Water, salts, and other chemicals – they all cause rebar corrosion that can negatively affect the integrity of reinforced concrete structures. The solution? Helix® Micro Rebar®. Unlike conventional rebar, Helix has been tested and proven to resist corrosion in three major ways:

1. Helix® Creates a More Ductile Concrete Matrix

Helix reinforcement carries load prior to the first crack of the concrete and creates a more ductile concrete matrix. Putting a stop to that first crack prevents corrosion altogether, with alkaline cement paste acting as a protective barrier. If the concrete does undergo cracking, water and salts may enter the concrete and come into contact with the Helix, causing minor localized corrosion – but that’s when another component of corrosion resistance begins to act. 

2. Helix vs. Steel:

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) testing shows Helix embedded in concrete does not corrode after 90 days of exposure to salt water. Rebar corrodes at 30 days1 in this test.

3. Helix’s Size and Discontinuous Nature Diminish Spalling Risk

A one-inch twisted steel rod, Helix® Micro Rebar® and its smallness and discontinuous nature create less potential for corrosion. And if corrosion does occur, it won’t result in spalling of concrete, which eliminates the reinforcements’ protection and is a major cause of continued corrosion. Helix’s unique properties allow for conduction of electrical current only on individual pieces, unlike conventional rebar, which is continuous and tied together. The result is possible corrosion of an individual Helix, rather than an entire mat of rebar. 

Featured Projects

Helix® Micro Rebar® has been used for building concrete in highly corrosive environments, from coastal areas on the West Coast and the Arctic Circle to the cold storage of a beef plant. Find out more about these projects. 

Jetty Repair

Humboldt County, California

Originally constructed in 1899, the north and south jetties of Humboldt County have taken a huge beating from storms, severe wave action, and unusual high tides over the years. Helix® Micro Rebar® was used as part of a project to repair these historic structures at the entrance to Humboldt Harbor, increasing shear strength by 343%. See the results

Kuparuk Low Water Crossing

Deadhorse, Alaska

Helix was chosen to help renovate the Kuparuk Low Water Crossing, which allowed for passage of heavy rigs during the spring flooding season. With the use of Helix, capacity of over 43,000 lbs/ft was met in addition to meeting the time constraints of the project by saving over 40 construction days. See the results

JBS Beef Plant Cold Storage

Grand Island, Nebraska 

In an effort to expand, JBS acquired a Nebraska beef facility, originally built in 1965. Helix was specified to help strengthen the stamped exterior pavements. In addition to increasing the durability of the pavements by over 50%, Helix was also able to reinforce the pavements while minimizing the threat of corrosion in this highly corrosive environment. See the results

1Michigan Department of Transportation, Helix Corrosion Testing Report, October 20, 2005 2, 4Yeomans SR (Editor), Galvanized Steel Reinforcement in Concrete, 2004, Elesvier, 297 pp  3Yeomans SR, “Zinc Coated Steel Fibers,” Unisearch Report Number J084337 

The American manufacturing landscape is always changing and evolving. While offshoring has been the norm for many of the nation’s companies – large and small – for the past few decades, we are beginning to see a reversal with an effort to increase onshoring production capabilities here at home. The exceedingly robust demand has been felt throughout the construction industry, from engineers to suppliers.

From the start of development at the University of Michigan to our current manufacturing facilities in Grand Rapids and administrative offices in Ann Arbor, Helix Steel has always been locally minded. As the manufacturer of Twisted Steel Micro Rebar®, a US-made proactive concrete reinforcement product for over two decades, we have experienced a surge in partnerships in local new builds and  expansion projects.

Is Offshoring Losing Its Appeal?

As the globalization of American manufacturing has evolved, so, too, has its complications. While the offshoring shift was initially made to lower costs and ease competitive pressures, many companies have seen those savings reduced due to growing competition from manufacturers in every corner of the world, security concerns, increasing international labor costs, geopolitical uncertainties, a growing demand for sustainability, and more. 

COVID-19, of course, also created a myriad of logistics concerns, unexpectedly jumpstarting the reshoring trend. As ships were seen lined up at the docks for weeks and months waiting to be unloaded and material shortages became widespread, the fragility of the global supply chain was revealed.

Attitudes and Investments Are Changing

A 2021 data report from the Reshoring Initiative® shows that attitudes and investments surrounding reshoring are changing. In the first eight months of 2022 included, 106 earnings calls included the word “reshoring”– that’s up from just eight total mentions in all of 2019.

The report showed other real-world effects:

  • 1.3 million jobs created since 2010
  • 261,000 jobs created in 2021 alone
  • 1,800 US companies intend to reshore

The Kearney 2021 Reshoring Index showed similar shifts:

  • 92% of CEOs and other executives of American companies express positivity about reshoring
  • 79% of executives who have operations in China have already moved part of their operations to the US or plan to do so in the next three years
  • 15% of executives are evaluating similar moves

Benefits and Challenges of Reshoring

The shift to reshoring of at least some manufacturing capabilities has proven beneficial for many organizations. Some of these advantages include supply chain visibility, leaner inventory management, faster innovation, and a boost to local economies.

Having your teams nearby can create more convenience and an ability to predict issues and solve problems more swiftly and efficiently. It also eliminates constant travel, language barriers, and quality control issues caused by extreme distance.

There are challenges to reshoring as well. Re-establishing local manufacturing centers often requires significant initial investment in construction, technology, and training. Many companies are mitigating these barriers by opting to diversify their business with a combination of offshore and onshore manufacturing.

Successful Reshoring Initiatives

At Helix, we’ve been helping companies make the switch to Micro Rebar®, our US-made alternative to concrete reinforcement products for over two decades. We’re proud to be an integral part in many local reshoring success stories, including General Motors Ultium Cells facilities (three new facilities in just four years), electric-vehicle manufacturer Rivian’s new Illinois plants, and AGS Automotive’s expansion into Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Helix would love to be a part of your reshoring projects. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves with you to help you optimize your capabilities through our product and engineering services. Contact us today to discuss how we can help simplify your transition with Micro Rebar®.

A large-scale, indoor-outdoor project in Detroit’s downtown, the Hudson Site development is currently underway to restore Woodward Avenue’s 1200 block. The 1.5 million square feet tower will feature residential and commercial spaces, including offices, retail, dining, parking, and more. At over 685 feet tall, the structure’s major feature will be its unique city views from every level. 

When Southfield-based contractor Barton Malow needed to lay concrete slabs on composite steel decks for the many floors of the facility’s on-site luxury hotel, they called on Helix Steel to make the application go as smoothly as possible. Having partnered before, they knew that Helix was well-suited to help alleviate a major challenge of the project: its wire mesh specification.

Required for 20 floors, wire mesh presents an issue in the construction of multi-floor developments. Often cranes are required to get material up to the elevated decks, resulting in a costly and labor-intensive process. That’s where Helix® Micro Rebar®  came into play.

Offering exceptional durability, Micro Rebar is an extremely strong, safe, and efficient alternative to wire mesh that can be mixed into concrete prior to laying it. This is a game-changer for contractors because it allows concrete to be pumped up to multiple levels, eliminating the need for a crane for an average of 5-15% reduction on costs for projects like the Hudson Site. The flexibility and fatigue resistance make it an incredibly advantageous material.

With the industry’s current trade labor shortages, busy contractors like Barton Malow can complete jobs with smaller groups and save time spent on the site. And because it’s so easy to incorporate into concrete projects, contractors can typically follow their normal day-to-day processes when Helix Micro Rebar is in use.

Fortified with 54 tons of steel, the project benefited from Helix with the following:

  • 147% increase shear strength
  • 23% increase in durability and toughness
  • 28% increase in modulus of rupture 

Are you ready to experience the Helix Advantage on your next concrete slabs on composite steel deck project? Find out more about the many benefits of Helix, including our evaluation reports that make the code approval process easier.

Helix Micro Rebar Takes You Beyond Cost Savings

Our small concrete reinforcement can cut time, eliminate materials and simplify a job site, all resulting in significant cost savings. To get your no-obligation quote from Helix Steel’s in-house design team, reach out to us today and we’ll work with you to outline your estimated cost savings – it is often quite significant!

Helix Micro Rebar helps Engineers

Helix Micro Rebar concrete reinforcement can make your project safer

Helix Micro Rebar has more benefits than fiber

Helix Micro Rebar can reduce your control joints

Helix Micro Rebar helps to reduce cracking

Helix Micro Rebar expedites construction

Using an alternative concrete reinforcement product, even Helix® Micro Rebar®, which has been employed in over 40,000 projects, can be intimidating. That’s why we provide a high level of transparency, with detailed evaluation reports containing specific information for design applications such as slabs, foundations, footings, walls, and pavements.

Not only does this data demonstrate the performance advantages of Micro Rebar®, it also makes it easier to help those involved in the approval process understand, trust, and confidently approve its use.

The “New” Rebar That Doesn’t Hold You Back - Helix Steel - Banner Image

A Screw Works Better Than a Nail 

Helix® Micro Rebar® is an optimized reinforcement that increases the strength and resilience of concrete. Based on a simple concept – a screw works better than a nail – this proactive reinforcement “locks” millions of tiny screws (11,500 parts per pound) into concrete, with each able to bond to concrete and pick up load before any failure occurs.

Helix® Micro Rebar® is a smart choice for residential, commercial, and infrastructure applications for many reasons:

  • Made of high-tensile steel
  • Provides proactive reinforcement to help prevent cracking
  • Increases concrete modulus of rupture and post-crack strength
  • Improves concrete’s resistance to flexural strength 
  • Installs quickly, reducing project timelines
  • Reduces the use of rebar needed in structures

We Provide Research Reports to Make Approval Easier

The International Code Council (ICC) allows for the use of alternative materials and methods of construction that are not specifically named in the code. Called the Alternative Allowance for Alternative Materials (AAAM), this provision gives building professionals the freedom to explore new types of materials and methods — as long as they are equal to the performance and safety to those that are already approved.

To prove performance equality, a research report is required. While this makes the job of a code official much easier, building a research report that meets an international standard like ISO/IEC 17065 is an extremely rigorous process that includes criteria established through public comment and a code official hearing process, third-party testing, peer review, and annual plant audits. Just to name a few.

All of our reports feature assumptions for design, conditions of use, plan views, details for different types of footing and dosage, equations to calculate capacities, direct tension testing, and more. Calculations for alternative requirements are also available.

Download Our Evaluation Reports:

To find out more about our evaluation reports, contact the Helix Steel team today.

Helix Micro Rebar Takes You Beyond Cost Savings

Our small concrete reinforcement can cut time, eliminate materials and simplify a job site, all resulting in significant cost savings. To get your no-obligation quote from Helix Steel’s in-house design team, reach out to us today and we’ll work with you to outline your estimated cost savings – it is often quite significant!

Helix Micro Rebar helps Engineers

Helix Micro Rebar concrete reinforcement can make your project safer

Helix Micro Rebar has more benefits than fiber

Helix Micro Rebar can reduce your control joints

Helix Micro Rebar helps to reduce cracking

Helix Micro Rebar expedites construction

Since 2004, Helix Steel has provided contractors who use Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs), a way to build using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. Those using ICFs pride themselves in constructing long-lasting, energy efficient buildings. Together with Helix Steel’s innovative technology, Twisted Steel Micro Rebar™ (TSMR™) reinforcement and ICF, we  create a green solution which upholds our mission to provide a better way to build with concrete.

ICFs entered the market in late 1960s. Although it is in recent years where the industry has witnessed a boom in all types of ICF systems. Each system has its own distinguishable characteristics, but one thing holds true for all ICF systems: they need concrete reinforcement. TSMR™ reinforcement can relieve pain in the building process and provide sound and secure structural reinforcement in lieu of traditional rebar. Additionally, when mixed into the concrete, TSMR™ reinforcement reduces the carbon footprint in transporting materials.

ICF builder, George Bahdi, President of Niagara Olympia Homes, said “Our goal is to provide energy efficient homes which fulfill all our clients’ needs. We use the [Amvic] ICF system to build our homes because they reduce noise transmission, improve energy efficiency and thermal resistance within the unit. We were able to speed up construction using Helix® fiber reinforcement in the concrete which replaced the use of rebar on all horizontal and vertical interior walls. These walls lower utility costs while providing a safe, quiet home”.

Quick Facts About Helix Steel (www.helixsteel.com)

  • Helix Steel, founded in 2003, manufactures Helix® Micro Rebar® reinforcement, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Currently 40% of the company’s manufacturing work force are veterans.
  • A Buy America Compliant Helix® concrete reinforcement was recently used in the MTA’s East Side Access Tunnel Lining in New York City. Buy America Compliant product is available on request.