When opening in 2018, Battleground Concrete out of Houston, Texas, focused its business on what it saw as an underserved market: providing small batch concrete pours for industrial projects. Over the last four years, the company has not only continued to successfully build its books of industrial business, but it’s also expanded into other markets — with a fleet solely made up of volumetric concrete mixers.
“The Houston area has its share of companies offering ready mix, which doesn’t fit the need for every job,” said Battleground Concrete Co-Owner and General Manager Tyler Hooper. “We saw an opportunity to deliver small batch pours that help ensure a high-quality, precise product every time — a requirement for jobs like those within chemical plants and refineries. Our volumetric trucks allow us to do that.”
Mix On-Site & On Demand
A volumetric concrete mixer measures, mixes and dispenses a precise amount of concrete from a single unit. Sand, stone, cement powder, water and additives are each kept in its own compartment on the volumetric mixer and mixed on site in the exact amount needed. The technology enables multiple projects to be completed on one or more jobsites using the same equipment, even if each project has a different design mix.
To serve its growing customer base, Battleground Concrete utilizes eight fully automated volumetric concrete mixers.
“We have been able to pour five yards of concrete for a project, then switch and cap it off with grout using the same truck,” noted Hooper. “That saves us time, cuts waste and helps us to schedule more jobs in our day.”
Mixing while on the jobsite also helps when unexpected delays occur. “If there is a shut down for any reason, ready-mix concrete tends to get older and hotter, risking the quality and integrity of the product,” said Hooper. “With a volumetric mixer, you remove all those issues.”
Save Time, Money & Resources
Such flexibility can also be a lifesaver when working on public infrastructure projects, from roads and bridges to sidewalks and curbs.
An increasing number of cities, counties, states and federal agencies are accepting volumetric mixing, according to the national Volumetric Mixer Manufacturers Bureau. That means new opportunities in roadbuilding, including bringing in volumetric mixers to complement work done using ready-mix trucks.
For example, for quick repairs and limited windows of opportunity to complete a pour, volumetric mixers fit the bill.
“Instead of having concrete sitting in drum trucks just waiting, we can mix and pour fresh fast-setting concrete when it’s needed, and in the quantity needed, without delay — helping to keep closures to a minimum and get traffic flowing again,” said Hooper of Battleground Concrete’s work with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Quality testing and confirming consistency between loads can be done in real-time with a volumetric concrete mixer, and any necessary changes in the design mix can be made at the jobsite, eliminating delays caused by having to return to the batch plant.
The separate storage bins allow extra materials to be saved and mixed later, eliminating shortages, over-ordering and short load fees that cost time and money — helping contractors and customers stay within budget.
With demand for ready-mix concrete exceeding availability due to booming construction across the country, municipalities like the City of Baytown, Texas, are finding volumetric concrete mixers help in delivering short loads on a timely basis. “Most ready-mix plants focus on large loads,” said Assistant Director of Public Works Kevin Harvill. “As a result, we had to wait three to four weeks for concrete. That not only cost us time, but the up charges for short loads cost us money.” With control of its own concrete, the City of Baytown can pour whenever they need without waiting. The versatility the city’s volumetric concrete truck allows them to efficiently move from project to project. “We can quickly adjust the slump, admixture and water reducer to pour everything from sidewalks to curbs using the same truck,” said Harvill. “It helps us meet taxpayers’ expectations to have streets available for travel with minimal delays.”
Control Scheduling, Drive Growth
Supply and demand issues also led Phillips Siteworks in Kansas City, Missouri, to find a new way to deliver concrete, including for smaller residential and commercial projects that traditional ready-mix trucks can’t fit into the schedule.
“Demand for concrete is so high, we were sometimes waiting two to three days to get on the schedule, with the risk of the delivery being cancelled,” said General Manager of Phillips Siteworks’ Volumetric Division Jimmy Leath. “We wanted to control our own schedule and get concrete when, where and how we needed it.”
To date, Phillips Siteworks has passed the 6,000-yard mark pouring concrete using its volumetric mixers and have opened new sources of income, including taking emergency calls at night for other contractors.
“Using our volumetric trucks, we can pour multiple 1- to 2-yard jobs in a single day with one operator and the same equipment, or a 110-yard pour without having to leave the site,” said Leath. “Not having to go back and forth to the site saves us a lot of time and money, and we’ve been able to take on a wider variety of jobs and increase our amount of work.”
Continuing to build and grow the business, while meeting the needs of its existing customers, requires the versatility of a volumetric concrete mixer to quickly and cleanly move from one mix design to the next, noted Leath.
“Being able to pour a 3-inch slump curb, then go right into a 6-inch slump approach without having to add any additional water lets us do what we need to do without the time, expense and risk that comes with having to use two separate trucks.”
According to experts, the heightened interest in construction is expected to not end any time soon. For business owners, making the most of their staff, time, equipment and other resources will be key to not just surviving, but thriving in this market. Companies like Battleground Concrete and Phillips Siteworks are finding a way to service customers 24/7 by taking advantage of volumetric mixers, and their ability to conveniently deliver a catalog of mix design options efficiently and with ease. “With volumetric concrete mixers, our opportunities are pretty much endless,” said Hooper. “From pouring flowable fill, shotcrete, gunite and grout, to delivering concrete for residential backyards, bridge decks and emergency concrete cutouts on the freeway — we can make it happen.”