Traditionally, research institutes usually divide their business into four types of business: (A) long-term open research, (B) industrial or commissioned research, (C) commissioned business and (D) courses and information. A and B concern the creation of knowledge, C the application of knowledge and D the dissemination of knowledge.
The Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute (CBI)’s overall objectives are worded as follows: “The Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute (CBI) is our country’s primary environment for R&D within the concrete, aggregate and natural stone areas and one of Europe’s three primary industrial research institutes within the same areas”.
The Institute is developing Sweden’s biggest total technology resource within the field of concrete. Leading environments are developed primarily within the following areas: the characteristics of fresh concrete; aggregate; microstructure; concrete floors, concrete roads and concrete block pavements; durability; life cycle analyses and concrete repairs; environment and recycling. The Institute also has well-reputed researchers and experts within the field of concrete structures, but the area is judged to be too broad to be included in the above list. As well as the field of concrete, CBI occupies an internationally strong position within aggregate and natural stone.
Concrete and concrete products are tested for the purpose of determining different product and material characteristics. The requirements are set by authorities and clients. The development has gone from national testing methods to more and more common European standardised methods. The fixed cost of premises, equipment, personnel, service and accreditation is high. Relatively substantial testing volumes are needed in order for the testing business to cover its expenses and be profitable. Competent personnel who can carry out many different types of test are also needed. The laboratory resources at CBI constitute a unique resource for concrete testing that has the capacity to take on everything from comprehensive testing of concrete properties, frost testing, etc. to rheological tests on fresh concrete and chemical and microscopic analyses. The Institute has Sweden’s broadest accreditation within the field of concrete, aggregate and natural stone. Around 150 of our testing methods are accredited by SWEDAC. The Institute is also responsible for two field test places; one in a freeze-thaw road environment (RV40 outside Borås) and one in a marine environment (Träslövsläge).
Examination business or commissioned business is an important part of CBI’s operations. The majority of the examinations are carried out by the Concrete Structures group that offers qualified services within the areas of permit examination, damage reports and repair. Our strength is the unique combination of knowledge and experience within several disciplines such as material and structures and the function of structural engineering with regard to load carrying capacity, durability and other functions. The assignments include assessment of permits and proposals for the repair of a broad spectrum of different types of concrete structure such as garages and parking structures, industrial floors, structural parts of houses and industrial buildings, quays, concrete dams, concrete tunnels, bridges, industrial plant, swimming pools and water treatment plants. We also examine instances of moisture damage and structures that are suspected to contain aluminate cement.
At the request of SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP), CBI tests products and inspects production control within a number of areas: cement, aggregate, additives, added material, colour pigment for concrete, surface protection products for concrete, building blocks, asphalt etc. We also test and certify a number of products that satisfy the requirements for the P label (SP’s quality label), e.g. expander concrete and light expanded clay aggregate.
CBI’s training operations within the field of concrete are comprehensive and they are sometimes run in cooperation with other companies, organisations, and universities. Cooperation broadens the horizons and simultaneously shows strength and openness in the face cooperation. The range of courses includes both longer, professional concrete courses and, for example, Concrete Course Classes I and II and shorter courses within some specialist areas. Both open and in-company courses are run both in Sweden and internationally. A relatively recent innovation is Internet-based courses (e-courses). The courses are co-organised with the library and information within the Dissemination of Knowledge group. The administration, which includes institute management, economy, personnel and service, also runs specific externally-financed research and assignments or financial services.
The technical operations – from A to D – are run in four groups: Concrete Structures, Materials, Testing and Inspection and Dissemination of Knowledge. Finally, there is the Administration and Management group with the support functions of finance, personnel and management.
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