How Concrete Reclaimers Can Fail.

July 16, 2013

Do the slurry water math.

It takes approximately 45 yards of fresh concrete, to recycle 1 yard of 6 sack return concrete back through the batch plant. Unfortunately without the realistic math, a concrete reclaimer can fail after a short time of use.  With a specific gravity of 1.08, a producer will need to batch 45 yards of new concrete that allows slurry water in lieu of fresh water. The needed recycle yardage can increase for higher sack mix designs. However the problem doesn’t stop here. As the 2nd round of concrete is produced, those trucks will also have some return concrete/washout water and will add to your problem. The accumulation of slurry water will depend on several factors that vary daily. Click on the pictures below to see this scenario over a 2 week time period.  You can use your own batch weights to review your own operation.

A good operator with the right Concrete Reclaimer can manage this scenario and reduce his operating costs. There are several different Reclaimers available, but only a few that do not require fresh water for their process and have ample slurry storage to give the plant manager the tools to stay ahead of his water management needs.

When buying or designing your own reclaimer consider the following items;

1.  Can I haul off my return concrete for a profit?  If hauling return concrete and washout off-site is profitable for your plant, then a simple two bay concrete drying bunker with a single reclaim pit is a easy way to manage your operation.  However if hauling off the material is a added cost to your operation, then a 100% recycle system might be easy to justify with a quick return-on-investment.

2. Will fresh water be needed?  Hopefully not.  Its all about water management. A good reclaimer will use existing washout water to recycle return concrete.  A closed loop water recycle system will reduce the size of the pits required to store slurry water.

3.  What are your reclaiming needs?  Take the time to calculate how much material you will be recycling.  You might be very surprised.  High sack mix designs require a larger concrete reclaim system then low sack mixes.  Commercial Vs. Residential mix designs will determine how often the trucks will be washed out.  What percentage of your mix designs have color in them?

4.  How much water do I actually need to washout a truck?

5.  What are my site operating permit requirements?

Answer these 5 simple questions and a successful reclaimer is easy to own and operate.