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Durability cannot be promised, must be proved

o grove polygon uhpc harvest mussels

In October 2016 the company RDC installed in Spain the first world UHPC application in the field of aquaculture: The floating mussel farms. This innovation aimed to solve the durability problems that the marine environment causes to the traditional structures, which are made of eucalyptus wood. Despite that this first element proved to have a good performance, penetrating the market was really challenging, as UHPC beams are about a 20% more expensive than the timber logs.

o grove polygon uhpc harvest mussels
Figure 1. Picture of the O Grove polygon, with more than 400 rafts to harvest mussels

However, the RDC team trusted that the farmers using these first UHPC structures were going to experience by themselves that it solves critical problems, being the most economic option at medium and long term. This implies that the strategy to conquer the market required certain years (more precisely, certain hard winters…) to let the first users experience that the UHPC solution is clearly more resilient and does not require continuous maintenance. This has been appreciated by the users during the last 5 years, and fortunately for us they have spread the word of their satisfaction.

Figure 2. Two Formex® rafts installed in different areas

Thus, in the last years the sector has started to understand that the Formex® raft makes their business more profitable, so our UHPC structures are progressively increasing the market quote. This can be seen easily with the following figure, which shows the square meters of floating UHPC farms installed since their launching to the market:

Figure 3. Area of Formex® rafts installed per year. The value for 2023 shows the agreements already signed

This implies that, including the production already confirmed for 2023, the number of floating structures installed is 54, covering 26.700 m2 of area in four different sea basins. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of this application is of 139% (from 1 to 14 rafts per year in 8 years), and this growth has been caused mainly by the word-of-mouth effect of the clients speaking positively about their experience.

In fact, a great prove of this is that the polygon in Galicia where the two first Formex® rafts were installed is the area that nowadays concentrates the highest number of Formex® rafts. These two structures have proven already during five winters their great performance, and the farmers next to these structures became progressively convinced that this innovation is really worth. This viral effect can be observed in the figures below.

Figure 4. Formex® rafts installed in Rias Baixas (Galicia, Spain)
Figure 5. Formex® rafts installed in the O Grove C polygon, where were installed the two first Formex® rafts in Galicia

This is one of the best examples of a UHPC application where durability is the main purchasing factor. It proves that durability cannot be promised (farmers were reluctant to believe us in 2017…), durability needs to be experienced, and this requires time and patience. Nobody likes to waste money in maintenance and reparations, and for this reason the Formex® raft produced by PREFFOR and sold by Forjas del Salnés is already the market leader among the rafts available in the market. Long life the UHPC raft!

Waiting for your comments, I wish you very nice Christmas and a happy 2023!

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