Mixing on the Road: Exploring How Concrete Trucks Work

The development of purpose-built concrete trucks enabled workers to pour and mold the concrete during its ideal workable state.

Learn how a concrete truck works.””Since working with concrete is an intensive process on a time schedule, mixing by hand only works well for the smallest of jobs. Horse drawn concrete mixers were once used for larger concrete projects, but they were eventually replaced with the heavy duty trucks you see today. You might ask yourself, “How does a concrete truck work?” These trucks mix the dry aggregate, water, cement and  chemical admixtures as needed when arriving on the jobsite.

Mixing Functions

In the early years, concrete trucks utilized specially designed paddles to stir around the dry and wet ingredients inside the barrel. Since the paddles were relatively inefficient, corkscrew shaped augers and fins quickly replaced the initial mixing apparatus. The augers not only combine the concrete ingredients, but also control the position of the material in the barrel. During transport, the augers move toward the back section of the mixer to thoroughly incorporate the material. Upon arriving at the jobsite, the operator reverses the auger’s direction to help pour the mixed concrete out of the barrel.

Delivery Methods

Concrete trucks can pour the mixed concrete out of the barrel and into the prepared worksite area using a chute or long hose. The chute delivery method works best for ground level pours. The truck operator positions the chute above the worksite and reverses the drum to eject the material onto the ground. Hose delivery allows operators to send concrete to areas previously inaccessible to these large trucks, such as into formwork molds used for the construction of large buildings.

Upkeep Requirements

After delivering the concrete, operators must clean out the barrel to remove concrete that has hardened along the barrel walls. Pre-treatment chemicals and acid baths applied after returning from each job help remove much of the concrete from the inside of the barrel. Unfortunately, a small amount of concrete remains permanently adhered to the barrel’s inner surface, despite these prompt cleaning efforts. As a result, it is necessary to mechanically remove the hardened concrete deposits using a jackhammer.

Future Developments

Concrete truck manufacturers strive to continually improve the function of these heavy duty construction vehicles using computer controlled systems and green technology. Operators using trucks developed in the past few years are already enjoying the ease and efficiency of using computer controls to continually adjust the concrete pouring process. Truck manufacturers are further building upon this system to improve the efficiency of the vehicles as well. One of the systems in development is designed to allow truck operators to mix and pour the concrete without keeping the engine running throughout the process. Another will give operators the ability to start the vehicle using compressed air to further minimize the consumption of diesel fuel.

If you are ready for a concrete delivery, contact Razorback Concrete at 870-455-0700 to schedule a consultation appointment and receive a free concrete estimate.

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