Concrete optimised: The latest launches and upgrades
By Steve Skinner06 January 2009
Launches and upgrades aimed at enhancing performance, productivity and flexibility have shaped the concrete industry recently. Steve Skinner looks at some of the new and improved products in this well-established sector.
At last October’s SAIE Show, Simem unveiled its new Xentrix planetary mixer. The Xentrix is the result of a deep analysis of the concrete market’s needs by the company and an intensive research and development phase evaluating technical and engineering issues.
“The Xentrix represents state-of-the-art technology for planetary mixers,” said Federico Furlani, managing director of Simem. “The eccentric position of the two main mixing axels together with the centralised input point for cement, aggregates and water from the top guarantees quick dispersion, improved mixing performance and higher concrete quality,” said Mr Furlani.
“More mixing per revolution as a result of more paddles also means that Xentrix offers improved production times, and thanks to the high pressure automatic washing system, efficient cleaning also leads to improved maintenance,” said Mr Furlani.
SBM Mineral Processing of Austria also used 2008 to launch its Euromix 4000 mobile concrete mixing plant. The Euromix 4000 represents the next step in the Euromix range that starts with the 1000 featuring a capacity of 60 m3 per hour.
The Euromix 2000 has a capacity of 100 m3 per hour, while the 3000 raised that to 130 m3 per hour. Now, through the introduction of the wheel mounted Euromix 4000, capacity has been increased to 170 m3 per hour.
“Customers need increasingly higher capacities per hour to produce economically,” said Engineer Gerhard Gschwandtner. “Our Euromix machines are produced with reference back to operators and we have taken into account all of the needs of our key customers in the design process to ensure our machines are user-friendly and easy to handle.
“Furthermore, the use of a mobile Euromix plant offers more economical production at reduced investment and with reduced risks,” said Engineer Gschwandtner.
In Belgium, the Willy Naessens Group, which manufactures concrete industrial buildings, has elected to rely on a tried and trusted concrete delivery system in the shape of Merlo DBM mixers.
“It might seem a little antiquated to have diesel powered mixers running up and down the assembly lines,” said Timoty T’Jampens, production manager at Willy Naessens, “but we have found it to be the most effective and efficient way of satisfying the varying needs of our customers.
“In fact, even in our newest factory unit, just being finished, we will employ the same method.”
The three DBM machines used at the factory were all supplied by Merlo Benelux and the Willy Naessens team never even look elsewhere when a new machine in needed as, “this is the only supplier with good after sales support in Belgiumm” said Mr T’Jampens.
The Merlo DBM mixers produce up to 170 m3 of concrete each day, 40 m3 of which is mixed by the machines themselves. “We run the machines for some 9000 hours before replacing them,” said Mr T’Jampens, “and even then, we sell them on.”
Also at SAIE in 2008, Imer introduced its new Booster 15 twin cylinder piston pump for concrete. The Booster 15 is capable of pumping concrete with aggregate sizes up to 25 mm at a pressure of up to 70 bar.
A variable hourly production of between 2 m3 and 15 m3 per hour can be adjusted to provide a continuous flow. “Imer Group developed the Booster 15 to guarantee high performance on small construction sites,” said a company spokesperson.
“Fitted with a 4 cylinder diesel Lombardini liquid cooled engine, the Booster 15 is particularly suited to the rental sector as it is easy to handle and simple to use,” continued the spokesperson.
Integral in the design of the new pump were measures to comply with anti-pollution regulations, with special attention also being given to soundproofing the engine bay.
In the autumn, Schwing released details of a redesign for its S39SX truck-mounted concrete pump to extend its flexibility and make it easier to handle for pump operators. The popularity of the S39SX has partly been attributed to its overall length of less than 12 m and weight of below 26 tonnes. These characteristics mean that operators do not require special authorisation or permits from authorities for on-road driving. At the same time, the S39SX offers operators the opportunity to compete in the 40 m class.
“The new plastic water tank has +30% more capacity, up to 600 l, and has been installed in a user-friendly position near the feeding hopper,” said a Schwing spokesman. “We have also increased the volume of the hydraulic reservoir by +10% to 600 l.
“In combination with arc-shaped outriggers to the fore and H-type outriggers at the rear, the machine offers short set-up times and a space-saving installation process requiring up to -80% less set-up space than a comparable machine. That said, the pump provides the operator with a stable 2000 working range,” confirmed the spokesman.
“In conjunction with the Big Rock concrete valve, customers get a long-stroke pumping unit combining minimum wear with quiet operating characteristics and a placing performance of 100 m3 per hour at only 13 strokes per minute,” said the spokesman.
To judge just what stresses are exerted on concrete pumps, Putzmeister conducted a 16 hour test in the climate wind tunnel in Viennna, Austria, and they did so in conditions simulating -250 C.
“We took one of our BSF 20-4.09 truck mounted concrete pumps straight off the line and tested it in extreme conditions to establish where exactly is the reasonable limit for jobs in the depths of winter,” said a Putzmeister spokesman.
“In excess of 60 temperature sensors were fitted on various electronic and hydraulic components and also to the steel structure,” confirmed the spokesman. “A measurement system sent the temperature data to a computer in the neighbouring central control station. In addition, the different temperature ranges in the individual components were documented using a thermal imaging camera,” said the spokesman.
After the prescribed warm-up phase, with the engine idling for 30 minutes in compliance with the truck manufacturer’s guidelines, the test procedure involved extending the support, starting up the arm package with repeated movement to defined positions and switching on the core pump (at least 25 stroke cycles with maximum and minimum pump speed in dry operation).
“The aim was not to test special low temperature equipment for truck mounted concrete pumps,” said the spokesman. “To do so would have necessitated insulating the delivery line and fitting a thermally insulated heated water tank. What the Putzmeister engineers were more interested in was verifying an assumption that a series produced truck-mounted concrete pump would still operate properly at -250 C.”
Initial results appear favourable, although the wide range of information gathered from the test was still being analysed in detail as CE closed for press. An update will follow in February’s edition of CE in a special concrete pumping and placing feature.
Swedish hydrodemolition specialist E-schakt has employed Aquajet’s ecosilence power pack to enable extended working hours for a 6 storey car park demolition in residential Stockholm, Sweden.
The newly developed power pack has allowed E-schakt to make up lost time on the project with noise levels -50% lower than conventional power packs and similar to that of normal conversation.
“Due to reduced working hours on the project since 2007, brought about by noise complaints from local residents, we’ve now extended our operating hours thanks to the Aquajet ecosilence power pack, and we’re even working at weekends if necessary. Something we could never have contemplated with the old power pack,” said site engineer Andreas Larsson.
Key features of the ecosilence power pack include a +40% increase in sound insulation, a specially designed wall construction featuring an acoustic surface treatment and sound absorbing insulation, a purpose built steel enclosure, an advanced heat exchanger, a vibration dampener and a specially adapted diesel engine with high torque power.
“We’ve now stripped over 6000 m2 from the floor decks and since taking delivery of the ecosilence power pack complaints from local residents have reduced significantly,” said Mr Larsson.
In Germany, Meva formwork was selected last year for renovation work on the country’s longest artificial waterway – the Mittellandkanal – where it crosses the river Weser on two viaducts near the town of Minden.
Part of the junction features a road and rail subway 11 m below the canal that was built over 90 years ago. Deteriorating concrete and a need to update the tunnel to meet modern safety standards necessitated that the tunnel be demolished and rebuilt.
“In June 2007, double-sided coffer dams were erected on either side of the tunnel passage so the site could be drained,” said Jens Lutzow-Rodenwoldt of Meva. “Once protected from the canal water, the site was demolished, which necessitated removing some 8500 m3 of soil and 4000 m3 of concrete.”
“The new tunnel was then constructed between April and August 2008,” continued Mr Lutzow-Rodenwoldt. “While the old subway consisted of two arched tunnels, the new version, completed in December, is a rectangular tunnel that’s 15 m wide and 39 m long.”
Some 2200 m3 of concrete was poured to form the new tunnel comprising a 27 m long housing and a 1,1 m thick slab.
“Special alignment rails were used to integrate a cove at a height of 4,1 m at an angle of 1460,” said Mr Lutzow-Rodenwoldt. “At each end of the tunnel, 11 m walls were also formed with a 300 mm thick slab to support the maintenance path.
“Tongue and groove boards were attached to the formwork to give the surface a boarded finish,” said Mr Lutzow-Rodenwoldt.
Peri has risen to a significant challenge in the shape of the Seewinkle hot springs resort in the Austrian Alps. The € 80 million project centres on a spiral shaped building featuring multiple circular structures, the shell of which has a nine month deadline for completion.
With slab thicknesses of up to 550 mm, 5 m ceiling heights and circular layouts, Habau Group, the main contractors, selected Peri’s Skydeck panel slab formwork for the construction of the concrete frame.
“The Skydeck drophead system has accelerated materials handling and reduced on-site material requirements,” said a Habau spokesman. “We’ve been able to strike formwork after just one day, leaving just slab props with dropheads and cover strips for temporary support, which has freed panels and main beams for the next section.”
The circular 400 mm thick reinforced concrete core walls are being polygonally formed using Trio panel formwork elements and trapezoidal-shaped filler timbers. “This system has offered a time-saving solution for respective radii specifications,” said the spokesman.
“Furthermore, connecting the Trio elements is a simple process with the BFD alignment coupler, the only connecting part required for the panel joints,” he continued.
Gomaco has launched its new generation GT-3600 curb and gutter machine featuring the option of a G22 dual-language control system. “The Gomaco control systems team has developed the G22 screen to support the major languages of the world,” said a company spokesperson.
The G22 operating system also provides advanced system diagnostics that can pinpoint and identify electrical circuit issues and pinpoint them through fault codes. “Any faults are identified and a full explanation of recommended actions is displayed,” said the spokesperson. “This system should mean less downtime and a quicker uptime because G22 actually helps eliminate costly service time searching for system problems.”
In addition to the control system, the GT-3600 also features an increase of +15% in leg diameter while the trimmerhead is directly driven by a radial piston hydraulic motor in a closed loop hydraulic system, significantly increasing the power of the trimmer.Operation of the GT-3600 has also been enhanced through the G22 control system that features a selective steering dial for five different modes of controlling the three tracks. “The programmable cylinders allow the steering parameters of the tracks to be set with the touch of a button,” said the spokesperson.
Despite the long history of concrete construction, equipment manufacturers continue to research and develop machines and solutions that are more efficient and flexible than their forerunners. Innovation may not be dramatic, but product development and enhancement means that what will be available in 2009 will show a marked improvement on what was available previously.It would be easy to think that we’ve reached the boundaries of concrete construction, but all the time concrete continues to evolve, the industry supporting it is sure to maintain its position at the leading edge.