How a Concrete Pump Works

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What Is a Concrete Pump?

  • Both amateur and heavy-duty construction jobs make use of concrete as an affordable and durable building material. However, there are times when concrete must be poured in areas where cement mixers cannot readily access, such as on the tops of buildings or deep in heavily wooded areas. For that reason concrete pumps are designed to feed liquid cement to these areas from a great distance as quickly and effectively as possible.

Boom Pump

  • Boom pumps are large, ground-based machines that have a crane or boom arm that holds the length of rubberized or plastic tubing through which the cement flows to its destination. These are especially useful for pouring concrete in multistory constructions high above ground level. The boom pump starts with a large open reservoir, to which liquid cement is constantly added. Beside this reservoir is an engine, sometimes gasoline-powered, but often diesel-powered due to its hard-wearing qualities. From the engine protrudes a driveshaft into the cylindrical chamber at the base of the reservoir, and the weight of the cement pushes it into this chamber. Around the driveshaft is a progressive cavity pump of rod screw-like protrusions. These protrusions touch the walls of the chamber to ensure it stays airtight, and as it turns, it forces the cement through the chamber and up the boom arm for pouring.

Line Pump

  • Line pumps are used for smaller tasks than boom pumps, and they are much more mobile. Essentially, line pumps are composed of a diesel-powered engine attached to the back of a construction truck. The engine controls a large worm gear at the center of a channel or funnel set into the truck's bed. At the end of the worm gear is attached a long rubber or plastic tube. Cement is poured into the funnel via cement mixer or workers, and the turning worm gear pushes the cement down the tube, which workers maneuver to evenly fill wood or metal forms for concrete slabs and other structures.

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References

  • Foundations and Concrete Work; Fine Homebuilding Magazine; 2003
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