Quality forms an integral part of the Colas Group’s corporate philosophy – therefore, professionalism and compliance with all valid regulations are of utmost importance not only in case of actual construction works, but also when it comes to quality control testing, technological planning and engineering activities. The technological coordination and the standard, cost-efficient performance of group-level assignments pose a challenge that can only be tackled by providing all the required resources, while operating an efficient technological organisation and a central laboratory.
Making the Hungarian market open for new technologies and favouring quality work performance are crucial for the entire Colas Group, as the introduction and adaptation of the Group’s state-of-the-art technologies can only be turned into an advantage if those criteria are met. Consequently, the group-level coordination and realisation of professional consulting, quality testing- and technology transfer are key roles assigned to the Technology Directorate.
Colas’ Hungarian technological- and laboratory organisations – with the exception of lab units belonging to Colas Északkő Kft. – have been operating under the supervision of the Colas Hungária Technology Directorate since the second half of 2011.
In recent years, the Colas brand has become a synonym for quality, environmental protection and innovation throughout Hungary. We are striving to maintain and improve Colas’ position on the Hungarian construction market by enhancing quality and introducing a wide array of new technologies, while minimising our costs and constantly adapting to the economic circumstances. The accomplishment of those objectives is ensured by our excellent colleagues at the Technology Directorate.
The Technology Directorate is constantly seeking the technological preconditions to meeting higher level requirements regarding various fields of road construction. State motorway- and public road development assignments and our position on the European Union market lead to a fierce competition between domestic contractors. The narrowing possibilities of the Hungarian state budget is also a primary factor shaping the market. Consequently:
1. The public road network is in a critical state (especially considering surface unevenness, rutting, load bearing and surface roughness).
2. The lack of funds threw back technological developments. Instead of refined solutions, the application of sloppy solutions became widespread (e.g. the installation of only surface coatings or wearing courses in cases when complex pavement constructions would be necessary).
3. In the future, more emphasis should be placed on contractors’ technological planning, the submission of alternative proposals for pavement structures, the reduction of maintenance costs, and the assumption of more responsibilities by the contractors.
4. The construction of new elements for the transport infrastructure network and operation-maintenance duties of the existing public road network underline the significance and necessity of technological planning.
5. Along with the booming rate of traffic, our main roads must be reinforced to withstand 11.5-tonne axle loads. Therefore, it is high time to improve currently used asphalt mixtures and to introduce a wide possibility of applying custom pavement structure designs.
Making the Hungarian market open for new technologies and favouring quality work performance are crucial. Accordingly, state tenders should allow the application of various innovative construction methods and support proposals for alternative pavement structures.
Even without going into details regarding the Hungarian asphalt design and qualification practice, a problem is obvious with respect to pavement structure design regulations: pavement structures are specified for very wide traffic categories (the difference between limit values of a given category can be as high as a figure of three) – thus, unnecessarily oversized structures are present, while other roads deteriorate rather quickly.
Experience shows that high-performance asphalts and more expensive technologies tend to be the more cost-efficient solution, especially if we take into consideration the total sum of costs over the entire life span. Our goal is to improve the condition of Hungary’s roads and slow down the deterioration of road surfaces by applying a wide range of developments concerning asphalt technologies and measurement technologies and opening a possibility for a more efficient use of funds.
Innovation and the related research and development are key tasks assigned to the Technology Directorate – those tasks are performed in cooperation with Hungarian universities and research institutes, through the implementation of joint R+D projects and the submission of tenders.
Our own research and development activities are carried out in cooperation with the parent company’s central laboratory, CST. As part of this partnership, we are seeking possibilities to introduce Hungarian adaptations of products that have already proved successful in the French and international practice.
Product development and new technologies
One of the primary courses of innovation activities is dominated by product-related developments. Developments are chiefly concentrated around the topic of asphalt mixtures.
We have completed the adaptation of numerous French asphalt mixtures to Hungarian circumstances. Such asphalt mixtures include the COLBASE high-modulus base- and binding course; the BETOFLEX high-modulus binder- and wearing course; the RUFLEX wearing course mixture and the RUGOSOFT noise-reducing wearing course. The application of these asphalts has not been restricted to experimental sections: on the M5 motorway, tens of kilometres have been performing greatly under heavy traffic for years.
The Colas Group is also devoted to protecting the environment. We are carrying out intensive research into asphalt mixtures produced and installed at low temperatures (hence known as LT asphalts), as well as cold- and warm recycling possibilities for demolished, milled-up pavements (VALORCOL technology).
In addition to conventional asphalt-testing devices, the Technology Directorate is also equipped with small- and large-wheel rut testing tools; two- and four-point bend fatigue testing devices, a machine for Duriez testing, and a Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR).
- Építésügyi Minőségellenőrző Innovációs Nonprofit Kft. (Non-profit LLC for Quality Control and Innovation in Building)
- Magyar Közút Nonprofit Zrt. (Hungarian Public Roads Nonprofit PLC)
- Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Highway and Railway Engineering
- H-TPA Innovációs és Minőségvizsgáló Kft. (H-TPA Innovation and Quality Control LLC)
- INNOTESZT Minőségvizsgáló, Technológiai és Fejlesztési Kft. (INNOTESZT Quality Control, Technology and Development LLC)
- Hungarian Transport Administration
- Közlekedéstudományi Intézet Nonprofit Kft. (Institute for Transport Sciences Non-profit LTD)
- Hungarian Asphalt Pavement Association
- Hungarian Road Society
- Nemzeti Infrastruktúra Fejlesztő Zrt. (Hungarian National Infrastructure Development Agency PLC)
- Széchenyi István University, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Department of Transportation Infrastructure
- TAM CERT Magyarország Vizsgáló és Tanúsító Kft. (TAM CERT Hungary Testing and Certification LLC)
- Transinvest-Budapest Kft.
- UTIBER Közúti Beruházó Kft. (UTIBER Transport Consulting Management LTD)
- Association of Hungarian Road-, Bridge- and Civil Engineering Laboratories
Project name: The introduction of energy-efficient road construction technologies at COLAS-HUNGÁRIA Zrt.
After being awarded 25 million forints of financial support, the Technology Directorate is initiating a 100 million forint research and development scheme.
Under the Regional Operational Development Programme (ROP), the Technology Directorate of COLAS-HUNGÁRIA submitted an application for the tender entitled “Support for corporate innovation” (Central Hungarian Operational Programme KMOP-2009-1.1.4). The application entitled “The introduction of energy-efficient road construction technologies at COLAS-HUNGÁRIA Zrt.”, and targeting a 2-year-long R+D programme, received a positive evaluation from the Governing Body of the ROP. Supported activity: experimental development, production and testing of asphalt-technology products, procedures and services, and marketing for introducing the new/improved products, technologies and services (conference, PR).
Our primary objectives are the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emission. Various technologies are to be evaluated following a comparison of technical parameters of asphalt mixtures made with additives targeting temperature- and CO2 emission reduction, used in Hungarian and international (European) practice. Knowing the results, we will become able to determine (as early as in the design phase) the modifications applicable for certain asphalt mixtures, and the temperature / energy / cost savings achievable on urban roads, motorways, national public roads under heavy traffic loads, and on local roads under lighter traffic. The funding will open the possibility for developing energy-efficient asphalt mixtures, as well as the propagation of those at conferences and in industry journals.
COLAS-HUNGÁRIA Építőipari Zrt., H-1033 Budapest Kórház u. 6-12.
Technology Directorate – Central Laboratory, H-1032 Budapest, Bécsi út 174/c.
Governing Body of Operational Programmes for Economic Development
MAG – Magyar Gazdaságfejlesztési Központ Zrt. (Hungarian Economic Development Centre PLC)
H-1139 Budapest, Váci út 81-83.