Smaller Mixers Shake Up 2005
While last year's shows saw the full spectrum of sizes being introduced for mortar mixers, this year's selection has the small and medium contractors in mind.
Spring is still around the corner, but construction conventions are in full bloom, so Masonry has gotten the scoop on this season's new batch of mortar mixers. While last year's shows saw the full spectrum of sizes being introduced for mortar mixers, this year's selection has the small and medium contractors in mind.
New Hydraulic Mixers
Buddy Equipment of Miami has a new 10-cubic-foot capacity hydraulic mixer continuing Buddy's claim to fame of eliminating the "dead zone."
"The Buddy hydraulic mortar mixer with heavy-duty spiral blades will mix mortar or concrete faster than any other mixer made," claims Jim Swisher, President of Buddy Equipment. "This is true because of the unique drum shape that eliminates the 'dead zone,' and uniquely designed spiral blades with additional paddles located at each end. This puts more push on the mix."
Swisher also says these unique characteristics help introduce air into the mix, improving the feel.
"Some would say that it makes the mix more creamy," Swisher adds.
Not only does the mixer incorporate the typical Buddy Equipment "no dead zone" design, but it also has a more symmetrical drum shape that increases drum strength. This further reduces the chance of damaging the drum or paddle shaft when the mason "dry cleans" ? using an object to strike leftover mortar free ? the mixer in the morning. The mixer also includes a "Pour Right" design that sends the material to a 15-inch-wide dump chute so that laborers can put the mortar exactly where they need it, rather than making a mess.
Finally, this new mixer also utilizes a patent-pending trunnion design with triple-sealed twin grease chambers.
"The dual grease chambered trunnion affords the mason the ability to choose and use the correct grease for the drum seals, which we found to be a sodium/calcium-based grease," says Swisher. "Then in the back chamber, to protect the shaft bearing, we found a lithium-based grease to be best."
Another hydraulic 10-cubic-foot mixer on the market is the MH10, one of EZ Grout's featured products at this year's shows. The MH10 offers an easy design, including a 30" load height to lessen the labor on workers' backs and a dump height of 33-1/2".
"You load the mixer at your knees instead of at your chest," says Damian Lang, President of EZ Grout Corporation in Waterford, Ohio. "It makes it easier on your laborers because they don't have to lift the materials near as high to load the mixer. This mixer is just a smaller version of the MH20, but you still load low and dump high."
And just like the MH20, the new mixer is built to withstand most job site conditions that masons can dish out. A 13hp Honda? engine keeps the mortar coming all day long, and forklift pockets in the front, back and sides allow greater accessibility for placing it almost anywhere. An optional electric start and axle kit round out this new mixer's abilities.
New Handheld Mixers and Options
If you need a product that can handle combining mortar, but just don't need the volume that a traditional mortar mixer provides, a handheld product may be more to your liking.
One new product being introduced at this year's shows is the dual paddle EZR 21S handheld mixer by CS Unitec of Norwalk, Conn. While you can't really compare a handheld to the production of the bigger drum models, this model can do up to 1,200 pounds per hour with a 25-gallon capacity, which is great for smaller jobs.
Tom Carroll, President of CS Unitec, says, "These mixers will mix the materials approximately 30-40% faster than a laborer can with a regular drill motor with a paddle chucked into it.
"Drill motors are known to burn out on a regular basis. We talk to contractors all the time who are saying that they have to replace their drill motor because it's burning out trying to mix mortar. Our products are designed to specifically handle that."
The EZR 21S, having two mixing paddles, can even outrun the single paddle handheld versions that are currently out on the market. Much like a kitchen mixer, the counter direction of the paddles makes it easier and faster to mix the material. The blades' rotation in opposite directions eliminates counter torque and makes the unit easier to handle.
Speaking of handles, like most of the CS Unitec handhelds, this model also has an ergonomic, balanced handle with an on/off trigger at your fingertips.
Another product that CS Unitec has introduced this year is a new stand to hold any of its handheld mortar mixers. Simply put a five-gallon bucket on the base of the stand, set the mixer into the cradle, add materials, turn it on and walk away. Carroll recommends using a 9-1/4" diameter helical design paddle, which goes out to the side walls of the bucket and gives a good, thorough mixing from the bottom up.
"They will really save time with the stand," Carroll says. "A two-man operation can often be a one-man operation if they set it up on the stand."
Its heavy-duty, all steel construction is "built like a tank," but it's still very portable, with a kick plate so you can lean the stand back and roll it around on the back casters.
"Unless they drop it off of the building, it will last them a lifetime," states Carroll.
If you're hunting for a mixer that you haven't quite found on the market, customization may be the key to solving your problem. Most manufacturers can build to suit, making your crew's job easy and faster.
"If they want the spout to be different, a different hitch, a certain height, a certain width ? I can really do just about anything," says David Birmingham, Jr., Owner of Macalite Equipment, Inc., in Phoenix.
"For instance, a customer of ours wanted a 16-cubic mixer, but wanted to be able to put it underneath a silo, so we made a platform for it so you could pick it up with a forklift, where you were able to put it under there."
From specifying a heavier, quarter-inch tub, adding an abrasive resistant material to the drum, towable or with pockets, custom painting and more, mason contractors have a lot to choose from.
"Also, if we know who the end-user is, we can weld their name on the side of the tub and weld it underneath the frame," says Birmingham. "If you weld identification on the side of the tub and someone steals it, usually the first thing they do is grind that off. But they may not know about the frame, and we put it in such a place on the frame that it's hard to reach to remove it."
About the Author
Jennie Farnsworth is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor. She is a former editor of Masonry magazine.