According to industry data, quality management for all concrete production costs about $1 per cubic yard in the U.S. Of that dollar, 75¢ represents the cost of the quality department in working on job sites, making and breaking cylinders, and all of their other critical functions. The rest of that dollar is from customer claims of poor quality.
With Smart Concrete, ready mix producers are learning how to cut operational costs by reducing cylinder costs, optimizing mixtures, and reducing claims.
Reducing Cylinder Costs: Casting companion cylinders on a job site has value in protecting the concrete producer and the contractor from bad testing. However, having a technician on site for the duration of the placement can mean a lot of time. Add on top of that the costs of transporting and breaking the cylinders, managing the data, and equipment and supplies to support the whole endeavor and it gets expensive quickly. By using Smart Concrete, technicians can quickly activate and install sensors then leave the jobsite without having to spend valuable time and resources checking the testing lab, freeing them up to do important quality testing.
Optimizing Mixtures: Selling concrete mixtures with high early strength performance often times means greatly exceeding the specified design strength. Cylinder testing can give an indication of the concrete’s performance, but doesn’t really what’s happening in the concrete placed. By using Smart Concrete, producers can see the strength development profile of their concrete mixtures in the structure, and adjust the mixes accordingly — often times with significant cost savings.
Reducing Claims: Real-time temperature monitoring and recording is a powerful tool to improve concrete quality. By training contractors to use it properly, ready mix producers can reduce claims due to plastic shrinkage cracking, delaminations, and temperature extremes such as freezing concrete. Reducing claims due to product quality is a win-win for the concrete producer and their customer.
Smart Concrete won’t replace staff in a concrete producer’s quality department, but it can make them more efficient, give them better data on product performance, and help them improve the quality of craftsmanship of their contractors — all working to reduce costs and improve the company’s bottom line.