Based in Western Pennsylvania, TAKTL has created a design and manufacturing company that balances the rich industrial history of this region with the most sophisticated technology and innovation available today. With our modular manufacturing model we are ready and able to set up manufacturing facilities world wide to support project and client needs.
Philosophy Why do we do what we do? Well, primarily because we think it is interesting, exciting…and fun. We are deeply committed to design and material science and the possibilities that develop when you combine the two. At TAKTL we value design and technological innovation foremost and consistently invest in research and experimentation to achieve it. Our approach is sharply focused on assembling the most qualified team of experts in all areas of our enterprise to work collaboratively toward creating materials and products that surpass what was thought possible and meet only the highest standards. And we apply those same high standards to every facet of our company. We are active members of our community, and are committed to providing economic development opportunities and setting excellent examples in the areas of social and environmental responsibility, labor management and client relationships. Like all companies, we strive to be successful; but at TAKTL, we measure success by the quality of our company at all levels and the contributions that we are able to make to society, industry and our community.
Team The TAKTL team, now over 150 strong and growing, brings together thirty years of manufacturing experience, materials research and innovative design. Our company is made up of material scientists, mechanical and ceramic engineers, industrial, textile and communication designers, architects, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and business administrative experts, and includes many individuals who have expertise in two or more of these fields. With substantial experience in domestic and international industry and practice, our approach is interdisciplinary and collaborative. Our breadth of experience continues to grow as we push design and innovation forward.
History TAKTL began as a research and development project at Forms + Surfaces, an international designer and manufacturer of architectural products and urban elements. Initially intrigued by the potential of UHPC in urban furniture and exterior lighting, the design studio at F+S began an exploration of UHPC technology, focusing in Europe, where much of the materials research in this field is centered. Although UHPC has been used widely there in applications requiring its superior strength and corrosion resistance – bridges, marine anchors, and narrow-profile structural elements – it is only within the last ten years that UHPC has moved into architectural applications in Europe such as rear ventilated facades and canopies.
The more we learned, the more excited we became as designers and manufacturers about the potential of UHPC for architecture. Not only would its unique strength and surface qualities create new applications for concrete, but we began to understand that the material itself and the manufacturing model could be a compelling sustainability story. We also discovered that the expertise and technology to manufacture repeatable, affordable products did not yet exist; therefore, to continue down this path we would need to develop our own proprietary formulations and design the entire manufacturing process.
Over the next year, we developed a proprietary formulation that utilizes local raw materials optimized for continuous casting and began to experiment with surface textures and profile geometries. In early 2010, based upon the success of initial products and early test results, two of the managing principals and founders of Forms + Surfaces formed a separate company, TAKTL, LLC, to focus exclusively on designing and manufacturing a portfolio of architectural facade products that take advantage of the unique characteristics of this material and the design latitude it affords.
Throughout 2011 and 2013 we advanced the technology behind our manufacturing process and continued to grow our team of experts – material scientists, engineers, architects, industrial designers, model-makers, manufacturing specialists. In June 2013, with the launch of a website, a full suite of technical support documents, and a growing portfolio of TAKTL facade panels and profiles, we achieved ASTM quality certification for our first full-scale production line in Pittsburgh, PA and realized the first phase of our plan.
Demand quickly outpaced the capacity of the first plant, and in early 2015 we started looking for a much larger space to scale up production. We were fortunate to find a 180,000 square foot historic Westinghouse plant, originally built in the 1880’s, and a supportive partner in the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) to transform the building into the high tech, energy efficient manufacturing facility. Our design and manufacturing teams went to work developing the next generation automated production line, dedicated tool and mold manufacturing plant, metal and wood fabrications shops, and an R&D laboratory, and the company gradually transitioned over to the new campus in 2016.
In parallel, TAKTL began to focus on the additional testing and certifications required to qualify for the demanding facade applications that differentiate Architectural Ultra High-Performance Concrete (A|UHPC®) from other facade materials and fully leverage its superior strength and durability – high impact, ballistic, seismic, hurricane. At the same time, we began collaborating with the ICC to develop a new acceptance criteria for UHPC composite panels (AC493). Having recognized the emerging trend towards prefabricated wall assemblies and the advantages TAKTL has in meeting the timing, size, budget and collaborative design demands of these applications, we also started actively focusing on projects with unitized and prefabricated wall assemblies to build our expertise and push into new application areas
By the beginning of 2018, it was clear that without significant additional investment in automation, our growth in the Pittsburgh plant would be limited by labor availability and production capacity. Building upon the knowledge gained from two years of high volume production, our equipment design, IT, and research teams began a sweeping upgrade and expansion of each step in the manufacturing process that included thirty separate initiatives: redesigned material handling equipment, a new casting delivery system, automated wash/dry stations, parallel coating lines, inline inkjet barcoding, additional CNC saws, automated belt fed conveyors and expanded water circulation and filtration. As a result of this significant additional investment in automation and capacity, the company is positioned for continued high growth from its Pittsburgh facility while beginning work on a second manufacturing plant to support the western US and Canadian markets with locally sourced and manufactured products.
Reaffirming our commitment to research, design and manufacturing, the TAKTL team is continuing to explore promising new materials, technologies, and applications areas, collaborating with architects, engineers, installing partners and research institutions to expand our capability and develop new products for the international architectural market.