Tag Archive for 'bridges'

TRIP’s Rocky Moretti Speaks with ATM About the Country’s Slumping Transportation Infrastructure

Listen to the 7-minute podcast

In February 2018, the White House released President Donald J. Trump’s infrastructure principles and initiative with this quote from the president: “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.”

But almost two years later, the American public, and the business and labor sectors are still waiting for these shining words to become reality.

Every day, Rocky Moretti lives why this message carries so much meaning. As Director of Policy & Research for the national transportation research nonprofit TRIP, he examines data and information and writes, edits and presents reports that illuminate the deteriorating state of regional and U.S. transportation infrastructure — all toward the goal of promoting sound public transportation policy.

The newest “ATM Podcast,” for the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition, features Moretti’s take on topics like quality of life and economic productivity, safety and congestion, bettering mobility, and America’s substantial transportation infrastructure funding gap. He also provides some insight into current transportation infrastructure challenges in Arizona, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In the last few years, Moretti has gone to Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and Texas to release reports on their transportation systems.

Sign our petition at http://bit.ly/2rk7EZl and share this story with your friends on social media.

Bridging the Gap to Safety

By Olympus NDT Applications Team

As of 2017, there are over 600,000 bridges in use in the United States. Almost 9 percent of these bridges are classified as structurally deficient, which means that the condition of the bridge includes a significant defect and restrictions must be enforced to maintain its safety. Though a structurally deficient bridge is not imminently dangerous, it can become so if substantial improvements are not made.

The average expected lifespan of a bridge is 50 years, but around one in four bridges in the U.S. are older. To help ensure that bridges (young and old) are structurally sound and safe to drive over, they need to be inspected regularly. To help them ensure that bridges remain safe, inspectors rely on different nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques. Though functional, traditional NDT methods are not the most efficient and dependable. With modern ultrasonic testing, however, inspectors can do their jobs with improved data and more reliable information.

The Problem

On average, 174 million trips are made across structurally deficient bridges each day. Over the course of a bridge’s service life, the constant loading and unloading of weight on the structure can cause cracks and shearing to form in the welds and bolts that hold the bridge together. If left to grow, these flaws can lead to catastrophic failure. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to find defects such as corrosion and fatigue cracking as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The various defects and discontinuities possible in a weld.

Welds and bolts joining together bridge steel supports are particularly susceptible to discontinuities that can lead to corrosion and cracking. For example, when the weld doesn’t fully fuse with the steel or trapped gas creates holes in the weld, the strength of the weld is lessened. A bolted connection can be weakened by shear stress, which occurs when the two fastened structures are forced in opposite directions. These weak areas create concentrated points of high stress from which fractures can originate.

Conventional NDT Methods

A traditional NDT method used to inspect bridges is liquid penetrant testing (PT), in which liquid dye is used to reveal surface cracks on welds. Though PT has few material limitations and is relatively inexpensive, it’s limited to detecting surface cracks, leaving subsurface cracks undiscovered. Furthermore, to use PT, the inspector must have direct access to the surface being inspected, and surface roughness can affect the inspection sensitivity.

Radiography is a conventional NDT method that can also be used to inspect a bridge, but inspectors are slowly phasing it out. Radiographic testing uses X-rays to create a photographic film of the weld/bolt’s internal structure and determine if any discontinuities exist in the bond. However, this method carries safety risks because it emits radiation and generates chemical waste material. Additionally, it requires supplementary licensing and areas in proximity to radiographic testing must be cleared.

A Different Class of NDT Methods

Phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) offers a safe, reliable alternative to PT and radiography that provides a better quality of data. A phased array flaw detector uses a probe to send high-frequency sound waves into the bridge supports. If a flaw – such as a crack or corrosion – exists, the probe will detect the altered sound waves. The data is sent back to the flaw detector, which then translates it into a visual representation that an inspector can use to identify the defects.

Another advanced NDT method that inspectors use is eddy current (EC) testing. Eddy current is used to help detect subsurface cracks that penetrant testing can miss. A major advantage of EC is that, unlike PT, it can be used on painted or coated surfaces. This helps save time and reduce cost since there’s no need to remove coatings or paint prior to inspection.

Today, more than 54,000 bridges are older than the expected lifespan and are due for restoration or replacement, an undertaking that would take 37 years to complete. To maintain the safety of the bridges we cross each day, bridge inspectors need to be able to determine any defects that would require load restrictions, making PAUT and EC flaw detectors are excellent alternatives to radiography and PT.

This feature appeared in the November issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor,
Western Builder

Bridging Safety and Productivity with Modern Solution

Using High-Tech Demolition Increases Productivity and Safety in Bridge Work

By  Lars Lindgren

Every day in the United States, 188 million vehicles pass over a structurally deficient bridge. Each year, hundreds of injuries and even deaths occur from decaying infrastructure. It’s a major problem – and one that’s been well documented by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Out of over 614,000 U.S. bridges, almost 40 percent are 50 years or older and 9.1 percent are structurally deficient. A recent estimate lists the U.S.’ backlog of bridge rehabilitation needs at $123 billion. 

When infrastructure funding comes through, contractors need to be ready with the fastest, most productive options to take on the heavy, urgent workload. 

In certain cases, a remote-controlled unit equipped with a breaker attachment and controlled by an operator and one spotter can break up 2 square feet of bridge deck concrete in 15 minutes. The same area in the same amount of time would require three workers with handheld tools.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More and more are turning to remote-controlled demolition and hydrodemolition machines as solutions. After experiencing worker shortages, increasing workers’ compensation claims and growing insurance premiums, the higher cost of the equipment starts to take a backseat. Remote-controlled machines provide more safety, productivity and efficiency for removing concrete around rebar than handheld tools, mini excavators, and backhoes. That adds up to a fast ROI.

Improved Productivity

Traditional bridge deck work involves a lot of workers with handheld pneumatic tools breaking through concrete to expose the rebar below. A major limitation of handheld tools is the operators. A person can’t apply nearly as much force into the tool or do so as consistently as a remote-controlled demolition machine can. Although machines don’t fatigue, operators do – and they do so incredibly faster when powering a jackhammer as opposed to operating a control box fastened around their waist. 

Some hydrodemolition models can remove as much as 800 square feet of bridge deck at a depth of 4 inches per hour, a fraction of the time it would take a crew of workers with jackhammers to accomplish the same thing.

Remote-controlled demolition machines come in varying configurations and weights so that the most productive option can be matched to each job. In addition, contractors can choose between electric- and diesel-powered models.

Remote-controlled demolition robots cut the number of necessary laborers and speed up the concrete removal process. In certain cases, a remote-controlled unit equipped with a breaker attachment and controlled by an operator and one spotter can break up 2 square feet of bridge deck concrete in 15 minutes. The same area in the same amount of time would require three workers with handheld tools. Productivity is increased as a result, reducing labor costs by about 33 percent while accomplishing the task in less time. 

Some hydrodemolition robots use jets of water at pressures of about 20,000 psi to quickly remove layers of concrete.

Innovative remote-controlled hydrodemolition robots are an emerging method offering similar benefits to the more established remote-controlled demolition machines. Some hydrodemolition models can remove as much as 800 square feet of bridge deck at a depth of 4 inches per hour, a fraction of the time it would take a crew of workers with jackhammers to accomplish the same thing.

The result of either type of equipment is hours, if not days, of savings over the course of a job. That adds up to potential bonuses for early completion as well as improved chances at more contracts. 

Damage-Free Rebar

When it comes to bridge or road repair and rehabilitation the need for precision and minimal microfracturing are major considerations. Handheld tools combined with operator error simply don’t make the cut. Similarly, an excavator paired with demolition tools lacks the precision to effectively accomplish the task without damaging rebar. In this instance, hydrodemolition robots shine. 

Hydrodemolition is devastating to concrete but leaves rebar clean and unscathed

The technology virtually eliminates the possibility of unintended damage during bridge repair or rehabilitation. Typically, jets of water at pressures of about 20,000 psi are directed at the surface of the bridge deck, quickly removing layers of concrete but leaving rebar unscathed and clean. There’s no need to spend extra time carefully avoiding rebar because the high-pressure water­ – though devastating to concrete – doesn’t damage the metal bars. This maintains bridge safety and saves time and money replacing and repairing damaged rebar – a process that can delay a project by days and cost tens of thousands of dollars in repair. The method also doesn’t cause vibrations, eliminating the possibility of microfracturing that could threaten bridge stability.

Hydrodemolition is devastating to concrete but leaves rebar clean and unscathed

In some applications limited in scope, remote-controlled demolition machines’ offer the ability to perform precise “dental” work on bridge decks. Because the force of the breaker is matched to the robot and can be adjusted based on the conditions, the possibility of damaging the underlying rebar during concrete removal is drastically reduced. 

Less Manual Labor, More Safety

Even the most productive tool needs an operator. As the workforce ages, contractors are having difficulty recruiting younger workers pivotal to helping meet the infrastructure demands to come. Remote-controlled robots can help attract millennials by appealing to their fondness for technology and innovation. As a result, they are often fast-learners with the equipment. 

Improved safety from the high-tech equipment also helps recruit new workers and retain existing employees. Remote-controlled demolition and hydrodemolition robots allow laborers to monitor their work a safe distance from flying debris and edges that pose a falling risk. The elimination of the need to stand next to a ledge also means contractors can minimize setting up fall protection systems. In addition, where large equipment such as excavators require multiple lane closures, demolition robots typically only require one lane closure, minimizing traffic impact. 

Also consider worker strain from handheld pneumatic tools, such as rivet busters, that can result in more workers’ comp claims and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket. The equipment’s heavy vibrations can lead to injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve damage and hand-arm vibration syndrome. Remote equipment eliminates that risk and prevents fatigue-related mistakes and injuries common after long periods of time operating handheld tools. The machines’ safety benefits mean some companies receive insurance discounts when adding such equipment to their fleets because the provider sees how safety on the jobsite has improved.

Remote-controlled demolition machines’ offer the ability to perform precise “dental” work on bridge decks. Because the force of the breaker is matched to the robot and can be adjusted based on the conditions, the possibility of damaging the underlying rebar during concrete removal is drastically reduced. 

Advanced Solutions

Until infrastructure funding is passed, the number of bridges in dire need of repair will continue to skyrocket. However, funding will eventually need to be addressed and these structures repaired before liabilities escalate. Contractors that prepare, plan and incorporate technology solutions into their business will be able to successfully, efficiently and profitably address these needs. 

Prefabricated Modular Steel Bridges Provide Rapid, Reliable Solution to Restore Infrastructure in the Wake of Disasters

By Eugene Sobecki, Director National Sales and Military Business Development, Acrow Bridge

Transportation infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters, and climate change is expected to intensify future risks. Events such as hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires can disrupt accessibility to essential services such as education or healthcare and create business interruptions or delays that can cause long-term economic impact. Aside from natural disasters, transportation is also susceptible to man-made events such as accidents or terrorist attacks. 

In the aftermath of any significant disaster, it is the transportation infrastructure that underpins the restoration of all critical infrastructure components. When creating and restoring transportation lifelines quickly is crucial, prefabricated modular steel bridging can provide an ideal solution. 

For emergency applications, modular bridges have a number of distinct advantages over more traditional bridge types. Manufacturers have inventory of prefabricated components along with a supply network which allows for fast turnaround of materials. Damaged roads may make transporting heavy construction machinery, a prefabricated concrete structure or the length of a long steel beam structure unsafe or impossible. In contrast, modular steel bridging components can be transported in compact, easily maneuverable trucks and installed with minimal construction equipment. Modular steel structures can often be installed in extremely tight work areas, which may have resulted from the precipitating event. Finally, the speed to erect a modular steel span of any length can be counted in days or weeks rather than months or years. 

Every project comes with unique challenges, including the following modular bridge examples.

I-95 Oil Tanker Accident, Bridgeport, Connecticut

In March 2004, a tanker truck was involved in an accident on an elevated portion of the highway, which resulted in an explosion of some of the 9,000 gallons of heating fuel it carried. Both directions of the route in the vicinity were closed immediately and early reports indicated it would be weeks before the southbound overpass could open to traffic on the busiest highway in the Northeast and the major commercial route from Boston to New York. 

While overpass supports in both directions were damaged, inspection of the northbound bridge indicated it could be secured with reinforcing piers and it was re-opened to traffic in three days. The southbound bridge was not salvageable; it was immediately demolished, and after considering many options, it was decided to use a modular bridge as a detour during reconstruction.

Two days after the accident, workers began to construct the foundation and pour the concrete footings for the temporary bridge. The bridge was installed, paved and three lanes reopened to traffic less than a week after the crash.

I-10 Twin Span Bridge Hurricane Damage, Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana

Just 11 days after Hurricane Katrina hit the region in late August 2005, competitive bids were requested to restore passage on the heavily damaged twin spans of Interstate 10, a major artery connecting New Orleans and Slidell. 

Upon inspection, the eastbound span was found to have the least number of damaged segments, so it was repaired with undamaged segments from the westbound side. Limited passage was restored within two weeks, more than two weeks ahead of schedule.

With much of the westbound span missing segments from the initial storm damage or used to repair the eastbound route, prefabricated modular steel components were utilized to provide another rapid solution to getting residents back to normal. The bridge was opened to traffic in late December, once again ahead of schedule.

US Route 85 Overpass Collapse, Lusk, Wyoming

In early June 2015, heavy rains caused the flooding of the Niobrara River which led to the collapse of an overpass on U.S. Route 85 onto railroad tracks below, creating an immediate stop to the passage of Union Pacific Railroad freight trains as well as vehicular traffic on the highway, which is the main artery from both Interstates 80 and 25.

U.S. 85 bridge in Lusk, Wyoming

As Wyoming DOT keeps an inventory of modular bridging components, they were quickly mobilized to the site, while additional components were purchased for the specifications of this very long span. The bridge was opened on July 25, 2015, restoring freight service and vehicular access.

Skagit River Bridge Collapse, Burlington, Washington

When an over-height tractor-trailer hit the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Burlington, Washington, in May 2013, the impact caused an entire 160-foot-long segment to plunge into the water, along with the truck and two cars. 

I-5 Skagit River Bridge in Burlington, Washington

Fortunately, there was no loss of life, but the financial impact caused by the loss of the vital crossing illustrated the need for a swift solution, and it was determined the installation of a detour structure was critical until repairs could be made to the damaged bridge.  

Two 24-foot-wide by 160-foot-span bridges were designed and installed and formally opened just 24 days after the collapse; they remained in place for four months until repairs were completed. 

Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico

In assessing Hurricane Maria’s destruction across Puerto Rico in 2017, it was found that nearly 400 of the 2,344 bridges in the inventory of the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Agency were damaged, with 26 having collapsed outright. Providing survivors with urgently needed supplies and opening up routes for medical care was the first priority, with a larger goal the return to a pre-storm “normal” and reestablishing local commerce.

PR-957 in Palma Sola, Puerto Rico

As many of the impacted structures were in remote, mountainous regions with roads compromised by the storm, transporting materials to the work sites was far less difficult with compact, modular components requiring no heavy machinery for installation.  

The restoration of each crossing immediately allowed for safe passage of relief efforts from federal and state agencies. Children and support staff were able to return to school and employees to jobs. Most importantly, perhaps, each bridge reconnected vulnerable communities and helped countless Puerto Ricans return to routine life.  

Midwest Flooding 

The flooding in the Midwestern United States, beginning in early March 2019, caused devastating long-term damage across six states. In addition to the humanitarian need to restore damaged infrastructure as quickly as possible was the certainty of continued economic losses until mobility was restored. 

U.S. 136 in Rock Port, Missouri

Railroad freight in Rock Port, Missouri, was acutely impacted when a bridge providing the only access for crews to service equipment was closed due to sever scour to the structure’s supports. In order to expedite the restoration of full freight service in the region, a modular steel bridge was “overbridged” inside the existing structure to remove stress. The detour was opened to traffic eight days after the receipt of the order.

In northeast Nebraska, NDOT deemed detours necessary for two projects in the Spencer Dam/Niobrara River area. At each location, residents and first responders had been experiencing lengthy detours due to impassible crossings which would continue until construction was complete on new permanent bridges. Modular steel bridging enabled delivery to the work sites over compromised roads, and rapid design, delivery and installation provided solutions to transportation emergencies. 

U.S. 281 in Spencer, Nebraska

Shipping of components for each project began in early July and the first bridge was opened on July 29, 2019, ahead of schedule. The second bridge opened on schedule on August 13.

Damaged transportation assets represent a sizable portion of economic losses from disasters. Restoring damaged routes quickly can minimize the impact caused by business interruptions and freight inventory delays as well as impacts to the public at large.

Emergency bridging allows a fixed-dollar solution to the project whether rented or purchased; in the case of a purchased structure, it can be easily disassembled and warehoused for later use during planned projects or in an emergency situation.  

There is no doubt that disasters will continue to impact lives across, and the restoration of means of transportation will always be a priority. When disaster strikes, a modular steel bridge should be an option to consider.

This feature appeared in the November issues of the ACP Magazines: California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor,
Western Builder

The Role of Volumetric Concrete in the Future of US Infrastructure

By Mark Rinehart and Kris Moorman, Cemen Tech Inc.

When the U.S. gets an infrastructure report card rating of a D+, that’s a wake-up call. At this point, everyone knows that our nation’s infrastructure is failing, and working every day in markets like roads and bridges, water systems and airports, it becomes even more obvious. We are involved in several associations that are out there banging on representatives’ doors trying to get a plan put together, and it seems like things have been slowly moving along, but it’s time to move forward and get a comprehensive infrastructure bill approved.  

Every moment that infrastructure projects sit stalled and unfunded creates a larger and larger backlog of work that needs to be done every single day, and the longer we wait, the bigger the task is going to be to actually fix all this stuff. And as far as politics goes, one would think that this would be a completely bipartisan issue, but any real reaching across the aisle remains to be seen. 

People don’t seem to realize that our infrastructure systems need maintenance just like a car, house or piece of construction equipment. It seems obvious, but you can’t just let something go for 10 or 20 years and think that it’s not going to have problems and issues and will need to be fixed.

Spencer at work site

Unfortunately, we’ve never had an official long-term funding program in place. We’ve decided to look the other way and kick it down the road, and now that inventory of repairs is enormous and needs to be addressed before more major accidents happen. It’s important that we do something now, especially while the economy’s hot. We do have more money coming in, so it’s time to put something in place.

Over 200,000 of our bridges in the U.S. are more than 50 years old. Knowing that a typical paving mix has an average lifespan of about 30 years – and many of these bridges have been out in the elements for 50-plus years with minimal maintenance – should be enough to worry anyone. This is especially true in the Midwest and other regions where you have to deal with salt, sand, and fluctuating temperatures each year. 

One of the many upsides to concrete is that it does have a lower maintenance cost over its lifetime than other types of materials, but it does tend to cost a little bit more in the beginning to put it in place. This can lead to slightly higher bids, which can be bad news for government contracts. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s actually happening to these ailing roads and bridges.

Things Fall Apart

On a long enough timeline, concrete will always crack, but it’s important to know that there are a number of factors that cause it to do so. Corroding reinforcement materials, subgrade settling/erosion, the type of mix, the way it was poured, quality of finish work – all of these factors affect the durability and lifespan of any concrete project. 

Joe DiMaggio NorthBeach Playground

There’s concrete that’s been around for a hundred years all across the world, but from an infrastructure perspective it ultimately comes down to a cost benefit analysis. If you want 100-year concrete, we can make 100-year concrete, but the question then becomes are you willing to pay for it, and do the necessary maintenance to make it last? Are you willing to pay that higher price for longevity? This becomes a challenge, especially in the public arena where a majority of the time the lowest bid wins. 

The Role of Volumetric Concrete Technology 

A recent study showed that up to 22.3 million cubic yards of ready mix concrete poured today in the U.S. goes back to the plant as wasted. That is a tremendous, and ultimately unsustainable, amount of wasted time and money, all due to outmoded methods of concrete placement. 

Cemen Tech in the process of working with DOTs across the country to educate them on the value of volumetric technology, and how it can speed up projects and essentially save them money using technology for different types of infrastructure repairs.

Volumetric concrete is batching based on volume rather than weight. All volumetric equipment is calibrated by weight, and the material is delivered to the mix auger by volume. This produces the precise amount of fresh concrete with every pour. Mix designs can be changed on the fly at the job site without compromising the quality of the concrete. Specialty concretes like fiber-reinforced, colored or slurry can be quickly and easily produced from the same load of materials.

With volumetric equipment, companies have the ability to limit the amount of time a road or bridge must be shut down, because of how fast they can get in, pour and get out. This allows the general public to utilize that repaired structure in hours instead of days. The key advantage of volumetric concrete is that it allows the exact type of concrete that’s needed to be poured directly onsite in the exact quantity that’s needed for that repair.  

Helen Dillar Playground

Typical repair projects like overlays, hinge repairs, etc. usually require smaller pours that can be hard to estimate when working with traditional concrete placement. Volumetric technology allows contractors to pour the exact amount of concrete, and the exact mix design, with zero waste.

A volumetric concrete mixer is a concrete mixer mounted on a truck or trailer that contains separate compartments for sand, stone, cement and water. Materials are mixed on a job site to produce the exact amount of concrete needed. The process and equipment has been in use for 50 years. 

As opposed to rotary drum mixers, mobile volumetric concrete mixers allow for an efficient and more environmentally friendly method of producing and pouring concrete. Volumetric solutions produce the exact amount of concrete needed at the precise time, eliminating the possibility of under or over-ordering concrete that will ultimately be wasted. Also, as a result of mixing on-site, volumetric solutions generate less waste and consume less fossil fuels. 

Volumetric concrete also allows contractors to use the minimal amount of water needed to achieve the acquired strength for project requirements. When working with concrete, the more water you add to a mix, the less strength it will have when it finally hardens, so you want to use as little water as possible. 

Volumetric mixing has been around for 50 years, and it’s evolved incredibly in the past five to 10 years. Extremely high-quality concrete can be produced, placed, tracked and monitored, which allows contractors to get their projects done faster and have full control over the concrete production process. What that means for a DOT, is that ultimately, they can get more repairs done faster, at a lower cost, and with less impact to the public. 

GG Bridge

If we are going to find our way out of the mess we’re in, volumetric concrete technology will have a huge role in fixing the massive backlog of infrastructure repairs that are currently haunting every state, city and county in the United States. 

Next-Gen Volumetric Mixing Technology Pours the Infrastructure Backbone of the Golden City

Bauman Landscape and Construction, Inc. has helped build some of San Francisco’s most complex and iconic cityscapes. From the Palace of Fine Arts to Dolores Park to the city’s Embarcadero, Bauman Landscape and Construction has been pouring concrete in the city for more than four decades. 

The company’s success in the Bay Area has been built on a foundation of obsessive quality, efficiency, and a willingness to trust new innovations and technology. One of the most significant innovations Bauman has embraced is volumetric concrete mixing technology. When Bauman started using volumetric mixing technology, the trend was still in its infancy, but the city of San Francisco quickly realized the company was able to deliver concrete faster and more reasonable than their competitors who were still using traditional barrel mixers.

In addition to being high quality, quick, and on budget, Bauman boasted another feature that set them apart: being green. San Francisco, well known as a hub for sustainability, appreciated Bauman’s ability to take any unused concrete, take it back to their yard, crush it and re-use it as concrete aggregate.

“That was huge in the city,” said Mike Bauman, Chief Executive Officer of Bauman Landscape and Construction. “They require everything to be recycled and we are pretty green as far as recycling and reusing the concrete.

“We are the first company in San Francisco to use 100 percent recycled aggregate in our mix. The barrel mix guys use about 50 percent.”

But the company’s success didn’t set-in overnight. The city, which hires Bauman’s company to pour streetscapes, curbs, gutters, as well as structural walls and building slabs, required the company to do test pours before each load out of the mixer, Bauman said. After some test runs and some solid test results, the city gave Bauman the full green light.

“They were so used to barrel mixers,” Bauman said. “Since we were the first ones out here with the volumetric mixers, now we have a great reputation with the city. They like our mixers and they like the mix better than the barrel mixers.”

Time for an Upgrade

In 2017, Bauman identified a few soft spots in his equipment and was ready to make some serious upgrades. His previous volumetric mixers required skilled concrete operators, who were becoming harder and harder to come by, and experienced recurring issues with bent, broken or faulty chutes, which caused downtime. 

So, Bauman turned to Cemen Tech to deliver four initial C60 mobile concrete mixers to help streamline their operation, increase efficiencies on-site and in their driver hiring, while also minimizing downtime. With the Cemen Tech C Series mixers, Bauman’s team was able to batch, measure, mix, pour, record and analyze each job with just the onboard equipment of the machine itself. Additionally, the ability to load a variety of different mix composites made toggling back-and-forth between jobs or within the same job a breeze.

“The C60s we have equipped with the liquid color, which is great because everything we do out here is color, even the simple sidewalks have color in them,” Bauman said. “We probably have 25 mix designs pre-loaded because of all the different type of work that we do out here. They pretty much run themselves.”

Unrivaled Quality

You don’t hold a reputation for excellent, reliable work for more than 40 years without taking quality control seriously. That’s where Angela Bauman comes in, the company’s lead Project Manager who has a passion for process improvement, quality control and efficiency.

In addition to Angela, the company also has a full-time quality control person on staff, who is responsible for running in-house testing before mixes go out for pouring. With the Cemen Tech mixers, once the mixes are tested and approved, Bauman’s team is able to make a single run and knock-out a multi-mix job.

“One huge benefit for us is in the city there is the streetscapes. We do a lot of streetscapes and the curb, gutter and sidewalks are all different mixes,” Angela said. “We used to have to get three short loads just to pour a curb ramp, so now with the Cemen Tech mixers we can just change the mix three different times in one truck and pour the entire thing.

“That has been absolutely awesome for us because we do streetscapes everywhere and that has just been an incredible advantage.”

The speed with which Bauman is able to complete jobs nearly rivals the quality of their work. On a recent job on Chestnut Street in the northern tip of the city, Bauman Landscape and Construction was responsible for completing the entire baseline of the project. When they quoted the city with their proposed timeline, the city was skeptical.

“They said, ‘We don’t think you can do it that quick,’” Angela said. “We were beating the schedule by almost a year. And, sure enough, we did, and it was awesome.”

Curbing Driver Shortages

Across the country, companies of all types, sizes and geographic location are struggling to hire and retain professional drivers, much less good ones. It’s a trend not expected to subside, and many analysts believe the shortage could as much as triple by 2026.

With Bauman’s original equipment, which was tricky to operate and resulted in more downtime than the company could swallow, highly skilled operators became even harder to come by. Now, Mike Bauman said, the Cemen Tech machines have made that hurdle much easier to clear.

“It is incredible because now we can take a UPS driver and put them in a C60 and they could run it,” he said. “It’s a real benefit for us. It is tough to find good quality people, so we have to pay over scale, but we are able to lure away good quality drivers from other companies to work for us now.”

Part of what makes the vehicles so easy to operate are their electronic control panel that gives the user total control over how much is poured and which mixture is being used. The Cemen Tech C60 units also come equipped with Auto-Washout and Auto-Stow features for easy transportation and clean up as well as the ACCU-POUR options.

ACCU-POUR is a suite of cloud-based, wireless productivity solutions that allows Bauman to blend the everyday details from dispatch to completed jobs to a holistic view of their business operations. 

Cemen Tech also provides on-site training for both mechanical and maintenance training, as well as driver training. Now, the drivers who went through the initial round of training are able to train any new drivers who join the Bauman team.

A Smooth Partnership

The relationship between Cemen Tech and Bauman has been mutually-beneficial. As one pours foundational elements to one of America’s most iconic cities, the other continues to press-forward with innovative technology and customer support that keeps their customers running on all cylinders.

Volumetric concrete mixing technology has given Bauman Landscape and Construction a distinct advantage on their home turf. It’s an advantage they don’t expect to be relinquished soon.

“Even though it was hard to get the city to open their eyes to volumetric mixers…we took a leap of faith and they did,” Angela said. “The city, ever since then is convinced.”

During every step of the way, both organizations have worked together to guarantee success.

“The immediate customer service, you need that support, especially when you are new to a product,” Angela said. “You want to be able to call someone and have them make you feel good about what you are purchasing and make sure they are going to be on board if something were to happen, or if you need the additional support or training.

“Cemen Tech has done that, and have followed-through in more ways that we could have ever thought.”