GCP Applied Technologies: Taking Concrete Strength and Quality to the Next Level
Enter GCP Applied Technologies. With a long and rich history as a leading global provider of construction products technologies, GCP Applied Technologies—a spin-off from W.R. Grace and Company—has a focus on breakthrough construction technologies that include additives for cement and concrete, specialty flooring systems, the VERIFI® in-transit concrete management system, and high-performance waterproofing products.
Leading the charge in the creation of a new category that combines sensor technology with predictive analytics is Susan Dalton, Vice President of Smart Technology and IoT at GCP Applied Technologies. Under Susan’s leadership, the company has combined and leveraged material science, IoT innovations and data science to develop the business and technology of the VERIFI® platform including the VERIFI® in-transit concrete management system.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Susan shares her insights into the company, the unique value proposition, and the innovative technology the company offers to transform the specialty construction industry.
What are the challenges in the construction specialty industry and how does GCP Applied Technologies overcome them?
For decades, chemical products have been used as additives to improve the strength and the durability for cement and concrete. We are augmenting the use of chemicals with a technology based concrete management system that utilizes technology to improve concrete consistency and quality. As a company focusing on specialty construction, GCP Applied Technologies embarked on a mission to discover new and innovative technology-based solutions that can positively impact our customers’ bottom line. We provide an industry transformative IoT solution that is recognized for its impact on safety and sustainability while achieving its goal of delivering consistent, quality concrete.
Chemicals have found their place in the construction marketplace and are now used on a daily basis in concrete mixes. We were looking for a way to advance the entire production and delivery process beyond chemistry. VERIFI® consists of an onboard computer along with a series of cloud connected sensors which monitor the delivery cycle and leverage predictive analytics to measure and manage the concrete in transit. Usually, during the delivery cycle, the ready mix producer has no visibility into the properties of the concrete, either in transit or at the job site. Our solution, VERIFI®, empowers ready mix producers with full visibility into concrete properties from the time it leaves the plant, and until it is delivered and discharged. The sensors installed on the truck record the age, number of drum revolutions—both high and low-speed, the concrete temperature, and most importantly the product consistency—and provide full visibility into production. All that data is automatically accumulated on an onboard computer and transmitted to the cloud, thereby making it easily and instantly available for the ready mix producer through a portal or mobile devices. VERIFI® also enables ready mix producers to extend that data out to their customers (general contractors), ensuring complete delivery visibility into the purchased product.
As a company focusing on specialty construction, GCP Applied Technologies embarked on a mission to discover new and innovative technology-based solutions that can positively impact our customers’ bottom line
One of the major benefits of using VERIFI® is that the ready mix producers will know the quality of concrete that they are delivering. We leverage data science and predictive analytics to manage the concrete in transit. Our solution has an onboard Linux computer, tied to all the sensors that records relevant data of the concrete in a particular truck. Should the concrete properties fall out of specification during the delivery cycle, we can accordingly add water, chemicals or both. The truck will arrive at the job site ready to pour, reducing delivery cycle time and improving job site efficiency. It helps save significant time and money for the ready mix producer, general contractor, and finisher–all those involved in producing and placing concrete.
How does GCP Applied Technologies stand out in the marketplace?
GCP’s uniqueness stems from a rich cross section of experts including material scientists, chemists, software and civil engineers combined with a significant presence in the field through sales and service. We go beyond the technology with people who work side by side with our customers at their plant and job site locations; due to their presence in the field, they are able to provide feedback regarding the challenges the industry faces on a daily basis. It is through the combination of researchers in our R&D facility and the personal interaction in the field that GCP is able to provide innovative solutions that impact many of the industry’s most difficult problems such as the driver shortage, raw material costs, variability and waste.
What does the future hold for the company?
We have recently added a concrete quality control solution to our portfolio. We blend data from our VERIFI® quality control software with in-transit data to enable our customers to further enhance their business. In addition, our R&D team is looking at ways to leverage IoT, data, and predictive analytics across the entire construction industry for gains in productivity, quality and sustainability which would extend the reach of the VERIFI® platform.