Concrete is so viscous and sets so quickly that it leaves residue after every load. Eventually someone with a jackhammer must climb into the drum to clean it out.

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Challenges to Maintaining Cement Mixers

"Breaking up is hard to do" is more than a song lyric to concrete-truck owners. The simple truth of the matter is, once the last of the concrete trickles out of the drum or dribbles out of the pump, the truck isn't empty. A small amount of concrete always remains inside the truck, especially in drum mixers. You can wash the truck out, run water through the drum while it rotates and even pressure-wash the inside. But some concrete is always left. And it dries. The next trip a little more is left. And it dries. Over time, this becomes a problem, reducing the volume of the mixer and its capacity.

Several companies offer pre-treatments, chemical and acid baths and high-pressure washes for drums and interiors. But eventually, the concrete will build to a point where the only viable alternative is mechanical removal. Many smaller companies handle this on their own, sending in a worker with a jackhammer to chip out the hardened concrete. This job, largely unknown outside of the construction field, got its 15 minutes of fame during an episode of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" series, which sent host Mike Rowe to work with Jim's Chipping Service, one of the few companies specializing in cleaning hardened concrete.These highly specialized vehicles are essential to the construction business and it doesn't look like they're going away any time soon. But what will cement mixers look like in the future? Read on to find out.

These highly specialized vehicles are essential to the construction business and it doesn't look like they're going away any time soon. But what will cement mixers look like in the future? Read on to find out.