Big Project ME speaks to Martin Ashfield, ANGE Capital Asset GM at Arcon, to find out how the company intends to build on its growth in the UAE concrete market
What does Arcon do, and what is its scope of operations in the UAE market?
Arcon, part of Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, is a well-known DM-accredited supplier in the UAE concrete market. It is one of the biggest in-house concrete suppliers in the region, supplying around 80% of its production to the Group’s own construction business. It supplies every one of Al Naboodah Construction Group’s projects, thus allowing the building giant total control over delivery and quality and removing the need to rely on any third parties.
The remaining 20% of Arcon’s production is shared between long-standing clients and small to medium SMEs who demand very high standards and who look for a supplier with quality plant and equipment. Al Naboodah has invested significantly in its concrete business in the past 12 months, with a fully-automated back-office system now installed, plus a new automated tracking system monitoring its 7,000 monthly truck movements using fully integrated GPS software.
Additionally, investment in plant has included the state-of-the-art 56m concrete pumps. Al Naboodah’s concrete business employs 180 staff, operates 50 mixers and produces approximately 350,000m3 of concrete yearly, with plant infrastructure capacity to cope with double that volume.
How does Arcon work to develop green concrete and cater to the growing demand for environmentally friendly concrete?
The Al Naboodah concrete business is fully accredited by Dubai Municipality for the production of green concrete. In line with sustainability goals, the production facility recycles 100% of its waste-generated water during the concrete production process and is constantly looking for ways in which to reduce its carbon footprint and improve environmental performance.
In terms of research and development, we are investigating the use of cement replacement alternatives, such as Pozzolith-based materials that would take us over and above current compliance levels but could deliver lower environmental impact in terms of reduction of carbon footprint and increased durability of concrete, and high performance in terms of optimisation for UAE environmental conditions, and increased workability, pump ability and compaction and curing properties.
If this proves viable, Al Naboodah would be one of the first companies in the region to offer such an environmentally-friendly product that goes beyond the current green concrete parameters.
How do you view the concrete market in 2017? What are your main objectives?
At Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, we believe the current market will see a period of stable growth and demand as the UAE works towards Expo 2020 and its UAE Vision 2021. We anticipate continued investment by the RTA and other utility providers in infrastructure and continued development in aviation projects. Concrete suppliers will be looking to take advantage of value-based projects as well as work with tier-one clients and major developers.
Our main objective is to build on existing relationships with suppliers and clients, and work on developing existing infrastructure and efficiency, to provide a value-based, high-quality product which is cost-effective and adds value to the ever-evolving engineering, environmental and sustainability criteria applied to the industry.