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Truck-mounted belt, rotating chute equal precision placement

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One of the charter Rotabelt users in North America, Allen Ready Mix saw early on the equipment’s potential to reach a footprint equivalent to 1,500 square feet with a stationary mixer truck.
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Contractors in Missouri and Virginia markets AAA Zoellner and Seppi Materials serve have a new placement option for many jobs up to 100 yd. and placing heights under 30 feet.
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Mindful of ready mixed concrete producers’ pursuit of differentiating their businesses through value-added services—fast, efficient mix placement, among them—Shumaker Industries has expanded its equipment portfolio with the Rotabelt T3D mixer-mounted conveyor and optional 360-degree rotating chute.

The T3D16 and T3D12 models have a 53- and 39-ft. reach, respectively; both are equipped with telescopic ability, which greatly improves conveyor functionality when compared to a fixed position model. The patented 7-ft. rotating chute, however, sets the T3D apart from any of the other 12 models manufactured by Rotabelt of France, which has delivered more than 8,000 units since pioneering the truck-mounted conveyor concept nearly 40 years ago.

The rotating chute improves the operator’s ability to place concrete more accurately, Shumaker reports, while the T3D increases the equipment’s coverage by 80 percent over a fixed position conveyor. The additional reach allows the Rotabelt T3D16 to place concrete anywhere in a 33- x 50-ft. area without repositioning the mixer, which in turn promotes jobsite safety and curtails the maintenance resulting from moving a truck with conveyor extended. As Brad Florea from Allen Ready Mix, Maryville, Mo., points out about the Rotabelt T3D16 he deployed last spring: “It is kind of like sitting a front discharge mixer anywhere you need it on the jobsite while my mixer is safely sitting 50 feet away.”

The T3D has a 900 MHz frequency, hopping wireless control that eliminates interference with other remote devices on the jobsite. The intuitive set up is much like a boom truck, allowing the operator to proportionally control conveyor movement, belt and drum speed, engine rpm, and chute rotation—all while standing anywhere within 200 feet of the mixer. Having complete control of the truck and placing equipment allows the operator to be at the point of pour, greatly improving communication and safety.

PLACEMENT OPTIONS

When a job requires concrete to be placed either above grade or a distance greater than the mixer chute, the contractor typically has three options: wheelbarrow, conveyor, or concrete pump. Although quite a bit of concrete continues to be delivered via wheelbarrow, labor shortages and wage increases are making the method less appealing by the year. Once contractors realize that placing concrete with a mixer-mounted conveyor is an option, Shumaker notes, they quickly conclude the increased efficiency will easily cover the upcharge.

As a producer ponders the decision of adding a piece of equipment to place concrete, a pump would naturally be part of the conversation. Concrete pumps have historically allowed producers to efficiently place mixes higher and farther than any other tool.

On certain large volume jobs, or where concrete needs to be placed higher than 30 feet, a concrete pump remains the correct tool. On more common projects that require 10–100 yards, conveying the concrete to its final point using the Rotabelt T3D is a cost effective alternative.

“We own several pumps but there is no doubt the Rotabelt with the rotating chute is the right tool for certain jobs,” says Patrick Zoellner of Imperial, Mo.-based AAA Zoellner Materials Inc. “That’s why I bought two of them.”

Compared to a pump, Shumaker contends, a mixer-mounted conveyor is quicker to set and break down; doesn’t require nearly as much overhead space or need to be primed; and, is a fraction of the investment. Additionally, contractors and producers alike appreciate that both the concrete and the equipment to place it arrive at the jobsite on the same chassis.

Of the 120 units Rotabelt manufactured in 2015, one-third were shipped with the rotating chute. “In Europe we are seeing a similar response to the T3D with the rotating chute as we did in 1994 when we introduced the first telescopic conveyor,” says Rotabelt’s Vannesa Luque. “At first the customer was hesitant to change but once they put one in service this is the only conveyor they would buy from that point forward. We expect the U.S. market will be similar." — Shumaker Industries Inc., Northumberland, Pa., 800/326-9349; www.shumakerindustries.com

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