Mix It, Pump It, Deliver It
An inside look at what’s new and improved in mixers, pumps and delivery systems
By Brett Martin
Masonry contractors looking to improve the way they mix, pump or deliver mortar or grout will find a range of new and upgraded machines. For example, Waterford, Ohio-based EZ Grout Corp. has a new mixer – The Big Mixer – that mixes large batches of abrasive material quickly, says Damian Lang, company owner and president.
“It was designed to be used 24-7 in plants and has a hardened liner that can be replaced,” Lang says. “Unless a contractor is mixing very low viscosity or abrasive materials in large batches, it is much more mixer than what is needed on the average construction site.”
Longer Lasting, Easier to UseDavid Birmingham Jr., president of Macalite Equipment Inc. in Phoenix, has been working on a mixer that’s easy to operate and is due to hit the market this summer.
“I wanted to make a new mixer for the masonry industry that sits low to the ground and has a hydraulic dump for pouring into a wheelbarrow or a mud tub,” Birmingham says. “This is the first mixer that sits low to the ground. It’ll be easier to load with a lot less waste. It also offers better ergonomics for the workers.”
The mixer is designed for ease of use without extra features that would increase the cost. “You pull a lever and it dumps all of the load. It’s really simple to use without a lot of bells and whistles,” he says.
In 2008, Macalite switched to wear-resistant urethane seals on all of its mixers. “You end up with fewer breakdowns, which makes you more productive,” Birmingham says.
The company also offers a better wheelbarrow. “Other wheelbarrows are all bolted together. After a month or two, the bolts start to come loose,” he says. “Our frame is all welded together so there’s nothing to come loose.”
Faster Delivery, Simple CleaningNew features on the Uphill Grout Hog from EZ Grout let masonry contractors grout faster, and the hopper tilts to simplify cleaning. An auger moves grout up an elevated tube to discharge it at a higher level, Lang says. Grout is delivered above the top of the hopper instead of below the hopper bottom.
“This unique design allows the hopper to be situated beside the person doing the grouting while still allowing 17 feet of horizontal grouting from one location,” he says.
The angled discharge snout lets masonry contractors grout closer to the ceiling on interior walls, while using less forklift boom on high walls.
“Anytime you can save boom extension, it is very beneficial for the forklift operator as it keeps the load more stable,” Lang says. “The new hopper tilt feature on the Uphill Grout Hog saves the forklift operator time by sitting the machine on the ground and letting a laborer simply tilt the hopper and remove the auger to clean. Therefore, this allows the forklift to be utilized on other parts of the masonry work while the cleaning process takes place.”
Designed to unload grout twice as fast as other systems with virtually no plugging, the machine is simple to operate.
“The auger size has been increased to carry more than twice the amount of grout through the tube and into the walls. This allows grout to flow freely without putting high maintenance rubber paddles on the flighting,” he explains. “Therefore, the machine can run for years with minimal, if any, auger or tube maintenance.”
Straightforward Labor SaverBMI Products offers a clean, efficient solution for mixing or pumping grout and mortar. The company delivers its silo systems to masonry jobsites and fills them with mortar or grout. At the conclusion of the job, BMI picks up the silo and credits the contractor for the unused material.
“Our system is completely self-contained. The contractor never sees the product in the dry form. They see the final product coming out of the hose,” says Arnold Germann, president of the Antioch, Ill.-based company. “The refilling of the silo is done by cement trucks. There’s no pallets; no bags. That’s why we feel it’s the cleanest system on the market. There’s no dust blowing around.”
Masonry contactors can attach a mixer or a pump to the silo. The system also ensures a consistent color throughout the job.
Filling a NicheAirplaco Equipment Co. in Cincinnati recently improved its PumpMaster PG-25 to include a three-inch discharge assembly for smoother pumping of material, including grout mix with pea rock, says Todd Ferguson, marketing manager.
“The PumpMaster offers an advantage over other methods used to fill block in the industry. It fills block without the need of a forklift or full-size concrete pump, saving a lot of labor and equipment cost,” he says.
A 25-horsepower Kohler engine pumps materials over longer distances on the jobsite, Ferguson says.
“Compared to full-size concrete pumps, the difference is clear. The price points are so much different that the PG-25 definitely fills a niche,” he says. “Often, the larger concrete pumps can be overkill for the masonry contractor.”
Livonia, Mich.-based Grout Grunt offers a low-tech solution for grouting. The Grout Grunt places grout up to 50 percent faster than other methods, says Morgan Agazzi, project manager.
The Grout Grunt’s easy-to-pour mouth provides more precise pours, so the grout doesn’t run down and stain the wall, he says.
“It has the funnel incorporated into the mouth for accurate pours,” Agazzi says. “It’s a big factor with colored mortar. It eliminates spills and waste.”
Portable Pump Advantage
“This is for specific applications for a specific job. After the job is done, the pump may sit on the shelf for a year before you have another job for it,” Rountree says, noting that the pumps should be stored out of direct sunlight, since ultraviolet rays can affect the diaphragm.
Kenrich’s newest pump, the GP-8A, is an air-powered, twin diaphragm pump that offers an output capacity of up to nine gallons per minute.
“The advantage of a twin diaphragm over a single diaphragm is it does not increase your pressure, but it effectively doubles your gallons per minute,” Rountree says. “The air pumps shine when you’re filling large voids. You eliminate a lot of manual labor.”
A single diaphragm pump only needs three cubic feet of pressure, so operators can power it with a small, pancake compressor, making both the pump and the compressor portable. Another feature is the easy-to-use on-board controls.
About the Author
Brett Martin is a freelance writer located in Shakopee, Minn. with several years of construction and writing experience.