The Constructor

Concrete Pumps – Types and Selection

Concrete Pumps: Image Courtesy: Concord Concrete Pumps

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Concrete pumps are tools used to convey liquid concrete from the source of concrete to the place of casting. The basic principle, the types, and selection of concrete pumps based on work are explained briefly in this article.

Principle of Concrete Pump

A basic concrete pump was initially developed as a two-cylinder hydraulic pump. This works by the principle of one piston drawing the concrete from the hopper (concrete source) and the other piston pushing it into the discharge outlet pipe. The decision of which cylinder has to be opened to the hopper and which must be opened to the discharge pipe is controlled by means of a valve. With future developments, variations in this design were bought to facilitate high-pressure pumping when concrete have to pump at different heights and lengths. This development got great demand in the fast construction of high-rise buildings.

Types of Concrete Pumps

Based on the pumping pressure, ease of working and developing technologies different concrete pumps have been developed. The main classification of concrete pumps are:
  1. Line Concrete Pumps
  2. Boom Concrete Pumps

1. Boom Concrete Pumps

Boom concrete pumps stay at one particular position for the entire time of concrete pouring on a construction project. Hence these are stationary concrete pumps. They have a larger dimension which is placed on the ground. These have crane or boom arm attached to it in different lengths.

Fig.1.Boom concrete Pumps

The concrete pumping to different heights like in the construction of high-rise building can be performed by boom concrete pumps. Boom concrete pumps allow the pipeline to reach along, upwards and below. Hence tight spots can be cast by these pumps. Obstacles during the concrete casting path can be easily overcome by such pumps.

2. Line Concrete Pumps

Line concrete pumps are compact units that are mainly used for small construction projects. The arrangement has a line pump attached to the back of the truck or the trailer. Hence the arrangement is also called as trailer mounted concrete pump or truck mounted concrete pump.

Fig.2.Line Pumps; Image Courtesy: concrete pumping tx

How to Choose a Concrete Pump?

The concrete pump is selected based on the requirements of the construction project. A good and right choice of concrete pump is decides based on the following parameters:
  1. Manufacturer of the Concrete Pump
  2. The purpose of Concrete Pump
  3. The complexity of Construction Projects in terms of casting
  4. Price and economic factors
1. Manufacturer of Concrete Pump Important factors considered in selecting a good concrete pump manufacturer are: The concrete pumping process is performed under high pressure. A good concrete pump must be able to withstand this long-term pressure. If the quality of the concrete pump is below average, it results in the breakdown and loss for the construction projects 2. Purpose of Concrete Pump The concrete pump must completely satisfy the purpose for which it was bought. For example, if a concrete pump that was bought could not be used to fill the mid-portion of a tunnel under construction, then the pump is said to have no use for the construction project. Thus the contractor or constructor in charge must check whether the concrete pump bought is versatile and own excellent functionalities. 3. Price and Economic Factors The concrete pump selected must be reasonable and perform based on the rate it was bought. Avoid chances of buying an underperformed concrete pump for a very high rate. Always select a concrete pump based on the performance and price. Compare the performance and the price.

Concrete Pump Selection Based on Work

When the concrete pump is selected based on work, two primary factors are considered:
  1. Volumetric Concrete Output
  2. The Pumping Pressure
The maximum volumetric concrete output required per hour for a concrete construction is determined for the work. Based on which the pressure of the pump is specified. This pressure is the specification used to select the concrete pump. The desired concrete output (Q) and the pumping pressure (P) decides the power of the driving unit of the concrete pump. Then the  hydraulic output (H) is given by:

H = Q x P                         Eq.(1)

The selection of the concrete pump mentioned above can be selected based on different construction works.
  1. A boom or truck mounted concrete pump is best suitable for the construction of huge road and highway projects.
  2. For concrete pouring at several altitudes, where there is a limited area for the concrete pouring, a boom concrete pump is the best choice.
  3. Boom concrete pumps can install two or three robotic pump lines that act as a multi-purpose robotic arm where the labour number is less.
  4. A line concrete pump or a stationary pump is chosen for the construction of sidewalks or slabs. Wherever a small amount of concrete pumping is required, the stationary pump is selected.
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