How to Reduce the Cost of Concrete Production

Two of the toughest challenges we hear for ready-mix producers are the lack of automation available and the cost and hassle of returned concrete. From creating and transporting concrete to disposing of leftover concrete, there are opportunities to help improve efficiency and reduce material waste, thus reducing costs.

The problem: Rejected concrete loads are costly

The industry has a high rate of wasted material and that is costly. The National Ready-mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) estimates 3-5% of ready-mix concrete deliveries in the U.S. are rejected at the job site for various reasons, such as not meeting specifications. Another occurrence is a project simply has leftover ready-mix concrete. 

Solution: Automation helps improve quality and consistency

The VERIFI® in-transit concrete management system was developed to overcome these pain points. The system uses sensors installed on ready-mix trucks to collect real-time data to monitor, measure, and manage concrete properties while the concrete is in transit to the job site. The data is transmitted from on-board computers that communicate with the cloud every 15 seconds. The VERIFI® system offers a new level of concrete quality control and helps increase product consistency from one truck to the next—improving jobsite efficiency and minimizing costly project delays. Using these advanced data tools conserves materials by delivering concrete that consistently meets specifications, thereby avoiding rejected loads. 

An added benefit that the VERIFI® system provides is increased fuel efficiency. Approximately 23% of fuel in a concrete delivery is used for high-speed drum rotations that mix the concrete. Traditionally, the truck driver has to determine the timing of rotations, using minimal information about concrete consistency or fuel efficiency. In contrast, real-time data from the VERIFI® system gives the driver instructions on the optimal number and timing of rotations. Early data suggests that the number of high-speed revolutions can be reduced by 10%, representing significant fuel savings.

Solution: Recycling waste saves money

Today, there is also an opportunity to significantly reduce concrete waste via a new patent-pending technology. The CLARENA® RC concrete additive makes it easy to recycle and reuse returned concrete. Instead of having to discharge returned concrete out of the drum and find some way to dispose of it, producers simply add the admixture into the drum. This converts returned, unused plastic concrete into a hardened granular state that can be reused in fresh concrete as a partial replacement for fine and coarse aggregate. This granular material can also be used as a high-quality compacted fill material for end uses such as road base. 

The technology offers numerous economic as well as environmental benefits, including:

  • Conserving raw materials = money savings
  • Keeping reduced concrete out of landfills

The concrete industry is undergoing its own technological revolution. These new innovations free ready-mix operations from numerous constraints that have long been a way of life. These solutions are rapidly becoming an important asset across the entire concrete production process. Forward-thinking producers are realizing tremendous improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and sustainability. These three benefits reduce the cost of concrete production and enable producers to stand out in a competitive landscape.

  • Concrete