What is Concrete Pumping? Concrete is basically a material created by the blend of cement or lime, along with lime, sand, brick, cement, and made semi-liquid by adding the right quantity of water. Strength of this concoction is completely due to the mixture and level of water present in it. In simple terms, the phenomena of Concrete pumping is the transportation of the pumped concrete to elevated levels for the lack of other easy means of transportation. The concrete is thereby sucked in enormous quantities from the hopper which is then conveyed through pipelines without any interruption in the flow. No manual interference is required in the arrangement, and the concrete gets deported easily speeding up the completion of the project. Large-scale to medium-sized construction projects usually deploys the method to bring in a degree of efficiency into the system and maintaining pouring accuracy. The pipelines can be made to reach literally at any height, however the decision regarding set-up of these pumps must be based on two important factors. Work-ability of concrete mix is understood by the presence of water, mixtures, shape and texture of aggregates, and time. concrete mix can get stiff if left for a long period and tends to lose its strength.
Primarily, one needs to consider the required volumetric output, and secondarily, considering the pumping pressure in the concerned project. If implemented by experts, automated pumping also helps in the significant reduction of material wastage that often resulted when labours traditionally delivered the concrete mix to the site. With pipes, there will be less or no spill or lumps of the mix towards the destination maintaining cleanliness of the area as much as practicable. Since the concrete pumps can be operated with minimum water, the concrete does not get shrink or expanded due to weather conditions. The operation of pumping, a detailed configuration of its tools and arrangement has to be taken due care of. The pipeline pressure is the key to boost yield, and it is decided by line diameter, horizontal and vertical distances, as well as pumping rates. The motto is to make sure a consistency in maintained in the concrete mixture and maintain the pump even after hours.
One of the basic advantages of the method is that higher productivity in the work site can be achieved since concrete pumping eliminates chaos from the system. Not many hands are needed to manage the supervision of pumping, therefore site congestion is carefully reduced. The task of carrying loads of concrete manually across distance has been made outdated with the introduction of automation. As a result, a better arrangement of labours on the construction site takes place to speed up the completion of other necessities. Such an innovative idea has also contributed to the speed by which concrete is poured into the desired area minimizing the presence of cranes. Moreover, concrete pumps also cut down the overall operational costs involved in the construction project. With concrete pumping solution, proper maintenance of the equipment, materials, and experienced technicians are required on the field.
How does concrete pumping work?
Pumping is remarkably straightforward without technical blunders or other uncertainties. Various kinds of pumps are designated to meet various project demands like higher amount of concrete mix, or greater distances for depositing the mix. A skilled pump operator is often kept in-charge of the entire section who looks over the proper functioning on the job site. This professional is responsible to communicate in case of minor hindrances and devise strategies to solve them at the earliest. Options of using the pump to its fullest potential are in plenty. The concrete weight needs to be estimated in prior to make sure the transportation does not face any difficulty; the mix is generally a concoction of water, cements, and aggregate particles. Quantity of water is dependent on the size of the aggregates used in the mix. Aggregates can be of two types- crushed and uncrushed that influences the success rate of pumping without probable blockages. Additionally, the type of aggregate also decides the final cost of the concrete mix and strength. Other benefits of uncrushed aggregate for concrete mix are:-
- Minimum cement in the mix
- Minimum water requirement
- No drying
Two major functional areas that need to be controlled are where the concrete should be placed and how it should be pumped. These are mainly done by workers and do not need any sophisticated equipment; however, the mix must not be too diluted which will otherwise restrict its smooth flow. High concentration of mortar is added to avoid segregation of the material due to high pump pressure inside the pipe. With segregation, after a point of time, the concrete entirely stops its flow. One common way to check segregation is by adding entraining elements, mixtures of pozzolanic, and compacting the concrete. Additionally, bleeding has a negative impact on the concrete stability as it constantly tried to break the concrete strength. These factors play a vital role in determining how the concrete pumps eventually work. Smooth steel pipes are generally used to resist fiction within the internal wall.
Thereafter, the concrete pumps transfer the liquid from its source to the site of casing, the pump works on pistons. The favored way of doing do is through the principle of piston- one piston draws the mix from the source of hopper as the other thrusts it into the outlet pipe. Experts’ supervision is required to determine which cylinder need to be opened to the source and which should be available to the discharge pipe. It is argued that an average concrete slump between 50 mm and 100 mm needs to be considered before preparing the mix. An uniform supply of concrete guarantees that there is no interval in between the transportation like it used to be the case with buckets and cranes. A crane was only able to lift one bucket in one go and thereby holding only 2 yards of concrete. The modernized pumping method maintains maximum volume of concrete and without any breakdown. This is where it differs from traditional system that required constant filling of the bucket with the mix at the bottom. The concrete is stuffed into the pump by gravity and suction as the valves create a pressure in the cylinder so that the concrete flows through the entire section. The pumped concrete is generally put into three types of pumps and those types are as follows:-
- Piston type pumps
- Squeeze pressure pumps
- Pneumatic pumps
The diameter of pipe is ideally kept three times the size of the aggregates that will be pumped. For the successful completion of the pumping methods, screeds and concrete expansion joints should be present in case the concrete is affected by extreme weather conditions. Other tools like flexible hose to be added to the machine and link to create a passage of the concrete, and couplings are common. The couplings assist in the process by checking shaft misalignment and allowing for axial adjustments. In order to guarantee unhindered movement of the concrete along high rises, two pumps can be incorporated into the arrangement. One pump should filler the other pump with materials from the hopper as it proceeds to deliver the concrete on the spot.
The mechanism requires appropriate lines and requirements and not simply the pumps. For instance, bends in the line needs to be minimized and a slump test should be performed. The moisture level, need for the right kind of aggregate and consequences of low aggregates can be found out with this test.
What types of concrete pumping is there?
Concrete pumps carry the liquid mix and in various techniques as suitable for the construction project. Such a machine does away with the need to hire labor to dump the mix that delays the early completion of project. With pumps, constructors can easily maintain a schedule, increase profit margins, and concentrate on quality control hassle free. The assignment that otherwise would have needed 4 to 5 men presently needs 2 to 3 men to look after the process. Without occurrences of any technical glitch in the pumps, the unloading times can be anticipated as well. The pumps are available both for renting and buying purposes and relies on various factors like frequency of its usage and long-term benefits of such a lump sum investment. Concrete pumping trucks help the pump to reach at odd places simultaneously nullifying any danger that was attached with the job. Since the relevance of such pumping are across a wide section of the construction industry, the trucks are further categorized and priced differently.
Tips to choose the right pump:
Besides deciding on the right proportion of elements that go into the mix, it is equally significant which pump should be best suitable based on the structural layout of a project. Only the pump fitting to the project could offer speed and accuracy with less material ruin. To filter the choices that would influence selection of the pump, a few important factors are-
- Design of the concrete mix
- Size of the aggregate
- Volume of the concrete mix that the construction needs to be pumped
- Vertical and horizontal distances
Boom or Truck Mounted Pump- attached to a truck, the pump is beneficial in decreasing the time consumed in getting the materials to its site. Booms have numerous mounting options like:
- Side mount
- Cross frame
- Crane tower mount
Pouring becomes convenient, and the pumps deliver the mix even in places otherwise inaccessible without spilling the mix. The truck is positioned on a boom pump and can pump tremendous amount of concrete within comparatively lesser amount of time. The robotic arm reaches to the complicated areas in high rises without human intervention in that area. The concrete infusion can be deposited exactly where it needs to be. The entire arrangement is labour-intensive and offers greater productivity to the project. Detachable booms are also available in the market and mostly implemented for completing complex structural designs of skyscrapers. Boom pumps are fashioned to reach great heights with chunks of mix, approximately a height of 200 feet can be reached with a boom measuring 65 meter. The pumps can be accessed in varying dimensions like, and a few specifications matter in the selection of pumps. To stumble upon the right dimension, one can consult catalogues that explain in brief the particular features and production dimension of the different kinds of pumps.
- Front width
- Rear width
- Pipeline diameter
- Vertical and horizontal reach
- Height Output level
Stationary Pump- the pump is poise on a trailer and needs rubber hoses fixed to the machine outlet. Appropriate for the construction of swimming pools, driveways, and concrete slabs the amount of concrete pump is lower than boom pumps. The rear end of the pipe is generally affixed with separate boom. These pumps are manufactured with better capacity and on an average can reach up to a pressure of 243 bar. For horizontal pumping, stationary or line pumps are a great option. Application of stationary is considered a cost-effective option to that of boom pumps. The line pumps are simpler in mechanism. Both in case of boom and stationary pumps, wheels are unnecessary while delivering concrete. Various stationary pump models have specified levels of cylinder diameter and concrete pressure bars that further influence the concrete output. The three types of operational system used in stationary pumps are:-
Fitted with rock valves- the utility of this system is prevalent when working with aggregate. The valve shift from one cylinder to the other, and this rotation permits the concrete mix output through a single fissure. Adjoined with balls- the units comprise two chambers that are disconnected from each other by steel balls. The cylinders absorb the infusion and allow it to pass sustaining the pressure through the single outlet. Pumping with S valve- suitable for high pressure pumping and consisting of one valve.
Specialized Pump- suitable mostly at mine sites and tunnels, the pumps require elaborate mechanism to function smoothly. The pumps can additionally be used by mounting on a skid or rail.
The three varieties of concrete pumps are designed to spill concrete mix unhindered by weather conditions or shortage of manpower. Pressure plays a crucial role as the pumps deliver the mix and an on-site testing of the pumps is advised to reduce errors or spillage. A prior test also manages the installing of the machine so that the concrete gets delivered within an hour on the average. This would also ensure that wastage hours are less and the workers are not switching to conventional ways of delivering the mix. Reliable pumps guarantee superior quality work in adherence to safety and precautions. More importantly, a proper evaluation of the job site has to be made before deciding on the kind of pump that needs to be used. The pumping should be done slowly and continuously to reduce culmination of concrete plug in the lines. Once the concrete has come out from the discharged hose, the speed can be switched to a normal pumping speed. Large-scale use of pumps are equally used in both residential and commercial projects, wherever supply of concrete mix is needed in mass volume.
Pump should be put up in a conscientious manner and after thorough inspection that it has been well maintained. The operator has in-depth knowledge in locating the minor problems and necessary repair works that a pump might require. Suppliers should check at-length whether the machine has been cleaned, completely fresh with no concrete or grease stains on it. The steady flow of the concrete remains unobstructed by outside temperature that mainly forms lumps in concrete. As simple is pumping of the concrete, its final placement is tricky where the remote control system is preferred over manual labor. Pump specifications sort out the process and the concrete pump company generally takes the effort to familiarize the technicians with the same. Truly, the construction industry has been revolutionized with these pumps, and have made buckets completely redundant these days.
Who to contact for any concrete pumping projects?
A reputed company has the means to implement the concrete pumps quite efficiently to complete the project within a short span. Everyday, concrete pumping is pushed to its utmost possibilities and companies are renovating accordingly. The technicians should be capable in chalking out elaborate plans and safety methods regarding the operational aspects of the pumping. The best companies in the industry provide round the clock expert supervision on the construction site. The aim is to facilitate the process, and keeping in the framework the kind of project it is. The best concrete companies provides a courteous customer service team, paperwork, and transparency to keep at bay mismanagement in the system.
Hard Rock Concrete Pumping has been operating its business for more than 25 years in Southern Nevada. Based out of Las Vegas, the company specializes in commercial, residential, and industrial sectors. A range of concrete pumping solutions are available here to support the project manager with the right kind of concrete pumps. They offer comprehensive guide on the usage and placement of the equipment to accelerate better output. You can also extract a free calculation of the price required for the particular project.