Concrete is one of the most popular building materials used globally, so much so that it is used twice as much as any other building material. Concrete can be poured and applied using many different techniques. Concrete pump trucks are ideal for large-scale projects, as they discharge large volumes of concrete via a pump system. Although effective and useful, you'll find yourself facing many obstacles when pumping concrete in cold weather conditions, as the concrete may end up freezing at the bottom of truck. Here are 3 tips you can implement to prevent the concrete from freezing and to enjoy a hassle-free application.
Prime Concrete Slurry with Hot Water
One of your main concerns should be how to prevent the concrete from freezing during the delivery and waiting period, as this is when the concrete is most vulnerable since it may be exposed to harsh climates and weather conditions for prolonged periods of time. During this period, it is easy for the concrete to freeze against the walls of the pipeline. If the concrete freezes at this point, it will become an obstruction and restrict the flow of concrete when it is pumped later on.
The simplest and most effective solution is to mix hot water in with the slurry when it is bring primed. In short, make sure that at least one of the trucks is loaded with only hot water.
Pre-Heat the Boom Pipeline
The boom pipeline is another vulnerable part of concrete pump trucks. The pipeline is exposed to external elements, and as a result, it's susceptible to heat exchange. Concrete travelling down the pipeline can end up freezing if the temperature outside is cold. This is because the heat from the concrete will escape via surface contact through the pipeline.
The best solution in this situation is to pre-heat the boom pipeline using an exhaust stack coming from the truck's engine. Slip one end of the exhaust hose over the exhaust pipe and the other into the tip hose of the boom. Warm air from the exhaust pipe will flow through the pipeline and exit via the hopper of the truck.
If you would like to try this solution out, you must make sure that you leave an open pathway for the warm air to exit from. If the warm air does not have anywhere to exit from, it will backtrack to the engine. This results in a buildup of excessive back pressure, which may end up damaging the engine permanently.
Wrap the Boom Pipeline with Insulation
If pre-heating the boom pipeline seems too difficult of a task, consider wrapping the boom pipeline with insulation instead. If the pipeline is properly insulated, there will be minimal heat loss. Insulating the boom pipeline is one of the easiest solutions available. It's also extremely cost efficient.
All you have to do is wrap either open-cell or closed-cell polyurethane foam pads around the pipeline. Secure the insulation using tape. There are other types of insulation that you can also use; however, most experts would agree that polyurethane foam is the easiest to install.
Concrete pump trucks discharge and release large volumes of concrete in the most efficient way possible for large-scale projects making them an essential tool to have. If you'll be pumping concrete in cold weather conditions, make sure you implement the techniques mentioned above to prevent the concrete from freezing over. The downtime experienced from the concrete freezing over will eat up a large chunk of profit and will also reduce overall productivity within your workplace. It's worth your time to make sure that the concrete never freezes over.