Concrete Mixer Capacity…. Truth in Advertising!

WARNING…. Read the fine print on mixer specifications

Drum capacity is much different than concrete mixing capacity

Check the Fine Print...

We will not share the name of the manufacturer of this skidsteer mixer, because it really doesn’t matter. The issue of inflated capacity claims is nearly universal in the small concrete mixer universe. It is not our intention to suggest that these machines are not good, just that claims of capacity must be examined carefully.

Regardless, let me share a press statement that would be very common when one of these small mixers are introduced to the public:

“The direct hydraulic drive of the gearbox eliminates chain and sprocket maintenance, offering more up-time on the jobsite. A large 11-cu./ft. drum allows the operator to mix, transport and place 5 cu./ft. of concrete”.

If you didn’t read carefully you might think that you are looking at a concrete mixer that will give you over 1/3 cubic yard (9 cubic ft.) batches.  What you must understand is that the drum was measured for its potential volume (“A large 11-cu./ft. drum”) when it is tilted straight up and filled with water. But when it is tilted down into the mixing position the capacity drops to less than 50% of what was stated. To their credit, this manufacturer did take the time to honestly state the mix volume at 5 cubic ft.

We do not know why small cement mixer manufacturers choose to employ this tactic, other than it make the equipment seem bigger than it is.  It is a very common practice.  It seems that the honest mixing capacity is what the end user is looking for, not how much air or water the drum will hold. They are concrete mixers not water tanks,  after all…!!!!

We call upon all concrete mixer manufacturers to join Cart-Away Concrete Systems in listing the actual mixing capacity for their equipment. When we say that a mixing trailer is 1-yard, it will mix one cubic yard of concrete. The same is true for a 1.75 cubic yard specification on a concrete mixer.

We need more truth in advertising in the cement mixer world…

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Cement Mixer Carnival – Don’t try this at home

What happens when you have a concrete mixer and too much time?

Enjoy the Carnival….

Homemade Tilt-O-Whirl From Concrete Mixer – Watch More Funny Videos

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Two Portable Concrete Mixers to Canada

Portable Concrete Mixer going to Canada

The driver pulled in with a 24-foot bed and so we nested the two large mixers together so that he could take them up to a big construction project in Canada. This is how you put 27′ of mixers into 24′ of space.

These portable concrete mixers will produce cement-based construction mixes for one of the largest construction conglomerates in the world. These two hard-working mixers will more than be up to the task.

The mixer on the back is the CUBE, and it is very much accustomed to batching and producing concrete in very remote locations. The trailer on the front is the MixKing, a 1.75 cubic yard portable concrete mixing unit that can be towed by the crew behind a pick-up truck. Both units will work great in the harshest conditions that the Canadian outback can present.

The driver better dress warm because he may soon find himself on the ice roads of the frozen North!

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Concrete Mixer Display – Big Rental Show in New Orleans

Cement mixing trailer at the ARA show

We are at the American Rental Association show this week (Feb 6-8, 2012) showing off the MixKing 1.75 cubic yard concrete mixer trailer.
Concrete mixing trailer on display at American Rental Association showThis mixing trailer has been fully decked out with the optional on-board water system and the unloading chute.

If you are anywhere near New Orleans, we welcome a visit to our booth…

We would also thank our many rental customers for the great service that they are providing to the concrete customers in their local communities.

If you would like to find a location nearby you can use our locator system HERE.

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Cement Mixers in a War Zone

1.75 cubic yard cement mixer trailers work in Afghanistan

It was a cold and frosty day in Oregon when these two portable cement mixer trailers were loaded onto the truck at the Cart-Away factory in McMinnville.

In just a few weeks these two mixers will be producing concrete somewhere in the war-torn countrysides of Afghanistan.

In most cases we know what our products will be doing once they arrive at our customer’s location, but these two cement mixers will probably complete projects that we will never learn about. Most of our trailers a put into rental fleets where they experience the most demanding service imaginable. These trailers are going to government contractors who will find that the Cart-Away mixing trailer is a very robust portable concrete mixing unit.

Concrete Mixing trailers loaded for trip to Afghanistan

At one and three-quarter cubic yards, these are the largest mixing trailers offered from the Oregon manufacturer. These “MixKings” will be easy to pull around with any Humvee or military transport, because in the US these cement mixers are pulled around town by homeowners and contractors behind full-size pick-ups.

We know these mixers will make Cart-Away proud, even with the demands of war.

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A Cement Mixer for Christmas

Florida woman gives husband a big mixing trailer for Christmas

Concrete mixer trailer as a Christmas giftSusan and Kevin Conway have owned U Pull-N-Pour in Leesburg Florida for the past 5-years. During that time their ready-mix business has grown to include 6 concrete mixing trailers used to service their growing customer following. “Our growth has been very exciting for us and we love working with our customers on their concrete projects”, stated Susan as she ordered a Christmas present for Kevin.

Yes, Susan is giving Kevin a big 1.75 cubic yard concrete mixer for Christmas. Can you imagine how difficult it will be for Santa to get this trailer down the chimney?

The Conway’s are great people who started a care home many years ago and then upon learning how hard it was for the Leesburg community to get small loads of concrete they looked for a solution. That is when they discovered the concrete mixer and trailer systems built by companies like Cart-Away and U-cart. Today they combine a Care Home with Cart-Away concrete!

In 2012, with the addition of Kevin’s new Cart-Away MixKing, U Pull-N-Pour will have 7 trailers to cart concrete around central Florida with.

Merry Christmas Kevin and Susan… It should be a Happy New Year for Florida concrete users!

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Naval Construction Force Test Unique Cement Mixers

Seabees receive 8 Concrete CUBE mixers

Portable Cement mixers for Navy SeabeesOfficially they are the Naval Construction Force, but most know them as the Seabees. They build in places that others would never go and at times that many would attempt to avoid. If the job site is remote, difficult or would tax the resources of a normal contractor, these guys get the job.

They are not combat troops per say, they just battle the challenges of construction in combat-style conditions. Having the right tools at their disposal is critical to the performance of their orders. This is the very reason that Naval leadership has ordered eight Cart-Away Concrete CUBE’s for field-testing. Because concrete is a foundational material for most construction projects, the Seabees need rugged production equipment to perform in the worst of conditions. The Navy is betting that these portable concrete mixers will do the trick.

Concrete mixers to the NavyThe special 1-1/2 cubic yard concrete batching systems will be assigned to the elite Seabee Readiness Groups that are located in Port Hueneme, California and Gulfport, Mississippi.

These construction groups provide support to the Naval Commanders, the First Naval Construction Regiment, the Ninth Naval Construction Regiment, the Thirtieth Naval Construction Regiment and other Naval Construction Forces. From their bases in the US they are deployed with their mixers and other tools to sites around the world.

But they don’t just build things to support military operations, they do much more. While they are working in a given area they will constructed many humanitarian projects as well.

Some examples of recent projects include the Palikir Elementary School, which serves more than 600 students from early childhood education to eighth grade and provides primary education for the residents of central Sokehs, the capital of Federated States of Micronesia.

In Pakistan the Seabees constructed the Musa Qal’eh low water crossing by producing and placing over 200 prefabricated reinforced concrete pieces, with some weighing as much as 20,000lbs.

We are proud to be able to provide robust concrete mixing units for the brave men of our armed forces. We know that the concrete produced using the Cart-Away CUBEs are making safer structures and improving the quality of life in the developing nations.

Thank you Seabees for all that you do!

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Concrete Mixers and Good Raw Material Selection

Step #3 for starting a trailer based concrete mixer company

It’s true that concrete is nothing more than sand, gravel, water and cement. However, the ratio of these ingredients is critical to making good concrete. Specifically, the ratio of sand to gravel. Too much sand makes for easy finishing, but weak concrete. Too much rock and there’s not enough sand to finish the mud at all. When filling a concrete mixing trailer the ratio isn’t as tightly controlled as it is for a truck at a ready-mix plant.

Ready-Mix companies often pour spec mixes called out by an engineer. Some of these mixes have standards that locations using mixing trailers can easily match, such as for a house foundation or a long driveway. The size of the job, however, wouldn’t be suitable to do with small loads. Other mixes need to be very tightly controlled, like for a bridge or dam, and don’t lend themselves to  concrete coming from a mixing trailer.

When calibrating one of Cart-Away’s CBL Automated Loaders, we hold to a 56% rock/gravel and 44% sand ratio. With this ratio we have tested concrete core samples at over 5400 psi at 28 days. This ratio alone isn’t the only key to good concrete, though. It’s very important to have good material with a proper mix of different size particles within the rock and sand.

Technically speaking rock and sand are both aggregates. In good concrete, these aggregates are actually a carefully measured mix of different-sized stones.  The idea is to make a mixture of aggregates that will pack tightly together with small sand pieces filling the gaps between larger stones. Cement is the “glue” that holds this sand-and-stone stew together. The better the aggregate mix the better the concrete.  Too often, aggregates are looked upon as being merely inert filler materials. Yet, aggregates can greatly affect the quality of the finished product. Concrete with well-graded aggregates, properly proportioned, will require less cement paste for particle coating. In the long run, quality aggregate can turn out to be the most important and economical material in the finished product.

Finding out how suitable your aggregates are can be done by looking at the sieve analysis of the materials. Most quarries are able to provide the analysis for their products. We at Cart-Away help our customers read the results an choose the best aggregates for their mixing trailer businesses. This is why we place material selection as the third step in getting ready to starting a concrete mixer trailer company.


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Concrete Mixer Trailer Business: Step #2, Community Requirements

Another step to Starting A Trailer Based Ready Mix Company

Location, location, location. The first rule in opening a business, right? Well, it’s even true for a trailer based concrete yard, just not in the same way it’s true for, say, a coffee shop. You want your coffee shop in a well trafficked area where people will see it often; like the main drag in town. It’s a bit different for a Cart-Away concrete mixing trailer location.

Concrete mixer business in Ogden Utah

The Rolling Billboard in Ogden Utah

Granted, you don’t want your concrete mixer supply business buried ten miles from town off some back road. However, visibility of the business site is less important because your product is going to be seen all over town in the form of your mixing trailers. Therefore it is critical that your contact details are highly visible on your mixing drums. Your customers will promote your concrete business all day long as they tow around the rotating banners with your phone number on the side. That being said, the “location” mantra does still apply in the form of regulations and zoning considerations.

You’re not going to put a fleet of concrete mixing trailers and a concrete batch loader on the corner downtown next to the coffee shop. That’s because the coffee shop is a permitted use for a light commercial zoning and a ready-mixed concrete business is not. Most zoning requires retail businesses to be in commercial locations, while your Cart-Away concrete trailers will usually be asked to locate on a “heavier” zoned parcel of land.

Every city that I have dealt with has little differences here and there, but for the most part the zoning codes are very similar. The type of land upon which your concrete mixing business will be allowed is usually heavy commercial or light industrial. Finding that information out for you is something I do a lot. I also investigate permitted uses and look into conditional use permits for our customers. Often a piece of property may not be specifically zoned right, but a use permit will allow you move forward, and I am happy to guide you through the process.

It is generally a best practice to call me and ask for a government compliance package and some tips before you go visit with the local planning department.

Another consideration will be the air quality department in your area, if you have one. Depending on the type of material loader you buy, you may need a permit to operate. I’m also well-schooled (Training from California Air Resources Board) in these permitting issues and will help you fill out any paperwork you may need. Cart-Away concrete mixer businesses have never been denied a permit in any environmental district of the US.

Addressing these two important issues up front can save you from a lot of headaches down the road. We’ll address them with you as part of the extra value that Cart-Away Concrete Systems offers.

My next post with include step number 3 in starting a concrete mixer business, so stay tuned.

Thanks to Sandee and Bruce Marchent for posing in front of one of their trailers

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First Step for Starting a Concrete Trailer Business

Trailer based ready mix start-up requires market research

concrete mixing trailer systemPerhaps you’ve used a concrete mixing trailer to make a small pour around your house. Maybe you’ve used one in connection with your job. However you came into contact with trailer based concrete, a lot of you are talking about selling it yourself.

I advocate a 5-step plan to get into this profitable concrete mixing niche and we’ll explore each of those in detail in the next couple of weeks. Today, we’ll start with my favorite: market research.

By contracting with the same service that Office Depot, AT&T, Comcast, and other large corporations use I can print out an eight page demographic report on just about any location in the US. In my job as the Product Manager for Cart-Away Concrete Systems, I use this report to look for Success Indicators. These indicators are common statistics that show up regularly in the demographic reports of our most successful customers. The Success Indicators I pay the most attention to are:

Population. Using driving radii we establish a rough map of a potential market. Your core market is generally within a twenty minute driving radius of your location and your extended market is within thirty minutes. The size of the population in these markets helps determine not just feasibility but also what type of concrete mixing equipment would be recommended.

Growth Rate. The growth rate alone is not enough to base opening up a Cart-Away business decision on. The percentage of growth is the one Indicator that must be factored with all of the other four together. As an example, many years ago when we were just beginning to look at demographics for our customers I sold some equipment to a customer in Myrtle Beach, SC. The growth rate was fantastic and I supposed that any population experiencing that much growth must be a really booming place and a perfect location for trailered concrete. Unfortunately, our customer was in a retirement community whose population wasn’t on the demographic map for an end user of our equipment. I ended up selling the concrete mixer trailers for them and we learned that growth is great as long as it’s accompanied with other favorable factors.

Median Household Income (MHI). The basic reason for the being of any business is making money. Customers can’t buy your products if they have no money, so we look at what money is available in your market.

Owner Occupied Homes (OOH). In a successful market there is a combination of commercial and residential end users. The combination varies per market and often includes municipal users, as well. However, a portion of any market will include homeowners that will either work on projects themselves or contract them out. A low percentage of home owners spells renters and they are rarely a group that will make capitol improvements to property they don’t own.

Target age Group. This is one of the Indicators that came to light after the Myrtle Beach incident. We learned there that retirees who are building homes tend to build them they way they want them and are unlikely to need improvements anytime soon. Also, there are some communities (Sun City, AZ for example) that are designed specifically for the retiree. Therefore, we pay attention to the percentage of people in our target age group.

I use these Success Indicators to put together a Market Analysis for potential customers. That analysis will also include some research into the cost of materials in the proposed market. I will make calls to the local ready mix providers and get actual costs of concrete by the yard and any minimums and short load fees. This is a part of the feasibility process as well as helping set a sell point for the customer.

Next, I will search for any competition and find out what they are selling trailered concrete for and what concrete mixing equipment they are using to offer it to the market. This is to get a reality check on the selling point I would recommend based on the ready mix prices and also to ensure we aren’t suggesting a new customer goes into a covered market setting them, and our current customer, up for hard times. This is a crucial point.

Lastly, we look at the information gathered and compare their potential market to other known markets and project sales for the next five years showing the revenue stream and also the return on the investment. We believe our customer should be able to realize a return with 36 months. Most of our customers do it much sooner.

So, there’s step number one. Stay tuned for step two in the next few days!

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