Ernst Concrete tests automated, daily mixer washout system

A modular machine engineered for one of the most taxing aspects of mixer truck fleet management premiered at the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s 2016 ConcreteWorks this fall.

The RMC Cyclone is engineered for daily use, aimed at reducing wash out water consumption and eliminating the need for chipping and build up removal from drum walls and fins.

The RMC Cyclone uses high-pressure water, typically 60 gallons in up to three-minute wash cycles, to remove hardening concrete from mixer drum walls and fins. A rotating nozzle with seven discharge ports channels water at up to 4,000 psi for thorough 360-deg. coverage. It is mounted to a telescoping boom inserted at the open end of a mixer drum. Once trucks are aligned at an RMC Cyclone station, an Electronic Machine Controller enables drivers or plant staff to push a button commencing the rapid cleaning cycle. A skid bearing the machine, operator platform, pump and other components can be moved indoors to eliminate the need for winterizing.

Cyclone iii (preferred crop)Three RMC Cyclone models suit fleet and plant equipment: I, standard mixer truck automated daily washout machine with 34-ft. boom; II, designed for central mixed plant drums, 25-ft. boom; and, III, combining models I & II on the same plant site to share pump and motor, hydraulics and electronics.

A RMC Cyclone I prototype has been deployed since mid-2015 at the Sellersburg, Ind., transit mixed plant of Ernst Concrete Kentucky, LLC, based across the Ohio River in Louisville. The producer has tested the machine on 15 mixers parked at the site, and steered product engineers to tweaks and refinements involving boom guides, nozzle-activating sensors and general safety features.

Sellersburg staff runs the machine on three-minute cycles, and finds it especially effective with trucks that have delivered dry grout, gunite loads and high performance concrete mixes, especially those containing silica fume. Drivers observe the effectiveness of water channeled at high psi when they dispense wash out at weir-style settling pit. Chunks of concrete build up freed from drum walls or fins occasionally surface, mostly from trucks receiving initial RMC Cyclone cleaning.

Cyclone ii“Drivers have caught on quickly with automated truck wash out. They guide trucks along a painted line to the station, and are ready to push the start button on properly positioned drums,” notes Ernst Kentucky Vice President Ben Yost. “The machine is a really good concept.”

He is looking at integrating pressure washing devices for the loader and other Sellersbug yard equipment into the RMC Cyclone pump and plumbing. At Ernst’s West Louisville operation, Yost is weighing options to run the machine for mixer drum maintenance and power spray arches for truck drive-through cleaning. Colleagues at Ernst Concrete headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, are considering RMC Cyclone installations at larger plants in the home market and points north and south along the Interstate 75 corridor. RMC Solutions LLC, Louisville Ky., 502/594-0079;