Design considerations

When I design moulds for wet-cast concrete products, my primary focus is on the end user. If you’re a manufacturer, end user means your customer’s customer, and often even your customer’s customer’s customer. Starting with the end-user, I work backwards through the condsiderations for each major roleplayer in the delivery chain.

End user

End-user considerations include issues of usability and durability as well as aesthetics, and context is key. For example, some pedestrian areas must accommodate shopping or luggage trolleys, wheelchairs and prams as well as the woodpecker-effect of high-heeled shoes. This requires a smooth, flat surface, and pavers must be grouted flush to create smooth transitions.
These considerations determine not only the surface texture design, but also the arris and chamfer. Size is also a consideration, as larger blocks are more likely to crack, whereas smaller ones introduce additional grouting which places the overall smoothness of the installation at risk.

Installer

Installer considerations fall into several categories. These include:

Ease of handling

Large blocks crack more easily in transit; sharp edges can chip during handling; large blocks are heavy to lift and place accurately. Considerations like these must be factored into the design. Moulds may even be designed in a manner to ease gripping and vertical lowering into place, to minimise the displacement of bedding sand.

Eliminating cuttings

The picture below illustrates the immense difficulty of having to cut blocks that cannot possibly fit the purpose for which they are being used.

As a designer and manufacturer of moulds, I tackle this problem from multiple angles. One of them is to design versatile ranges for you, that can be used in applications such as these.

DimenSional tolerances

Products which deviate from their specification create immense problems for installers.

Installations slow down and result in shoddiness and rework when contractors struggle to create an even surface with uneven blocks, and to create neat, straight grouting lines whilst working with blocks that are skew or that allow for misalignment and groutline creep. The Total Cost of Installation (TCI) can be greatly reduced by accurate end-product sizes derived from high quality minimum deviation moulds.

These requirements are not easy to meet. My clients know that I do my utmost to ensure that our manufacturing practices produce moulds which show the minimum deviation from the spec, even after many years of casting.

Manufacturer

Most of my manufacturing clients are also the sellers and transporters of their own products. This adds strategic considerations to the equation. I work with you to define your brand and range strategy, so that your products will grow and integrate well with each other as you expand your operations.

Demoulding

Ease of demoulding is key consideration for manufacture. Some of the moulds we develop have special demoulding mechanisms.

Storage

If you buy exclusive ownership of a design, the master from which the moulds are made, becomes yours, and must be stored carefully for later, when you require more moulds to be made. If your storage conditions are unsuitable, alternative arrangements are preferable.

 

Modularity

Modularity is a universal consideration in respect of the end-user, installer and manufacturer.

Designing for modularity is a specialised discipline. I consider how your paving units may be used in conjunction with industry standard products such as bricks, as well as with possible future products in your family of products.

I also consider factors that affect the spacing of the products. West-cast products are chamfered, and the chamfer or cast-in spacers determine the default grouting space. Even the arris (the edge-curve) plays a role in the appearance and integrity of the grouting.

Mouldmaker

You benefit from our many years of experience, and in many cases, this means we can deliver quickly once we’ve agreed on the design rationale.

My team and I are known for our tenacity in meeting design and material challenges.

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Based on all these considerations — end-user, installer, manufacturing — I work with you to design, develop and produce your moulds.