We act in PolyCare from the belief that there are still very many, previously untapped applications for polymer concrete products in the construction sector and especially in building construction.
The specific physical and chemical properties of the polymer concrete are known, but have been largely ignored because of the complexity and cost considerations in the past.
PolyCare Research Technology GmbH & Co. KG was first registered in Germany in 2010 and the business headquarters established in Gehlberg, Thuringia, Germany.
The aims and objectives of the company have always been…. To bring 21st century technology to the world of construction and to use this to enable building to be completed much quicker and to a much higher standard than previously known.
The Vision is…. To develop materials and processes that will allow survivors of natural disasters to rapidly build much stronger and resilient replacement homes themselves on site, quickly and cheaply, without the need for additional specialist help.
To allow those millions of refugees and the destitute, trapped in very poor camp accommodations or slums to construct much better homes and to again build their communities especially after civil strife. To allow even the developed countries to have a system of building that could for the first time not only match the rate of housing demand, but also to do so in a much more ecological and sustainable manner.
In this endeavor PolyCare recognized the tremendous potential and possible applications of polymer concrete. A concrete of huge strength made with resin instead of cement and water. While the special physical and chemical characteristics of this material are well known, they have been largely ignored by the building industry due mainly to its cost considerations. However, PolyCare has now brought an exclusive world-wide invention to the market, combined with a very simple and practical construction technique. This is therefore not just an alternative to traditional building but one that offers huge advantages including cost over practically every other system.
PolyCare can provide sustainable housing in a modular design. The process (production of the PolyCare concrete and forming into the necessary components) can be implemented on site by the local labour force and using locally available natural materials. The PolyCare product and design is so simple that it can be implemented without technical aids or specialized working knowledge. The final products are made for and by the local population and this provides them with a hope and motivation when so often they have nothing to look forward to.
The whole team at PolyCare are driven by the image of how helpful our project could be now in earthquake- ravaged Haiti and what could have happened had it been implemented a year ago. Undoubtedly, for a fraction of the money so far expended the quality of life would have been greatly enhanced for very many people and by now many thousands could and would be liveing in their own homes once more rather than still being on the streets.
To assist in the initial financing of this plan PolyCare has developed some initial products for the outdoor and horticulture markets. These are PolyCare technologies that are produced at our casting plant in parallel to our research activities. One outstanding product segment is the PolyCare Lumino® product line which offers for the first time luminescent surfaces on products used as walkways, boarders & edging, stepping stones, fountains and even decorative home-elements
For the past fourteen years PolyCare's COO, Gunther Plötner, has researched extensively into new polymer concrete formulas and manufacturing processes. This has led to the company securing numerous patents and utility models associated with PolyCare’s new polymer concrete.
They include patents for the process of make strong and resilient concrete uniquely with desert sand, and it's use for wall components etc. Nevertheless, the R&D process at PolyCare continues to develop new and exciting technologies following the vision of the company.
In the last few years this has meant making polymer concrete from a whole range of ‘waste’ materials is possible. With fly ash from a chemical plant in India, toxic sludge shipped from Russia and waste shot-basting sand from a dockyard maintenance facility. In essence what PolyCare’s COO has been able to show is that outstandingly good quality cement can be made from a whole variety of ‘wastes.’
Of course this saves landfill and lowers cost. Indeed, in many of these circumstance there is a cost to normal disposal and wastes are used, it either generates an income or is provided free.
The number of natural disasters has increased exponentially in recent decades and as the world population rises, so do the numbers affected by the disasters. In most cases after these events there is a lack of suitable, resilient weatherproof shelters. Whilst tents and other emergency protection offer immediate relief, all too often they become survival homes for many years to come. This leaves the survivors vulnerable to further severe weather episodes and with no job and no hope of any enhancement in their lives they are permanently left dependent on outside help from UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The PolyCare concept aims to produce durable and comfortable accommodation, constructed by the survivors themselves at incredible speed. Additionally, unlike practically every other short term reconstruction method none of this building is wasted. When the emergency is over all the material can be reused to construct bigger homes, schools, medical clinics or community centres. This is because the building block elements of the PolyCare technique are both permanent and temporary at the same time. They can be demounted down to component level at any time and reconstructed as something else. But at every stage of its life a PolyCare structure will significantly outperform its traditional build equivalent. Whether in strength, durability, resistance to earthquakes, waterproof qualities, resilience or even eco credentials. While some may think this not possible, PolyCare poses this question.
According to Amnesty International, more than 1.3 billion people live in slums today. By the year 2020 these figure will rise well beyond 1.5 billion. In the cities of developing countries, one in three people live in a slum. In Sudan and the Central African Republic, 94 percent of the urban population live in a slum. 60 percent in Jamaica, 50 percent in Bolivia, 80 percent in Laos, and 70 percent in Bangladesh. But we fail to do anything about it and the slums grow at an alarming rate.
At the Urban Age Conference 2016 in Venice, the Director of the Biennale Alejandro Aravena explained that the consequence for social peace and security for the whole world would rely on housing the masses in the coming years. Significantly he quotes a US government report that said unless the world succeeds in the near future to create one million family units per week then security worldwide would significantly worsen. He went on to explain that if this goal could not be achieved, then the current refugee flows would grow to unimaginable figures. The social hot spots and slums would sink into social unrest and provide the ideal breeding ground for extremists. His ideal scenario was to bring new high-tech solutions to housebuilding where ordinary people can build their own houses at reasonable cost by using local materials.
PolyCare’s R&D headquarters is on the site of the first research centre for X-ray tubes in Gehlberg. For many centuries it was the centre of the glass industry in the state of Thuringia.
The building we use today is classified as a historical monument since the historical production of the first x-ray tubes here at the end of the 19th century and later the first TV tubes.
After the reunification of Germany, the buildings were extensively restored and the former glass furnace hall now serves as PolyCare’s main operational research room. The administration building houses laboratories and offices and the large outdoor area accommodates the model buildings.
The glass industry has determined the development of the village for many centuries with the first glass factory being established in 1645. The products made here by the Gundelach factory became world-renowned and in 1904 they were celebrated and awarded at the world exhibition in Chicago.
It was in this factory that Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and Gundelach produced the first x-ray tubes and in the 1930’s the first cathode ray tubes for the very first televisions. Next to the PolyCare R&D plant is a local museum that records all the historical significance of the village.
The village now has just 590 inhabitants and is located on the south side of a mountain ridge rising to over 760m above sea level.