Pumped-up plant, pumps and trucks

Concrete ready-mix companies are benefiting from fierce competition amongst manufacturers to improve and expand their product offerings. Stian Overdahl writes

Putzmeister’s new models are available in the key segments, including 36m, 42m, and the 56m

Putzmeister’s new models are available in the key segments, including 36m, 42m, and the 56m

Concrete ready-mix companies are benefiting from fierce competition amongst manufacturers to improve and expand their product offerings. Stian Overdahl writes

In the construction machinery industry there is no sector that has gone through greater changes in the past few years than concrete equipment. Major European manufacturers were acquired by Chinese manufacturers, beginning with Cifa in 2008, acquired by Zoomlion, and then Putzmeister in 2012, acquired by Sany, and later a tie-up between Schwing-Stetter and XCMG.

And there has also been consolidation on the European front, with Liebherr acquiring the concrete pump manufacturer Waitzinger, a mid-sized German company with strong R&D pedigree, allowing Liebherr to offer the full range.

While there was a strong incentive for Chinese manufacturers to acquire valuable R&D as well as distribution networks, on a higher level the concrete equipment industry is headed towards competition between ‘full-liners’, with brands acquiring new interests, so that they are able to offer the full range, from batching plants, mixer trucks, to truck and stationary pumps. Putzmeister is a good example of this – acquiring mix truck builder Intermix, and then announcing at Bauma a strategic deal with the Italian batching plant manufacturer Simem. And for buyers, more choice can only be a good thing.

Truck pumps
The concrete truck pump market is intensely competitive, but new products on the market have made the choice for customers even tougher. Putzmeister’s new range of truck pumps were built in order to comply with new European road weight regulations, which in the 56 metre boom class, saw its model, the M56-5, built over a 4-axle chassis, reduced from five.

One of the biggest contributors to the finished product is the number of axles the pump is built over, and savings on the vehicle build-costs are passed to the customer without compromising pump performance. Putzmeister’s new models are available in the key segments, including 36m, 42m, and the 56m. Overall the models have been simplified for their serviceability. On the 42m pump the number of types of arches or elbows has been reduced to only three, from seven, and the machine has been redesigned with a preference for bolts over welds. Furthermore the amount of hydraulic fluid was reduced by 300 litres from the previous generation model.

Saudi Arabia is the most important market for concrete pumps, and market share is hotly contested by international manufacturers and their dealers. Represented by distributor Saudi Diesel, the Korean manufacturer Everdigm makes a range of pumps, including its 43CX-5, contesting the all-important 42m segment. The 5-section boom has a vertical reach of 42.1m, and horizontal reach of 38.1m, with a delivery pipe diameter of 125mm. The model has seen usage on many residential sites in KSA, and the service offering is key to Everdigm’s popularity.

Cifa was the first major concrete equipment manufacturer to be acquired by a Chinese company, Zoomlion in 2008, but the continuation of its product development programme showed that the intent was very much to continue Cifa as a strong standalone brand. Last year it collaborated with Zoomlion on a Guinness World Record truck pump with a 101m boom, something of a novelty. Likely to be of more interest to customers are its truck pumps built with carbon fibre booms, the Carbotech range.

Launched at Intermat in 2012, the 45m K45H sits on four axles (for 32t weight), and of its five-section boom, the last two are made of a lightweight carbon fibre composite designed by Cifa, while the first three sections are high strength steel. The lighter weight boom means that it is mounted on a smaller truck for its class, making it more compact and easier to set up in cramped work conditions. Its HPG 1408 –IF9 pumping unit has a maximum theoretical output of 140 m/h, and maximum pressure of 80 bar. Operation and safety is improved by the patented K-TRONIC electronic unit, which controls stability, and alerts the operator and prevents any incorrect set-up or configurations. Cifa’s Carbotech range includes the 3-axle K39H, the 62m-boom K62H, and the range topping K80H, which sits on seven axles.

Mixer trucks
Customers are increasingly price conscious on concrete mixer trucks, and well they can be given the available range of vehicles from diverse suppliers. Ready mix companies are virtually spoilt with choice, whether buying chassis from premium sellers such as Daimler or MAN, mid-range truck brands, or the new entrants in the market. And while mixer trucks have increasingly become seen as commodity goods in the concrete industry, in the critical application of a pumping job reliability remains all-important, which gives an edge to the established players in the market of drum manufacturing.

In the Middle East, key features of a successful transit mixer are large size and an ample water reservoir, since in many markets there are no on-road weight restrictions. Putzmeister debuted its new Intermix truck the IMI 12.1 at Bauma this year, which features an optimised geometry drum built with high quality steel from Thyssen-Krupp, including thicker plating in crucial areas, providing protection against wear and tear in harsh conditions, and ensuring a longer service life. The IMI 12.1, the largest in its range, has a nominal filling of 12m3, a water line of 13.55m3, and a geometric volume of 20.11m3, and its availability is a ‘concrete’ example of the benefits of industry consolidation for buyers.

Batching plants
Batching plants are a serious capital expenditure item, but smaller mobile plants are increasingly finding favour with buyers, as demand for concrete rises incrementally. Cifa has recently released a new mobile batching plant, transportable on wheels, fitted with a 1m3 per cycle Cifa mixer, which guarantees an hourly production rate of 50m3 of ready-mixed concrete. Another feature is its mixer washing system that washes the mixer after each production cycle, using the water already batched into the concrete composition recipe. This leads to considerable water savings on the site.

In Saudi Arabia, KiCE Construction Equipment produces concrete batching plants for sale in the domestic market and the GCC, as well as distributing Snowkey concrete cooling machines. KiCE produces two types of stationary batching plants, the first which has a dry batch capacity of 50 to 140 m3/h, and a wet batch capacity of 50 to 240 m3/h, as well as mobile batching plant. The company has recently expanded its factory in the Eastern Province to scale-up production, and speaking at a recent event, company CEO, Engineer Saleh bin Abdulrahman Al-Katheir, said that demand for its mobile batching plants had quadrupled in the previous years, reflecting improved product engineering. In 2013, the company hopes to increase its sales of batching plants by 15%, mobile batching plants by 25% and washing plants by 25%.

0 0 votes
Article Rating


Most Popular

To Top
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x