During three days of what Del Zotto called a “precast educational extravaganza,” the precaster and several co-sponsors addressed highlights of the production process and shared best practices. Attendees were invited to inspect the molds and finished precast elements, and learned proper removal and handling techniques while elements were stripped from the forms.
Day One: Del Zotto set up molds for several precast elements onsite including a septic tank, road barrier, parking curb stops, a catch basin, and a 40-inch manhole. Strong Products (Battle Creek, Mich.) demonstrated how to apply a light oil application to each mold.
Day Two: Del Zotto demonstrated how to place concrete with a hopper lifted by the Hydra-Brute Unloader truck. Tuf-Tite (Lake Zurich, Ill.) supplied risers and accessories for this septic tank lid, and Clearstream Wastewater Systems (Beaumont, Texas) presented its “extended aeration” sewage treatment system for septic tanks, which precasters sell with septic tanks in some regions of the country.
Day Two: As the molds were filled, Precast Operations Showcase sponsors demonstrated best practices such as how to properly fill the forms (over-filling forms results in inferior products), how to vibrate the concrete (don’t vibrate until the form is two-thirds filled), and form maintenance (don’t hit forms with a hammer). “There are so many variables involved in making precast concrete,” said Karl Wadensten, president of Vibco (Wyoming, R.I.). “You can have the best forms and materials in the world, but if you don’t understand how to properly control the variables you won’t produce a quality product.”
Day Three: Del Zotto representatives lifted and moved the finished concrete elements from the forms using the Hydra-Brute Unloader, invented by Del Zotto in the 1970s. “We encouraged everyone to come and see how the products came out – inspect them, compare them with what they’re making, and ask questions,” says Del Zotto.
Day Three: “Part of the appeal of precast concrete is its quality,” says Del Zotto. “Because it’s produced in a controlled environment, we have greater control over the aggregate, water, cement, and reinforcement that goes into it.” Attendees watched as camera-ready precast elements were removed from each mold.