To a budding contractor wishing to establish himself but facing financial constraints, Portable Concrete Mixers is the way to go as it could be a perfect start up as the cost is quite accommodative
Everywhere you turn these days there seems to be a construction project which is either a housing project, office block or in the peri-urban areas, it is the mushrooming single dwellings. These smaller single dwelling projects have become the bread and butter for many small contractors eager to tap into the booming construction industry in Africa. The typical single dwelling belongs to a single family that has bought a small piece of land and are eager to make the jump from being a tenant to a house owner and they have engaged a contractor to make their dream come true.
In these small sites all too often the mixing of concrete is done by using the abundant labor resource consisting of the many eager young men looking for temporary work, but the problem with this is that the process is wasteful, time-consuming and exposes the concrete to the risk of setting if it is not used fast enough. Enter the portable concrete mixer. This small machine is used to homogeneously combine cement, sand or gravel and water to make concrete just like any other concrete mixture but portable concrete mixers are the perfect choice for accomplishing not only small scale concrete construction jobs but also serve as a backup for major construction projects. Owing to their small size and light weight, portable mixers can easily be moved around which is a great advantage that allows a contractor to quickly setup and begin producing concrete even in tight site conditions. They provide the best choice for small amounts of onsite concrete mixing.
The machines come in varying types, sizes and configurations depending on the task at hand. Despite the attraction of using manual labour on small projects which is a prevalent tendency in many African building sites because of the low costs involved, portable mixers do allow for mixing of a considerably larger amount of cement with water throughout the project saving on time and energy. Another advantage over manually mixing concrete, is the fact that the concrete will mix better and have greater consistency every time. Whether you are doing a small, do-it-yourself home improvement project or undertaking a major commercial mega project, there are different mixers to suit the different construction needs.
Generally available in sizes ranging from 3 to 12 cubic feet, the smaller models will fit in the trunk of most cars while the larger capacity units can be towed easily on wheels or hoisted onto a truck for longer distances. With their small size and easy portability they can be used even in remote areas that characterize most African settings. To a budding contractor wishing to establish himself but facing financial constraints, this could be a perfect start up as their costs are quite accommodative
Many contractors always find it advantageous to have their own mixers as opposed to depending on outside vendors and if you are a new entrant to the construction industry it’s an investment worth making. The mixer will ensure independence, flexibility in working time and convenience and goes a long way in cutting costs and ensuring a continuous and uninterrupted workflow.
The biggest advantage in owning a portable mixer is realized when working on sidewalks, foundations and binding block, and when preparing mortar bases. Many decorative concrete contractors find the portable mixers ideal too. A good example is the monument works industry which mostly has mixers mounted on their own trucks. The same holds true for many landscape and fence builders.
One interesting model of portable mixers is the wheelbarrow-style mixer that fits comfortably through a 30-inch-wide opening. This allows the user to mix and pour right where the product is needed.
Hire or buy
While weighing on whether to call on ready-mix concrete delivery or owning your own mixers, many factors should be weighed. These include among others, job scope, the location of the site, size and quality of staff and the time frame attached to the project. For instance, it is counterproductive for a contractor to use a portable concrete mixer when he needs to pour a slab of 50 square metres. He is much better served using ready-mix. Similarly, if a job needs to be completed in an hour so contractors can move on to the next job, ready-mix is a smarter choice. On the other hand contractors working in a back yard or space-restricted area where accessibility is a problem, he will find a portable mixer much more effective. Smaller mixers are highly recommended for mixing concrete to anchor fence posts; for patching; for small concrete slabs on grade; and for mixing non-stick grout. For high-production jobs such as concrete slabs, sidewalks and block walls, larger-capacity models are better suited. There are many styles and sizes to choose from, from a 2-cubic-foot pedestal style to a 31⁄2-cubic-foot wheelbarrow style to a 9-cubic-foot towable unit. The utility mixers start at 11⁄2 cubic feet and can be mounted or be made stationary; or an optional low- or high-speed tow kit can be added.
The mixers come with either electric- or gasoline-powered sources. Single-phase electric motors are available in the 1⁄2- to 11⁄2-horsepower range while gas engines span from 3 to 13 horsepower. Mixers also have speed controls that can be adjusted to fit the requirements of the specific job.
Most manufacturers offer steel and polyethylene drums to fit individual user preferences. Steel drums are more durable, but cleaning can often be tedious and other damage to the drum is a possibility. Poly drums, which resist rust, can be cleaned in minutes by simply tapping with a rubber mallet and they are lighter than their steel counterpart.
Maintain your mixer
Per manufacturer recommendations, contractors should check the oil levels and filters of portable mixers daily. In using the mixer, the mixer V-belt and pulleys should be tight while the necessary parts should be greased frequently. Gears on a concrete mixer, however, should never be greased. Debris, sand, sediment or other material can become trapped in the gears, causing major damage to the unit. Simple cleaning and lubrication will help keep the mixer running trouble-free for years to come.
In planning to purchase a mixer, a contractor has to put a number of factors into consideration. Amount of fuel used is of great importance when evaluating costs. An ideal mixer should be economical in terms of fuel consumption without necessarily compromising the amount and quality of work dispensation. This will help curb cost escalation. It is paramount to buy a machine that can be easily maintained in case of a break down. Availability of spare parts and technical assistance in case of mechanical breakdown.
The nature and volume of work is a factor to consider in choosing the right mixer. Big-scale construction projects require bulk concrete mixers which can mix large quantities of concrete both onsite and offsite. For small scale projects, smaller mixers can apply. The size of construction site is a major factor to consider. Remember smaller mixers can fit well in squeezed sites while large open sites can comfortably accommodate the bigger ones.
Lino Sella World
Lino Sella World is an Italian manufacturer of construction machinery including portable concrete mixers. Their concrete mixers are particularly suitable for Africa because they are built on a robust steel frame and are suitable for towing on strong pneumatic wheels. According to Mr Mr Paolo Sella the company has sold several units in Africa which is proof of their durability and suitability.