Attaining our goals

While we can collectively hope to achieve successful solutions that meet our maintenance needs, the parts that wear out and need replacing have a longer life cycle with new material technology.

We are working with three plastic companies to manufacture 3-foot sectional augers that can be cross-bolted and rotated like tires, or replaced a single section at a time. They would last eight to 10 times longer than steel and have only 1/3 the weight.

There has been no incentive to extend the life of the augers because most manufacturers farm out production and bank the sales markup. We understand that because each company has its own proprietary design, operators' options have remained limited.

Plea to owners and operators

Not all ideas are revolutionary or new. Most product improvements are the result of seeing a similar product in another industry. As operators, we do not seek to manufacture our own trucks. We hope to evolve with available technology to reduce downtime and improve the safety and efficiency of our current models.

Hopefully, someone will provide the opportunity for owners and operators to freely exchange information and ideas. Perhaps this can take the form of a Web site with a chat room or a bulletin board.

We already work in a successful industry, but why can't we pool our resources to make improvements so we can get even better?

— Don Mullin owns and operates Concrete Express Inc. in Salem, Conn. E-mailconexpcj@adelphia.netor telephone 860-859-2312.

Ways to Improve – Our “Dirty Dozen”

Our local collaboration network has identified 12 areas for improvement and is aggressively working to put these ideas into action:

  • Utilizing hydraulic pumps that don't require the trucks to carry large reservoirs of oil.
  • Utilizing polyurethane center dividers and side wipes would last eight to 10 times as long as conventional rubber.
  • Utilizing lighter, more flexible conveyor belting with equal or more strength and abrasion resistance.
  • Utilizing stainless steel belt splices for the conveyor belt.
  • A ductile-backed material or polyurethane for the auger boot would extend the life cycle.
  • Implement more plastic parts. a. Manufacture a plastic auger made in three-foot sections with an embedded steel pipe cross-bolted together, the intent being to rotate the sections (like tires) as they wear out. b. Develop plastic renewable wear blades. c. Develop and utilize plastic auger flighting made of high-impact abrasion-resistant material.
  • Develop a secure hook assembly for the auger cages to replace the latch mechanism.
  • Develop a totally removable conveyor system for improved serviceability.
  • Develop a simple, virtually maintenance-free, admixture system, which could be operated off air produced by the truck. This would eliminate the need for electrical or mechanical pumps.
  • Move controls (on U.S. trucks) to a passenger side mount or provide a remote control to keep operators out of traffic during curbside deliveries. A wireless remote is an option.
  • We also look to improve the advertising and image of the volumetric mixer industry through co-op or shared advertising.
  • These trucks should be exempt from state sales tax on repairs since they are part of a manufacturing plant. They already are exempt in Connecticut.