Concrete Construction: The plot thickens

By Mike Hayes25 January 2017

German manufacturer Schwing Stetter has been keeping things under control in Berlin, claiming its stationary concrete pumps and separate placing booms have proved their reliability under extreme conditions, during the construction of the Upper West tower.

The tower will measure 188 m and will be distributed across 33 storeys, resulting in being one of Berlin’s tallest buildings.

Motel One, which will dominate most of the building, will comprise of 18 floors with 580 rooms. The building will also offer several floors of office space in addition to a sky bar.

The company says that Ed. Züblin AG relies on the equipment and specialists from Godel-Beton when it comes to its concrete-pumping needs, which in turn uses one of Schwing’s stationary concrete pumps and separate placing booms. Cemex Deutschland AG was responsible for producing and transporting the concrete used for this project, delivering types of concrete with various strength classes.

C 30/37 concrete was used to concrete the ceilings and core walls. The columns of the skyscraper are made of C 80/95 concrete up to the 15th floor, and C 50/60 concrete was used beyond that.

While proving its worth on site, the company has also been busy in the factory, launching its new HN 4.0 concrete batching plant. The company says the batching plant sets new standards for efficiency, as well as a broader capacity range, with shorter vehicle loading and downtimes, energy efficiency, and low-cost production.

The company is opening up a new market segment with this machine size and claims to be the only manufacturer to offer a batching plant with a 4.0 m³ mixer and skip in its product line.

Standout features of the batching plant include its output of compacted concrete of up to 148 m³/hour, while single batches of the smallest quantities between 0.25 m³ and 4.0 m³ concrete are also possible. The company also says that, in comparison to other batching plants with small mixers, the production costs for concrete can be reduced by up to 20% per unit. The faster production time, says Schwing, saves time, while having a positive effect on the energy balance during both system operation and truck-mixer operation.

There has been major investments in concrete pumps over the past 12 months and beyond, and another German company, in the shape of Liebherr, has been at the heart of that, launching its new 50 M5 XXT truck-mounted concrete pump. The vehicle, positioned in the 50 m class, includes many new innovations.

Liebherr says the boom, with five-way multi folding, is easy to operate with its “perfect kinematics”. The alternating pipework close to the boom ensures uniform movements over the construction site.

With a vertical reach of 49.1 m and a horizontal reach of 44.4 m, the compactly constructed truck-mounted concrete pump claims impressive working ranges.

Another feature of the 50 M5 XXT is the newly-developed boom pedestal. The company says that despite considerable weight reduction, the stability is increased even further. The proprietary components play a crucial role in this, such as the slewing ring and the slewing drive, for example.

The 50 M5 XXT is optionally offered with four different pump units. This enables outputs of 138 m³ to 167 m³ per hour. Two of these variants are long-stroke versions with a conveyance stroke of 2,400 mm, which ensure smoothness and efficiency.

Depending on the chassis, the total length of the new Liebherr truck-mounted concrete pump is around 12 m in the transport position. The new boom is compact and has virtually no projection, which guarantees safe driving properties and good handling on the construction site.

In Europe, the Liebherr 50 M5 XXT is mounted on standard, five-axle chassis. The unladen weight is significantly below 40 tonnes. Therefore, there is sufficient spare weight for accessories.

For markets without an axle weight restriction, the pump can also be mounted on a four-axle chassis. In this variant, the unladen weight is below 38 tonnes.

Chinese manufacturer Shantui has launched its truck-mounted pump series – the HJC5120THB-12 and HJC5120THB-16 – which are powered by a Volvo engine. The series is said to feature more power, excellent performance and high reliability.

The pumping hydraulic system adopts a dual-pump, dual-circuit, constant-power, open-loop hydraulic system, and German Rexroth oil pump.

The main cylinder and swing cylinder are driven by two pumps separately. The swing cylinder features quick and powerful motions. The hydraulically-controlled reversing mode guarantees more reliable and stable reversing motions for the main pumping line.

The maximum capacity of the hopper is up to 800 litres, and the inner walls of hopper have an arc-shaped design to eliminate dead spaces for material deposits. The high wear-resistant wearing plate and cutting ring are said to cut down the user’s operating costs. The S-pipe valve features low height difference and is said to achieve smoother concrete flow.

Shantui says the central lubrication mode was adopted so that the hydraulically-controlled follow-up grease pump guaranteed the lubrication effects. All lubrication points of the multi-plate progressive grease distributor are fitted with blockage indicator to help with maintenance and checking. In the event of a blockage in any oil line, the other oil lines can still function normally.

Cifa, meanwhile, has continued to implement the product strategy that emphasised diversification of the range based on its three lines – Carbotech, Steeltech and Classic.

The company’s Carbotech range boasts the K45H, K53H and K60H truck-mounted pumps.

The K45H is the best-seller in the range and was recently the focus of an advancement that allowed the weight margin to be increased to 32 tonnes on four axles. The K45H has a 45m arm, and five sections including the last two in composite material.

The K45H mounts the new 1608EC pumping unit, a unit that claims to combine performance and light weight, which has a closed circuit with a maximum capacity of 160 m³/h, 80 bar maximum pressure and electronic management.

The K53H and K60H can be fitted on four and five axle vehicle chassis. The solution on five axles even complies with the weight limits in the most restrictive countries such as Germany.

In the company’s Steeltech range, the K36L was completely redesigned to comply with the weight limits for three axle chassis at 26 tonnes.

It mounts a five-section arm in steel with Z folding, and can be personalised by the customer with a vast selection of equipment.

Finally, in its Classic range, the K40C has a 40 m long arm, five sections with RZ folding and an open circuit pumping unit with a maximum capacity of 160 m³/h and 70 bar maximum pressure on the concrete. Cifa said that this was a pump designed to be reliable and simple without sacrificing any major features.

Cifa has also divided up the range into segments with the heavy duty (HD), super light (SL) SLX, energya (E) and Italia RH-Y ranges.

Putzmeister says the most important advances on its tried and proven truck mixer concrete pumps – the PUMI 25-4 and the 28-4 New Generation – include the stepless support, the four-arm distributing boom, the new S-pump, the Ergonic 2.0 control and technologies for reduced operating costs, and exhaust and noise emissions.

The stepless support, which offers incredible flexibility on constricted sites in particular, is new, as is the four-arm distributing boom with optimised slip characteristics and maximum working range.

The extensive lighting concept, as well as the new computer-assisted Ergonic 2.0 control makes for easier and safer operation. The newly developed S-piston pump with large hopper, good accessibility and optimised performance data was developed specifically for PUMI applications.

In order to counteract wear, Putzmeister has further refined the design of its machines. The torsion-resistant integral frame and shape-optimised mixer drum ensure a consistent axle load distribution, preserving the machine over the long term and keeping operating costs low.

The new PUMIs are proving to be eco-friendly and economic thanks to lower operating fluid consumption and reduced exhaust and noise emissions, says Putzmeister.

German company Klein has a range of products on the market, including a weight-optimised truck-mounted concrete pump with a 37 m boom.

The company says the weight reduction to less than 22.6 tonnes in the 37m class is “not thought possible”. The main reason for the significant weight reduction is the modified linkage of the front and rear outriggers.

Another feature of the new KBZ 37-4 concrete pump is a common pivot point which absorbs the load torque of the support legs. The axle loads on the pump have also been reduced as a result of the weight reduction.

The company has also launched a 52 m large boom concrete pump which boasts a reduced footprint. The KBR 52-5 has front double telescopic support to minimise space requirements when setting up on construction sites.

The expansive swivelling of the supporting legs is avoided, and the operator can use the pump between narrow gaps to thread the support and for lowering the support legs. Klein says this usually requires large spaces.

Klein has also launched a new two-cylinder piston pump, used for concrete delivery and for pumping soil during tunnelling.

The new S-tube valve-controlled dual piston pump KIP 9015 has already been used by a Japanese client, says the company. The client used the machine with 160kW drive power to pump tunnel overburden to the surface. The pump system is designed for flow rates up to 150 m³/h at 28 bar and 75 m³/h at 50 bar.

Falsework and formwork

It’s often easy to forget the manufacturers who played a key part in piecing the structure together with their innovations, when their work is not staring you in the face. For falsework and formwork manufacturers, this is very much the case.

In fact, Jens Lutzow, marketing director of German-based manufacturer Meva, said, “2 to 3% of the cost on a construction job is in the formwork account. This may not sound like much, but it affects 90% of the construction job, which is in concrete.

“Therefore, we believe it is essential to make the best quality formwork, meaning a top-of-the-range 2% will have a positive effect on the rest of the job.”

The company has recently launched its new Mammut XT formwork system, offering all three tying methods in one system.

The Mammut XT is based on the Mammut 350 system, and has a load capacity of 100 kN/m².

The combi tie system means you can tie from one side only using DW 20 tie-rods and plastic sleeves, tie from one side only using taper ties without plastic sleeve, and, tie from both sides with DW 20 or DW 15 tie rods and plastic sleeves.

There are no conversions, modifications or add-ons required when switching from one to two sided tying, saving time and effort, as the number of parts is reduced by 50%.

Meanwhile, Austrian formwork company Doka has launched new products such as its Dokaflex 30 tec, Framax Xlife and Dokadek 30.

The Dokaflex 30 tec is a speedy hand-set system for floor-slabs, which Doka claims combines proven technology with the I tec 20 composite formwork beam as a primary beam, while scoring high marks on speed of use and cost-efficiency.

The composite formwork beam I tec 20 has a load-bearing capacity 80% higher than conventional timber formwork beams. Therefore, spacing between the floor props is wider. While the number of floor props varies from job to job, they can be reduced by up to one third. Fewer individual parts reduce the work needed for erection and dismantling which means less labour time and fewer costs.

The secondary beams are H20 beams, and the beam flange markings – which are spaced 50 cm apart – make assembly a speedy and safe routine. A secondary beam stabiliser keeps the beams from tipping over, while the panel size and sheet facing can be selected to suit jobsite requirements.

Doka also says that, as well as being highly versatile, the slab formwork system is also easy to handle, making it a major benefit for the site crew. The clear visual differentiation between I tec 20 and H20 beams also prevents mix-ups and also reduces search times, according to the company.

Meanwhile, the company also launched Framax Xlife plus, which it says is the latest innovation of Doka’s framed formwork.

The form tie technology has no wearing parts, and Doka said the system is outstanding for forming in-situ concrete walls, while helping to maximise speed on site.

The form-tie technology can be operated from one side and has no wearing parts, which the company said ensured an even faster working pace.

At 1.35m, the form-tie grid is wide, and can offer a 12% cost saving, according to Doka, compared to a 1.2m form-tie grid.

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