The Power of Concrete Pumps

Concrete Pumps in Construction

Concrete Pumping is an efficient and reliable method of placing concrete. A pump works by one piston drawing liquid concrete into one cylinder while the another one simultaneously pushes its concrete out into the discharge pipes. Each time the piston pushes the concrete out a valve switches over and the second piston pushes concrete out while the first draws it in. This ensures a smooth constant flow. The pistons generate the differential in atmospheric pressure required to drag the viscous liquid in and significant force to expel it.

Concrete pump can be attached to a truck or longer units are on semi-trailers. This is known as a boom concrete pump when using a remote-controlled articulating arm to accurately place concrete. Boom pumps are used on mostly on the larger construction projects as they are capable of pumping at very high volumes. They also reduce the necessity for ground-based pipes which are time consuming and often difficult install and require extra labour.

The other type of concrete pump is commonly referred to as a line pump requiring steel or flexible concrete placing hoses to be manually attached to the outlet of the pump. By linking them together concrete can be manually placed. This is time-consuming and they usually pump concrete at lower volumes than boom pumps. Usually not used in construction they are often used for smaller volume concrete placing such as swimming pools, new concrete slabs or concrete patching.

The biggest advantage of boom pumps is their pinpoint accuracy and capacity to deliver concrete to areas that might not be easily or safely accessed. In 1986, Putzmeister 52Z’s were used in the Chernobyl nuclear accident, pumping over 400,000 cubic yards of concrete to entomb reactor number 4. In 2011 Putzmeister 70z and 62z were used on the Fukishima Nuclear reactor to pump seawater to cool the reactor.

The Concrete Pump was particularly important in revolutionising the construction of high rise buildings replacing lift large buckets (or skips) full of concrete via a crane. However a crane could lift one bucket at a time. The ease and speed of pumping concrete makes it the most economical method of concrete placement.

Schwing 61-58SX Boom Pump in Action