Concrete mixers are normally identified with time and labor-intensive projects: A dusty site, piles of construction materials, people in hard hats. Whether it’s a simple project like a paving a driveway or building complex infrastructure, using a cement mixer can definitely speed up the construction process. Gone are the days of slaving away under the sun manually mixing mortar with a shovel, even the simplest projects today use concrete mixers.
Prepare the site
Before anything else, the first thing you should do is to prepare and prime the worksite for pouring. This includes manual work such as marking the area, cordoning it off, and flattening the ground to a level grade. Apply for the requisite government permits (if needed) before starting the project.
Wear proper safety equipment
Ensure that you and other workers don personal protective gear before switching the concrete mixer on. Basic safety gear include goggles, respirator, work gloves, and steel-toed boots. The respirator and the gloves are especially important since concrete is acidic and the dust can burn your eyes and hands.
Keep it nearby
Concrete hardens right away, so make sure to position the concrete mixer as near the worksite as possible. Shorter travel times means easier transport, more trips in a shorter time, and less fatigue from the heavy load.
Check the mixer’s many components before it is turned on, during operation, and when it is shut down. Make sure the mixer blades are not bent. A quick inspection might save you a lot of wasted time and money down the line.
Coat the mixer
Apply a thin coat of industrial grease on the outside of the mixer to prevent cement accumulating and hardening on the surface. You may also add a light coat of diesel to the drum’s interior before mixing. This prevents the cement from sticking to its insides. However, use diesel coatings sparingly as the fuel changes the cement composition, ruining its consistency.
On level ground
Position the concrete mixer on a stable, level surface, and never on damp or wet ground. Even if surface is secure, make it a point to place a stiff hardboard or something similar under the mixer for added security and in case of accidental spillage.
Use a pressure washer to hose down any concrete buildup within the drum. In rare cases when a pressure washing cannot remove the hardened concrete, use a chisel to chip away at the buildup.
Keep the motor clean
Concrete mixers are primarily outdoor machines, and all that dust flying around will eventually get to the mixer’s motor. Use an air compressor to dislodge any cement or dust that might have collected within the motor. A clean motor performs more efficiently and optimally. A simple cleanup can also save you money from costly repairs.
Grease the wheels (and gears)
All that tumbling and turning with heavy wet cement inside the drum will eventually wear the gears and pulleys down. Regularly grease the gears, pulleys and other moving joints to counteract the damage caused by friction. Not only your mixer’s lifespan will be extended, its performance will also remain at an optimum level.
Clear it out
Drain the drum of all concrete from drum immediately after it stops turning. That means you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to pour the concrete out, or else it will harden and you’ll have a stiff mess in your hands. Don’t use the drum to store excess concrete.
Clean the mixer after use
Thoroughly clean the cement mixer with a mixture of water and gravel after use. This method is a safe and inexpensive way to clean the mixer out and doesn’t involve the use of corrosive chemicals. Leave a mixture of two scoops of clean gravel and three gallons of water rotating for fifteen to twenty minutes for best results. Don’t forget to adjust the drum’s angle so that all nooks and crannies are reached.
Concrete mixers have become such construction mainstays that proper maintenance has almost become an afterthought. After all, we’d like to think construction tools and machines as exceedingly sturdy, unbreakable even. That may be the case, but that is simply not true. Despite their rugged, weathered appearance, all things, from the simplest tools to the most complex machines, require regular maintenance to keep performance at an optimal state. I hope you had read and understood these tips and tricks to keep your cement mixer turning for years to come.