New Concrete Pump Operator Basics On Blockages

Construction & Contractors Blog

If you've recently expanded your concrete business and invested in a pump truck, it's important to be prepared for any potential problem. When you're used to doing your concrete work by hand, it's easy to get excited about the larger scale jobs you can complete and forget that mechanical components can encounter complications. One of the most common issues with concrete pumpers is blockage in the system. Here's a look at the most common causes of blockages and what you should know.

Reasons For Blockage

  1. The Mix Is Off - If you use a concrete mix that contains poorly graded sand, the voids left in the sand granules will create channels that allow the water to seep past instead of absorbing properly. The same problem can also occur if you add too much water to the mixture. You need the concrete mix to be properly balanced and smooth to create the necessary lubrication along the pump lines. Use caution to ensure that your mix is correct and evenly distributed before you pump.  
  2. Delays In Pumping - If you mix the concrete and then encounter a delay before you can actually pump it, this can also cause blockage. The concrete may start to set, making it too stiff to pass through the concrete pumping system. This is dangerous, because when it's too thick to fill the pump cylinders, it causes excess pressure to build up in the pump, which can damage it. Make sure you don't mix the concrete until you're certain you can pump it right away.  
  3. Pipeline Issues - If the pipeline or the motor feeding it aren't sufficient, you may actually end up with concrete moving too slow through the system. This can lead to hardening as the concrete pumps, causing significant blockages that can result in bleeding. In addition, damage to the pipeline or the gaskets can also cause blockages. Inspect the pipeline thoroughly before every pump project to be sure that there are no cracks or leaking gaskets. Also, make sure the pipe you use is the proper diameter for the flow rate and aggregate that you're using. Finally, always use a pump that's properly rated for the flow and the length of the pipeline so that you maintain consistent flow to avoid hardening along the way.

Understanding how your new pump truck works is only part of the battle. Make sure you also understand the risk of blockages and how to avoid them before you take your truck out to the first large-scale job. With this information and a thorough understanding of the truck's construction, you'll be able to meet the demands of your project with fewer complications.

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