Blog7 December 2023

Optimise concrete batching temperatures with customised boiler solutions

Concrete batching is the process of mixing the ingredients of concrete to produce a hardened form in predetermined shapes and sizes at batching plants. The concrete batching process requires careful control and monitoring of temperatures. Concrete is produced by combining cement, aggregates, water, and other admixtures in precise quantities. This mixture must be heated to the proper temperature to facilitate adequate clumping and hardening.

There are two main methods of concrete batching – weigh batching and volume batching. In volume batching, a volumetric measure of materials is taken (e.g. 1 bag cement = 35 litres). In weigh batching, the measurement is by weight (e.g. 1 bag cement = 50 kg). Weigh batching allows for more precise control.

Why are boilers needed for concrete batching?

Boilers play a critical role in concrete batching by regulating the temperature of the fresh concrete mix. Concrete sets and cures properly within a relatively narrow temperature range. If the mix is too cold, the chemical reactions slow down excessively. If the mix is too hot, the concrete can set prematurely. Variations in batch temperature also lead to inconsistencies in concrete strength and durability down the line.

Our team hires boilers to companies to heat the water used to mix the concrete. Best practice is to maintain batch temperatures between 65-80°C. Boiler heating keeps temperatures in this range for consistent setting across batches.

Without properly heated mix water, problems arise:

Temperatures below 60°C delay setting unacceptably, disrupting operations. The concrete takes too long to cure.

Temperatures above 90°C accelerate setting too quickly before the concrete can be properly poured and finished.

By maintaining tight control of batch temperatures via the boiler system, we help our customers avoid these issues.

Proper boiler implementation requires expertise, and our team has the knowledge to devise suitable solutions.

For example, a recent long-term boiler hire for a Bristol batching plant needed to maintain precise temperatures despite seasonal swings. Our solution involved:

  • A 250kW packaged boiler and 250kW chiller to heat or cool as needed
  • Connections allowing quick boiler/chiller swap outs
  • A pump accelerating water flow to the plate heat exchanger
  • Tight process controls around the boiler for precise control

 

This prevented dramatic setting inconsistencies that had previously plagued the plant. Our tailored heating and cooling solution gave the plant consistent batch temperatures year-round. As a result of our intervention, concrete production could continue unimpeded across hot summers and cold winters.

Our concrete plant customers rely on our boiler expertise to improve consistency, prevent setting issues, and reduce delays. We design solutions around your facility requirements and provide responsiveness to changing needs. Find out more by calling 0800 211 611.