Although the attachment has been in its fleet for only a couple of weeks, Church Street Construction, Barrington, Ill., is already seeing the cost savings. This small concrete construction and excavating business specializes in pouring full basements beneath existing homes.
"We were renting the services of a pumping company as many as 12 to 20 times per project. That's anywhere from $500 to $750 per use for the company to come out and pump concrete," says Dave Mayes, president of Church Street Construction. "I got tired of throwing the money away."
Mayes stumbled across an article on the Blastcrete concrete squeeze pump and was intrigued by its peristaltic pumping action. "The setup, the mechanics and the engineering were very, very simple," he states. "The other thing that interested me was its low pressure. It doesn't require the huge amount of hydraulic pressure pushing the concrete, which really cuts down on the danger."
The lower pressure also results in a more even flow compared to a piston-style pump. "The other pumps surge," says Mayes. "It's harder for the guys to handle the large hoses."
The capacity of the pump is proving more than adequate for Church Street Construction's typical jobs. "They rate it at 25 yds. an hour. That's a lot of concrete to pump," Mayes points out. "That's the equivalent of three fully loaded 8-yd. concrete trucks dumping in one hour.
"For my type of work, the most I will ever put in the ground in a one-day period is probably 100 yds.," he continues. "This machine would handle that without any problem at all."
Creative Equipment Design Curbcat
They say "necessity is the mother of invention," and this is certainly true in the construction industry. Just ask Jack Johnson, president of Johnson Building Systems Inc., a general contractor and construction management firm based in Galesburg, Ill.
Seven years ago, crews had finished hand rolling an all-concrete lot for a seven-plex movie theater. "We had probably 4,000 yds. of concrete in this parking lot," Johnson says.
When they returned to the shop that night, inspiration struck. "The skid loader was sitting in the shop when we got back, and everybody's back was sore," says Johnson. "We said, ‘We're going to build a curb machine for the front of that.' And away we went."
The result was the Curbcat concrete slipforming attachment, and formation of Creative Equipment Design, which Johnson and his wife Lynn head up. The Curbcat enables a standard-flow skid steer to lay curb and gutter up to 18 in. tall and 24 in. wide using 2-in. slump concrete. Various molds accommodate a range of curb shapes and sizes.
The attachment operates off of a stringline. "We run everything off of a stringline just like the larger concrete pavers," Johnson explains. "The steering and grade are automatically controlled within the attachment."
Two control arms extend into the skid steer's cab, where they hook onto the steering levers and are used to automatically steer the machine. A grade sensor automatically raises and lowers the hydraulic cylinder to maintain proper curb elevation.
The concrete hopper is mounted on the left-hand side in front of the curb mold for easy access by ready-mix trucks. Inside the hopper are two Wyco hydraulic vibrators to consolidate the mix. "The hopper itself holds about a third of a yard of concrete," says Johnson. "We can pave anywhere from 5 to 6 fpm."
The Curbcat isn't intended for long-distance paving. "We're not looking at going out to pave five miles a day," says Johnson. However, it is capable of handling light commercial projects. "Even if you have two or three city blocks of a subdivision to do, there's no problem with a machine of this size."
With its capabilities, the attachment does require a fairly sizable investment. But the payback comes quickly. Johnson notes that his crews previously hand-rolled all curbing — a time- and labor-intensive process. Last fall, they used the Curbcat to place 1,400 ft. of curb and gutter on a bank project. The project took just five hours.
"If you did a half dozen commercial parking lots a year, you could probably pay for the machine with the labor savings alone," he asserts.