Can a mortar mixing pump be low maintenance?
Mixers, pumps and delivery systems
By Tom Inglesby
If you attended World of Concrete/World of Masonry this year – or any other year – you will recall the huge truck-mounted equipment for the concrete market. Mixers and concrete pumps with their extended booms fill the main hall like fighting robots in a Transformers movie. What about the mason contractor looking for a simpler solution to mixing and delivery of mortar on the jobsite? Those big rigs are not the answer.
One solution comes from well-known German company m-tec, which was exhibiting its new M-300 mixing pump. Some of the pump’s features should make it a desirable addition to a masonry crew’s equipment.
The M-300 system starts with the use of polyurethane components in the mixing chamber to reduce the maintenance and cleaning effort required. Easier cleaning is nice, but even nicer is the fact that these parts should last longer since the materials are more durable than the more common metals in this application.
Of course, the biggest enemy of steel in any mixer is rust, and polyurethane just doesn’t rust or corrode. polyurethane also means less caking of mortar after the mix, and that means a quicker, residue-free clean out.
Before you get to the cleaning up part, you have to do the work. Here, the M-300 offers some new features that should make each batch of mortar more consistently mixed. First, it can mix all dry mortars that can be pumped – basically anything up to a grain size of three to four mm.
Using m-tec’s patented mixing principle, the material and water are brought together in the mixer in a unique way. Instead of spraying water on the dry mix, the M-300 soaks the mix. This leaves the materials mixed efficiently. This is possible through the use of a single-chamber mixer combined with the wet sump principle, providing a particularly high-quality mix of the materials. This approach guarantees a steady consistency in the mixing chamber, eliminating thick-thin fluctuations.
The clear layout of the controls and the avoidance of unnecessary switches make operation easy, too. Because jobsites vary in what resources are available, especially electricity, m-tec has added technology to make the unit more adaptable. In the M300+ version, an integrated error code display and automatic phase polarity detection will increase usability. It also is possible to use an optional frequency inverter to achieve a continuously variable output as required.
Large wheels allow the mixer to be transported with ease. If a crane is available on the site, the M300 can be moved about with ease. However, that’s not always an option, so the M300 can be dismantled into five easy-to-manage components in just a few simple steps. Modular design isn’t just for transport; the M300 uses tensioning wedges that enable important elements such as the worm pump or dosing motor to be replaced in just a few seconds.
The mixer is the starting point for a batch of mortar, and the pump comes into play when the mortar needs to be placed. Because the mixer section allows the material to be blended perfectly and also ensures permanent consistency of the material, the pump does not have to perform any additional mixing tasks and can concentrate on its core function: pumping.
The M-300 has some good pumping statistics such as distance it can pump – about 160 feet – and a pumping height maximum of about 97 feet. The standard volume for delivery is about 85 cubic feet per minute.
By combining pumping technology with new mixer features and durable materials for long-lasting, minimal-maintenance components, m-tec seems to be moving the needle for masons who need to bring well-mixed and consistent mortar to distant parts of the job, without the hassle of big, power-hungry equipment.
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
About the Author
Tom Inglesby is a San Diego-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous online and print publications. He is the winner of the Construction Writers Association's 2002 Boger Award for Special Reports.