Artificial intelligence pushes decision-making to the edge. In January, Bloomberg News reported that Microsoft is investing $10 billion in OpenAI, a startup company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). OpenAI is the maker of ChatGPT (an online chatbox) and other tools that can generate readable text and images in response to short prompts or questions. In terms of ready-mix concrete U.S.…Read More
The Simple Value of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete UHPC mixes can significantly reduce costs and carbon footprints.
Albert Einstein famously mused “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” This can be applied to how many in the construction industry view ultra-high-performance concrete, or UHPC. While this type of concrete has been around for a long time, it is often dismissed as a complicated and expensive option. “It’s complicated” may not be…Read More
What’s in a Name?
A ready mixed concrete truck is more than a “truck.” It’s a mobile manufacturing environment. William Shakespeare might be tempted to say a truck by any other name is still a truck, but in the ready mixed concrete industry, a mixer truck is really a mobile manufacturing environment, or MME. Let’s take a few moments to “smell the roses.” One…Read More
The Future of Batching
Producers must decide between sticking with batching systems that do a good enough job and upgrading to one that runs masterfully with improved accuracies and uptime. Many of us grew up with the idioms “use it up, wear it out” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” These words of wisdom are essential for survival in a world of…Read More
Newsflash: The digital enterprise is not complicated
Ready-mix concrete is a “now” industry. Real time. No delay. It’s time for us to catch up with what our kids already have: Instant access to information and collaboration with everyone all the time. The phrase “digital enterprise” makes a ton of money for lots of advisors from big-name consultancies. They use it as a noun, verb and adverb. They…Read More
A Case for Industry 4.0 in Ready-Mix Production
New technology has sparked a revolution in concrete batch accuracy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0, is the ongoing automation of manufacturing using Internet of Things (IoT), widespread machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and artificial intelligence (AI). When we cut through the buzzword bingo, it’s clear that Industry 4.0 matters when it comes to batching ready-mix concrete. Batch accuracy…Read More
Drivers: Start your engines, improve EBITDA with three right turns
Ready mix production is a tough, real-time business. A couple dozen significant things can go wrong on any day, at any time, and in any order. No wonder we are just about the hardest working industry per EBITDA point (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in North America.Read More
Major operators affirm strong deliveries in peak season
Fall 2013 saw the release of one set of positive quarterly financials after another from New York Stock Exchange-traded companies with integrated U.S. concrete, aggregate, cement and asphalt businesses. Uniformly upbeat sales, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and net earnings reports encompass the peak 2013 construction season; MDU Resources Group summing up conditions likely shared with peers: “The [Knife River] construction materials group had its best quarter since 2007.”Read More