Concrete Pumping Blockages- A Quick Rundown for First Timers

Concrete pumping is a fast and cheap method used by many construction sites to lay concrete over large areas, or high elevations. Whether you are pursuing your own projects, or working with a contractor, you may need to acquire concrete pumps for pouring concrete on your high or extensive. And, as with many types of machinery, problems can occur. Whether line or boom pumps, a common problem always experienced during the process of concrete pumping is blockage. Blockages during concrete pumping can result in a huge waste of time, money, and effort for you and your team. In many cases, the time taken to clear blockages after they have already occurred prompts a disruption in the pumping process that can compromise a huge bulk of already mixed concrete.  There are several causes of blockage during concrete pumping. Three, however, stand out to be the leading causes namely wrong mix, pipeline problems, and operator error.

Wrong mix 

The biggest mistake associated with mix-triggered blockages is water retention. A poor mix of concrete and sand can lead to the concrete bleeding out water. This results into segregation in the mix. The same can happen if the concrete is too wet. Segregation in the mix results in concrete blocks forming at certain parts within the pumping arrangement. These blocks, given time, may result into huge chunks of concrete that ultimately block the arrangement in several positions. You, therefore, want to ensure that your mix is in the proper ratios before commencing pumping.

A further way in which the mix can be said to be "wrong" and cause blockages is when there is a delay in placing the concrete. In construction sites, problems can arise such as traffic, site restrictions, obstructions, and more that may result in delays in placing already mixed concrete. In turn, this concrete begins to set prematurely while the delay-causing problems are being dealt with. If the concrete is pumped, it toughens within the pipes and increases the pressure required to pump it to the laying area. This is why as the site owner you should always have the area cleared and already prepared for the truck, pumps, and the entire line before commencing mixing.

Pipeline problems

When hiring or buying concrete pumps for your job site, you must consider the entire length of pipeline you would need to effectively pump concrete. This will determine the appropriate motor horsepower strength of the required pump, and the capacity. Once acquired, you must ensure that your pipeline is cleaned well before commencing pumping. Old concrete or mud in the pipeline may tamper with your mix and even dislodge and physically block the line.  

Another aspect to look out for is the number and configuration of bends along your line. Too many, too sharp, or too short bends can increase concrete pumping pressures and trigger blockages. Also, try to ensure a continuous uniformity in line diameter throughout the line. If a large diameter line is extended with a smaller diameter pipe, the concrete may not flow as freely in the smaller section as it did in the larger one. This can trigger blockage.

Operator error

Finally, the aspect of human error in concrete pumping shows up if the operators don't set up the apparatus properly. For instance, the line and pump should be set up such that pipeline may be eliminated but not added. Adding line can trigger blockages in many ways associated with the added section. Kinks in the rubber discharge hose should also be avoided since these also trigger blockages.