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Producers have traditionally viewed the truck mixer drum as a capital investment, planning to extend its life through patching and replacing fins. But in a recent survey, producers indicated a strong interest in mixer-drum life-cycle costs and that drum durability was their most important concern when they considered overall truck dependability. Many producers are finding field repairs more expensive because field repair costs have risen due to OSHA's confined-space and respirable dust regulations, among other factors. Drum manufacturers are finding more customers interested in customizing the material in both the drum and fin. But producers' tare-weight limitations narrow their options. When producers select the 1/4-inch thickness on an average 10-cubic-yard mixer to gain more potential steel wear life, they surrender about 1,000 pounds of tare weight, or about 1/4 cubic yard of capacity. Still, some producers select drums and fins made with steels with higher levels of wear resistance. Standard drums made of these steels weigh about the same as drums made from 3/16-inch standard steels, but may outlive drums made from 1/4-inch steel. Producers should tell their manufacturer about their unique operational requirements when specifying drum steel thickness and type. The article also explains how ultrasonic thickness gauges help producers measure the drum's true thickness. KEYWORDS: mixer, tare, weight, steel thickness