No Easy Days

Concrete batching pump from Strong Manufacturing

Don't let the term "lightweight concrete" fool you — the equipment required to pour the material still puts in a hard day's work. Whether the material is cellular, gypsum, or insulating concrete, pouring it requires durable equipment built to tackle tough job conditions and years of abuse on construction worksites.

Strong Manufacturing understands. Even the company's name hints at the qualities embodied in its portable cementitious batching pumps.

Strong Manufacturing is a family-owned and -operated business in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Founded in 1964, it's entering its family's third generation and 55th year manufacturing equipment designed to mix, pump, and place specialty concrete.

Recently the company began manufacturing Grout-A-Matic placers with John Deere PowerTechTM PWL 4.5L Final Tier 4 engines. The 74-kW (99-hp) engine runs at continuous power at 2400 rpm, driving a double-drum mixer and progressive cavity pump that delivers a constant nonpulsating flow of material, resulting in a continuous and consistent product.

AUS Decking, Inc., in West Sacramento, California, was the first company to purchase a Grout-A-Matic placer with a Final Tier 4 engine. The unit is among the company's fleet of six other John Deere–powered Grout-A-Matic placers used to pour gypsum-concrete floor underlayment. The California company specializes in multifamily housing pours, such as apartments and condos.

"The Grout-A-Matic commonly pumps about 67 metric tons (74 tons) of concrete seven or eight stories high and several hundred feet horizontally all day, every day," explains Eric Meissner, AUS founder and president. "These machines take an incredible beating. We will run the Final Tier 4 engine at full throttle, often in high temperatures, every day, all day long in dusty conditions — and the engine doesn't overheat. It just takes a beating yet keeps on running."

To reduce assembly time, Strong Manufacturing orders engines from its John Deere engine distributor, engines, inc., as complete power units. "It's reassuring when the engine comes in and we know it's set to operate to our requirements and perform to our customer's expectations," says Jesse Downs, sales manager for Strong Manufacturing. "All we have to do is mount it to our frame and connect everything that it's powering." This includes the hydraulically powered mixer, pump, skip bucket, pressure washers, and in some cases, a hydrostatic transmission.

During the transition to Final Tier 4, Strong Manufacturing took the opportunity to redesign the Grout-A-Matic placer. At Meissner's request, Strong Manufacturing moved the skip bucket from the side of the machine to the rear. This made it possible for the machine to accept material and pump it from the rear of the machine, reducing the overall footprint of the pouring operation. "In California, street space is at a premium, so we don't have room for a side load. The redesigned placer makes it a one-lane operation," he says. "The first one worked out really well, and now I have two of the placers with Final Tier 4 engines."

Strong Manufacturing also offers John Deere Final Tier 4 engines on two other concrete placement machines. DeckMate is a double-drum mixer driven by the PWL 4.5L engine. It meets Final Tier 4 emissions without needing a diesel particulate filter. The StrongMate F80 will soon transition to the EWX 4.5L, an engine that meets emissions without diesel exhaust fluid.

Downs says equipment reliability and longevity are key to the company's success. "We want to make sure that when our customers turn that key, the engine cranks."

We want to make sure that when our customers turn that key, the engine cranks.

Jesse Downs
Sales Manager, Strong Manufacturing