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Ready Mixed Plants

May 13, 2020     knowledge-base

Ready-mix concrete (RMC as it’s common called), refers to concrete that is specifically batched for customers and supplied to them as a single product. The concrete is batched out thru the Ready Mixed Plants.

Batch plants is by far more precise in the composition mixing based on the design mix specified by the design consultant / engineer. It also allows traceability in an unlikely event of issues that surfaces. The lifespan of a good concrete ready mixed plant will normally outweigh the cost if properly maintained.

Advantages of RMC

  • Precision amount of raw materials is combined and mixed at each and every batch.

  • Ability to add on admixtures that is required for the targeted type of concrete to improve the performance.

  • Since the raw materials are accurately weighed, mixed before discharged, the quality of concrete is assured. There is a strict basis of traceability in the process parameters and possible continuous monitoring to allow consultants to check on the design mix versus the batch concrete and that is proven internationally viable. However, the above will not hold true if there is poor control on the raw materials, batching and mixing methods in the ready mixed plant. Hence independent consultants can provide this assurance if needed.

  • The use of admixtures requires precision in dosing which is more difficult though not impossible without the automatic dosing/measuring weigher in the ready mixed plant. This is especially true when the volume of the targeted design concrete is high and manual labour will cause issues when fatigue / human errors kicks in. Design mixes of the products must be thoroughly tested in the laboratory prior to mass production. This allows adjustments if needed without causing too much financial loss.

  • The speed which the ready mixed plant can produce high quality concrete continuously provides a lot of comfort in fast track projects construction plans.

Disadvantages of RMC

  • Concrete shrinks as it is placed and cured. Hence cracking and shrinkage issues will occur if the design engineers and contractors do not take into account of it during the planning and design stage. Expansion joints prevent the cracking from occurring when casting large slabs.

  • Most of the RMC are transported to the site via 6-9m3 mixer trucks. These mixer trucks agitate the concrete continuously during transportation. However, the sheer size of these trucks means the ROA (route of advancement) has to be planned.

  • There is also a need to have checkpoints on site where samples of the concrete are taken. This is a part of the quality control system.

  • Generally concrete must be placed within 45mins. The time can be extended if there is a foreseeable delay If the delay is during placing or caused by a supply interruption, then cold joints will occur and financial lost is expected. This lost can balloon to a large amount in the case of mass concreting.

The author is the Director of Hong He Supply Pte Ltd. He is an engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in the concrete and asphalt industry.

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