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Like many early Great Lakes region concrete suppliers, Carr Bros., Inc., has evolved. Originally a coal and building materials hauler, it shifted to ready mixed concrete as the needs of customers changed. The company is now under fifth generation management, and has been delivering concrete in the Cleveland market for more than half of its 125 years in business.

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Vice President Mike Carr has overseen conversion of one-third of the Carr Bros. fleet to Schwing America mixers equipped with SMART Drum and later generation (Schwing Control Technology) SCT programs and devices.

Carr Bros. was founded in 1892, the year after the Buckeye Portland Cement proprietor helped put concrete pavement on the map with a street slab demonstration in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Today, the Carr Bros. plant is located in Walton Hills, Ohio, with a fleet of 30 mixers. Floyd “Sandy” Carr and Duane Carr, great grandsons of company co-founder George Carr, continue the family tradition. Sandy Carr recently retired from day-to-day duties as president, transferring much of his management responsibility to son Mike Carr, as well as Duane’s sons, Duane Carr, Jr. and Ryan Carr.

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The anniversary truck is an 11-yd. Schwing-Stetter Booster model running the Schwing Control Technology package. It bears on a Freightliner 114SD with Detroit DD 13 engine and Allison 4500 RDS automatic transmission, plus front, pusher, tandem and booster axles rated at 20,000, 13,300, 46,000 and 13,000 lbs.

“We pride ourselves on service,” affirms Mike Carr. “People buy from us because we offer great service and quality.” While the Walton Hills plant is certified for road work by the Ohio Department of Transportation, he notes that residential and commercial building and flatwork account for the bulk of volume. Equipped with Interstar automated pigment dispensing equipment, Carr Bros. is able to meet the needs of contractors doing decorative and specialty work. Among the producer’s notable, high profile jobs is the expansive decorative concrete pavement for Tower City Public Square, fronting the city’s top downtown landmark, Terminal Tower.

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Carr Bros. is marking its milestone year with a themed 125th Anniversary Mixer, which was featured as the centerpiece of Schwing America’s 2017 World of Concrete and ConExpo-Con/Agg booths at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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Ahead of a Concrete Products visit, Carr Bros. tapped the archives to show how its ready mixed concrete business has evolved since the early post-war years. It began producing concrete at a Bedford, Ohio, site, then moved in 1953 to its present location in nearby Walton Hills. As Carr Bros. was preparing for its milestone year and new fleet additions, Schwing America staff assisted in 125th Anniversary truck graphics, complementing a bold drum message with a water tank wall motif of concrete delivery method evolution since the producer’s founding in 1892.
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The vehicle’s Schwing Control Techology extends SMART Drum features Carr Bros. has spec’ed in recent years. Schwing America underscores SCT’s potential to yield greater fuel savings, longer drum life, better quality concrete, plus safer, more stable ready mixed delivery operations. Safer controls likewise allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road and operate the mixer controls using rocker switches, an optional joystick, and buttons designed to be operated by touch rather than sight. Programmable features include automatic constant drum speed rpm, discharge drum rpm, slump meter calibration and truck idle speed during charging. SCT also allows users to program mixers for optimum drum speed for charging, mixing in transit and discharge.
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A Schwing-Stetter 11-yd. Booster, the 125th Anniversary truck bears Schwing Control Technology (SCT), of which Mike Carr and his team have been early adopters. SCT extends the SMART Drum control Schwing developed over the past decade to include a load function, separating truck and drum rpm for better fuel economy, lower overall rpm and longer drum life. By sensing the beginning of a batch plant load, it increases the drum rpm and truck engine speed when needed.

SCT’s electronic mix function monitors the drum’s load progress and adjusts rpm to a constant speed after 75 revolutions; the result is precise calculation equating to more usable payloads. The optional SCT inclinometer measures vehicle angle and works in tandem with a digital slump meter to adjust drum speed. Precise measurement keeps concrete inside the drum, controls drum revolutions, prolongs vessel life and helps prevents accidental discharge when driving the truck uphill.

“In all mixer drums, there is a direct relationship between engine and drum rpm,” explains Schwing America Regional Sales Manager Andy Conway. “With SCT, the system has a defined threshold, and once the vehicle reaches a certain speed, a hydraulic pump output goes into a constant flow and it doesn’t draw any more horsepower from the engine. This process puts 35–40 horsepower back into the engine, which generates the fuel savings and efficiencies.”

SCT enhances concrete quality, he adds; absent extra drum rotations, the mix is more consistent and heat of hydration constant. By providing a constant center of gravity that does not shift on the truck even though the drum is spinning, the truck is therefore more stable than without SCT—and ultimately safer.

Schwing America unveiled SCT in 2016. Carr Bros. assisted in a prior year study proving that precise drum revolution and truck engine rpm monitoring could net up to 15 percent fuel savings. “Conservatively, we can say that ready mixed producers can save $4,000 to $5,000 per year for each truck using this technology,” noted Schwing National Sales Manager, Mixers Charlie Schumacher. “Adding fuel savings to a drum that already offers long service life and high quality concrete is a tremendous bonus.”