Tag Archive for 'volumetric concrete production'

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.”

Cemen Tech Expands North American Dealer Network

Cemen TechExpands North American Dealer Network

Major new dealer partnerships in the U.S. open up new territories to high-quality volumetric concrete equipment and expertise.  

Cemen Tech, the global leader in volumetric concrete mixing, has announced agreements with two major construction equipment dealerships in the U.S. to sell and service the company’s full line of volumetric concrete mixing equipment. The new dealers are:

“The demand for direct control over concrete scheduling, quality, and quantity, is growing as more customers understand the practical benefits of volumetric concrete mixing,” says Connor Deering, CEO/President ofCemen Tech. “Each of these new partnerships represents regional demand and a connection to established businesses serving road and bridge construction, transportation, and industrial and commercial construction — all large-scale markets benefiting from volumetric concrete mixing.”

Reynolds-Warren serves Georgia, a state benefiting from increasing levels of infrastructure investment and overall growth. The dealership specializes in asphalt and roadbuilding equipment — a natural fit for Cemen Tech.

“Concrete plays a critical role in Georgia’s growing transportation infrastructure — we see a great opportunity for customers to optimize their concrete operations, especially in maintenance/repair operations and local roadwork,” says Dan Dwyer, vice president, Reynolds-Warren.

 

“Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming each fit the current mold of growing western states with steady construction demand and job growth, and Komatsu Equipment Company serves all major construction markets in the region.

“We see large-scale deployments of this technology benefiting our larger construction, governmental and industrial customers while providing other customers serving more specific markets such as landscaping and utility construction new ways to serve clients and grow their business,” says Joel Cook, Vice-President of Sales, Komatsu Equipment Company.

To find a Cemen Tech dealer, and for more information on the company’s line of volumetric concrete production solutions, visit www.CemenTech.com or www.ACCU-POUR.com.
About Cemen Tech Inc.

Cemen Tech, Inc. has 50 years manufacturing and engineering experience in the volumetric mixing industry.  As the industry leader, the company strives to provide the highest quality concrete mixers to its customers.  Cemen Tech currently operates in over 60 countries, services mixers across the globe, and supplies equipment to the United States military. Cemen Tech believes that people, businesses, and communities around the world should have the infrastructure to access clean water, to transport goods and services, and to reliable housing. Their products provide the foundation and stability to meet the needs of a growing world in an environmentally conscious way. www.CemenTech.com