Given the central role that concrete pumps play in construction projects, a simple blockage can bring a project to a halt. The delays that occur as a result of pump failure will then lead to extra costs such as overtime pay that may end up messing with the project's budget. This makes preventing concrete pump blockages important.
Problems with the design and upkeep of a piping system are some of the most common causes of concrete pump blockages. Here are some of the things that may be to blame for your troubles.
Improperly cleaned pipes
Cleaning usually helps to remove already hardened concrete from the piping system. When a pipe is poorly cleaned, the traces of hardened concrete that form on the walls of the pipes usually increase the friction between the passing concrete and the pipes. This slows down the rate of movement of the concrete. It encourages concrete setting, something that then increases the chances of blockages. There is also the fact that when the already-hardened concrete in a poorly cleaned pipe breaks away, it can also cause blockage simply because the chunks won't be fluid enough to pass through bends of the concrete pump piping system.
Defective weld collars, gaskets, and couplings
Defective connection points and other devices attached to the piping system can cause grout to leak from the concrete mix. When this happens, it presents a movement problem since the grout in the concrete is what usually provides the coarser parts of the mix with the lubrication necessary to make smooth flow possible. Any leaks therefore increase the friction that the mix encounters when moving. This reduces the rate at which the mix flows through the piping system. It then encourages setting, and when that happens, blockages occur since set concrete is stiff. It is harder to push through the pipes and may thus end up causing project-halting pump blockages.
Pipe diameter variations
Change in the diameter of pipes used in the piping system usually causes drastic changes in pressure within the system. In areas where a larger diameter pipe connects to a pipe with a smaller diameter, there is usually an increase in pressure of the system. The increase in pressure then causes the mix to flow at a slower rate. This is a problem because when concrete moves at a slow pace, the large particles tend to settle to the bottom. This separation of particles usually leads to a less fluid mix that is harder to push through and which causes pump blockages.
Making sure that your concrete pump's piping system has evenly sized pipes and that it is properly cleaned usually goes a long way towards reducing the risks of blockages. Sealing any leaks and replacing any defective parts that may encourage grout leaks will also help when it comes to making your system blockage-free.
For more information, contact professionals like Masterlink Concrete Pumping.