Equipment Specs

Concrete Pump

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Asphalt/Aggregate/Concrete Equipment
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See also: Concrete Pump Truck

1990 Putzmeister 12000 Portable Concrete Pump
A concrete pump is a system designed to deliver concrete through pipes. While pumping can be used in almost all construction sites, it is especially useful in projects where space for equipment is limited. The pump can be placed out of the way and still pour concrete through a pipeline to the spot it is needed.

The pump, depending on the manufacturer and model, generally consists of a receiving hopper, two concrete pumping cylinders, and a valve system controlling the flow of the concrete from the hopper to the pipeline. One cylinder receives from the hopper while the other dispenses to the pipe. The pipeline is made up of both steel lengths of pipe and heavy duty flexible hose.

According to the American Concrete Institute, “Pumped concrete does not require any compromise in quality. A high level of quality control, however, should be maintained to ensure concrete uniformity.”[1]


[edit] History

The idea for the concrete pump was patented in the US in 1913, but little progress was made at that time beyond a few test trials.

[edit] Conception of the Concrete Pump

It wasn’t until 1927 in Germany that the pump came to fruition. A 100-foot (30 m) mast, designed to deliver concrete to the top of a war memorial being constructed in Kiel, Germany, was being lifted by a crane and bucket when it smashed. The project contractor, Max Giese, said, “If only we could pump the concrete.”[2] As a result, chief engineer Fritz Hell began the first successful design of a concrete pump.

[edit] Growth in Popularity

A Dutchman named J.C. Kooyman, inspired by Hell’s design, further developed the pump by adding a horizontal cylinder. Its success resulted in companies around the world competing for the chance to sell it in their own countries. Initial licenses were provided to Torkret in Germany, Almacoa in France, The Chain Belt Co. in the U.S., and The Concrete Pump Co. in the U.K.

The pumps grew in popularity throughout the 1930s and 1940s. After World War II, many European countries had to rebuild their bombed cities, increasing the need for concrete pumps.

1999 Ingersoll-Rand P180WD Portable Concrete Pump

[edit] Industry Developments

The first hydraulic pump was developed in the 1950s by Torkret. It used water for working fluid. By 1959, another German firm, Schwing, had manufactured a fully hydraulic pump that used an oil-operated ram with a water-flushed cylinder.

In 1963, the Challenge-Cook Bros. from the U.S. introduced the fully mobile Squeeze-Crete Pump. This pump was much smaller and therefore required smaller aggregate to be used in the concrete mixture. Regulations were passed to use smaller aggregate making mobile pumps more practical and popular.

The mobility of these smaller units was the next concern. Initially they were mounted on trailers and towed by trucks, until they were made into self-propelled units called concrete pump trucks.

[edit] Features/How it Works

[edit] Valves

[edit] Hydraulically-powered Valves

There are a variety of hydraulically powered valves. Capable of handling a broad range of concrete mixtures, hydraulic pumps can also crush aggregate trapped in the valve area. They can pump 20 to 250 cubic yards (15 to 191 m3) of concrete per hour.[3]

[edit] Ball Check Concrete Valves

Ball check concrete pumps utilize balls and mating seats to control concrete from hopper to cylinder and the pipeline. They are unable to break up aggregate trapped in the valve area. Generally these valves are used for pumping smaller amounts of concrete with low MSA through thinner pipelines. They can only pump 20 cubic yards (15 m3) or less of concrete per hour.[4]

[edit] Pumps

[edit] Mechanical Pumps

The original pumps developed were mechanical and did not differ immensely by design. The most popular is the Pumpcret. It is quite basic in its function. Concrete is poured into the feed hopper, which is connected to the cylinders by a rotary valve actuated by an arm attached to a cam. The valve opens and the piston starts a backward stroke enabling concrete to enter into the cylinder. The valve then closes and the piston pushes the concrete into the pipeline.

There are two of these pumping units mounted on a single frame and fed by one hopper. It is capable of filling two separate pipelines or one interconnected one.

[edit] Hydraulic Pumps

The introduction of hydraulics revolutionized the concrete pumping industry just as it revolutionized nearly every other construction market it entered. Some mechanical pumps still exist, but are incapable of producing the power and stability that hydraulic pumps can provide. Many different models of hydraulic pumps exist, but they are almost all based on two distinct original designs.

[edit] Schwing

The Schwing pump is a German design consisting of twin cylinders. One of the cylinders intakes concrete from the hopper while the other pushes it into the pipeline. A flat gate valve controls the flow of the concrete between cylinders. The whole system is enclosed and sealed in oil, so it is self-lubricated.

“It is claimed that this represents a major advance in pump design and in improved suction, reduced wear and provides smooth and silent operation. Being totally enclosed with no external moving parts, it is more easy to keep clean and reduces maintenance costs.”[5]

The Schwing pump can reverse the flow of the concrete, enabling it to be sucked from the pipeline. It also aids in extended wait times by moving the concrete back and forth inside the pipe so it does not settle or solidify.

[edit] Thomsen

The Thomsen model is an American design differing in a few ways from the Schwing pump. It is still a dual piston model, but is connected by a flapper valve instead of a flat gate valve. Also, the pistons are water-lubricated, cooling the pistons as they pump through the water.

Unlike the flat gate valve, the flapper valve enables one piston to suck in concrete from the hopper while the other piston forces it into the pipeline. Then the two pistons switch roles. The piston that just filled the pipe now fills from the hopper while the other pushes concrete into the pipeline.

[edit] Squeeze-Crete Pumps

The Squeeze-Crete pump is different from both mechanical and hydraulic models. It works on a very basic process. The collecting hopper pushes the concrete into a pumping tube that pushes it through a pumping chamber with a rotating roller. This model of pump is only capable of creating a small amount of pressure. Its maximum output is 90 cubic yards (69 m3) per hour with a 600-foot (183-m) horizontal and 150-foot (46-m) vertical range.[6]

1995 Ingersoll-Rand V6 Portable Concrete Pump

[edit] Trailer Mounted Pumps

  • Small/General Purpose Pumps

Small trailer mounted pumps can deliver 20 to 35 cubic yards (15 to 27 m3) of concrete per hour. They are equipped with up to 60 horsepower diesel engines and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). They are available with either hydraulic or ball check valves and have five to six inch cylinders. Capable of placing 750 pounds per square inch (PSI) (5,171 kPa) of pressure on the concrete, these small pumps can deliver the concrete 250 feet (76 m) vertically or 1,000 feet (305 m) horizontally. Typically these pumps are used for grouting, floor slabs, footings, or walls. [7]

  • Medium-duty Pumps

Medium-duty trailer mounted pumps can deliver 40 to 80 cubic yards (30 to 61 m3) of concrete per hour. They are available with 60 to 110 horsepower engines and weigh 5,000 to 10,000 pounds (2,268 to 4,536 kg). With six- to eight-inch (15- to 20-cm) cylinders, they produce 900 pounds per square inch (6,205 kPa) of pressure capable of delivering the concrete 300 feet (91 m) vertically or 1,200 feet (366 m) horizontally.[8]

  • Special Application Pumps

Special application trailer mounted pumps can deliver more than 80 cubic yards (61 m3) of concrete per hour. They are available with engines exceeding 110 horsepower and weigh more than 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg). Depending on their size and power they deliver a wide range of pressure and volume capacity. Typically used for larger projects like high-rise buildings or tunnels, they are capable of delivering concrete 1,400 feet (472 m) vertically or 4,600 feet (1,402 m) horizontally.[9]

[edit] Truck Mounted Pumps

  • Separate Engine Driven Pumps

These pumps are used when the horsepower needed to pump concrete is considerably less than what is required to move the vehicle along the road.

  • Truck Engine Driven Pumps

Truck engine driven pumps are extremely high powered and are capable of delivering 100 to 200 cubic yards (76 to 153 m3) per hour. They have eight- to nine-inch (20- to 23- cm) cylinders capable of producing 640 to 1,250 pounds per square inch (4,413 to 8,618 kPa). These pumps come equipped with much larger hoppers to accommodate more concrete. These hoppers are equipped with agitators to ensure the quality of the concrete.[10]

[edit] Pipeline

Just as important as the power of the pump is the strength of the pipeline the concrete is delivered through. “They require to be robust, both to resist the abrasion of the concrete moving in them and rough handling on sites.”[11] They must also be as light as possible so they can be easily moved.

The pipe consists of two parts: the boom hose, usually made of steel alloy, and the discharge hose, which has a lower pressure rating and is made of much lighter, yet still heavy-duty flexible material.

Some companies have experimented replacing steel alloy with aluminum to reduce pipe weights, but it is not recommended. A chemical reaction occurs between concrete and the aluminum causing an expansion in plastic concrete, reduction in strength, reduction in resistance to freezing and thawing and erratic performance of water reducing retarders.[12]

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] References

  1. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006. Pg. 304R-28
  2. Illingworth, J.R. Movement and Distribution of Concrete. Pg. 132
  3. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006.
  4. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006.
  5. Illingworth, J.R. Movement and Distribution of Concrete. Pg. 137
  6. Illingworth, J.R. Movement and Distribution of Concrete. Pg. 140-141
  7. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006.
  8. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006.
  9. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006.
  10. ACI Manual of Concrete Practice 2006.
  11. Illingworth, J.R. Movement and Distribution of Concrete. Pg.141
  12. Illingworth, J.R. Movement and Distribution of Concrete. Pg. 142