Completed in May 2022, the $36.6 million expansion of the Steel Technologies plant in Smyrna, Tennessee adds capacity to a key supplier to the region’s automotive and manufacturing industries. PENETRON ADMIX SB was specified as the concrete waterproofing solution for the plant’s below-grade structures.
A city of around 55,000, Smyrna is part of the Nashville metropolitan area and a manufacturing center. The local economy got its biggest boost in the early 1980s, when Nissan Motors constructed a manufacturing plant in the city. The first vehicles rolled off the Smyrna assembly line by 1983 and, today, the plant employs around 8,400 workers, with an annual production capacity of 640,000 vehicles, including the Leaf, Nissan's electric car.
Steel Technologies, a North American steel and aluminum processing company, is a key supplier to the automotive industries in Tennessee. The company’s newly completed 80,000 ft2 expansion project expands the facility to 163,000 ft2. The plant now houses the most advanced combination of coil-fed automation and high-speed laser cutting for surface-sensitive metal blanking. The company’s flat-rolled steel products are also sold to the appliance, garden equipment, agricultural, construction, office furniture, and consumer goods industries.
Reliable Waterproofing Solution Needed
“Because of the groundwater levels present at the Smyrna construction site, TWC Construction, the project’s general contractor, needed a reliable waterproofing solution for the new facility’s below-grade concrete structures,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “Penetron’s crystalline technology was specified thanks to other successful Penetron waterproofing projects in the region and our collaboration with imi, a national ready-mix concrete supplier.”
PENETRON ADMIX SB, a crystalline waterproofing admixture, was added to the concrete mix to protect the plant’s below-grade retaining walls and foundation slab from the groundwater levels at the site. The Smyrna plant’s concrete structures are now resistant to concrete deterioration caused by water penetration, chemical attack, and corrosion, while withstanding hydrostatic pressure from the groundwater.
Self-Heals future Cracks in Concrete
“Added to concrete in premeasured soluble bags during batching and unaffected by climatic conditions, PENETRON ADMIX SB significantly increases the durability and service life of concrete,” explains Christopher Chen. “Thanks to the non-soluble crystalline network that forms throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete, the structure has the ability to self-heal and seal any micro-cracks, pores and capillaries that may occur in the future, minimizing the need for future concrete repairs.”