Volumetrically Speaking - March 2009

Volumetrically Speaking - March 2009

Postby don.mullin on Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:44 pm

Wow is the only appropriate comment I can make regarding the recent World of Concrete show held in Las Vegas. It brought out the best and most successful vendors available despite the drop in attendance. The decline, if anything, allowed better access to vendors, better viewing of equipment, and more personalized attention to details that customers appreciated. The displays were high-tech, imaginative, and often interactive. The bar has certainly risen! Many new material, technological, and safety improvements were noted!

The VMMB (Volumetric Mixer Manufacturers Bureau) hosted a very well organized and structured meeting, which proved to be of value to those who attended. It became increasingly evident to those in attendance that a communication void exists between owner/operators, manufacturers, and suppliers. It was determined with joint cooperation this could be bridged. Clearly, and for obvious reasons, manufacturers want owners to operate successfully. However, most, if not all, success in the volumetric concrete industry depends on the owner/operators. Many issues were discussed at length. This included the selection and training of personnel, mix designs, and productivity. The epiphany was the realization that manufacturer support typically ends at the point of sale, with the exception of factory supported products. The responsibility of our company’s and equipment’s success clearly lies within our ability to market ourselves and the industry, as well as our ability to let the manufacturers know what we want as customers..

The economic hardships facing our nation has provided the perfect backdrop for why we need to band together now. Information-sharing can… and will… lead to:

• Greater efficiency - less downtime when a mechanical failure occurs,
• Better quality of information - like the saying goes… “two heads are better than one”,
• More accurate manufacturing specifications (it makes more sense to build safety and technological advances into the manufacturing process, rather than the aftermarket, and networking – ideas need to be fostered and “developed” before they can be implemented.)

The forum experienced in excess of 20,000 page views in January – its first month in existence. That’s correct, 20,000! This represents one hell of a lot of interest in what is happening throughout the mobile-mix industry worldwide. The numbers are overwhelming, and understandably are peeks. Everyone is curious, skeptical, and doesn’t quite know what to think of this new-found freedom. It will eventually drive a huge cultural change, allowing the sharing of ideas, successes, failures, modification and improvements to equipment, and more effective ways to continue to operate. This will eventually drive manufacturers to be more aware and receptive to customer needs. My hope is this forum will help owner/operators, manufacturers, and suppliers develop new innovations, have theirs concerns voiced to an interested and responsive industry, and – ultimately - foster more successful relationships for 2009 and beyond!

Innovation needs to be our driving force for improving the industry as a whole. We have continued to evolve, but we need to be more diligent in sharing cost-saving and safety technology to ensure that the industry can thrive into the future. Communications and innovation must be fostered at the owner/operator level. Let’s remember “our” manufacturers primary purpose is to fabricate, assemble equipment, and sell their product. Therefore, it is our responsibility as owner/operators (as well as customers) to let manufacturers know what improvements and advancements we want to best meet our needs. The success of the volumetric industry lies on our ability to improve customer service and safety thorugh innovative technology that needs to be built into the manufacturing process. Many of us have developed cutting edge ideas that have been incorporated “after market”, which is an extremely positive step. We would like to go one step further and ensure the safety of all owner/operators and ensure that our industry is not overcome by comparable technologies developed outside of our field.

The rate of attrition as owner/operators in the volumetric industry is disproportionately high due to our lack of communication and unwillingness to share information. Keep in mind that those outside of your geographic delivery area should be viewed as colleagues, rather than competition – unless you intend to cross boundaries, there is nothing to lose in sharing information and becoming more efficient. I will attempt to clarify this by pointing out that a collaborative effort throughout New England, by approximately 20 to 25 individual owner/operators, has prospered and made significant improvements by working together and sharing information.

We network, email regularly, share advertising ideas, and co-promote trade shows.

We developed a secure hook assembly, thus eliminating an excessive wear problem and increasing operator and motorist safety.

We designed and manufactured an ABS plastic cement cover weighing only 2.5lb. This replaced a cumbersome 23.5lb steel cover.

We developed and perfected urethane side and center wipes for our conveyor system which has extended the life cycle from months to years and saved thousands of dollars in maintenance downtime.

We identified the need to upgrade the conveyor belt splice to stainless steel. This eliminated costly, premature repairs when the steel splices rusted and fell apart.

We invested in material and engineering costs to develop a heat-treated sprocket with annular rings for a more efficient and durable conveyor system.

We tested material vibrators and were able to lower the noise level from 132 db to 86 db. At the same time, we were able to increase mechanical efficiency significantly.

We designed and perfected an admix system that works on 3-5# air pressure. It operates on the ‘air over hydraulic’ principle and has been maintenance-free.

We hope that the new online community at http://www.mobilemixhelp.com will be a driving force in promoting continued advancements, improved reliability, enhanced safety measures, and even higher regard for the entire volumetric mixer industry.
Don Mullin
Concrete Express, Inc.

Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:22 pm
Location: Salem, CT

Re: Volumetrically Speaking - March 2009

Postby smnstn on Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:36 pm

May 7 is OK as of today, Don. I checked with the boss, and she says we can be in Connecticut by Wednesday night, the 6th. So we can do a seminar/forum on Thursday, May 7. Shall we announce it? Would you like me to bring some SCC admixes and some cleaner and preventive buildup protectant as well? What about test equipment? Without the trailer my cargo space is limited.

Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:38 pm

Return to Don's Corner

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest