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Pumping Up the Electricity and the Concrete Volume


Gordy’s Putzmeister 55-Meter and 63Z-Meter models placed 2,200 cu. yds. of the 4,000 psi concrete mix to complete the eight-foot thick slab that is suspended 40-ft. in the air.

One of the key factors in Bechtel choosing Gordy’s for the Oak Creek Power Plant expansion was due in large part to the capabilities of its Putzmeister 63Z-Meter.

According to Mike Salmon, Territory Manager for Gordy’s, the Putzmeister 63Z-Meter has been pumping almost continuously throughout the project on different slabs and foundations. Although the 63Z-Meter has made many appearances on the job site, Gordy’s has made use of most of its entire fleet of Putzmeister models on different parts of the expansion.

There are 11 different concrete mixes available per specification for the Oak Creek Power Plant project. Salmon says Gordy’s various Putzmeister models have handled the different mixes with ease, just like the 55-Meter and 63Z-Meter models shown here.

Gordy’s Putzmeister 55-Meter and 63Z-Meter models placed 2,200 cu. yds. of the 4,000 psi concrete mix to complete the eight-foot thick slab that is suspended 40-ft. in the air.

One of the key factors in Bechtel choosing Gordy’s for the Oak Creek Power Plant expansion was due in large part to the capabilities of its Putzmeister 63Z-Meter.

According to Mike Salmon, Territory Manager for Gordy’s, the Putzmeister 63Z-Meter has been pumping almost continuously throughout the project on different slabs and foundations. Although the 63Z-Meter has made many appearances on the job site, Gordy’s has made use of most of its entire fleet of Putzmeister models on different parts of the expansion.

There are 11 different concrete mixes available per specification for the Oak Creek Power Plant project. Salmon says Gordy’s various Putzmeister models have handled the different mixes with ease, just like the 55-Meter and 63Z-Meter models shown here.

Pumping Up the Electricity and the Concrete Volume

Putzmeister units helps Gordy’s Concrete Pumping Service place the largest amount of concrete in the Midwest

STURTEVANT, WI (February 1, 2007) - When it comes to concrete mixes and the Putzmeister concrete boom pumps involved in the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant Expansion, variety is the name of the game. From their reliable Thom-Katt® TK 50 trailer pump up through their 63Z-Meter “Big Dog” truck-mounted boom pump and Telebelt® TB 130, Gordy’s Concrete Pumping has maximized its fleet to place the largest amount of concrete in the Midwest to-date.

Located in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the power plant addition includes two new coal-fueled generating units and a new Coal Handling Facility. The two new generating units will be the ninth and 10th units in the plant’s lifespan; the first four plants were built in the 1950’s, but were retired 10 years ago, and the fifth through the eighth plants were built in 1959, 1961, 1965 and 1967, all of which are still in use and are planned to be running well into the future. The two new 615-megawatt (1,230 megawatts total) generating units will be well-equipped with the most advanced emission-control technology available. The units will help meet the Oak Creek Power Plant’s reduced emissions plan of 2013, which is aiming to reduce from the 2000 emission levels by approximately 60 percent.

Heading the design and construction of the Oak Creek Power Plant, Bechtel Power Corporation is one of the world’s premier engineering, construction, and project management companies. With more than a century of experience on complex projects in challenging locations, Bechtel knew it needed an experienced concrete company to handle the responsibility of placing the large amount of concrete required for the two new units in Oak Creek. Sussex, Wisconsin-based Gordy’s Concrete Pumping Service was their choice.

“Gordy’s has been a successful company with years of experience in the concrete industry, and their 63Z-Meter boom pump has the extensive 203’ 9” vertical and 190’ 7” horizontal reach we need to pour the concrete for our two new units,” says Mark Glover, Bechtel’s subcontracts manager.

Gordy’s boasts more than 40 years of concrete pumping and placing equipment experience, making it one of the oldest concrete pumping company in business in the United States. Jim Walters, president of Gordy’s, purchased the company from his father in 1996; since then they have grown from three concrete pumps to 16 and various Putzmeister placing boom equipment.

Construction of the two identical units began in June 2005. “About 130,000 cu. yds. of concrete will be placed for the two new units,” says Glover. About three-fourths of the concrete will be pumped and poured through Gordy’s Putzmeister concrete pumps.

Mike Salmon, Territory Manager for Gordy’s and a sub-contractor to Bechtel, says Gordy’s started working on the project in spring 2006 and have been averaging two pours per week over that time period. “We’ve been using our Putzmeister 63Z-Meter quite a bit for its extreme reach capabilities, ”says Salmon, “along with what seems like our entire fleet of Putzmeister pumps, including the 28-Meter, 32-Meter, 36-Meter, 42X-Meter, 46-Meter, 55-Meter, 63Z-Meter, Thom Katt® 50 and a Telebelt® 130, to place the high volume of concrete. The Oak Creek Power Plant job site is like the holy grail for concrete pumpers.”

Construction of the two identical units began in June 2005. “About 130,000 cu. yds. of concrete will be placed for the two new units,” says Glover. About three-fourths of the concrete will be pumped and poured through Gordy’s Putzmeister concrete pumps.

Mike Salmon, Territory Manager for Gordy’s and a sub-contractor to Bechtel, says Gordy’s started working on the project in spring 2006 and have been averaging two pours per week over that time period. “We’ve been using our Putzmeister 63Z-Meter quite a bit for its extreme reach capabilities, ”says Salmon, “along with what seems like our entire fleet of Putzmeister pumps, including the 28-Meter, 32-Meter, 36-Meter, 42X-Meter, 46-Meter, 55-Meter, 63Z-Meter, Thom Katt® 50 and a Telebelt® 130, to place the high volume of concrete. The Oak Creek Power Plant job site is like the holy grail for concrete pumpers.”

Steve Strike, Quality Control Supervisor for the Wisconsin region for the ready mix concrete supplier for this project Meyer Material Company, says there are 11 different concrete mixes available per specification. Three of these mixes specified have been used primarily on the project.

Project specifications outline the majority of the concrete to be a 4,000 psi mix. Most of the structural units on the project including foundations, columns and slabs on grade are incorporating 20 percent fly ash, 4,000 psi mix. “This concrete mix has the strength, set-time and ease of placement our client was looking for to build the structural aspects of the project,” notes Strike.

The 4,000 psi mix was used to build a tabletop slab in November 2006, which is suspended 40 ft. in the air. Gordy’s Putzmeister 55-Meter and 63Z-Meter models pumped 2,200 cu. yds. of the concrete mix in one day to complete the eight-foot thick slab. “Both units provided the reach and high output this section of the project demanded,” Salmon says.

The second concrete mix used on the Oak Creek job site was a 4,500 psi. Designed to reach a towering 550 ft., the Midwest’s tallest chimney required this specific mix because of the use of a slip-form. The slip-form held the concrete for each level in place until it was sufficiently set to move the slip-form up to the next level. To ensure the successful application of this placement method and timely completion, Strike had to ensure the mix would set in a reasonable amount of time.

“The mix consisted of 554 lbs. of type one cement and was limited to only 10 percent fly ash per specifications, air entrainment and the use of a high-range water-reducer,” Strike says. “We had to comply with a very tight air content target between five and six percent. We achieved this by trial mix laboratory batches, constant sampling and testing and utilizing a core group of professional drivers and batchmen.”

Gordy’s team pumped the concrete mix for the chimney up to the 180-ft. level with a combination of their mighty Putzmeister 63Z-Meter concrete boom pump and the TK 50. “Bringing the 63Z-Meter and the TK 50 together was somewhat of a pioneering adventure for Gordy’s over the past few years,” comments Salmon. “With the two units working together, we were able to pump 24 hours a day and complete the first part of the chimney in just nine days.”

The units were perfectly matched for this project; the 63Z-Meter provided the reach the project required, while the TK 50 provided its smooth and reliable pumping. “Putzmeister machines have not only proven they are powerful as independent units,” Salmon says, “but they are even stronger and more impactful when working together.”

While the Oak Creek Power Plant expansion was Gordy’s first time using the TK 50 and the 63Z-Meter in unison, Gordy’s used a similar combination of a large 55-meter truck-mounted boom pump and a TK 50 on a feed mill tower in Milton, Wisconsin in 2004. “The pairing enables the slip-form pour to run smoothly without interruption of concrete placement,” notes Walters.

To handle the challenging height of the Oak Creek chimney, the TK 50 pumped the concrete directly into the delivery line of the 63Z-Meter which then placed the concrete up to the 180-ft. level. The slip-form on the chimney played a huge part in why Gordy’s chose to use both Putzmeister units together. “Because the slip-form rises at a slow and consistent rate of less than one foot per hour and the concrete curing time is needed, the TK 50 had to pump the concrete at the same slow rate of seven yards per hour,” Salmon comments. The TK 50 kept the tough mix continually moving to avoid any buildup while pumping.

“Had we used the 63Z-Meter alone for pumping the 1,500 cu. yds. at such a slow pace with a mix that set up so quickly, our placement team would have had to frequently remove buildup of the concrete that would occur, and would not have been able to pump round-the-clock,” says Walters. “The powerful pump on the 63Z-Meter is meant for high pressure or high volume. By combining it with the TK 50, we were able to capitalize on the benefits of each model to pump the small volume of concrete consistently at the slow rate the project required while easily reaching the point of placement.”

The remaining concrete needed for the 72-ft. diameter chimney was placed using a crane and bucket system and took approximately 35 days to build. The structure’s 18-in. thick walls comprise approximately 10 cu. yds. of concrete for every foot of height.

The last of the mixes used at the Oak Creek Power Plant expansion is a flowable fill concrete mix. “The flowable fill concrete mix is used for sections of the job that require excavation to provide a stable working base,” according to Strike. “A large component of the flowable fill concrete is fly ash. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-powered plants.” We Energies is well known for recycling their bottom ash and fly ash to use in the construction of roads, buildings, research, etc. The Coal Handling Facility used the flowable fill concrete mix, and in the end will support the existing four units, plus the two new units at the Oak Creek Power Plant site.

The 42X-Meter and the 36-Meter concrete boom pumps filled the excavated areas of the Coal Handling Facility with the flowable fill mix to bring the base back up to grade. “The 36-Meter and 42X-Meter have been the work horses on this project,” Salmon says. “The 36-Meter has been dependable with its powerful pumping performance and versatility. The 42X-Meter’s maneuverability and quick setup have allowed us to continue to keep the project moving as efficiently as possible.”

“This project has given us a chance to build up our fleet and take care of our customers who will be around for a while,” notes Salmon. “The cash flow from a large project like this gives us an opportunity to buy a machine like the 63Z-Meter and take better care of our existing customers now and in the future. With Putzmeister units, we’ve created a great platform for our company, run more efficiently for our customers and cut down labor costs for their customers as well.”

The bulk (80-90 percent) of the project’s remaining concrete needs include laying minor foundations for both generating units, which will be complete by the end of 2007 and floor platforms scheduled to be poured in 2008. The first unit is set for completion in 2009 and the second in 2010. More than 1,000 people have been working on this project since its inception. We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and more than one million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. The company also serves about 2,500 water customers in Milwaukee’s northern suburbs and about 500 steam customers in downtown Milwaukee.