Luxembourg is home to one of the few producers in the world of high-precision screeds used in the construction industry to achieve the levelness and flatness needed for industrial concrete floors: Topp & Screed. Its range of products also includes machines that integrate steel fibres into the concrete and that polish the floors. “Achieving the exact flatness and levelness required is essential as industry is increasingly using robots,” says Sales Manager Edin Draganovic. “The floors must be perfect for them to work.”
Topp & Screed was set up in 2006 by Twintec Group, a leading producer of jointless steel fibre reinforced concrete floors. After 10 years of producing and maintaining machines for the mother company, Topp & Screed started to sell its products to external customers and directly experienced a growing demand. The machines produced in the company’s workshop in Luxembourg are exported worldwide.
Technology transfer for pioneering innovation
In order to stay at the cutting edge and in line with the Twintec Group’s core values related to sustainability, Topp & Screed launched an innovation project in 2019 aimed at developing an electrical screed. “The construction industry is well aware of the need to reduce its carbon footprint. The workers doing the floors are also working in confined areas, which is another reason why the emissions from the machines used need to be as low as possible,” explains Mr Draganovic. “We wanted to be pioneers for machines fulfilling these criteria that would also be lighter and easier to transport than the traditional ones.”
Advised by national innovation agency Luxinnovation, the company successfully applied for an R&D subsidy from the Ministry of the Economy to develop the new machine using technology that had originally been developed to lower carbon emissions from the automotive industry. With the exception of the battery and the software, all developments were done in-house.
This gives the company a significant competitive advantage.
Just before Christmas 2020, Topp & Screed launched an electric screed on the market that is the first of its kind in the world. “This gives the company a significant competitive advantage,” comments Anthony Auert, Cluster Manager – AutoMobility at Luxinnovation. The screed has already been tested in Europe, and the results in terms of flatness and levelness are very good.
The market reaction has been positive: according to Mr Draganovic, prospective clients are impressed by the quality and capacity of the machine that is also noiseless. Another advantage is that the software is available in a wide range of languages. “In the past we only used English, but we saw that sometimes users who were not familiar with the language put in the wrong parameters. With multiple languages available, this can be avoided.”
Expanding the scope
The new machine collects and emits data related to its performance, such as the number of square metres it has covered. “This is obviously interesting for the customers using it, but the conclusions that can be drawn from analysing all the data obtained will also make it possible for Topp & Screed to develop new services and find new sources of revenue,” says Mr Auert. In addition, the electric screed allows the company to expand its client base to smaller construction firms that do not necessarily have the funds to invest in a traditional machine.
These resources available in Luxembourg are most helpful for companies that want to grow.
And the innovation does not stop here. With support from Luxinnovation, Topp & Screed is looking into transforming other products with technologies stemming from the automotive industry. “Our contacts with Luxinnovation, and with the Chamber of Commerce that helps us with reaching new international markets, are very valuable,” concludes Mr Draganovic. “These resources available in Luxembourg are most helpful for companies that want to grow.”
Photo credit: Topp & Screed