Technical Stagnation Part 2

Technical Stagnation Part 2

Postby holcombe on Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:21 pm

Technical awareness is a timely subject for me to embrace. With rapid technological growth and more advanced materials, I find your article of great interest!

Quick Mix Inc. was founded in 1984 with a mixer design based on the idea of simplicity and reliability. This design successfully served its customers and the company well for many years. In 2006, Quick Mix was purchased by Brent and Cathy Holcombe. In a short time, it became apparent that although the product design we had purchased was still finding a market in various parts of the Western US and foreign countries, the technology of the design had fallen behind. In 2008, armed with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a passion for the industry, I focused on more modern and efficient applications and set out to undertake a major re-design of the mixer. I talked to many customers to find out what was working and what wasn't, analyzed industry trends, and weighed new technology opportunities from many different suppliers. Armed with this research, it became apparent that there were things that customers liked about their mixers, but there were also things that customers felt needed to be improved. In 2009, Quick Mix released its new mixer design and named it after its designer and owner, "The Holcombe Mobile Mixer".

This new design incorporates a balance of simplicity with efficiency, reliability, and performance. For example, customers have come to expect electric over hydraulic control of their mixer with the option of a wireless remote. However, with the convenience, they did not want to give up the reliability of having manual hydraulic controls to run the machine in the case of losing a solenoid while in the middle of a pour. Another example is that customers want the reliability of a chain driven conveyor system. However, they did not like the maintenance and mess associated with oiling a roller chain. Finally, customers stated that they wanted a hydraulic system that didn't dissipate excess heat, did not leak and would control ALL of the mixer functions, including the cement metering.

As a result, the Holcombe Mobile Mixer implemented a hydraulic valve system with redundant manual and electric controls for all functions. This ensures that even if electric power is lost to any function, the hydraulics can still be run and the pour can be completed. For the conveyor system, the decision was made to use a belt over pintle chain to eliminate lubrication and maintenance of the conveyor. This eliminates the environmental consequences of having oil leaking onto the ground. Finally, the hydraulic system was designed to use a pressure compensated variable displacement hydraulic pump with load sensing capability. Although this technology has been used widespread throughout the world for many years, it is actually just starting to get implemented into the Volumetric Mixer industry. The advantages are numerous. Variable displacement hydraulic systems pressurize a motor or cylinder only when oil is required. This reduces heat in the system, which in turn reduces leaks in fittings and break down of motors and cylinder seals over time. Using a pressure compensated system ensures that all functions will work reliably and produce accurate volumes of materials even when non-priority functions are turned on such as hydraulic swing. Using hydraulic motors to directly control cement and conveyor functions reduces the maintenance of chain synchronous systems and provides more flexibility to easily change the ratio of cement to sand and stone on the fly by just changing the amount of hydraulic flow to the motors.

In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever that our industry embraces the best technology that is available in order to provide the owner, the operator, and the end customer with the best possible product at the best possible price. If we as an industry, both manufacturers and owners/operators strive to do this together, we will all succeed.
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Re: Technical Stagnation Part 2

Postby don.mullin on Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:20 am

Don't be afraid to jump on in! It sure is refreshing to see a "manufacturer" get out of the closet and participate. I'm afraid to ask where the hell you have been cause it is obvious in your case that due diligence and a lot of market analysis and r&d has kept you busy. You represent a very positive example of what I have encouraged for years and the purpose of this forum. I applaud your new product applications and positive contribution. Thank you for sharing and good luck!
Don Mullin
Concrete Express, Inc.
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:22 pm
Location: Salem, CT

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