Staying on top may be harder than getting there, but not if you've got the right people in the right places. Operations managers for the leading concrete producers in Las Vegas face a longer summer--and more hot-weather concreting challenges--than many, but they've managed to stay on top.Nevada Ready Mix and Jensen Precast have become and remain volume leaders in their respective construction niches by responding to customers' demands for workable concrete that achieves specified 90- and 120-day strengths under the scorching Nevada sun. Overcoming challenges in a literally hot market is a big reason that new and old customers come back.Carl Cunningham, now responsible for maintaining three main plants and satellite and portable plants for Nevada Ready Mix, eliminates production bottlenecks at the main plants. One margin-shrinking bottleneck has been ice batching, until now a labor-intensive process.For starters, Cunningham is adding a dedicated overhead ice weigh hopper to existing ones for cement, water, fly ash, and aggregate at the company's top-producing Bonanza Road plant.The new process will eliminate the auger and as much as two-thirds of labor costs, Cunningham notes. Even if the new setup doesn't reduce labor costs, it should increase truck utilization. Tony Shanks, general manager at Jensen Precast, has helped make several facility and technical modifications for effective hot-weather concreting.

  • Timers on its sprinkler system
  • Misting fans and an expanded cold-water vapor-curing system to prolong the cement hydration process for higher ultimate strengths
  • Use of curing membranes and tarpaulins immediately after finishing to prolong the hydration process for higher ultimate strengths
  • New-generation water-enhancing admixtures to increase the compressive strength of dry-cast products
  • Temperature control of formwork and reinforcing steel as well as that of concrete materials

Keywords: Las Vegas, ice, truck utilization, Nevada Ready Mix, Jensen Precast, Nevada, automation, batch, hot, weather, evaporation, curing, temperature