Why Isn't Concrete Flowing? Three Reasons Your Concrete Pump Truck May Have Frequent Blockages

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A concrete pump truck allows you to pour concrete into high areas, such as apartment buildings and high rises, or quickly pour concrete over a large area. Concrete should flow from the truck out of a pipeline. However, this may not always occur. Occasionally, a blockage can form in the pipeline, disrupting the flow of concrete. If this happens rarely, it is nothing you should worry about. Sometimes a clog simply just forms. But if it seems like you have frequent blockages on a job, there is likely a reason. Learning what the reasons for a blockage are can help you work to fix the problem, allowing concrete to flow out of the concrete pump truck as it should.

Using the Wrong Concrete Mixture

One of the reasons your concrete pump truck may experience blockage after blockage at a work site is because you are using the wrong concrete mixture. Unfortunately, the mixture you need varies based on the specifics of your job site. If you are working at a job site where the concrete is going to be poured slowly, you need a slow setting mixture. A fast setting mixture may begin to set before it is poured, leading to blockages as the concrete hardens. If the weather at the job site is extremely hot, you need a mixture that works well when mixed with large amounts of water. Hot temperatures can cause the water to dry up quickly, which can lead to blockages. However, some mixtures can separate if too much water is added and won't mix or set. As such, using a mixture that works well with large amounts of water is a must in warm weather.  And lastly, the quality of the mixture plays a role. Poorly graded sand may not retain water. This can cause dry clumps to form, which can lead to blockages. Ensuring you have the right mixture of concrete can be one way to prevent blockages in a concrete pump truck.

Having an Untrained Concrete Pump Truck Operator

Another reason frequent blockages may occur while using a concrete pump truck is because you have an untrained or inexperienced operator. The concrete pump truck operator is responsible for setting up the pump system. This includes setting up the right pipe or hose. Unfortunately, inexperienced operators may not realize this or may forget about it. If the pipe or hose is added after the mix has begun to be poured, blockages are more likely to occur. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do at this point but to remove the blockages as they occur and plan better in the future.

The second reason an inexperienced operator is more likely to experience blockages is because they may set up the hose or pipe incorrectly. If the pipe or hose has kinks due to improper set up, the lubricating grout that is sent through the pipe or hose first won't lubricate as it should. Once the concrete begins to flow, it may stick to the pipe or hose in the kinked area, causing problems. Cleaning out the pipe or hose and re-lubricating can correct this issue, but it takes time that you may not have. Ensuring that you are using an experienced operator is the best way to avoid these problems.

Improperly Maintaining the Pipeline

The last reason you may experience frequent blockages with your concrete pump truck is because you have failed to properly maintain the pipeline. After each pour, you need to clean the pipeline thoroughly. This helps to remove any concrete that may remain in the line. If you fail to do this, the concrete can harden, which can make the pipe or hose more narrow the next time you need to pour. This increases the changes of a blockage forming.

It is also important to inspect the hose or pipeline often while completing a job. If a hose or pipeline is cracked, ripped or has kinks that don't come out, it needs to be replaced. Failing to perform this maintenance can cause you to use a hose or pipeline that isn't ideal for concrete pouring. This can lead to frequent blockages.

Repeated blockages from your concrete pump truck can decrease efficiency when pouring concrete. If you have a fast setting concrete mix, the concrete may also begin to set and go to waste if you can't remove the blockages fast enough. Learning why blockages occur and how to prevent them will help ensure you don't encounter this problem while your construction company uses a concrete pump truck, such as one from Masterlink Concrete Pumping, to pour concrete.

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