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How concrete mixing plants work

Have you ever wondered where all that concrete comes from when major construction sites get it 'shipped in'? The likelihood is that the concrete would have been dispatched from special concrete or asphalt mixing plants. In reality, however there is more to this area than you may think. With that in mind, here is a brief guide to how concrete mixing plants work.

Overview

Concrete mixing plants are also sometimes referred to as 'batch plants', and in simple terms, they are the places where the necessary ingredients are combined to create concrete. These ingredients can in fact be fairly wide ranging and can include elements such as fly ash and potash as well as the more obvious ingredients such as sand or gravel (known as 'aggregate') water and, of course cement.

The types of plants

Essentially, there exist two different types of concrete mixing plants, that is 'ready-mix plants' and 'central mix plants'. Ready-mix plants This type of plant will involve the combination of all the above ingredients, with the exception of the water. Here, the 'dry' mixture will be loaded onto a ready mix or concrete transport truck and subsequently dispatched to the site where the concrete mix is required. The water will then be added to the dry mixture during the actual journey to the site. Central mix plants By contrast, at a central mix plant all or some of the dry ingredients will be combined. The water will also then be added whilst the mixture is still at the central location. The wet mixture is then transported to the appropriate site. The advantages of receiving the concrete from a central mix plant is that the final product will tend to be more consistent. This is because it has been prepared at the central location with the aid of computers.

Computer-assisted plants

These days, the vast majority of concrete mixing plants will be equipped with a huge array of computers. The advantages of this computer-assisted system include the fact that the process will be significantly faster and more accurate. Moisture probes More specifically, special moisture probes will be used to measure the consistency of the mixture that it is being weighed at the same time. Accurate computer readings will then be obtained. This will indicate whether the mixture has the correct wet/dry levels. If not, the levels will be automatically adjusted accordingly.

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