What the future holds for the concrete mixer is unclear. Like many industries, concrete is going "green." The manufacturers of volumetric concrete mixers say their products are more environmentally friendly because they save fuel by mixing materials at the construction site -- the trucks don't have to run their engines to keep the concrete from setting. In addition, truck operators can create only the amount of concrete needed to finish a job -- not only does this save materials, but this method also prevents dumping of excess concrete [source: Modern Contractor Solutions].
Truck manufacturer Peterbilt is experimenting with compressed air "push" systems. The truck would be started using compressed air, and when it reached a certain speed, the diesel engine would kick in. Since an engine requires a larger amount of fuel to overcome inertia, getting it up to speed with relatively inexpensive compressed air would show fuel savings over time. This developing technology is now aimed at inner-city delivery trucks rather than larger trucks like mixers.
IVECO Trucks of Australia is working to perfect a compressed natural gas (CNG) engine for heavy truck use. The CNG trucks have comparable mileage, but release 40 percent less carbon dioxide than diesel and the natural gas is less expensive than diesel fuel [source: IVECO]. Like many of the new generation engine systems, CNG is paired with state-of-the-art electronics designed to get the most out of every tank of fuel.
For more on construction equipment and related technologies, get the concrete facts from the links below.
More Great Links
- Dee Concrete Accessories. "History of concrete (12 million BC to 540 AD) (Jan. 25, 2012) http://web.archive.org/web/20081220070259/http://www.deeconcrete.com/concretehistory1.html
- Flesher, Patti, spokesperson for the Portland Cement Association. Personal interview conducted Oct. 15, 2008.
- Giroux, David, director of communications for the Peterbilt Motors Corporation. Personal interview conducted Oct. 15, 2008.
- HIT Entertainment. "Bob the Builder. 2008. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.bobthebuilder.com
- HIT Entertainment. "Thomas & Friends." 2008. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.thomasandfriends.com/usa/Thomas.mvc/Home
- IVECO. "Compressed Natural Gas Fuelled Agitators -- IVECO and Boral Lead the Way." March 2007. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.iveco.com.au/Pdfs/Press%20Kits/Boral.pdf
- Jackson, Kirk, owner of Oregon-based Tanner Equipment Corporation. Personal interview conducted Oct. 14, 2008.
- Modern Contractor Solutions. "Volumetric Mixers: The Green Solution for Concrete." September 2008. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.moderncontractorsolutions.com/articlesdetail.php?id_articles=334&id_artcatg=3
- National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.nrmca.org
- Peterbilt Motors Company. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.peterbilt.com
- Portland Cement Association. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.cement.org
- Truck Mixers Manufacturers Bureau. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.tmmb.org
- Volumetric Mixer Manufacturers Bureau. (Jan. 25, 2012) http://www.vmmb.org