A modular market

With more than half a century of operating experience, Betonbau GmbH & Co. KG is a trusted manufacturer of prefabricated concrete infrastructure and technical buildings

Betonbau was founded in 1963 and is based in the town of Waghäusel, located within the Rhine valley in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The company was established as a manufacturer of prefabricated concrete modules and has since evolved into a supplier of complete systems, which are comprised of concrete infrastructure, technical buildings and electrical equipment. Betonbau today operates from four plants throughout Germany in addition to a further facility in the Czech Republic employing circa 750 members of staff across its production and administration activities, with an annual turnover of around €120 million.

During the past five decades Betonbau has grown into a business that is able to work with a variety of applications and clients across several industry sectors. As the company’s presence has expanded so too has its product portfolio, enabling Betonbau to establish a proven reputation as a leading turnkey system provider. “The main products that we supply are monolithically built modules that are used in a multitude of industrial applications including both electrical and renewable energy, gas, telecommunication, railway and infrastructure. These modules are also suitable for integration into the design of larger buildings and structures. They can additionally be combined with our concrete plate elements. Furthermore we produce components such as ventilation panels, doors and pressure relief systems that are typically produced in aluminium,” explains Betonbau Managing Director, Volker Ernst.
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“Our customers include power producers, grid operators, railway tenders, industrial and public customers, telecommunications and operators wind power, biogas and photovoltaic plants as well as prime contractors within the construction industry,” he continues. “For example, we have delivered thousands of our industrial stations to the biogas, photovoltaics and wind energy sectors. The market of renewable energy has continued to grow over the last ten years and is today one of our mainstays and is therefore of great importance to the company.”

Within the photovoltaic sector, an example of the solutions provided by Betonbau can be found in the development of operational buildings combining three specific parts for the Pocking solar plant in Germany, with an output of around 1,233 MW. These operational buildings for photovoltaic technology consisted of a transfer room, inverter room and emergency power plant room and were erected on a site of over 20 hectares leased from local farmers together with approximately 220 solar trackers. Since its completion the solar plant has been supplying the mains network and more than 800 households with electricity. There has been a numerous amount of projects like this executed by Betonbau over the past years. While serving the biogas sector organic waste is converted into biogas, using both landfill and/or methane gas in a biogas plant that provides a gas motor with an energy source. The energy generated in the form of power and heat can then be used in part in the plant itself and also supplied to the public supply network. Within this application the positive characteristics of concrete structures enable their use as an aggregate housing, particularly with regard to the high level of sound insulation, compressive strength and long service life.

In addition to serving clients within the energy market, Betonbau has also established a proven reputation in providing solutions to the rail industry where it provides units for power supply, distribution and signalling applications. Completed projects within the rail industry include the provision of a standard power inverter for Deutsche Bahn (DB). To accommodate the power supply of its 16.7 Hz track network from the 50 Hz three-phase system, DB requires a power supply at many points across its network. These network couplings can be modularly and economically constructed according to the feed-in requirements at different points on the network, meaning that different design stages can be technically and optically uniformly designed. After the production of the required concrete elements, the room cells can be equipped with the necessary electronic and technical equipment at the same Betonbau factory. The foundations and the enclosure of the large transformers, some of which are necessary for soundproofing reasons, are largely prefabricated in the concrete factory and finally installed on the construction site.

Across the company, Betonbau manages the highest levels of quality control supported by more than 50 years of industry experience. This has enabled the business to develop a proven track record with a broad base of industry players and will be vital in enabling the company to enjoy positive growth over the coming years. “We possess a very well-founded application know-how, therefore we are able to provide our customers with customised solutions that include planning, technical installation in our plant, logistics and transportation, assembly and commissioning. Our long years of practical experience result in a design that is able to adjust to the various circumstances, climatic zones or building areas the customer needs to use our products in. It is our company’s goal to grow at a double-digit rate and we see the market potential primarily in the sectors of renewable energy, electromobility and energy storage systems. In addition to that we are expanding our export activities,” Volker concludes. “The market is subject to certain fluctuations, influenced by the political environment and due to the agreed climate protection goals that apply worldwide. However, growth is inevitable and therefore we see this as a growing market. During the next 12 months we will concentrate on adapting the company to the new markets, while our vision for the next three to five years is focused on market and product development as well as the extension of our product portfolio. We are always interested in expanding our network and are looking for new partners to extend our business activities. New business models as well as new areas of application for our existing product portfolio are also always of interest to us.”

Betonbau GmbH & Co. KG
Services: Prefabricated concrete infrastructure and technical buildings