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A Dutch concrete factory is looking for a sustainable alternative for polyethylene foam for the protection of concrete plates

Country of Origin: Netherlands
Reference Number: BRNL20220110002
Publication Date: 11 January 2022


A Dutch concrete manufacturer is looking for partners that can help to supply or develop innovative solutions to replace the currently used polyethylene foam with a sustainable and environmentally friendly, degradable alternative. The alternative will be applied as cover for iron spacers and used to protect the concrete plates during storage and transportation. Companies are sought to provide their solution or enhance existing technology via a supplier agreement.


The Dutch concrete factory was founded in the 2004 and is now one of the leaders in the production of a large variety of prefabricated concrete elements; from structural walls to columns or floors. 
The different concrete elements are stocked and then transported to the customers. For this logistical process specific spacers are used, in the industry these are known as “hands” or “fists”. The spacers ensure that the elements to be stored and or transported do not come into contact with each other and thus cannot be damaged.

The spacers are U-shaped, made of hot-dip galvanized steel. To prevent damage to the concrete elements, the U-shaped spacers are currently covered with a strip of polyethylene foam. From a sustainability point of view, the polyethylene foam strips / pads do not contribute to the sustainable strategic goals of the SME. In principle the foam pads are for one-time use. After transport they are thrown away, or worse; they are strewn around the construction site. Lots of them are spread by the wind and thereby are a burden to the environment.

The present used material of the protection strips is not degradable and thus can pollutes the construction site and the environment. Enforcement agencies are also drawing the company's attention to this fact more and more frequently. This is obviously not desirable, because the SME wants to be the greenest concrete factory in the Netherlands. As the concrete manufacturer believes that it is their responsibility to find reliable, efficient and effective ways to reduce waste and increase the recycling of materials.

The company is looking for a solution to cover these spacers "on site" in a robust and sustainable way so that they permanently substitute the properties of the present foams. Sending the spacers off to a factory that can cover them is not an option. Fitting the protection cover, the spacers (“hands”) must be possible on site.

In this respect the company is looking for innovative solutions for lining the spacers or alternatively create an new type of spacer .

The company has the intention to conclude a supplier cooperation agreement, but there is scope for discussing other forms of cooperation and agreements.

IMPORTANT: This technical cooperation request refers to an innovation challenge published on the internet platform. If an organization expresses interest before closing date, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform. After registration participants can browse free through other submissions and engage in discussions. All submissions will get feedback by the company on this open platform. The challenge opens on January 17th and closes on 21 st February, 2022 Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential. Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the firm will select the SME's with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution. Once the challenge is closed, Expressions of Interest for this technology request will be treated in the traditional way.



Expertise sought

The concrete factory is looking for suppliers that can provide  innovative and creative solutions to replace the presently used foams with a sustainable material. The SME is  looking for a solution to cover the clamps / hands "on site" in a durable way so that they permanently have the properties of the presently used foams. Fitting the foam covers must be possible on site.

The following expertise is sought:
• Chemical and mechanical properties of protective foams
• Tech & design:
• Creative thinking
• Design/ Sustainability

IPR status


Stage Of Development

Available for demonstration

Requested partner

The Dutch concrete manufacturer is looking for experts (SMEs) with know-how on sustainable foams. The offered solution should be ready to be adapted to the current transport and stocking processes. 
The company is open to co-develop promising solutions and therefore the potential partner should preferably have knowledge of:
• Chemical and mechanical properties of protective foams
• Tech & design:
• Creative thinking
• Design/ Sustainability

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