Innovation with Research & Development

Precast Innovators is not just our tagline, we live it every day. We have been spending time with our clients, listening to their questions and concerns regarding the use of wall systems. In addition, we are developing solutions and answers in the form of testing and various innovative efforts to improve overall building enclosure systems.  This proactive approach includes:

  • ASTM C1521 Caulking Pull Testing – This Standard Practice for Evaluating Adhesion of Installed Weatherproofing Sealant Joints pulls the sealant from a specimen in order to see how well it adheres to the substrate.
  • ASTM D5385 Permeability Testing –The goal for this test is to prove that the precast exterior shell can be used as an air, water, and vapor barrier, and is therefore superior over other exterior building finishes. This test method measures the hydrostatic pressure resistance of a material under controlled laboratory conditions to determine the permeability of that material. We will pour the test in late February, and it will take 28 days before we can see the results.
  • ASTM D6123 Insulation Pull Testing – This is a spray foam test on our Integrated Enclosure System (IES) and SlenderWall systems to verify the bonding of the spray foam insulation to the precast. Testing will measure bonding capacity and moisture content in concrete as sprayfoam is applied. Samples will be taken at hourly intervals to observe changes as concrete and insulation cure.
  • E119 / UL263 Fire Resistance – This test will provide the 1 HR or 2 HR fire resistance labels needed for typical construction. We are working with Jensen Hughes as our consultant and another precast partner. We are using Tremco Sealants and their Illmod 600 backer rod, as well as Spectrum #1 sealant to create a dual line of sealants in our lightweight panel system joints. Testing to be done at UL Lab in Chicago to provide rated assembly testing data of lightweight exterior cladding panels.
  • Energy Model Report – This test was specifically created for the lightweight wall system’s thermal performance. We tested four different types of building enclosure systems and our IES system surpassed any other wall system for its thermal capabilities.
  • Fiber Testing – we have been working with various fibers that reduce shrinkage cracking, increase impact resistance, and act as structural reinforcing
  • Hollowcore Core Filler – This test was of a Stubby Auger and its ability to fill cores while extruding concrete hollow core plank.  The initial test set up failed, but we continue to learn from the results.
  • Hollowcore Shear Testing – Wells is contributing to university research on shear capacity of grouted hollowcore sections.  Also, we’ve been adding hollowcore cross section options that provide more shear capacity and testing these in house.
  • NFPA 285 Fire Test – This is a test of a two story section of our light weight wall panels to verify that our system does not contribute to any vertical flame spread on the exterior of the building. The testing reports will be done on our actual systems so that judgement letters will not be needed. Testing to be done at the UL Labs in Chicago where we will produce the panels, assemble and then test.
  • Prefabrication – We are working with partners in the industry to include pre-installed windows, metal panels, and electrical directly in plant-produced wall panel to reduce trades in the field, and to save time and money on the project. The goal is to install more features in our plants and move work off of the job site, and our new building in Fargo will be an example of this process.
  • Preinstalled Windows – We recently created a benchmarking group to discuss pre-installed windows and the opportunities and capabilities they offer for prefabrication and improved building enclosure systems.
  • Thermal / Hot Box Test – This test will verify the thermal performance of our architectural sandwich panels. The goal is to determine the actual R-value of our panels vs the calculated R-value that most manufactures use. The testing lab is currently being set up and we hope to run the test soon. Multiple panel configurations will be tested to verify and illustrate the best preforming assembly.

Why dedicate so many resources to innovation? To improve efficiencies, cut costs and save time by implementing innovative strategies and techniques to make better product and better precast concrete buildings.

We are still in the discovery process of many of these solutions and therefore encourage you to follow-up with us in our Spring 2019 Newsletter to see some of our results, or reach out to your Wells representative for more information.