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Efficiency and speed are paramount in the construction industry today and tomorrow. We often think of automation as robots working on an assembly line, but it’s not always as complex and expensive. Usually, the best and most obvious automation upgrades take place in small ways.
Have you thought of automating your concrete? It has been around for 100+ years and never fails to require time-consuming processes, back-breaking labor and expensive equipment rental costs. Concrete reinforcement is ripe for automation, and Helix Steel is here to prove it.
Helix Steel’s proprietary concrete reinforcement is called Helix Micro Rebar. Each all-steel piece is only one inch (25 mm) long and has an ingenious patented twisted design that bonds with concrete to create a strong and durable material, keeping concrete together like a screw in wood. It’s not a concrete fiber. It has more strength than cheap single-use plastics and the all-steel solution starts to work before cracks even form.
This twisted piece of steel reinforcement will help to automate three distinct areas of your construction project: your processes, labor and equipment. Guess what? Helix Micro Rebar can help with them all.
How Does Helix Micro Rebar Improve Your Project Processes?
Helix Steel is a proudly American company with a team of project managers and engineers who work with you to not only determine the exact dosage you need for your concrete project, but they take your project to a whole new level. A team works with you and your colleagues to help design a dosage reflective of your rebar specifications, creates a plan, coordinates with trades and even provides live support on your pour days.
How Does Helix Micro Rebar Reduce Your Labor Costs?
A one-million-square-foot warehouse would require a significant amount of concrete, meaning that standard reinforcement installed in the slab alone could take weeks or even months to install. Delivering rebar, hiring laborers, moving the rebar, tying the rebar and then dealing with the safety issues involved in having one million square feet of tripping hazards on your site can become a headache you simply don’t need.
Helix Micro Rebar is mixed with the concrete in the concrete mixer, often at the batch plant, so there are few rebar operations at your site, there is far less time spent installing and tying rebar, and practically zero tripping hazards compared with traditional reinforcement.
Helix Steel customers have said that every 10,000 square feet of rebar replaced with Helix Micro Rebar saves one full day of construction. That’s up to three months faster than if you used rebar in a large warehouse slab.
How Does Helix Micro Rebar Lower Equipment Usage and Costs?
When you reduce your rebar tripping hazards, you also remove obstacles for concrete equipment. That means your costs for concrete pumps, concrete power buggies and the labor associated with them are practically nil. In most concrete slab applications, your cement truck can drive directly to the pour site.
Construction Automation is Possible with Helix Micro Rebar
In an age where reducing costs and finishing more quickly is essential to secure jobs and finish them without losing your sanity, there has never been a better time to consider the alternative concrete reinforcement that reduces your tool usage and lowers your equipment costs and improves your project processes.
After hundreds of millions of square feet and tens of thousands of successful structures, Helix Micro Rebar has been proven in the field and has many happy customers who can attest to the tiny reinforcement’s advantages. This includes a wide range of applications, such as slabs on grade, ICF and even highways.
Whether you need a concrete slab for your upcoming warehouse, fulfillment center, commercial building or concrete parking lot, you are always looking for ways to cut your costs while also trimming the amount of time that it takes to complete the job. Well, have we found an alternative concrete reinforcement for you…
Some say that the main benefits of Helix Micro Rebar are its ability to make concrete more durable. Others will talk about how it’s safer to use than rebar. Many others will be thankful for its team of design and project management support included for the duration of the project and beyond.
But the vast majority of warehouse contractors and developers who discover the tiny concrete reinforcement are sold on two things: time savings and money savings.
How Do You Reduce Your Warehouse Construction Time?
Think of all of the time attributed to rebar and mesh installation. You need to order it many weeks or even months in advance, and when it arrives that’s when the most time-consuming aspect starts: installation.
If you are like most warehouse project contractors, you need to hire dozens of reliable laborers to tie each piece together, across a concrete slab space that could be over 1,000,000 square feet (92,903 square meters) – or larger. This painstakingly long process can have massive repercussions on a project that needs to be built for your client “A.S.A.P.”
Here’s the alternative that will save time on your next project: Helix Micro Rebar. In many cases, it can be shipped within a week, and for large projects, just a few days more. It is most often poured directly into the cement trucks at your batch plant, so there’s no time spent managing inventory on your jobsite.
When the trucks arrive with your concrete, they can place their load directly onto the prepared surface. There is no need to use time-consuming pumps to pour your slab since Helix Micro Rebar can replace up to 100% of the rebar and mesh while cutting weeks from your construction schedule.
How Do You Reduce the Cost of Your Warehouse Construction Project?
For many concrete projects, whether it is a slab, ICF home, road or precast application, the cost of buying Helix Micro Rebar is often around the same price you would pay for standard reinforcement. But that’s not the whole story. Not even close.
The real cost savings come from all of the construction components that are no longer required because of a single wise decision to upgrade concrete reinforcement:
- Weeks of laborers installing rebar, who can now proactively be working on other aspects of the project.
- Costs associated with onsite concrete reinforcement storage.
- Expensive and time-consuming concrete pumps and conveyors that flow the concrete over prepared rebar.
- Helix Micro Rebar is safer to handle than rusty, dirty rebar. This may result in fewer safety-related costs.
- On average, every 10,000 sq. ft. of rebar/mesh replaced with Helix Micro Rebar saves one full day of construction. Starting occupancy weeks or even months early can have a significant impact on when a developer begins to see an ROI.
Case Study: Helix Micro Rebar in Action in Distribution Warehouse
This distribution warehouse in Michigan switched from mesh to Helix Micro Rebar and saw significant savings in both time and money.
The original design for the warehouse was:
4″ SOG 1 layer of 6X6, W2.9/W2.9 mesh
8″ SOG 1 layer of 6X6, W2.9/W2.9 mesh
The Gilardone Company, the concrete contractor for this project, realized that placing traditional steel reinforcement across 1.1 million sq. ft. would require a crew of workers and several weeks of time. Instead, the Gilardone Company turned to Helix Micro Rebar reinforcement to reduce the construction schedule and provide Ashley Capital with a superior performing and more durable floor. Helix Steel recommended 4″ & 8″ SOG with 9 lb/yd3
Ken Bowen, V.P. of Construction at Ashley Capital appreciated the switch, “With Helix Micro Rebar steel reinforcement we were able to meet the schedule and provide a superior product for a knowledgeable and fast-moving tenant. Using Helix Micro Rebar reinforcement increased the daily concrete pour rate by 20% and saved weeks of time.”
Watch this video to see how preparing, placing and finishing this distribution center’s concrete slab was done:
One Little Product is the Answer to Your Need to Save Time and Money
Helix Micro Rebar is one little product that can totally change how you think about and respond to warehouse and fulfillment center construction challenges. It is trusted by some of the largest companies in the world, including Amazon, FedEx, General Motors and Hilton.
When an innovative product like Helix Micro Rebar reaches tens of thousands of construction workers across North America, there are bound to be some misconceptions about what it is, what it does and how it works. Let’s clear the air!
Helix Micro Rebar is a unique concrete reinforcement that accomplishes the seemingly impossible – doing things that standard steel rebar and mesh are simply unable to do. It assists practically every person at every stage of the construction process and for these reasons – and many more – there are many misconceptions about this paradigm-shifting tool for the concrete and construction industries.
Myth #1: Helix Micro Rebar is just another fiber.
Fact: Helix Micro Rebar is small just like concrete reinforcement fibers, but that’s where the similarities end:
- Helix Micro Rebar stops cracks before they start. Its patented twist bonds to concrete, unlike rebar and fibers.
- It meets IBC and IRC performance requirements.
- It is made from 100% steel, which is 600% stiffer than concrete. This reduces cracks better than any plastic fiber available on the market today.
- It uses low dosages, often applied at 1:3 to 1:4 the dosage of steel fibers.
- It can be used in concrete for a wide range of applications, from slabs and walls to roads and tunnels.
Plastic fibers are marketed for temperature and shrinkage crack protection. Ask any fiber manufacturer and you will discover that these tiny pieces are not designed to work until cracks have already formed. Fiber reinforcement is often tested with a 3.5 mm crack, because once the fiber stretches to that width, it will provide the best test results. Helix Micro Rebar is tested at a wide range of crack width – and even no crack at all – with superior results.
Myth #2: Helix Micro Rebar costs more than rebar
Fact: Depending on your order size, the upfront cost of your boxes of Helix Micro Rebar may be slightly more than standard rebar. But when you factor in the reduction in time spent with rebar (one day of construction can be saved for every 10,000 square feet of a concrete slab) as well as the long-term savings in maintenance, our customers see significant cost savings.
Myth #3: Helix Micro Rebar has a long lead time, just like rebar
Fact: Helix Micro Rebar may be made out of steel, but the huge delays the construction industry is experiencing with rebar simply don’t exist with Helix Micro Rebar. Often our reinforcement is manufactured in America and is ready to ship out in as little as one week. This reduction in material delays helps you stay ahead of the game and reduces stress.
Myth #4: Helix Steel replaces the need for an engineer
Fact: Engineers are the lifeblood of many construction projects, and the work that Helix Steel does to create superior concrete products would not be possible without their work.
Most projects begin with the Engineer of Record completing a building plan using standard reinforcement. From there, Helix Steel’s engineering team can take over and use the specifications to provide an equal solution with Helix Micro Rebar – a solution that has full transparency in design approach and calculations.
Once you are familiar with using our superior concrete reinforcement product, this process is simplified and steps can be taken to reduce the Engineer of Record’s initial design workload.
Myth #5: There’s no assistance from the manufacturer
Fact: Helix Steel is not just here to improve your concrete, it is here to support every professional at every step of the project process, from concrete design to ready-mix supplier mixing to contractor pouring and finishing.
Helix Steel has a team of American project managers and engineers who are here to help you with answers to your questions and assist in any way they can. For larger projects, Helix Steel staff may be able to even be onsite to assist you with your first mixing project and help ensure that the first pour goes smoothly.
Myth #6: The Helix Micro Rebar mixing process is too complicated
Fact: The mixing operation is easier than you think! It just takes a few minutes to empty the Helix Micro Rebar boxes either onto a conveyor belt or by hand directly into the hopper. Each box weighs 45 pounds (20 kilograms) and is easy to handle – easier than rebar.
Helix Steel works with long-standing ready-mix operators across America who understand the ease of use of this product and how it is far less complicated and time-consuming to use than plastic or steel fibers. Helix Micro Rebar has doses lower than fiber, ensuring that you need to add less into your mixer, saving you valuable time. Here’s a direct link to our quick-start guide to show you how easy our product really is.
Myth #7: Helix Micro Rebar will put my crew out of work
Fact: Helix Micro Rebar certainly saves you time and cuts the amount of rebar work your crew will do. But that doesn’t mean anyone’s jobs are on the line. By operating more efficiently your team will be more able to pivot and work on other important areas of the project, and hop over to the next project faster than ever before.
At the same time, we have the health and safety of your crew in mind: no more back-breaking rebar tying, no more lugging large, rusty rebar from one part of the jobsite to another and no more dangerous tripping hazards.
Myth #8: Helix Micro Rebar is Made of Steel so There is No Environmental Benefit to Using It
Lower carbon emissions can be achieved since Helix Micro Rebar has less tonnage of steel required. Our reinforcement uses less steel overall, and with the added strength achieved by Helix Micro Rebar, you can often reduce your concrete thickness, further reducing steel reinforcement. Our online calculator estimates CO2 footprint based on its EPD from ASTM. Our engineering team can assist in quantifying the advantage for you.
Myth #9: Helix Micro Rebar is too messy and rinsing out a truck wastes time
Fact: It doesn’t need to be messy at all. Each box can be opened with a basic box cutter, and then dumped directly into the hopper. You can even use conveyor belts or pan mixers.
When you’ve completed a job with Helix Micro Rebar and your next project will not require concrete reinforcement being added to your mixer, give your drum a cleaning with water just like normal procedures.
Myth #10: Helix Micro Rebar takes time to mix and it slows down operations
Fact: Since Helix Micro Rebar pours easier and faster than fibers, it can save precious minutes in delivering a load to where it needs to go, and getting back to the batch plant faster than ever possible. Many ready-mixers would agree that time is money, and less time spent driving and unloading is cash in the bank. Yes, a few minutes is required to add the Helix Micro Rebar prior to loading your drum with concrete, but these minutes are paid back.
Myth #11: Helix Micro Rebar pokes out of the concrete
Fact: As the leading alternative to rebar, Helix Micro Rebar not only meets code performance requirements, but it delivers a beautiful finished product. Concrete that uses Helix Steel’s twisted concrete reinforcement can be finished similarly to concrete with conventional rebar. Using standard techniques will help to minimize Helix Micro Rebar on the surface of your concrete. If your floor is polished through the paste layer, a small amount of Helix® Micro Rebar™ will be exposed.
If you’re broom-finishing concrete that has Helix Micro Rebar, you may need to take a little extra care.
Myth #12: Helix Micro Rebar is made of steel, so it will rust and look bad.
Fact: Each piece of Helix Micro Rebar is coated to resist rust. Although heavily salted concrete surfaces may result in minor surface imperfections, each Helix Micro Rebar piece embedded in the concrete has long-lasting power.
Myth #13: There’s nothing in it for us
On top of all of the myth-dispelling listed above, ready-mix producers, engineers and other construction-related businesses have an opportunity to generate thousands of extra dollars on every load of concrete by choosing Helix Micro Rebar. Helix Steel offers significant pricing discounts through our reseller program.
These are just some of the most common misconceptions about Helix Micro Rebar. If you are interested in talking with us about other myths, or if you would like more information about using Helix Micro Rebar in your next project, reach out to our American-based team today.
Safety is the most important part of every construction site, yet anyone with a head on their shoulders will tell you that there is still much that needs to be done to ensure a safer experience for crews. Especially when it comes to installing concrete reinforcement.
Injuries due to exposed, dirty, protruding steel have been commonplace occurrences in the construction industry since the invention of steel reinforcement generations ago. Today, OSHA statistics show that 61% of construction accidents are due to impalement from rebar. As the industry continues to ramp up and address the ever-increasing demand for infrastructure, the rise in injuries continues.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to greatly reduce the number of rebar injuries. It doesn’t involve removing reinforcement. It involves replacing it – with the next generation of concrete reinforcement called Helix Micro Rebar.
This alternative reinforcement technology is a twisted piece of 100% steel one inch in length, mixed with concrete to create a strong solution that prevents cracks from forming better than rebar or mesh ever could.
Helix Micro Rebar is considered a miracle reinforcement in the industry. It can be specified at lower doses than fiber, while also making your concrete much more workable.
Imagine your worksite with up to 100% less rebar. What would it mean for your team’s health and safety?
Reduce Immediate Harm to Laborers
Look at your average concrete pour site and you will see protruding rebar, sharp metal scraps lying on the ground and rusting piles of heavy steel – dangerous liabilities for any site. Add in dozens of crewmembers lifting, laying, tying and walking for weeks on end and you have yourself a recipe for a safety disaster.
Although the most common rebar injury is impalement, there are many other ways that you likely encounter injuries with this not-so-friendly reinforcement. Lean over for weeks tying off rebar on a warehouse slab and someone can exhibit significant back pain. Pick up rebar the wrong way and there are cuts and pinches at every turn. And even once rebar is installed and ready for concrete, there are countless opportunities for crews to slip, trip and fall, creating instant damage to themselves and their hard work.
Decision-makers have the responsibility to use safer materials when they are available, and reduce the number of laborers put in harm’s way when it is an option to do so.
Reduce Long-Term Medical Issues to Laborers
Developers, engineers and contractors are a construction crew’s lines of defense when it comes to looking after their long-term health. Laborers trust those above them to use only products that will reduce long-term issues to their body. So, when contractors insist on using heavy, unwieldy rebar for their projects, they are essentially giving their crews a life of back pain, knee injuries, hip surgeries and calloused hands. Removing these dangers is essential to maintaining a safe jobsite.
Reduce Harm to Your Crews With Helix Micro Rebar
“A huge selling point for me when it comes to Helix Micro Rebar is the safety,” says Casey Harvey, Director of Operations for Custom Concrete. “It’s a huge risk mitigation issue. You don’t have to move as much rebar around. It’s not a housekeeping issue. It’s not a material handling issue, and you don’t have to expose your people to strains and scrapes.”
Since 2003, Helix Micro Rebar has been safely used in more than 10,000 projects across North America, on a wide variety of concrete applications from concrete slabs and ICF walls to tunnels and foundations.
By choosing Helix Micro Rebar, the concrete industry is helping to make a healthier, safer, faster, better and easier way to build. Contact us for a custom quote for your next project.
P.S. For all of our readers thinking that there are cheap fibers you can buy online that will solve this safety problem, plastic fibers are actually weaker than concrete, and only start to do their job once concrete has already cracked. Read all about it!
It’s almost effortless! Remember back when you upgraded your home to LED lights? It was easy! All you needed to do was remove one light and twist in another. Changing your concrete reinforcement is just as simple.
A brilliant mind once said, “Hey, let’s create LED light bulbs! They’re better for the environment and they can be twisted into a socket just like incandescent light bulbs!” Whoever this magical mind was, the result of the invention has saved every home and business owner hundreds of dollars and greatly increased the building’s energy efficiency.
There’s a similar revolution taking place in the concrete construction industry.
Simplicity is Key in the Concrete Reinforcement Revolution
For generations, contractors have had no choice but to use rebar as their concrete reinforcement. It hasn’t all been great though. The steel rods are heavy, dirty, difficult to maneuver, costly to install and often don’t even provide a sure-fire way to stop concrete from cracking.
Fortunately, the industry has found an alternative that in many applications works to reduce the amount of rebar you need to install by up to 100%. Using your engineer’s design specs, an American steel reinforcement company creates a reinforcement solution that has all of the benefits that building in the 21st century requires.
Helix Micro Rebar is As Easy as Installing an LED Light Bulb
This is a concrete reinforcement that in many cases can replace old, rusty, costly rebar. And just like replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs doesn’t take extra effort, neither does Helix Micro Rebar.
Helix Micro Rebar is a one-inch (25-mm) twisted piece of steel that is mixed with concrete to eliminate or reduce traditional reinforcement (rebar and mesh) required by building codes.
For two decades, Helix Micro Rebar has been used in tens of thousands of projects to increase concrete’s strength and durability, while offering those who use it a litany of other benefits for every stage of the construction process: engineers, contractors, developers, ready-mix producers and building owners.
Let’s see how every person the project benefits from making the quick and easy switch to Helix Micro Rebar:
This will always be a crucial component of every construction project, no matter the type of concrete reinforcement. With Helix Micro Rebar, engineers still design using standard concrete reinforcement. Those plans are sent to Helix Steel’s engineering team, which is put to work to create an accurate alternative solution using Helix Micro Rebar.
Contractors and Crews
You will experience significant time savings at this stage. Consider a concrete slab in a massive warehouse that requires weeks of rebar installation. Now envision up to 100% less rebar installation time. Simply add Helix Micro Rebar into the concrete mixers at the batch plant, then pour it on the prepared surface. Think of all of the time that could be saved by not having to install as much rebar in warehouse slabs, precast structures or even ICF walls. Whether you’re building a home or pouring a slab, Helix Micro Rebar makes the life of a contractor faster, safer and way easier. Pour and finish just like normal!
A simple switch from outdated rebar to Helix Micro Rebar can cut weeks off your schedule and save you install costs. Developers can save approximately one day of construction for every 10,000 square feet of rebar they replace with Helix Micro Rebar reinforcement. This allows you to hand over the keys to your new development sooner and pocket the significant cost savings for concrete installation.
Along with allowing your project team to work faster, smarter and cheaper, Helix Micro Rebar has the added benefit of providing developers with a superior concrete product. Helix Micro Rebar can increase fatigue resistance by up to 300% and the flexural strength by up to 33%. This is often used as a key selling point for future leaseholders and owners.
Helix Micro Rebar is easily added to your mixers using a few simple instructions, whether it’s at your batch plant, at the construction site or in a drum mixer. When ready-mix producers also become resellers, savings will multiply.
The owners of today and tomorrow want environmental sustainability,practicality and long-lasting construction. Fortunately, Helix Micro Rebar helps in all of these cases. It cuts greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of steel reinforcement needed in your concrete. It reduces maintenance by limiting concrete cracks and future issues. And it is built to last not only decades, but generations. For those who want their buildings to stand the test of time, easily switching from rebar and mesh to Helix Micro Rebar is a no-brainer.
Take Out Your Old-Fashioned Technology. Choose the Future!
Just like unscrewing an old light bulb and lighting up your life with LEDs, Helix Micro Rebar takes the guesswork out of improving concrete and saving money.
It’s that easy. Reach out to our sales and technical inquiry team today to discuss your specific project and its innovation options!
In short, absolutely it can. Helix Micro Rebar has been proven to offer more benefits than any other concrete product to your construction team. It’s the better way to build with concrete!
Rebar has its place in the world, but for many concrete applications, there’s another concrete reinforcement option that’s just, well, better. As more and more people use Helix Micro Rebar, there is a larger number of construction industry leaders who are understanding the benefits.
It’s a Small Piece of Steel With Many Benefits
Helix Micro Rebar is stronger – It increases fatigue resistance by up to 300% and flexural strength by up to 33%.
Helix Micro Rebar has more support – Helix Steel’s engineering team assists at every step of the construction process, from design to mixing to installation and beyond.
Helix Micro Rebar reduces construction time – Our customers say they save one day of construction for every 10,000 square feet of rebar they replace.
Helix Micro Rebar reduces material delays – Helix Micro Rebar is ready to deliver to your jobsite.
It’s a Small Piece of Steel With Many Applications
Helix Micro Rebar can be used in many places where concrete is needed, from walls to roads to tunnels.
Concrete slabs – Premix Helix Micro Rebar at your batch plant, resulting in direct discharge that saves days of labor costs.
Concrete walls – Build stronger walls, finish jobs faster and reduce the need for costly rebar installation.
ICF walls – Helix Micro Rebar is proven in thousands of ICF structures since 2006 and is in compliance with the IBC and IRC.
Footings and foundations – A simple dig-and-fill-with-concrete approach eliminates the need for complex rebar cages in footings, foundations and pilasters – saving time in the process.
High-performance concrete – Helix Micro Rebar’s patented twist allows for lower dosages than traditional high-performance mixes, making our product easier to mix and place.
Roads and infrastructure – Helix Micro Rebar has been proven in pavements for over a decade, with excellent corrosion resistance, reduced concrete thicknesses and increased fatigue life.
Precast – Helix Steel engineers provide stamped designs for standard precast applications while helping to greatly reduce the amount of time your team spends on reinforcement.
Tunnel linings – Helix Micro Rebar is manufactured in America and exceeds industry standards for full-scale precast tunnel segments and shotcrete applications.
It’s a Proven Alternative to Traditional Concrete Reinforcement Backed by Full-Service Support
You are not only buying a product when you choose Helix Micro Rebar. You have access to a dedicated team of designers and project management specialists that are available to help you with your project. How does Helix Steel help?
Engineering – Our team works with you to determine precise dosage requirements to maximize your concrete strength and reduce your labor hours.
Procurement – Helix Micro Rebar is often available to ship to your site in a matter of days.
Construction support – We strive to make your concrete project better whether you’re a contractor, ready-mix supplier, developer, engineer, contractor or anyone else.
Field support – Helix Steel personnel look forward to being on-site and ready to assist you to ensure your first experience is remarkable.
Discover the Better Way to Build with Concrete
Helix Steel has been trusted by some of the world’s largest brands, including Amazon, FedEx, General Motors and Hilton hotels. We’re here to help you better understand the value of our concrete reinforcement for your next project. There is no risk for you – start your journey with Helix Micro Rebar today by downloading our free e-brochure that has much more detail for you and your team. Then contact our team to have a one-on-one conversation with one of our team members.
Why let your frustrations with rebar continue when there are many other alternatives. That being said, some aren’t nearly as great as others. And some are additives rather than replacements.
It’s time to put your rebar to rest. Yes, it’s popular. Yes, it has its benefits. But the majority of concrete applications that rebar is frequently used in can be greatly improved with other products.
Back in the 1800s, steel bars were found to increase the tensile strength of concrete, allowing structures to be built taller and wider than ever before. Eureka! But it didn’t take the construction industry long to realize that rebar is imperfect and although many developers and contractors continue to reluctantly use rebar, they are seeking alternatives that do a better job of reinforcing concrete.
Stainless Steel Concrete Reinforcement
Stainless steel rebar is often touted as a replacement for standard steel rebar. Its material resists corrosion, it reduces maintenance costs and is placed similarly to its predecessor, but the obvious disadvantage is rarely spoken of – like steel rebar reinforcement, stainless steel rebar doesn’t reinforce every part of concrete, thus leaving large gaps where concrete has little tensile strength. This deficiency still leads to premature concrete deterioration.
Engineered Bamboo Reinforcement
Bamboo is the saviour of every naturist who wants a structure that is sustainable, resilient and uses abundant materials. (It’s the fastest-growing plant on Earth.) Unfortunately, although bamboo has these properties, bamboo can rot if it comes into contact with water, which means that it really can’t be used on its own in most standard North American concrete projects.
Glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) Rebar
This is a promising solution, although its benefits are outweighed by its heftier price. (Approximately 25% more than standard rebar.) It is 75% lighter than steel, does not corrode, and is quite durable. Its high elasticity reduces the number of applications it can be used it, but in the applications it has been tested in its results have been promising.
The idea behind plastic fiber is great – use lightweight, low cost and easily manufactured pieces of readily available materials to create a cheap concrete reinforcement. Unfortunately, that’s where the benefits stop. If you’ve ever worked with fibers, you are well aware of its frustrating workability issues. Also, the distribution of fibers is not always precise. But perhaps the biggest disadvantage is that plastic will ‘stretch’ before it can start working, giving cracks an opportunity to form and grow.
Fiber reinforcement businesses often do not have the internal engineering support or approved third-party publications that allow easy, fast and effective integration of micro reinforcement in their projects. Onsite and virtual liaison is often outside of their scope as many simply sell the fiber and do not advise beyond product sales.
Helix Micro Rebar Concrete Reinforcement
This is a one-inch twisted steel reinforcement made from 100% steel, which is 600% stiffer than concrete. This ensures that practically every inch of concrete isn’t given a chance to crack. The innovative reinforcement is packed with benefits: it’s made in America, can be used in a wide range of applications, requires lower doses than fiber, reduces cracks, has easy workability and reduces labor costs.
Helix Micro Rebar is also more than just a product. Every purchase comes with engineering support not just during the product, but for the lifetime of the building.
Many Options. One Decision.
Although every concrete application is unique, and some alternative reinforcement products do have potential, there are few high-quality replacements for standard steel rebar. Helix Micro Rebar has the benefits that help the most steps of the process, while providing a superior solution for a problem that has stumped the construction industry for generations.
For more information on Helix Micro Rebar, continue exploring this website or reach out to our project managers for a one-on-one discussion about our concrete reinforcement. It’s the better way to build!
The construction industry creates more waste and generates more pollution than most other industries. The damaging materials, tools and methodologies that have long been a part of the industry are having irreversible effects on our planet. Something needs to be done.
If you’re like a growing number of professionals, you know that we all need to take significant steps to lessen the harm to our natural environment while accommodating the needs of a growing population.
In the case of concrete, radical thinking is required. Somehow, we need to create products that use less steel, less concrete, fewer transportation costs, while cutting the number of days that rebar installation crews are needed and also creating an end product that lasts longer.
Construction is a Leading Cause of Global Warming
According to the United Nations Environment Program, “Buildings and their construction together account for 36 percent of global energy use and 39 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually.” To combat the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow, the construction industry requires innovation, including optimization of design standards.
As the most widely used artificial material in the world, concrete, which construction professionals agree releases massive amounts of CO2, is ripe for drastic and immediate innovation. How can we address the challenges of concrete? Does this involve altering the concrete mix? How can we optimize its design? How can we make it stronger? How can we make it last longer? Are there other steel reinforcements we can use to ensure concrete’s strength?
How Can the Industry Use Alternative Concrete Reinforcement Materials to Solve Sustainability?
Building codes allow for alternative, tested and approved solutions to standardly implemented products. Only one alternative concrete reinforcement has ICC and UES reports and has full code approval to carry building loads under the ACI 318, IBC and IRC – Helix Micro Rebar.
Helix Micro Rebar is a construction industry game-changer that everyone should consider using, whether you’re an engineer, developer, contractor, precaster, ICF builder or ready-mix producer. It’s a one-inch twisted steel reinforcement that increases concrete strength and resilience and eliminates the need for traditional rebar and mesh.
This tiny solution to a massive problem can reduce steel reinforcement weight to only a quarter of the weight of rebar, while significantly increasing concrete’s resistance to cracking, impact, fatigue and bending. Depending on the application, concrete itself can be reduced with up to 100% of your wire mesh and rebar replaced. This helps to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan had its carbon footprint reduced by 63 tons due to the reduction in steel required.
So, What Does This Mean for Global Warming and the Concrete Industry?
It means that the construction industry can change if it decides that the planet is worth saving. It means that we can now do things that were seemingly impossible before, like making better concrete with less.
With a product like Helix Micro Rebar used in the place of a pound of rebar, there is a CO2 footprint reduction from 1.8 lb to 0.6 lb. This results in up to a 55% reduction in Global Warming Potential (Co2– eq) versus traditional rebar or wire mesh reinforcement.
Helix Micro Rebar can also assist in LEED certification in the Environmental Performance category:
- EQc4.3 Low-emitting Materials: 1 point
- IDc1 Innovation in Design: 1–4 points
- MR 5 Regional Materials: 1–2 points
- MRc2 Construction Waste Management: 1–2 points
- MRpc61 Material Disclosure and Assessment: 1–2 points
- MRpc63 Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment: 1 point
As a small example of what is possible, the first use of Helix Micro Rebar by Custom Concrete resulted in 90% less rebar in the footings and 98% less rebar in the slabs. Custom Concrete was pleased with the results and couldn’t wait to make it a standard material for their operations, with Casey Harvey, Director of Operations for Custom Concrete saying, “After we saw the time savings on that one job we were sold.”
The Future of Construction is With Helix Steel
Helix Steel is actively involved in developing better ways to build for the entire industry as well with its outreach and leadership in committees developing industry standards at the American Concrete Institute (ACI), ASTM International, National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) and National Road Research Alliance (NRRA).
Helix Steel can even provide you with a LEED and/or Environmental Impact Reduction Analysis for your project. Submit your project details to Helix Steel’s engineering team today to learn more about how we can work together for the good of the planet.
On its own, concrete is imperfect – it lacks flexural and tensile strength. To overcome these failures, we include reinforcement.
Rebar is known by pretty much everyone in the construction industry who has ever used concrete, even though its imperfections are widely known. (It’s big. It’s rusty. It allows concrete to crack. It’s time-consuming and requires manpower that in today’s construction industry simply doesn’t exist without frustrations.)
Fiber reinforcement was invented as an alternative to rebar, and although fiber does have some benefits, many types of fibers (like those made of cheaply made plastic) are deeply flawed. The biggest flaw is that plastic fibers first need to stretch and allow concrete cracks to form before they resist concrete crack widening. Steel fibers can increase the strength of concrete somewhat, but like a nail in wood, they have difficulty gripping concrete and will slip under even moderate stress.
There’s a better alternative to fiber.
Helix Micro Rebar is Not a Fiber. It’s Better!
Yes, it’s small. Yes, it is made with steel, which some fibers also have. But apart from these similarities, there are many differences that make Helix Micro Rebar unlike any other.
Helix Micro Rebar Helps to Stop Cracks From Forming
Look at an older overpass and you will see chunks of concrete missing. That’s because standard reinforcing steel leads to cracks and corrosion, which is the leading cause of concrete deterioration in bridge deck slabs. Helix Micro Rebar has a patented twist in its design, bonding to concrete, unlike rebar and fibers.
Helix Micro Rebar Can Be Used in a Wide Range of Concrete Applications
Few rebar alternatives can be used in as many applications as Helix Micro Rebar. Whether you are pouring a million-square-foot concrete slab, tilt-up panels, ICF homes, footings, high-performance applications, roads, precast vaults or tunnels, this tiny alternative reinforcement is able to solve challenges in them all.
Helix Micro Rebar is a concrete reinforcement that meets IRC performance requirements
Helix Steel’s micro-sized reinforcement is approved for use:
- In slabs on grade per ACI 360 Chapter 11 using elastic design when load slab strength is required with cracks smaller than 1 mm.
- To replace temperature shrinkage reinforcement specified in ACI 318 Chapter 7 subject to the restrictions of UES ER-279 or ICC-ES 3949.
- In structural slabs, walls, foundations and other structures to replace rebar subject to the restrictions of UES ER-279 or ICC-ES 3949. There are prescriptive tables in ICC-ES 3949 for below-grade walls satisfying IRC without the need for engineered design.
- As a structural reinforcement under the provision of ACI 318-14 section 1.10 and ACI 332 under Section 1.2 and 126.96.36.199.
- In pavements, per ACI 330.
There are limitations to using Helix Micro Rebar, but they are far fewer than fibers and often they can be minimized through effective engineering.
Helix Micro Rebar is Made From Steel
Helix Micro Rebar is made from 100% steel, which is 600% stiffer than concrete. Independent studies conclude that steel fibers do not have pre-crack performance like Helix Micro Rebar does, since Helix Micro Rebar has a patented twist design.
Helix Micro Rebar Requires Low Doses
Helix Micro Rebar requires smaller doses than fiber and much less steel than rebar or mesh. For example, for a cubic yard of concrete, a typical Helix Micro Rebar dose would be 18 lbs. (8 kg.), while other fibers would be up to 60 lbs. (27 kg.) It is often applied at 1:3 to 1:4 the dosage of other steel fibers.
Helix Micro Rebar Starts Working Fast
Concrete shouldn’t have to crack for its reinforcement to begin working, but that’s how many fibers are designed to operate. Polymer and steel fiber manufacturers recognize the low modulus of their concrete reinforcement. To justify the properties they rely on test standards that measure performance only after large cracks have formed, which is ironically when they exhibit better performance. These methods include ASTM C1399 and ASTM C1609.
Helix Micro Rebar is an Alternative to Fiber and Rebar That Works for You
Helix Steel has American engineers that are ready to help you with your project.
- You can submit your project specs to allow our team to review them and help to demonstrate our product’s benefits to your next project.
- You can access accurate dosage requirements online right now.
- The International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) updated ESR-3949 allows engineers and architects to more easily implement Helix Micro Rebar in slabs, foundations, footings, walls and pavements.
- You can learn more about alternative concrete reinforcement by accessing our Ron Blank & Associates course entitled Alternative Concrete Reinforcement Materials.
Choosing Helix Micro Rebar for your next project will change the way you build with concrete. If you have questions about using rebar alternatives, we are always here to help. Contact Helix Steel today.