R&D: the backbone of innovation

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Research facilities in 10 countries

The backbone of innovation at LafargeHolcim is our corporate LafargeHolcim Research Center in Lyon, France, the premier research facility in the construction materials industry. It brings together diverse technical expertise, modern testing facilities, and partnerships with customers, leading academics, and technical teams in the field. Our teams of chemists, physicists, materials scientists, structural engineers, architects, and masonry experts include more than 200 researchers and 50 PhD scholars.

To better understand and serve local markets, the R&D center is complemented by a global network of Construction Development Labs (CDL) and advanced technical centers in ten countries. This organization allows us to work in close partnership with customers and specifiers to find solutions that meet the constraints of local building methods, regulations, and practices.

In 2015 R&D played a major role in the development of new solutions for our main customer segments.

  • For the retail segment, a new water-resistant bag for cement, Sac Protect™, was launched in France and is being piloted in several other countries.
  • For infrastructure, various road solutions have been deployed such as roller-compacted concrete in Poland and innovative road binders launched in Uganda and Malaysia. A specific solution for port infrastructure was deployed in Costa Rica.
  • For the building segment, new screed solutions have been launched in France. The first building using the new BlockFill mineral foam technology was built in Austria. A new construction system based on Durabric (an earth-cement alternative to clay bricks) was launched in Rwanda, Cameroon, Tanzania, and Malawi. The new Ductal® facade solution for construction and renovation was introduced in France. A new depolluting solution that removes NOx pollutants in urban environments was piloted in Spain.

To meet the challenges of the future, our R&D teams work in close collaboration with the world’s leading research institutions. We also collaborate directly with customers, start-ups, and suppliers to bring new and disruptive technologies to market more quickly. For example, collaboration with the start-up, Solidia Technologies, has led to the rapid development of Solidia Cement™ – a breakthrough cement that reduces the overall carbon footprint of cement by 70 percent by absorbing CO2 gas. R&D teams have also teamed up with external partners to demonstrate the feasibility of integrated photovoltaic films on curved building elements and entered partnerships to deliver complex 3D-printed structures.