinner and having no other traditional reinforcement.

The mix will incorporate CTS Cement’s Fast Rock 500, which transforms ready-mix concrete into a rapid-setting mix when substituted for a small percentage of the portland cement. This allows the panel to be erected in as little as 6 hours. Flexural testing will be used to ensure panels reach the required capacity before erection.

Helix TSMR is high tensile strength steel wire with a rectangular cross section. Fibers are 1 inch long and have an equivalent diameter of 0.02 inch. There are more than 11,000 fibers in each pound. Helix will be mixed into the concrete at a rate of 45 pounds per cubic yard. In tests with CTS’ Cement All, the mix reached a flexural strength of 1,260 psi. “We’ve worked with CTS Cement in the past,” says Helix Founder and President Luke Pinkerton, “and have found a synergistic effect when these two materials are used together.” Fast Rock 500 isn’t identical to Cement All, but is based on the same active ingredient.

A second panel that uses conventional concrete along with Helix providing the majority of the reinforcement without thickness reduction will also be erected after five days.

During the demonstration, the panels will be lifted and placed on piers. Visitors will be able to witness lifting and bracing.

The Tiltup Brace Saddle

The TiltUp Brace Saddle allows for easy and safe removal of panel braces.
GHC Products Inc The TiltUp Brace Saddle allows for easy and safe removal of panel braces.

Introduced at 2018 World of Concrete, this clever new device makes removing braces simple and safe. “We used to remove them with a manlift and a rope,” says Greg Carpenter, inventor and president of Greg Carpenter Concrete, a union shop, full-service concrete contractor based in Lodi, California. With braces weighing as much as 300 pounds, this can create a difficult and dangerous situation.

The Tiltup Brace Saddle attaches to the forks of a vertical forklift or telescopic forklift (telehandler). Pockets on the mechanism line up and are tied with a safety chain to the forklift. With a capacity of 700 pounds, the saddle can remove the heaviest braces with ease. Once the roof diaphragm is in place to stabilize tilt-up panels, a three-worker team armed with the saddle goes to work. After removing the floor bolt from the foot of the brace, one worker positions the saddle in the middle of the brace while another in a manlift removes the bolt holding the brace to the wall. The forklift backs up while a third worker holds the foot of the brace to swing it to a horizontal position for stacking and eventually removal from the jobsite.

The mechanism has no power; it’s basically an axle the brace swivels around. The saddle includes a ratcheting nylon safety strap for use on rough terrain; although if the brace is reasonably centered on the saddle, the strap isn’t really needed on concrete floors or casting slabs. The worker on the ground can easily control the end of the brace with the forklift supporting all the weight.

Visitors to this demonstration will have the chance to handle a brace, which will be in the saddle, to see how easy it is to maneuver.

This is just the latest product for tilt-up construction Carpenter has invented. Others include an adjustable support chair, a plastic device to hold expansion joints in position during placement, a tape dispenser for taping the seams in under-slab vapor barriers, and a pipe dowel for simple stabilizing of slab joints.

Go to to see a video of the product in action before its debut at the Solutions Sandbox.

Tech for Tilt

The Trimble Hololens Hardhat superimposes the structure’s design onto the real structure.
Tilt-Up Concrete Association The Trimble Hololens Hardhat superimposes the structure’s design onto the real structure.

Technology is driving the industry forward and Trimble wants attendees to be able to see, touch, and interact with the technology that’s changing the way the world works. This demonstration will show how tilt-up designers and contractors can use technology solutions to maximize efficiency and profitability while also improving project quality.

Visitors to this demonstration will go through a mini-lifecycle example from estimation and bidding through placement. Each participant will get to interact with a 3D constructible model in Tekla Structures, live project status sharing in Trimble Connect (an agnostic information-sharing platform), mixed reality with Microsoft Hololens adapted into a hardhat, and layout and QA/QC with a Trimble Robotic Total Station.

First, a constructible 3D model will be used to generate accurate quantities for estimation to reduce risk during bidding and ensure the project can be built efficiently in terms of time, cost, and safety. Large screens will allow attendees to see how the quantities are developed for the estimate as well as how to speed up and improve the development of panel drawings.

Next, visitors will learn how to develop panel drawings from the model and then send layout point data to a robotic total station. Making mistakes on these points can lead to costly and time-consuming rework, but matching the model to the total station eliminates errors and allows information to be returned from the total station back to the model for QA/QC. A 4-foot-by-6-foot tilted panel and a Trimble Robotic Station will allow attendees to see how to send the data to the field and to view layout points from the model on a hand-held tablet that can be used to do single-person layout in the field.

Finally, Trimble will show how technology is taking construction to the next level with mixed reality: a technology that merges real and virtual worlds to create an environment where physical and digital components interact in real time. It’s “mixed” reality because it encompasses both augmented/virtual reality and the real world via immersive technology, letting you see the real environment overlaid with holographic data from a 3D model.

The same data-driven, constructible model will be exported to a Microsoft Hololens built into a hard hat. Visitors will walk around the tilted panels wearing the Hololens to verify placement of anchors. Also, as these layout points and concrete are being placed, Trimble representatives will demonstrate a live status-sharing capability between Trimble Connect and Tekla Structures. To see how this works, watch one of these videos.

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