New equipment for concrete construction

By Helen Wright09 May 2012

The library for the new University of Economics and Business in Vienna, Austria, is being built usin

The library for the new University of Economics and Business in Vienna, Austria, is being built using Meva Mammut 350 wall formwork panels and special designs of Meva’s Circo circular column formwork.

This year has seen a wide range of new launches across the concrete sector, as manufacturers hone their existing designs and release new technology.

At the same time, the manufacturing landscape is changing, with Sany and XCMG acquiring two leading lights in the sector - German companies Putzmeister and Schwing.

Meanwhile, the stream of new equipment launches continues. In the truck-mounted concrete pump sector, manufacturers including Putzmeister, Cifa, Sany, and Everdigm have all launched new or updated machines in recent months.

A common focus has been weight thresholds. Putzmeister introduced the 42-5, a 40 m class truck-mounted machine that weighs less than 32 tonnes (an important weight ceiling in many countries).

The machine boasts a silent distributor boom which has been upgraded with a steel structure for continuous rigidity, and is said to use 300 litres less hydraulic fluid. The new Ergonic Output Control system also regulates fuel consumption to improve efficiency.

Field testing of the machine is underway in Europe and the Middle East, and feedback from operators has been positive, according to the company.

"I particularly like the steady boom - also, the machine as whole works very smooth during pumping." Uwe Fischer, from Swiss contractor a3 Beton said.

Putzmeister said it would also introduce another light-weight truck mounted concrete pump this year - the 56Z-Meter, which is a 50 m class boom that weighs less than 45 tonnes.

Jim Bury, director of engineering for Putzmeister America said, "From the small, but revolutionary RFID hopper grate switch to the all-new weight-to-strength optimised boom and structural components, we have brought together world-class design and user value."

This focus on weight brings to mind the launch Cifa's K45H Carbotech placing boom at the Bauma 2010 exhibition. Carbon fibre was used for the last two sections of the five-section boom, resulting in an overall weight, including the truck, of less than 32 tonnes. The boom's total height when in vertical position is nearly 45 m, but the carbon fibre segments weigh -25% less than traditional steel sections, according to Cifa.

South Korea's Everdigm has also launched new 36 m and 42 m Z-boom truck-mounted concrete placing booms, the 36ZX and 43CX-5. Here, the focus has been on hydraulics - the machines feature a closed circuit, free flow hydraulic system, and the boom can be controlled by a proportional remote control system.

Mounted on three-axle Mercedes-Benz chassis, the machines are available in 60 countries through Everdigm's dealer network.

Concrete mixing

New mobile concrete mixers and mixing plants have also been introduced, and here the focus has been on increasing efficiency and productivity.

SBM introduced a new high mobility, low energy consumption mobile mixing plant, the Euromix 3300. With an output of
145 m3/h, SBM said the new model is almost +10% more productive than its predecessor.

In addition, energy consumption has been reduced by -10% on the 3300 model thanks to a new powertrain and changes to operating modes, while SBM said the new model is also -25% smaller than its predecessor.

The Euromix 3300 also boasts a cleaning system that is said to be unique on the market - the high pressure cleaning is directly integrated in the mixing cycle, so the machine cleans itself after each batch produced.

Reed's new M2200 Pan Mixer can mix a 998 kg batch of material in three minutes, before discharging it into the pump hopper to be either sprayed or pumped.

The M2200 Pan Mixer was also designed to be easy to
transport. The four legs of the mixer quickly shorten to reduce its shipping height while the water tank folds downward for transport and the hydraulic power pack slides underneath the mixer. A forklift driver can also unload the M2200 from a flatbed truck using the forklift tubes on the mixer and the power pack.

Liebherr, meanwhile, has introduced the Mobilmix 2.5 concrete mixing plant. This container-mounted system is intended for use on large construction sites and offers a maximum output of
110 m3/hour.

Fitted with a DW 2.5 twin-shaft mixer, the modular main component system also allows two plants to be operated in tandem from the same control station, for a combined output of 220 m3/hour.

The company said this flexibility was important for contractors, as mobile mixing units are frequently relocated and used on sites with a wide range of output demands.

Two Schwing Stetter M2,25 mobile mixing units are being used on a project in Frankfurt, Germany, feeding a pair of Schwing SP 4800 stationary concrete pumps and their SPB 35 placing booms.
The Schwing machines are performing all the concreting work for the future headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) - a project which is scheduled for completion in 2014. The build has three main elements: the Grossmarkthalle, a high-rise office building consisting of two towers joined by an atrium, as well as an entrance building.

The distinctive design of the ECB building will add a new feature to Frankfurt's skyline. Designed by Austrian architect Coop Himmelb(l)au, the south tower of the office complex will have 43 floors and stand 165 m high, while the 45-storey north tower will be 185 m high.

The structural shell work is being carried out by Ed Züblin, a subsidiary of Strabag, and is scheduled for completion next year.

The two Schwing M2,25 mixers were installed opposite each other to shorten the time it took to fill the silos as well as allow shorter travelling distances for the wheeled loader. Schwing said that placing the mixers facing each other also made it possible to fill the Stetter silos via an accessible middle section, increasing efficiency on-site.

Forming

Meanwhile, new components and techniques have been developed in the falsework and formwork sector that are helping improve the efficiency of concrete construction. Paschal demonstrated that manufacturers must be prepared to produce tailor-made form designs to meet the demands of new projects.

Contractor LLC TransKapStroy opted to use distinctive prefabricated architecture for four stairway connections on a project to build a 1.7 km, two-lane bridge in the Ljuberzy district of Moscow, Russia.
The stairway columns were planned in the shape of a symmetrical hexagon, with 36 props between 2 and 6.5 m.

"The form of the stairway columns is so sophisticated that standard solutions were out of the question," a Paschal spokesman said. Instead, four identical bespoke formwork sets were made, each consisting of two extendable concrete forms, 805 mm wide and 1020 mm deep and 2 m and 3 m high.

Each form consisted of two parts with sharp-edged joints that fitted together tightly, secured with locking screws. Production of the formwork took just four weeks, and the entire project is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Peri has also tailored its formwork technology to the specific demands of contractors. The manufacturer updated its Variokit engineering construction kit with new components to allow it to also be used to pour-in-place concrete segments for a bridge project in Poland.

Peri said contractor Dragados managed to place a concrete section of up to 5 m long every four to five days to build the 600 m long motorway bridge near Tarnow, Poland about 80 km to the east of Krakow. A total of 48 casting segments were used to build the 210 m long middle section of the bridge. The modified Variokit formwork carried the fresh concrete loads into the supporting structure and moved the formwork from section to section.

And Doka found that pre-fabricated formwork ensured a smooth workflow on a confined construction site in Paris, France. The manufacturer's SKE50 plus automatic climbing system and Top 50 large-area formwork are being used to build the 166 m tall Carpe Diem tower in the La Défense commercial district.

Doka France pre-fabricated all the formwork elements and delivered them to joint venture contractors SCGPM and Besix site 'just in time'.

Project Manager Ibrahim Bara of Doka France said the heavy traffic in the densely built-up La Défense district, and the fact that the formwork systems could only be delivered during certain time-slots, meant that the logistics were a critical factor.

"Because there is so little space, on site storage or assembly are not an option. We've planned all the operational steps needed for delivering and installing the formwork systems right down to the last detail, and this has ensured a smooth workflow," Mr Bara said.

Positive outlook

With so much flexibility, manufacturers of equipment for the concrete construction sector are raising the bar in terms of their commitment to meeting the demands of contractors. And demand for concrete looks set to continue to grow steadily over the next twelve months, according to upbeat forecasts from major producers including Lafarge and Holcim. Lafarge expects to see the global cement market grow by between +1% and +4% this year, largely driven by business from emerging markets.


Indeed, with major infrastructure projects underway and planned around the world - from the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia to preparation for the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games in Brazil - contractors can expect to see manufacturers working harder than ever to meet the needs of the concrete sector.

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