Skip to main content

Why Formulation Adaptation is Key to Cost-Effective Cementitious Product Development

It’s a challenging time to be a cementitious or drymix mortar product manufacturer. Rising raw material and production costs are squeezing budgets. Plus the need to create more sustainable products is a pressing issue at the top of the product development must-do list. 

The good news is there’s a solution. One that will help you achieve performance and improve sustainability with the potential to save you some money. More on that in a moment. First, let’s explore the most common product development scenarios you’re likely to face.

Achieving the perfect cost-performance ratio

The key to achieving the right cost-performance balance isn’t always straightforward. As the following common product development, optimisation and sustainability opportunities demonstrate:

Formulation Optimisation

Making changes, like optimising binder content levels, can help you achieve your desired performance with the potential to also reduce cost. Particularly when you consider the introduction of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

Moving away from traditional CEM I

Using supplementary cementing materials can be a cost-effective way of reducing CEM I content, without detrimentally affecting current product performance.

Enhancing raw material use

Tailoring additive packages like thickener and polymer packages.

Consolidating raw materials

Buying fewer raw materials or combining them to create a synergistic effect can help you make more from less. For example, using one redispersible polymer powder across multiple formulation types can save on delivery, transport and storage costs.

Exploring raw materials with lower carbon footprints

Recycled aggregates and circular fillers reduce setting times while enhancing both early and final strengths in drymix mortars.

In each of these situations, thinking about cost in use is a key part of achieving the right cost-performance balance. But there are also other savings to consider.

man typing on computer with symbols popping up

Reduce your CO2 and save on carbon taxes

One of the most impactful changes you can make to your cementitious product is by incorporating specialist cements and additives, reducing the amount of Portland cement used.  This will make a major impact on the CO2 footprint of your products without impacting the strength and performance of the end product.

Under a carbon tax regime – like the ones in place in the UK, EU and around the world – governments charge manufacturers for each ton of greenhouse gas they emit. So by using hydraulic binders like CEM II and III and reducing the Portland cement in your products, you’ll reduce your product’s CO2 and your carbon tax bill. These savings can either be added to your bottom line, reinvested in your business or even passed on to customers.

It’s worth looking for a provider that’s done the work so they can supply you with the carbon footprint for all their additives. Helping you calculate the carbon footprint of your product to meet your scope three obligations.

With consumers and companies pushing for more sustainable options, being able to market your products as lower carbon is likely to help your products stand out in the marketplace. Potentially increasing market share and opening up new markets.

green earth in forest

Even more cost savings associated with formulation adaptation

Many of the additional cost savings are related to sustainability as adapting the formulation, using more sustainable additives or including additives that can be used at lower doses means:

  • Decreases in chemical production leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions.
  • Less weight being shipped around the world across your supply chain.
  • A lighter product being pushed through your manufacturing plant saving energy.
  • The potential for less hazardous chemical use benefitting people and the environment.

These are all brilliant things to do for the planet. However, let’s be honest – some cementitious products only use small amounts of additives. Making the sustainability impact of each individual unit relatively small.

Yet, consider what a 1% reduction in energy, transport emissions or hazardous waste could mean over the course of one, three, five or even 10 years across for one product. Suddenly these small amounts add up to make a big difference. And, if you made similar low-dose additive changes across your entire portfolio, the savings could be bigger still.

people pouring cement into hole

What does all this mean for the strength of your product?

Does reducing cement content mean an overall reduction in strength or other performance metrics? Not at all. With the right technical advice, additives and dosing, you can demonstrate that the performance of your product remains unchanged even after altering the formulation.

Perfecting the types and doses of additives in your cementitious and drymix products is a great way to tackle rising material and production costs while advancing your sustainability goals.

If achieving the perfect balance feels like juggling chainsaws, give Cemkem a call on 0161 762 0044 or at Our technical team has the experience to develop your products and help you tick all the boxes. Making your products more sustainable, while retaining performance and saving costs.