Concrete Wall Forms and Forming Systems
The Need For Concrete Wall Forms
Written by GJ Stott
Concrete wall forms are often combined with concrete form liners, sometimes referred to as molds, and are required for most types of precast concrete forming production. These apparatuses create the shape and texture of the finished fence product. Thousands of precast items require concrete wall forms and forms liners for their production. From basic products such as stepping stones, ornamental fountains and miscellaneous garden items to larger items such as septic tanks, utility vaults, building wall sections and burial vaults, a concrete form can be used to make many designs, shapes and sizes for the final end product.
Concrete wall forms vary depending on whether products are produced from dry cast or wet cast concrete. When using wet cast concrete, the concrete form can be textured to reveal a finish or design on the manufactured item. Various grades of polymers are often used so that the concrete form liner can be peeled off the finished item or opened so that the end product can be easily de-molded. From a simple textured “pan” concrete form (often used to produced cast stone products) to intricate pieces of machinery, concrete wall forms can range in price from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars based upon the difficulty of obtaining the shape and texture of the finished product and the mechanical complexity of the equipment for multiple casting efficiency.
Concrete forms are currently used to produce blocks for retaining walls. These blocks are large pieces of interlocking concrete fence that may have one of many styles of rock or stone texture on the finished face. Site furnishings, such as concrete picnic tables and trash receptacles, are made with forms typically assembled and disassembled during the manufacturing process.
A wide variety of concrete shapes and sizes are used for concrete fences. Early systems were manufactured from “pan” molds, creating panels and posts with texture on one side. Such panels were produced horizontally, which only allowed design on a single side of the panel and also required the top or open side of the panel to be trowel finished.
As concrete form technology improved and developed, new forms were built that allowed concrete to form in a vertical position. This revolutionized the aesthetics of completed products by crafting a textured finish on both sides of the panels and posts. As the acceptance and applications of precast concrete form fences expanded, the products transitioned to larger systems.
Demand for larger concrete wall systems grew, and forming equipment continued to improve with the vertically poured production systems. Thus, larger concrete walls adopted a double-sided finish similar to the smaller systems that preceded them. Initially, only systems with separate column and panel walls were available.
At the commencement of the 21st century, AFTEC developed the first concrete form which combined the individual concrete column and the panel into one integral unit through proprietary technology known as Combo-Cast™. The Combo-Cast™ system has created a concrete wall product that is superiorly efficient in production, handling and installation.
AFTEC custom builds master molds and multi-use formliners for concrete wall forms and fence applications. These liners can be used for commercial and residential buildings, retaining walls, sound walls, freeway walls, bridge abutments, sea walls, safety barriers, roadway wall beautification, and most any wall application where textured surfaces are required.
The formliners are Polyurethane rubber molds with a specific pattern that creates an architectural design on both sides of the final wall; promoting wall versatility as liners are reusable and can be removed and replace with a different pattern, including textures such as Logan stone, sandstone, stucco (or smooth), slate block, coming dry-stacked stone and additional custom designs.
Made from polyurethane rubber, formliners consist to two types: column and panel. A panel liner attaches using a clip system, and a column liner is screwed into place. The formliners are interchangeable and easily switched for forming needs.
Release is sprayed onto the form liners before pouring the concrete. As its name suggests, it allows the cured product to be easily stripped out of the form for installation.