i.lab, Italcementi’s new Research and Innovation Centre designed by the US Architect Richard Meier, was inaugurated today in the presence of the Italian Minister for the Environment Corrado Clini. The Minister cut the ribbon in front of a large audience including Giampiero Pesenti, Italcementi Chairman, Carlo Pesenti, the company’s CEO, and the Group top management. Also attending were representatives and journalists from 18 countries where Italcementi Group operates.
Located in the Kilometro Rosso Science Park, the building has an overall surface area of 23,000 m2 and hosts engineers, technicians and researchers from the Research & Development and Laboratories Departments of CTG, the Group Technical Centre, and from Italcementi’s Innovation Direction, all engaged in investigating and developing innovative technological, functional and aesthetic solutions for new construction materials.
Built in line with the Group’s concept of innovation, sustainability and architectural excellence, i.lab is the synthesis of this trail blazing technology in terms of quality of materials and green construction technologies, a place of knowledge and scientific know-how.
«Not only in Italy but also abroad, companies are changing their course of action shifting towards sustainability: this is green economy, which is in fact “economy” because those manufactures that fail to include environmental or innovation considerations are destined to exit the market. This is the reason why - added Corrado Clini, Italy’s Minister for the Environment - our Government is keen to encourage initiatives like those undertaken by Italcementi, which confirm how the entrepreneurial world is proactively committed to research and innovation».
«Innovation is Italcementi’s strategic lever to create its own competitive advantage - stated Carlo Pesenti, Italcementi CEO- The Group focuses on the continuous search for sustainable production processes and innovative architectural solutions to meet the growing market demand for applications and products that can enhance the quality of life and of the environment. About 170 people including chemists, geologists and engineers are engaged in Italcementi Group’s Research & Innovation activities in Italy, with i.lab, and in France, at the Technodes campus based in Guerville, near Paris. An annual budget of approximately 13 million euro is destined to Research & Development activities, which represents - compared to the total turnover - one of the highest values in the construction sector.We have filed 60 patents over the last decade. The Group’s current innovation rate – continues Mr. Pesenti – that is the ratio of revenues generated by innovation projects to total sales, is equal to 4 while it was 3.9 in 2010, so gradually increasing as planned. The target is to reach an innovation rate equal to 5 and maintain it in the medium to long term».
«i.lab - concluded Mr Pesenti - conveys two fundamental messages to its community. First, innovation can respect the environment and industry can be the driving force behinda change that is advantageous for everyone, the economy, the environment and the society. The second message is that the future of business belongs to those who have been able to cleverly combine industrial and economic development with a careful use of natural resources and a deep respect for human rights, work and life».
i.lab’s activity is geared around five main strategic axes:
- New clinker, cements or binders alternative to Ordinary Portland Cement. In particular, research will focus on the use of renewable and reusable raw materials and the development of specialty admixtures and special additions for concrete. This project study will also be promoted through investigations and experiments based on nano- and biotechnologies applied to the construction materials sector;
- Unconventional products, such as TX Active, i.light and others, able to provide added technological and functional value to traditional products.
- Special concretes, repair and structural strengthening mortars for both new and existing construction delivering added value innovative performance;
- Technical solutions aimed at reducing the CO2 impact within the construction materials industry.
- Networking with international architects and project designers aimed at defining and disseminating a culture of construction that is mindful of the environment and the people.
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