SAVAGE, Minn. – Fabcon, a leading manufacturer of high-quality precast concrete solutions, is celebrating 40 years of innovation. Founded in 1971, Fabcon provides wall panels, highway traffic barriers, columns and sound walls for commercial and residential construction.
“Optimizing the quality and cost efficiency of our portfolio through manufacturing innovation has helped Fabcon weather numerous economic storms over the past 40 years and remain an industry leader,” said Mike Le Jeune, president and CEO, Fabcon. “Because of the company’s pioneering efforts and culture for embracing change, we are entering new markets as well as growing our commercial construction business.”
The innovative manufacturing process used in Fabcon’s first plant helped lay the foundation for the company’s current success. Leveraging rolling-bed technology, the forms move to where the concrete is mixed. This allows Fabcon to house all its equipment in a small, quality-controlled area, as opposed to the huge space that is required for fixed-bed production. To this day, Fabcon uses this manufacturing process at its facilities located in Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
In addition to its patented manufacturing process, Fabcon’s legacy for innovation is also exhibited through its product line. Fabcon was one of the first companies to develop a prestressed, hollow-core wall panel. Hollow-core panels require fewer raw materials to achieve the same structure and have traditionally provided the benefit of reduced shipping costs, while heavier solid panels give manufacturers more flexibility to cast-in window and door openings. Fabcon’s VersaCore+Green panel is the first precast product to combine these advantages. The company’s VersaCore+Green precast panels contain as much as 58 percent (by value) recycled content, deliver R-Values that lower heating and cooling costs, and are available in a range of thicknesses, widths and finishes.
To expand its offerings to the residential, municipal and transportation markets, Fabcon recently became a licensed producer of Verti-Crete wall systems. Verti-Crete is a vertical concrete casting system that allows Fabcon to deliver customized precast structures that look like natural stone, rock or stucco. The two-sided decorative concrete panels can be quickly and securely installed along noisy roadways, and around residential developments, businesses and municipal buildings.
In January, Fabcon also introduced Wains-Crete, a precast modular base panel for use with metal buildings. Wains-Crete can be purchased in sizes to meet the requirements of an “abuse wall” so customers pay only for the material they need at the base of their buildings.
Key milestones and achievements:
- Fabcon’s first plant began operations in 1971 as a plank manufacturer. Later, the majority of Fabcon’s business was multi-story systems buildings for apartments and condominiums. Today, to adapt to changing market needs, Fabcon has a successful national accounts program focused on big box retailers, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards and Target.
- With headquarters in Savage, Minn., Fabcon gained two plants — one in Indianapolis and the other in Columbus, Ohio — after acquiring the American Precast Company in 1995. Fabcon expanded to Allentown, Penn. in 2000.
- In 2006, Fabcon developed a way to embed foam into its precast concrete wall panels. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam billets with a high-density cell structure help VersaCore panels deliver the highest R-value ratings available from a concrete panel. Also, they are lighter to transport, easier to install and provide more design options than ever before.
- Each day, Fabcon’s plants can produce 1.5 miles of precast concrete panels, or enough to cover one city block.
- Almost 10 percent of employees in Minnesota have worked for Fabcon for more than 20 years.
- A few of the innovations that Fabcon is known for include its rolling bed technology, 3D design software that interfaces with a computer-aided manufacturing system to project a laser image of designs directly onto the casting beds, and a unique segmented screed that enables automated equipment to bypass obstructions in the concrete, such as structural connections and/or blockouts, that would otherwise need to be hand-finished.