Using Admixtures in Mobile Concrete Mixers
How Does Admix Work in Volumetric Mixers?
Mixing concrete is generally straightforward. Combine the right ratios of water, cement, and aggregate, and you get a highly versatile and cost-effective building material. Its durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness have made concrete the world’s most widely used construction material. After water, concrete is also the second most consumed material globally.
Volumetric mobile concrete mixers have made it even easier for contractors to deliver high-quality, fresh concrete with every pour. But what happens with more specialist applications, and can volumetric mixers accommodate admixtures? The answer is yes, and you do not just need to take our word for it. Companies all over the world are using admixtures in volumetric mixers to improve their mixes.
We talked to Ryan Risley, Vice President of DarCole Products, Inc. DarCole has been in the volumetric concrete industry for four decades and produces a line of admixtures specifically for use in volumetric mixers.
What Admixtures Add to Concrete
Around the middle of the last century, most concrete was simply made of up cement, aggregate, and water. Today, the majority of all mixes contain admixtures. Admixtures are chemicals that are added to a concrete mix either immediately before or during the mixing process. These substances change the chemical, physical, and mechanical properties of concrete. Depending on their composition, they may influence one or more characteristics of the final mix.
Most contractors have started relying on admixtures to reduce the overall cost of construction projects. Others use admixtures to ensure a continuously high level of quality of their concrete throughout the process of mixing, transporting, pouring, and curing concrete.
ProAll mobile mixers remove some of the concerns commonly associated with pouring quality concrete. There are no delays, and concrete is mixed right before it is poured. That fact has given rise to one of the most common misconceptions in the industry – the long-standing belief that admixtures do not work in volumetric mixers.
Ryan Risley says: “Admixtures in the Readymix industry will not activate for a given period of time or require a certain amount of mix time. In the volumetric application, the admix needs to activate instantly because of the short mix time.”
Shortening the activation time to avoid delays is the key to pouring quality concrete with admixtures using a mobile mixer. Contractors need to ensure they are choosing the most suitable admix for their application.
Common Applications of Admixtures in Volumetric Mixers
Some of the most common admixtures are available in liquid form. Others are only used in very small amounts. These include pigments, pumping aids, and expansive agents, among others. A closer look at the usage of admixtures reveals the versatility of these chemicals.
“We produce four core admixtures that will cover most requirements,” says Ryan Risley. “These four products are our most popular admixtures, but we also offer a full line of specialty admixtures that are generally used in specific jobs. Some of these specific applications include flowable fill (CLSM), shotcrete, waterproofing, dry cast, and corrosion inhibitors.“
Put simply, the company’s range is equally versatile as the volumetric mixers it was designed for.
1. Concrete for Cold Weather Sites
Dealing with extreme climates makes for challenging construction projects in several aspects. Materials react to drastic temperature changes, and persistent frost can put projects on hold for weeks, if not months.
When it comes to concrete mixing and pouring, contractors need to be aware of the time mixtures normally require to set. In temperate climates, concrete tends to be suitable for walking or driving on after 24 to 48 hours. The material reaches its full strength after about four weeks.
In colder climates, contractors may need to accelerate the time it takes concrete to set and develop full strength. Common set and strength accelerator admixtures for colder temperatures contain chemicals like calcium chloride and calcium nitrate. Formates and carbonates also work well in this context.
Frost resistance is another important characteristic of concrete used in colder climates, and air-entraining mixes are ideal for that.
Ryan Risley says: “Our DSA 110 is an air entrainment admixture. Air entrainment creates millions of microbubbles in the concrete that help protect the concrete against cracking due to freezing and thawing. This allows the concrete to expand and contract during a freeze/thaw cycle rather than crack due to movement. The air entrainment also helps with the workability of the mix.”
2. Fast-Setting Concrete
We already touched on the need for accelerated setting times above, and DarCole has developed a specific non-chloride accelerator admixture to support contractors working on jobs where speed is essential: “The DNS 130 speeds up the set time of the concrete. Because it is non-chloride, it will not contribute to any premature corrosion of steel reinforcement in the concrete, and it will not corrode any components on your mixer,” says Ryan.
Acceleration is essential during the winter months or in projects like roadway repairs: “We generally use this in cooler months, or in high early mixes that have a high PSI requirement in a short time. These high early mixes are generally used in precast, or in repairing roadways or parking lots,” Ryan Risley continues.
3. Concrete Requiring Less Water
Water is becoming a scarcer resource around the world, and reducing the amount of water required in construction would be especially useful in areas where water is already in short supply. Water reducers can also make the final material more durable and stronger.
DarCole currently offers several different types of reducers specifically for use with volumetric mixers. Ryan Risley explains: “The DNL 785 is a mid-range water reducer. You can expect around a 10% water reduction with this admix. This water reduction makes the concrete more durable and stronger. In addition, the DNL 785 helps minimize bleed water, improves workability, improves pumping by decreasing line pressure, and coats more cement particles which aid with finishing.”
The company’s DSF 1443 admix is taking water reduction one step further. “The DSF 1443 is a high-range water reducer. It can be used as a multi-range water reducer depending on the application,” says Risley.
“We generally will use this admixture in specialty applications where a low water-to-cement ratio is required. Depending on the dosage, you can expect anywhere from 10% to 40% water reduction. The higher water reduction is crucial for the high early mixes. The DSF 1443 can also be used in precast applications where self-consolidation concrete is required.”
What to Look Out for in Volumetric Admixtures
Ryan Risley believes that best-in-class performance is the key to effective admixture for volumetric concrete mixtures. Without the ability to activate fast, the mixture is simply not suitable for mobile mixers.
“We have a strict quality control program to ensure the uniformity of our products. There are many factors that affect the performance,” Ryan stresses. These factors all contribute to the quality of the finished project, and contractors need to stay on top of a variety of variables.
“The water demand, concrete set times, air content, and overall quality of the concrete are affected by the quality of the raw materials used to make the concrete. Cement, rock, and sand can all affect the performance of your concrete. The admixture reaction for each material can vary, so it is important to run air testing and strength test on all your mixes. The dosage of air can vary due to materials or the geographic location.”
Starting with high-quality, high-performance admixtures is the first step toward ensuring a successful outcome.
How Volumetric Mixers Accommodate Admix
Volumetric mixers simplify the addition of admixtures, no matter how complex a project is. Where admixtures that are only needed in very small amounts, such as pigments, have traditionally been batched by hand, volumetric mixers rely on state-of-the-art technology.
ProAll mixers come equipped with an admixture system that can accommodate two mixes. Each mixer is fitted with two admix tanks, allowing users to pour complex mixes to exact specifications, no matter where their job sites are located. Each ProAll mixer is fitted with the industry-leading Commander control system that simplifies mix design. Operators simply program their desired mix and let the controller take care of the rest.
Programming the control system takes just a few simple steps:
- Calibrate the mixer
- Input the amount of admixture chemicals required per yard or meter
- Start mixing and pouring
The automated system will take care of adding the right amount of chemicals throughout the process. Automation limits the potential for mistakes that could lead to uneven pours or differences in mix design and quality.
Flexibility and Cost-Effectiveness Without Compromising on Quality
Mobile concrete mixers were designed to help contractors deliver the best possible concrete at the right time in the right location. Whether your company specializes in delivering large-scale, remote projects or focuses on small-quantity pours in tight locations, volumetric mixers allow your team to deliver exactly what your customers need.
Ryan Risley sums up the relationship between volumetric and Readymix concrete suppliers: “The most important thing for the volumetric producer is to provide concrete that is as good as or better than the Readymix producer. It is important to provide concrete that is easy to place, and that sets in the proper amount of time. Admixtures are a key component for this because we can help control the set time, and we provide quality concrete that is easily finished.”
Admixtures are becoming ever more common in many concrete applications, including those completed by volumetric mixers. That is why the entire range of ProAll mixers comes readily equipped with a two-product admixture system. This design allows contractors to deliver highly specialized mix designs.
Whether you need to accommodate extreme weather or are simply looking to deliver creative, colorful concrete, admixtures are essential to delivering concrete matching your customers’ specifications. To learn more about how admixtures work in volumetric concrete mixers, contact our team today.
The Advantages of Self-Consolidating Concrete
Sep, 08, 2023
Explore the characteristics, materials, applications, and best practices of SCC, showcasing its advantages and why it has become the preferred choi...
Cracks in Concrete: Causes, Prevention, an...
Sep, 07, 2023
ProAll Partners with Armcon as New Distrib...
Sep, 04, 2023
The Importance of Control Joints in Concrete
Aug, 24, 2023
Delve deeper into the significance of control joints and why they are essential for successful concrete projects.
The Benefits of Broom Finishes in Concrete
Aug, 14, 2023
Explore broom finishes' specific purposes and benefits, ranging from slip resistance to cost-effectiveness.
Exploring the Power of Heat-Resistant Conc...
Aug, 07, 2023
Delve into the key characteristics and composition of heat-resistant concrete and discover how it enables the construction of resilient structures ...
The Importance of Testing Your Concrete
Jul, 24, 2023
Explore the significance of testing concrete and discuss different testing methods employed in the construction industry and the importance of test...
Concrete for Outdoor Living: Unlocking the...
Jul, 17, 2023
Versatility of Volumetric Mixers
Jul, 13, 2023
The Importance of Routine Maintenance for ...
Jun, 28, 2023
Industry Info, Blog
The Rise of Infrastructure
June 19, 2023
In recent years, infrastructure development has gained momentum, driven by government commitments and landmark legislation like the bipartisan infr...
Why Rapid-Setting Concrete is the Smart Ch...
June 12, 2023
The Concrete Curing Process: From Liquid t...
June 5, 2023
Understand the concrete curing process and why it takes 28 days for concrete to achieve maximum strength. Discover the power of hydration, factors ...
Mobile Concrete Mixers / Volumetric Mixers...
February 1, 2023
ProAll Reveals Volumetric Mixer Lineup for...
January 30, 2023
ProAll Announces Andrew Coates as General ...
October 30, 2022
PROALL INTERNATIONAL MFG. INC. JOINS TEREX...
August 2, 2022
Terex Materials Processing (MP) announces the acquisition of ProAll International Mfg. Inc.
EXPLORING THE UK CONCRETE MARKET TRENDS
May 13, 2022
the UK's market size for ready-mixed concrete manufacturing is estimated at $3.1bn in 2022, with a 7.8% growth rate
EMERGING CONCRETE CONSUMERS
May 3, 2022
Concrete is used globally as a front runner in the construction industry. However, its adverse effects on the environment prompted engineers and sc...
THE BENEFITS OF USING CONCRETE
Apr 21, 2022
Concrete has impeccable soundproofing properties that make it the right choice for most residential and industrial projects. It can keep out extern...
WHAT IS THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW?
Apr 11, 2022
There are many opportunities for businesses in these industries to get involved and help improve America's infrastructure. At the same time, the la...
HOW THE US ARMY USES VOLUMETRIC MIXERS FOR...
Mar 29, 2022
Repairing damaged airfields is essential in war zones and other combat situations. Procedures that work well in peacetime and on home territory are...
MASSIVE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE VOLUMETRIC CO...
Mar 21, 2022
The combination of a large, underserved market segment and serious federal infrastructure investment is a guarantor for growth for years to come. V...
WHAT IS FIBER-REINFORCED CONCRETE?
Feb 28, 2022
Fiber-reinforced concrete has been growing in popularity for several decades now. Whilst scientists and engineers are still looking for the perfect...
WHAT IS RAPID SET CONCRETE?
Feb 14, 2022
Rapid-set concrete mixes and volumetric mobile mixers are a perfect combination for contractors needing to work to tight deadlines. In challenging ...
5 (MORE) COOL THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH CONCRETE
Jan 31, 2022
Concrete is cool. Of course, we would say that but consider the wide variety of types and applications. Whether you decide to use concrete as a mat...
HOW DO YOU BUILD A GUNITE POOL?
Dec 15, 2021
If you are dreaming of upgrading your backyard with a swimming pool or a spa in time for summer, a gunite structure is an excellent choice. You can...
FIVE COOL THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH CONCRETE
Dec 6, 2021
There is more to concrete than meets the eye. This versatile building material may be hidden from sight in many buildings and structures around us,...
WHY VOLUMETRIC MIXERS ARE YOUR FIRST CHOIC...
Dec 1, 2021
Volumetric concrete mixers are the perfect tool for pouring water intake structures. They perform in remote locations, allow on-site adjustment of ...
USING VOLUMETRIC MIXERS TO SUPPORT INFRAST...
Nov 23, 2021
Volumetric concrete mixers make construction and infrastructure projects easier for cities and municipalities throughout the United States. They ar...
HOW VOLUMETRIC MIXER TRAINING GIVES YOUR T...
Nov 18, 2021
Investing a few days of your team’s time in training courses will set you apart from your competitors and pay dividends in a short space of time. W...
HEAT AND HYDRAULICS SYSTEMS - WHY EFFICIEN...
Nov 4, 2021
Volumetric concrete mixers are an excellent tool to help increase efficiency in any construction project. They allow you to pour the exact quality ...
PROALL CLIENT SHOWCASE: SALEM MOBILE MIX
Oct 28, 2021
Delivering high-quality concrete for every job, no matter the size, is tricky. Volumetric concrete mixers make it a lot easier, but don’t take our ...
HOW DOES A VOLUMETRIC MIXER WORK?
Oct 18, 2021
By combining industry-leading standards with a commitment to advancing technology and continuously improving the capabilities of volumetric mixers,...
USING VOLUMETRIC MIXERS TO EXCEL ON UTILIT...
Oct 6, 2021
Versatility is the main advantage volumetric concrete mixers bring to underground utility infrastructure projects. For contractors, they minimize p...
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR COMPANY FOR THE UPCOMI...
Sep 28, 2021
America’s construction industry is set for its largest expansion in about a century. The Biden administration’s infrastructure plan will see trilli...
FIVE BENEFITS OF USING VOLUMETRIC CONCRETE...
Sep 10, 2021
Are volumetric concrete mixers the future of construction? We believe so. The advantages are obvious: easy handling, convenient logistics, and cost...
7 QUICK WAYS TO GROW YOUR CONCRETE COMPANY...
Jul 13, 2021
If you want to grow your concrete company, then like most contractors, you need to spread the word and inform as many people as possible about your...
SO YOU WANT TO START A CONCRETE COMPANY? H...
May 25, 2021
As a new business owner, you need to determine all the ways to create a positive cash flow once you’ve covered the start-up costs. For this, decide...
5 REASONS TO BRING CONCRETE PRODUCTION IN-...
May 14, 2021
Manufacturing concrete in-house is a better alternative to outsourcing production for many reasons. Aside from increasing your ability to make chan...
UNDERSTANDING VOLUMETRIC CONCRETE MIXERS
May 11, 2021
The major advantage of using a volumetric concrete mixer is having the ability to produce exceedingly precise formulations while ensuring excellent...
12 SPRING MAINTENANCE TIPS TO GET THE MOST...
Apr 26, 2021
GEAR UP FOR A GREAT SEASON WITH THESE 12 SPRING MAINTENANCE TIPS
FAST-SETTING FLOWABLE FILL - THE GAME CHAN...
Apr 14, 2021
Flowable fill has quickly emerged as a great innovation and a popular alternative when it comes to backfilling. But why is that? And what is flowab...
WHAT DOES A FLEET MANAGEMENT SYSTEM DO AND...
Apr 5, 2021
Managing so many vehicles and machines can undoubtedly be a hassle in the absence of a fleet management system.
5 REASONS TO CHOOSE GUNITE
Apr 1, 2021
The demand for concrete pool building services has skyrocketed over the past year
PROALL’S STATEMENT CONCERNING CORONAVIRUS
Mar 23, 2020
Update: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our upcoming Texas Road Show and Demo Event, which was going to take place on April 14 and 15, has been postp...
INTRODUCING THE PROALL SPIDER FLEET MANAGE...
Mar 9, 2020
Managing a fleet isn’t easy. Keeping all those drivers accountable for their tasks. Ensuring your trucks are running the way they should. It’s a he...
VOLUMETRIC MIXERS FEATURED IN ROADS & BRIDGES
Aug 2, 2019
The Volumetric Mixer Manufacturers Bureau (VMMB) initiated a study to compare the quality of concrete produced by means of a volumetric mixer as co...
PROALL REIMER MIXERS FEATURED IN HEAVY EQU...
Aug 2, 2019
2018 is the 50th anniversary of the first Reimer Mixer, and to mark five decades of innovation, ProAll is releasing what they say is the most advan...
PROALL REIMER MIXERS FEATURED IN EQUIPMENT...
Aug 31, 2018
Over the past decade, manufacturers of mobile volumetric concrete mixers have seen a small but steadily growing number of customers either switchin...
REIMER MIXERS FEATURED IN CONSTRUCTION REV...
Jul 9, 2018
While weighing on whether to call on ready-mix concrete delivery or owning your own mixers, many factors should be weighed. Construction Review Onl...
PROALL CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF REIMER MIXERS
Feb 18, 2018
Here’s to 50 more.
PROALL REIMER MIXERS FEATURED IN CONSTRUCT...
Oct 2, 2017
ProAll is an award-winning producer of specialized concrete mixing technology. The company is based in Olds, Alberta but sells its equipment around...