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A Boom with All the Right Moves

By utilizing the five versatile boom sections of a Putzmeister 31Z, Hite Concrete Pumping of Neapolis, OH was able to maneuver the unit’s boom up, out, over and through narrow openings to place concrete in extremely awkward spots no other boom pump could have possibly reached as effectively.

The BSF 31Z's most impressive feat during construction of the Johns Manville facility in Defiance, Ohio was reaching the middle section of a checkerboard layout on an upper deck. In a special arrangement, the unit was forced to set up outside the structure and snake its boom through a low 13 ft. tall by 16 ft. wide doorway.

Although the facility under construction had the steel structure already in place, the BSF 31Z-Meter boom pump was still able to directly 'boom' concrete in tight areas instead of running concrete delivery system for all deck and slab-on-grade pours.

A Boom with All the Right Moves

Putzmeister 31Z-Meter Showcases its Versatility, Reduces Need for Extra Delivery System

“The boom resembled a praying mantis,” says Robert J. Smith, Concrete Superintendent of A. A. Boos & Son, Inc. based in Oregon, Ohio. Smith was describing the striking appearance of the Putzmeister BSF 31Z-Meter boom pump while praising its ability to assume unusual boom configurations to pump concrete in unusual areas – the type of site normally requiring a delivery system to handle a job.

The distinctive concrete pours in question occurred during construction of a $100 million Johns Manville manufacturing facility in Defiance, Ohio. Since autumn of 2005, two side- by-side buildings (one larger, one smaller) have been under construction to replace a previous plant lost in a fire. When completed in late summer 2006, the factory will again resume full production of the company’s fiber glass materials and building products.

Over 3,000 of the 4,000 total cubic yards of concrete placed were pumped in twelve different pours. The mix was supplied by Center Concrete Inc. (CCI) of Butler, Indiana. Although the yardage figure may not sound overly impressive, all pours accomplished with a boom pump required varying degrees of ingenuity during setup and concrete placement.

“Because the new facility had the steel structure already in place, the general contractor was concerned that they would have to run concrete delivery system for all deck and slab-on-grade pours,” says J.D. Hite of Neapolis, Ohio-based Hite Concrete Pumping, Inc. “This is time consuming and labor intensive.”

“However, by utilizing the five versatile boom sections of our Putzmeister 31Z,“ adds J.D, “we were able to maneuver the boom up, out, over and through some odd and narrow openings to place concrete in extremely awkward spots that no other boom pump could have possibly reached.”

A. A. Boos, the project’s general contractor, relied upon Hite for its pumping equipment and expertise and was not disappointed. Boasting 40 years of business experience in specialized industrial and maintenance work, Boos prefers not to use extra system when placing concrete. “If a pump is already contracted to be on site,” notes Smith, “we definitely save money anytime we can ‘boom’ a pour instead of dragging hose.”

On this particular job, Boos first realized the versatility of the BSF 31Z-Meter during a split pour inside the smaller building with its narrow 40 ft. width and 270 ft. length. In a tight spot, the unit deployed its compact outriggers and unfolded its five-section boom under an extremely low 18 ft. ceiling. It then extended upwards to easily handle a 50 cubic yard pour 35 ft. overhead.

Once this task was complete, the unit then rotated from the same spot and maneuvered its boom around a column to perform a 60-yard pour on a different elevated floor 20 ft. above – again without any added delivery system.

“We couldn’t have accomplished this feat as efficiently with anything else,” says Smith. “Hite’s operator certainly knew the full capabilities of the unit and how to strategically move the boom sections to get the precise reach needed without wasting time relocating the entire unit.”

Although the BSF 31Z-Meter was used to substantially reduce or eliminate the need for extra delivery line on several pours, its most impressive accomplishment was reaching the middle section of a checkerboard layout on an upper deck. The unit was forced to set up in a special configuration outside the structure and snake its boom through a low 13 ft. tall by 16 ft. wide doorway.

Next, the boom extended about 40 ft. horizontally inside the low roofed building. It then unfolded to reach through another small 8 ft. by 10 ft. hole in the floor above, rising to a 25 ft. height before extending over a safety handrail.

A 90-degree angle was attached to reach 120 ft. to the west and 60 ft. to the east in placing concrete for a five-inch thick deck. As a result of this unique setup, the crew was able to pour out the deck with the boom and a 10 ft. section of five-inch line and only 25 ft. of four-inch line. This eliminated the need for an 80 ft. delivery system.

“It was amazing to watch the boom unfold, as the first knuckle section was almost on the ground to get the most reach possible while all boom sections unfolded and extended in a synchronized manner within the tight confines,” says J.D. “And although this incredible maneuver was performed by one of our trained operators, it was not taken lightly. We measured and calculated all aspects in advance to ensure we could make the boom geometry work.”

“The Johns Manville project definitely showcased the flexibility of the 31Z-Meter,” says Hite Concrete Pumping owner Dick Hite. “This model is Putzmeister’s best kept secret with several hidden advantages. Its boom sections can reach unusual areas to pump concrete where dragging hose would have previously been the only alternative available on the market.”

“We’ve successfully sold this model to customers who give it rave reviews, and we have one in our fleet to handle jobs with special reach requirements,” adds Dick. “Although the 31Z-Meter became the obvious favorite of Boos, all the concrete pumps on the job met or exceeded expectations in terms of convenience and versatility.”

For the pours in the larger building, Hite used its fleet’s BSF 32Z-Meter. This boom pump model was chosen for its 105 ft. reach, low unfolding height and Multi-Z boom versatility in reaching areas even right in front of the truck itself. The unit could drive inside the building, unfold under the low 28 ft. ceiling height and pump concrete for the isolated slabs that were specified.

When a 30 ft. overhead clearance was available, a BSF 36Z-Meter Putzmeister was utilized for its longer reach. The larger model set up inside the building in a compact space specifically left without rebar. The unit pumped concrete; then moved outside. The crew hustled to tie up the rebar in the space that had been occupied by the boom pump. Meanwhile, the BSF 36Z-Meter (now outdoors) stretched its boom inside the structure to complete the pour.

In total, the need for extra delivery system was reduced by 70% when pumping. “By dodging the use of extra system, it’s an easier process requiring three to four less workers per pour. Plus, we avoid plug ups so we don’t have to worry about stopping the constant flow of mixer trucks while we unplug a line,” says Smith. “Overall, it makes the job less stressful and minimizes the opportunity for problems.”

Hite regularly services A. A. Boos & Son, who are receptive to consulting the pumping company, especially when unusual job site conditions exist. The Hite organization includes a pumping company – Hite Concrete Pumping, Inc. established in 1972 and a new equipment sales operation – Hite Concrete Equipment, Ltd. started in 2003.

When the new equipment division began, Hite became an authorized Putzmeister distributor, representing the full product line throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. This past year, the company was honored with the highly distinguished Putzmeister America President’s Award, recognized for their professional business approach, aggressive sales efforts and dedicated product support.

Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company, has been in business since 1858. The Denver-based company has annual sales in excess of $2 billion, employs 8,500 people and operates 43 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China.

Owner: Johns Manville – Denver, CO
General contractor: A. A. Boos & Son, Inc. – Oregon, OH
Pumping contractor: Hite Concrete Pumping, Inc. – Neapolis, OH
Ready mix supplier: Center Concrete, Inc. – Butler, IN