Anderton Concrete – 2022 industry forecast


Anderton Concrete – 2022 industry forecast

As 2021 draws to a close, Neil Cross, National Sales Manager at Anderton Concrete, reviews the challenges and opportunities faced by the rail industry over the last twelve months, whilst also discussing the key market drivers for 2022.

Throughout 2021, the government continued to place infrastructure at the centre of its Build Back Better initiative as a key driver for economic growth. With latest Glenigan data forecasting civil engineering project starts to increase by 3% for the year when compared to 2020, it’s safe to say the industry is continuing to push forwards at a steady pace. 

This acceleration in project starts throughout 2021, in addition to the further 2% rise forecast by Glengian for 2022, has augmented the requirement for new approaches to construction. This includes the need for building materials that increase on-site efficiencies, whilst also providing a cost-effective and sustainable method of construction.

In addition, receiving necessary building products in the shortest possible lead times is essential to ensuring contractors have the materials they require on site, when they need them, to ensure project schedules aren’t delayed. 

In response to this, over the last 12 months Anderton Concrete has seen a significant increase in demand for precast concrete solutions, including its Network Rail approved troughing, signal bases and ballast boards. This is due to their low lifetime cost, non-combustible properties and impressive resilience, whilst also eliminating the requirement for casting on site.

To further increase efficiencies and ensure a successful specification, Anderton Concrete has also seen an increase in demand for bespoke solutions across a wide variety of developments, from dust suppression schemes, to signalling projects.

Following continued investment at Anderton Concrete’s Thornley manufacturing facility, the installation of a new crane system has facilitated the creation of units up to 10 tonnes, double that of its previous capabilities. In addition, the entire manufacturing process has also been reconsidered, including a new factory layout that further increases efficiency of production, especially on repeat products. 

Adopting a bespoke approach to the construction of rail products is also supporting the decarbonisation of the UK’s rail network, which has continued to be a main influence for the sector throughout 2021and is set to continue to be the focus heading in to 2022. 

By adopting an individual approach to each project, the manufacturing process can be streamlined to suit specific orders and demand, therefore creating less waste, whilst utilising fewer materials.

Developing lower carbon products lies at the centre of achieving the government’s Net Zero targets, with the demand and need for environmentally efficient rail technologies involving every aspect of the industry, from stations and platforms, right through to lineside equipment and rail engines themselves. Achieving a net zero rail industry will continue to be a high priority for the sector throughout 2021, with efforts to reduce carbon emissions being rapidly accelerated through continued product innovation.

However, whilst manufacturing products with lower embodied carbon, without compromising on quality, cost and efficiency is a priority, there are additional factors pushing the continued requirement for product evolution. By partnering with manufacturers to collaborate on the design, installation, and maintenance of a new generation of rail products that place quality and performance at their core, rail professionals can meet the most demanding site specifications, whilst simultaneously setting a new standard throughout the industry.

For example, whilst precast concrete rail solutions may be perceived as being potentially carbon heavy due to its production processes, Anderton Concrete has been proactively working with industry partners to produce products that feature significantly reduced carbon and have a lower overall weight than similarly competing technologies. 

This includes the development of its new “Eco Trough” range, which successfully reduces the overall weight of its C/1/9 Trough to just 21kg, bringing it well under the advised 25kg ‘one man lift’ limit. This not only significantly reduces manual handling concerns and streamlines the installation stages to effectively minimise potential risk to engineers when installing the troughing, it also supports rail providers in successfully achieving a more carbon efficient installation that paves the way for a net zero future.

As part of this commitment, Anderton Concrete has also reduced the embedded carbon by at least 40% by removing a proportion of the troughing’s mass and by incorporating alternative materials into the manufacturing process. All of this has been achieved while maintaining the desired resilience and non-combustible properties associated with trusted precast concrete troughing. 

Working with a leading industry partner, Anderton Concrete has also recently reduced the embodied carbon in its platform copings by a substantial 40%, using the same method of reduction it applied to its troughing. These carbon reductions were achieved having been approached and asked to investigate ways of achieving a more environmentally efficient construction from its leading industry partner and the manufacturer believes it can apply this technique to further products in the future to continue the trend of more sustainable concrete products in the marketplace. 

With sustainability high on the industry agenda going in to 2022, and alongside a backdrop of recovery from material, supply chain and product availability issues experienced throughout 2021, now is the time for rail providers to partner with leading manufacturers to achieve the highest standards of efficiency and sustainability.