The Perfect Photo Opportunity September 2006
An Atypical Construction Approach Requires More than a Typical Concrete Boom Pump
STURTEVANT, Wis. (August 1, 2006): While aggressive deadlines are not uncommon in the construction industry, timing on the MACSTEEL manufacturing plant in Monroe, Michigan tested both the ingenuity of the construction process and the flexibility of the equipment specified. Instead of sequentially constructing the entire structure and then installing its production machinery, the 100,000 sq. ft. facility was built front to back.
MACSTEEL produces engineered steel bars, supplying them to the automotive and automotive component industries. In March 2005, MACSTEEL’s parent company, Quanex Corporation of Houston, approved the company’s $38 million capital improvement project. Construction started in October 2005 to include a MACPLUS® bar turning line, straightening and testing lines along with heat treat furnaces.
“All trades were working at one time to meet the high pressure time frame,” says Jon Smith, Project Superintendent of The Delventhal Company, the Toledo-based concrete contractor tasked with making the first production line operational in less than 225 days.
“We’d be pumping concrete right next to electricians who were wiring a steel bar straightener,” says J.D. Hite of Hite Concrete Pumping, Inc. located near Toledo, Ohio. Although Hite was chosen for its highly experienced pumping services, its equipment’s unique capabilities also solved mind-boggling concrete placing challenges.
A Snapshot of the Situation “It was a very involved project,” says Smith. “Located near Lake Erie, the soil first demanded approximately 700 steel pilings at 35 foot depths. You could basically describe the building as sitting on stilts.”
“This, in turn, meant the concrete floor slabs needed to be a ten- to twelve-inch thickness on a grid system 15 foot on center with grade beams sized 30 inches by three feet deep,” adds Smith. “Meanwhile, other areas in the building required up to a four-foot thickness to structurally support a ‘ton of weight’ for the four production lines.”
During the earliest construction stages, Hite’s BSF 36Z-Meter and 38Z-Meter boom pumps handled concrete placement for the 200 ft. by 485 ft. building. All work was successfully accomplished as a result of the boom pumps’ long reach capabilities, smooth concrete output and high efficiency. Once the overhead cranes were installed and production machines delivered, extreme congestion and several obstructions indoors put concrete placing methods to the test.
With construction progressing in stages, the first production line was approached by pumping a 2'8”-thick concrete cube with two-inch anchor bolts cast into it. This served as a base for a heavy steel bar straightener sized 7 ft. by 7 ft. Next, a 45 ft. by 120 ft. footing was needed for the production line to feed the entry and exit steel producing tables. However, Delventhal was now forced to work over and around the installed fabrication machinery to place the concrete.
Located near the center of the building, it was anticipated that this production line would require the smallest boom pump and a lot of extra delivery line. However, Hite’s skilled operator Josh Schober surprised construction crews when he drove a Putzmeister BSF 31Z-Meter truck-mounted concrete boom pump inside the building. He then skillfully unfolded the unit’s five boom sections under the low ceiling height and then navigated around obstacles in its path. Schober was able to easily place the concrete without any additional delivery system.
“There’s no question the pump operator knew how to exactly move each boom section under the 39 foot ceiling,” says Smith. “At the same time, he could snake the boom under the low 18 foot crane rail heights and then over the installed steel bar straightener to reach the final point of concrete placement about 85 feet away.”
“Watching the boom’s geometry was incredible,” adds Smith. “Plus, we avoided using extra delivery line so we finished the pour very quickly.”
Get the Camera Although proud of his accomplishment, the boom pump operator was also confident that this application would highlight the unmatched versatility of the machine to future customers. He called his office for photography backup, and J.D. Hite arrived on site with camera in hand.
J.D. says, “A picture is worth a thousand words, and any pumper or experienced contractor looking at the photos of our Putzmeister 31Z pumping this 250-yard footing will realize that only a Z-boom configuration could reach some of the difficult areas we faced without adding delivery system.”
“That’s because our 31Z has five boom sections that all articulate,” adds J.D. “The unique articulation of the unit’s “B” section, in particular, can make the difference between directly reaching and pumping difficult areas similar to what was found on this job versus using additional hose that reduces efficiency.”
“With the versatility of this unit, we’ve effectively solved numerous concrete placement problems for contractors who often think the only alternative is extra delivery system,” says Dick Hite, owner of the 34-year-old concrete pumping company and a Putzmeister distributor since 2003. “It’s been a valuable addition to our pumping fleet and an increasingly popular model in our sales efforts as a distributor.”
The MACSTEEL project was divided into fifteen pours, most averaging around four-and-a-half hours to complete and about half of them relying on the versatility of the BSF 31Z-Meter. Concurrently, Kuhlman Concrete, Inc. of Monroe dispatched approximately 6,000 total cubic yards of concrete.
Conscious of the job’s tight schedule, all deadlines for concrete placement were firmly met. As a result, the first steel bar straightener line was operational in mid-June, while the other lines are being finished. Completion for the remainder of the project is expected by December 2006.
SPECS Concrete contractor: The Delventhal Company – Toledo, OH Pumping contractor: Hite Concrete Pumping, Inc – Neapolis, OH Ready mix supplier: Kuhlman Concrete, Inc. – Monroe, MI