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RAPIDWALL®

Building a Better World

Presentation to the 9th Global Gypsum Conference and Exhibition

Rio de Janerio May 2009

"How an emerging glass-fibre gypsum plaster walling system and improved


calcining technology can stimulate profit for the gypsum industry."

Greg Rice
Chairman

Rapid Building Systems

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

I want to take you back to the early part of the last century and then, over the course of the next
20 or so minutes, finish by transporting you to the end of this century or at least give you the
chance to get there yourself.

So first, to the early 1930s, where at a fibrous plaster manufacturer the days of the great
depression were still biting. Business was tough and the last thing anyone wanted to embark
upon was investment in new ideas.
However, one of their installers suggested that, in order
to lift the company out of the depression, they should
forget about fibrous plaster and manufacture a
“sandwich panel” of board and plaster.

But these suggestions fell on deaf ears and that


company, like so many others of the great depression
went out of business.

But his suggestions fell on deaf ears and that company,


1930s manufacturing like so many others of the great depression went out of
business and it was not until after the Second World War that the scarcity and cost of building
products saw “plasterboard”, become the most successful building product of the 20th Century.

But, it took more than 50 years, a depression and a world war for the most ardent skeptics to
recognise that their resources and their building techniques at the time were obsolete.

Today we face a similar problem.

A global financial crisis. Unprecedented housing shortages especially in emerging economies.


Increasing cost of building materials. Environmental activist pressures. Political instability and a
more learned and demanding middle class in emerging economies. The list goes on.

So the question is. what to do about it?

Here’s a précis of a report last month from McKinsey.

It said,

Look beyond the crisis.

Given the vastness of the economic change now under way, the temptation for many will be to
gaze mesmerized, at the unfolding crisis.

That’s a mistake, for at least two reasons.

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

First, devastating as the current downturn may be, it cannot roll back fundamental market
trends—such as the aging of consumers in Europe and North America or the continued economic
development of Brazil, China, India and Russia—which will continue to create strategic
opportunities and threats.

Managers must focus their eyes—and resources—on these trends no matter what.

Second, companies that become fixated on current economic events run the risk of overlooking a
core responsibility: evaluating the effectiveness of current strategies.

While all this may sound like common sense, extreme uncertainty makes it easy to overlook.

If I might paraphrase the McKinsey report;

If you continue to do what you’ve always done you’re likely to find yourself looking at a
substantially reduced business in the future.

This is why I chose "How an emerging glass-fibre gypsum plaster walling system and improved
calcining technology can stimulate profit for the gypsum industry” as the title of my
presentation.

I have no doubt that some, if not most of you today will be skeptical about the potential for a
system that does away with the need for both internal and external walls.

A system that entirely replaces the need for “plasterboard”.

For those of you who want to shout sacrilege and heresy please restrain yourselves a little longer
for it may not be your skepticism that is of greatest worry but the underlying fear that, “if this
takes off, what do we do with our plaster board factories?”

My answer to this is nothing.

At least not in the markets in which you currently operate.

Remember the fibrous plaster installer I mention earlier. He tried, unsuccessfully, to get his
company to cease fibrous plaster manufacture completely. Even though everyone would now
agree that plasterboard was a great idea. But you can image how the owners and shareholders at
the time might have reacted. “We’ve put our whole life and savings into this business where not
about to walk away from it now”.

And nor should you.

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

I am not suggesting for a moment that you walk away from your core businesses but simply that
you keep an open mind to allow you to enhance and add to your existing businesses in a manner
that makes strategic sense.

I’m sure 50 years ago brick manufactures were very concerned when plasterboard came on the
scene yet surprisingly they’re still around.

So today, I want to talk to the visionaries amongst you and not the skeptics.

Those of you who always find a way to do things despite the opposition; those with the vision,
the foresight and understanding to recognise the potential for a glass-fibre gypsum plaster
walling system.

Not at the expense of plasterboard but in concert and sympathy with it.

A system that has been proven in exhaustive scientific testing to withstand considerable loads
and is therefore ideal in earthquake prone areas; is presently the lowest energy embodied
building product in the world today; can be constructed to withstand high winds such as cyclones
and hurricanes; is ecologically sound and environmentally friendly as it uses natural or waste
gypsum and is recyclable; can be used in load bearing buildings of up to 15 storey’s; is ideal for
repetitive design construction and can be erected in a fraction of the time of other building
methods.

This product is known as Rapidwall® and some of you will already know of its existence and of
similar products which have tried and failed. I believe one of these may have been presented at
the conference last year.

If this is the case I can understand your doubt.

As business managers you need a degree of caution but you also need vision.

Also, you may already think you know all there is to know about Rapidwall® and as a
consequence reject it and continue to remain amongst the naysayers and the cynics.

And that’s OK because my task today is not to try and convince the cynics amongst you but to
convince a few, perhaps only one, that Rapidwall® truly will become the number one building
product this century.

So that armed with this knowledge you will go back to your company and will convince them of
their ability to carve out an entirely new market, to sustain their existing business, despite the

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

Global Financial Crisis and to further grow gypsum plaster as the preferred product for all
building and of course profit handsomely.

First, for those of you who have not heard of it, what is Rapidwall®?

Rapidwall® is a patented building panel.

Comprising a large load bearing building panel that


offers a rapid construction at a price that is between 25
to 30% less than traditional building methods.

Rapidwall® was developed in Australia in 1990 and is


manufactured from gypsum plaster mixed with
reinforced glass-fibre rovings.
Rapidwall installation
The panels are cellular in form and produced on a flat
bed table to a finished size of 12 m by 3 m by 124 mm
thick. Rapidwall® has significant flexural strength and
has the lowest embodied energy rating of any load
bearing building system presently available in the
world.

A waterproofing system is added to the mix to make it


suitable for internal or external use.

It’s light weight, (only 40kg/m2 or approximately 12


Rapidwall manufacturing plant, Jinan, China percent of the weight of a concrete or brick wall) and
stronger than conventional materials.

And it’s load bearing and can be used for external and internal walls
as well as for roofs or floors in combination with reinforced
concrete cavities.
Small section of a Rapidwall
panel

So that, in short is Rapidwall®

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

But rather than wait until the question and answer section I have endeavoured to answer some of
the concerns you may have already.

Plaster based products are great internally but


not really suitable for outside use?

As I recall the pyramids at Cheops were constructed


and finished with a mixture of plaster that still
remains intact nearly 5000 years later.

Now I admit that it may not rain much in Giza but


nonetheless it’s a pretty impressive story.

Much closer to our own time the very first


Rapidwall® building, constructed in 1990, did not
have water repellant additives. It has been painted
Rapidwall waterfront development but subjected to sun, wind and rain it shows no
visible signs of deterioration despite being next to buildings constructed out of conventional
building materials of the time that have evident cracking through soil movement and the like.

As a matter of course we now add water repellants to the gypsum plaster mix so there is no need,
apart from aesthetics, to coat Rapidwall® with anything at all regardless of whether it’s for
internal or external use. This doesn’t mean you can’t do so. In fact the walls can be finished in
pretty much anything you like.

Rapidwall® has been used in many buildings in Australia for around 20 years. More recently in
China and India. A few of them appear at the end of this presentation.

The next question that may arise is this:

People are too set in their ways to accept Rapidwall® as an alternative to traditional
building products?

In established markets this may be true but to people in the emerging economies of China, India,
Africa and South America, Rapidwall® is a leading edge product.

Do you think the emerging middle classes want to use old technology and pay a premium for it
in terms of time, money and energy?

I don’t think so. These people are the early adopters, they don’t want the hand me downs of the
developed nations they want new ecologically friendly products in everything they use. They
don’t want to degrade the environment nor do they don’t want to contribute to global warming.

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

So Rapidwall® is perfect for them.

Also imagine the plight of people living on the street, in


cardboard boxes or in houses they have scrapped together
from flotsam and jetsam. Do you think they’ll be happier
with a home made out of traditional materials if they have
to wait 5 or 10 years or not get a home at all when they
could live in a Rapidwall® home that their government can
afford and they can have in a matter of months?

We as an industry have a responsibility not to let these


Slum housing disadvantaged people down.

And think about this, if you, as the gypsum industry


were only to adopt Rapidwall® in countries with
emerging economies and forget about the developed
nations you would have guaranteed and growing
businesses well past the end of this century. And
provide many jobs for unskilled workers
South Africa 1997 - Low cost housing

A business that doesn’t interfere with your current business but significantly enhances it and will
be eligible for Carbon Credits.

Here is a comparison of building with Rapidwall® in India compared with conventional


materials.

Table 1: Rapidwall vs Conventional Building methods


Materials used Rapidwall® Conventional Saving in %
Building Building
Cement 16 tonnes 32.55 tonnes 50.8
Steel 1800 kg 2779 kg 35.2
3 3
River sand 20 m 83.37 m 76
3 3
Granite metal 38 m 52.46 m 27.56
Bricks - 57200
®
Rapidwall 500m² -
Water 50000lt 200000L 75

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

Materials used Rapidwall® Conventional Saving in %


Building Building
Built Area 143m² 154.45m² 8
Labour 389 man days 1200 man days 67.59
Construction Time 21 days 120 days 82
Total Weight of superstructure 170 tonnes 490 tonnes 65
Construction Cost Rs 13.25 lakhs Rs 18.27 lakhs 27.4
Embodied energy in kWh 82921 215400 61.5

Let me pose another question:

Plaster board, bricks and concrete are going to be around for years it’s just not the
appropriate time for us to think about a new product?

There is no question that traditional building materials will be around for a very long time but
there are now serious questions being asked by every government about the impact these
products have on the environment.

For example, in China the production of clay bricks has been banned. In India the likelihood is
that mining for sand will be banned. Africa pours million tonnes of waste Gypsum into the sea
and in all countries cement production is a high energy user.

It’s not a question of whether you personally believe in climate change or not; there are a lot of
very influential people in the world today who do believe these things to be contributing factors
to climate change and they will be looking to change them.

While there is little we mere humans can do about earthquakes and hurricanes we can build
structures for housing people that are the least affected by these natural phenomenon. This is
where Rapidwall® comes to the fore.

It may also answer a further question on the load bearing ability of Rapidwall®.

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

Let me refer to an academic article published in the Construction and


Building Materials Journal in March 2009 in by Dr Professor Y.-F. Wu,
Department of Building and Construction, City University of Hong Kong.

This journal provides an international forum for the dissemination of research


and development in the field of construction and building.

Professor Wu refers to Rapidwall panels and shake testing performed by the


University ITT Madras, India and destruction testing by the Shandong
Construction University, China.

He says,

“The Indian shake table tests on full-scale two-


story houses demonstrated the excellent seismic
performance of the Rapidwall® structural system.
Only minor cracks were noticed in one of the six
models under 0.36g earthquake excitations, and
no structural distress was found in any of the six
houses tested.

In a destructive test on a five-story full-scale


building at Shandong Construction University no
visible structural cracks or other distresses were
observed in the building under a cyclic horizontal
force of a magnitude of 100 tonnes, which is
equivalent to a zone 8 earthquake in the Chinese
seismic code of practice.”

Five story, full size Rapidwall building in Shandong

Imagine the beneficial effect Rapidwall® would


Destruction testing, 5 storey Rapidwall building, have had in the recent Italian earthquakes.
Shandong University
Earlier I referred to Rapidwall® being the lowest
energy embodied building material in the world today and in support of this I refer you to a
thesis produced by Robert Omahen (Dipl.KFM) of the University of Regensburg, entitled
Ecologically Sustainable Development.

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

Here I have summarized what he says,

“Rapidwall® produces huge savings in embodied energy compared to competing products.

For low-rise buildings a substantial saving of approximately 66% can be made


compared to Timber Frame, (plasterboard finished), Clay Brick construction.

For commercial or industrial construction (over two storey’s) Rapidwall® voids


are filled with concrete and even then a saving of about 40% is made.

Rapidwall panels use fewer raw materials and because of the fiberglass strand
reinforcement doesn’t compromise on its very good load bearing capability.

With Rapidwal® additional embodied energy saving are made on-site compared
to Precast Concrete products, because no steel formwork is used.

The total CO2 saving of Rapidwall® for residential dwellings in Australia would be about 63% or
3.91 million tonnes compared to brick.

So, not only does Rapidwall® have superior structural and flexural strength it is also the lowest
energy embodied building product in the world today. Simply stated, that means that taking into
account all the energy inputs; manufacture, cutting, transport, erection and the like no other
building product can achieve the same outcome as Rapidwall® with the same energy efficiency.

Anyway, let me digress, if I may and briefly talk about the bush fires that occurred in Victoria,
Australia in February of this year. It happens that our production factory was right at the centre
of these devastating fires but fortunately came through without damage. Not all did.

Nearly 200 lives were lost. In the immediate area surrounding our factory 500, of a total of
2000, homes were destroyed.

You will know of course that gypsum plaster is fire


resistant and of course this also applies to Rapidwall®.
Given this we have donated a home to a young woman and
her daughter.

Their home was destroyed in these fires and as we speak


the final touches are being applied. We literally started
building this home, after a new concrete slab section was
added on the 5th of May and we expect to have her living
in her new home on the 19th May. I do not believe this
One of the homes destroyed in the
Victorian bushfires

10

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

would be possible with any other product nor without the support of the community.

As I mentioned, her home and our manufacturing facility in Australia is in Kilmore in Victoria
where we have a Rapidwall® manufacturing plant and a Rapidflow® calciner.

Originally, when we first started manufacturing Rapidwall® we used locally produced Australian
plaster and this was fine however, when manufacturing first started in China we discovered that
the quality of the plaster produced left a lot to be desired. Rapidwall® was able to be produced
and still meet all the technical specifications (in fact all the testing that has been undertaken in
China has been with locally produced Rapidwall®) yet we felt great improvements could and
should be made with regard to consistent quality.

About this time we joined forces with an engineer who


had been developing a fluidised bed gypsum calciner
and after studying its design and the outstanding test
results it achieved, we obtained a grant from the
Australian Government to build a fully operational 10-
tonnes per hour Rapidflow® calciner.

Testing indicates that this facility now produces the


highest quality and most consistent plaster available in
the world today.

Rapidflow Calciner, Australia


It is generally accepted that beta plasters produced by
conventional means (kettles, rotary kilns and the like) provide relatively low strength plasters.

This is not the case with plaster produced from the Rapidflow® calciner.

The Rapidflow® Calciner is based on the fluidised bed concept that differs significantly from
other fluidised bed designs. It uses a unique process that allows the introduction of hot gases in a
completely controlled manner and has little or no over or under burn.

Due to the high degree of temperature control of the system, Rapidflow® plaster particles are
calcined at exactly the right temperature,

The unique design of the Rapidflow® Calciner prevents any material being subjected to
temperatures in excess of that required for optimum calcination.

11

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

One of the hall marks of this calciner is that it can be used to calcine natural and industrial by-
product gypsum and we have successfully calcined both flue-gas and phospho gypsum using raw
material from China and India in the Rapidflow® facility in Kilmore.

Compared to cost of calciners of comparable quality, reliability and output, the Rapidflow®
calciner costs less to construct and less to operate, thereby making it far more affordable.

In India alone the excess of phospho gypsum produced annually is presently 2.5 million tonnes
which is sufficient to supply material for the operation of 62 (3 table) Rapidwall® plants.

And this excess is expected to further increase as demand for fertiliser increases.

Given this, we are now nearing completion of our third installation of Rapidwall® and
Rapidflow® plants in India.

Here are just a few photographs that show the facilities under construction.

Various shots of the Rapidflow Calciner under construction in Mumbai, India

All this is interesting you might say, “but we’ve already


got a good calciner why would we need a new one?

Simply stated, the return on investment in a Rapidflow®


calciner, we believe, far exceeds any conventional
calcining facility.

And importantly you can produce high quality plaster


with less carbon footprint.
Inside the Rapidwall plant, Mumbai India, all
six casting systems nearing completion

12

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

Table 2: Comparison of Calciner Types


Heat transfer direct indirect
saturated
Hot gas stream Contact surface steam
particle size of feed material (mm) 40-300 50-200 0-50 2-50 0-30 <2 0-12 0-2 0-40
oven or Cabinet Pit Bunker Rost-band Rotary Grinding Rapid Indirect Kettle Hollow Auto-clave
calciner type oven oven oven oven Calciner Calciner Flow Heated Screw
Calciner Rotary conveyor
Calciner large small

Product Anhydrite Plasters Stucco or Plaster of Paris d-plaster

Specific data
Calcination 100- 1000 350 250- 750 750 145 200 200 200 200 135
Temperature ( 0C ) 1000 1000

Calcination (h) <1 <1 <1 Few min Few min <1 several several 1 >1
Time hours hours

contin. X X X X X X X X X
operation
batch X X X

theoretical Kcal/
calorie consumption kg ~ 170 ~ 170 ~ 170 ~ 170 ~ 170 ~ 140 ~ 140 ~ 140 ~ 140 ~ 140 ~ 140 ~ 130
plaster
actual calorie Kcal/ 300 - 290 - 350 - 265 - 280 - 300 - 170 - 400 - 330 400 290 - 500 -
consumption. kg
plaster 500 360 400 275 350 400 180 500 330 1000
Thermal (%) 57-34 59-47 49-43 64-62 61-49 47-35 82- 78 35-28 43 35 49-43 26-13
efficiency

Table 3: Comparison of Calciner Efficiencies


Grinding fineness Setting time Water Flexural Compressive Brinell
  Beginning Plaster strength strength hardness
End

Plaster Type
( mm) ( min ) Ratio ( kp/cm2 ) ( kp/cm2 ) ( kp/cm2 )

Mid temperature plasters


Anhydrite plaster <2 7h 24 h 0.40 70 260 350
( A II + Ca O )
66% H/33% A Render plaster < 0.5 8 19 0.70 33 100 150
Central France
Cabinet oven plaster < 1.5 6 18 0.60 25 90 120
East France
Cabinet oven/ kettle plaster <1.0 9 22 0.66 30 110 160
South Germany

Low temperature plaster


Autoclave plaster or alpha plaster < 0.05 6 33 0.40 100 300 360

Rotary kiln stucco < 0.3 11 25 0.78 40 90 100

Small Kettle stucco < 0.3 8 20 0.68 46 120 150

Large Kettle stucco < 0.3 10 22 0.71 50 130 170

Aridized large Kettle stucco < 0.1 6 16 0.60 56 150 190

Rapid Flow Calciner 0 - 12 5 14 > 0.50 > 65 > 200 > 220

13

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

I won’t dwell on these charts, except to say in summary:

The Rapidflow® calciner compared with other calciner types has:

• The lowest calcination temperature 145oc therefore uses less energy.


• The best thermal efficiency of between 82 – 78%
• Grinding fineness of between 0-12mm
• Quickest setting times 5 – 14 minutes
• Good water ratio > 0.50
• Great flexural strength > 65
• Compressive strength > 200
• And Brinell hardness > 220
• Drying and calcining is done in a one step process
• Grinding after calcination reduces energy consumption for grinding.

So there we have it.

A proven yet relatively new (in terms of the change in the building industry) building system that
truly gives the Gypsum Industry the opportunity to literally change the way buildings are
constructed.

You’ve done so once with plasterboard in the past and as I said at the beginning for those with
the vision and the foresight you can do so again with the Rapidwall® Building System and a
Rapidflow® Calciner.

And you don’t need to stop what you’re doing in developed countries (at least not in the
foreseeable future).

Whereas progress has been made in India, China and New Caledonia, significant opportunity
still exists in every country in the world and especially in earthquake prone areas and in those
countries that require high volume, quick build, environmentally friendly, low cost housing.

With minimum investment, you can set up a Rapidwall® and Rapidflow® plant in the developing
nations and provide a world class building product well into the next century.

And most importantly an investment in Rapidwall® and Rapidflow® will, on average, give you a
50 percent return on your investment after you start production.

The potential is enormous.

14

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au
RAPIDWALL®
Building a Better World

A selection of Rapidwall buildings

15

Rapid Building Systems Pty Ltd 35 Willowmavin Road Kilmore Victoria 3764
ABN 74 101 748 663 T: +61-3-5782 0534: +61-3-5782 0531 www.rapidwall.com.au