Proper equipment is an important part of accurate and reliable concrete testing. There are four major considerations to take into account when selecting concrete and aggregate testing equipment.
1. Does it meet specifications for the intended use? Equipment must conform to the specifications listed in the appropriate testing standards. Detailed testing equipment descriptions are provided in each given test method. A precise description should eliminate any possibility of confusion. Testing equipment should be checked to make sure it is routinely calibrated or certified.
2. Is it durable? Better yet, how long will it last? How long testing equipment lasts depends on its frequency of use, the environment it is used in, and how well it is maintained. Equipment used daily needs to be maintained daily. The key to long equipment life is providing the time and resources to take care of the equipment.
3. What do I really need? Basic concrete and aggregate testing equipment should include: unit weight bucket and balance, set of standard sieves, slump cone and tamping rod, scoop and thermometer, volumetric-type air meter and pressure-type air meter, concrete cylinder molds, and mechanical sample splitter for fine aggregates. This equipment will allow you to perform all the typical concrete and aggregate field tests along with some of the more common laboratory tests.
4. How much will it cost to buy and maintain? If you train your technicians to take care of their equipment routinely and you give them time to do so, then your maintenance costs will be practically nonexistent. If at all possible, assign individual field and laboratory technicians their own sets of testing equipment.