For over 75 years, concrete pumps have been a dependable transference of concrete. From the simplest mechanical concrete pump to the hydraulic driven pump, these durable machines have changed all aspects of construction. Commercial concrete pumping has expanded the desires of construction project owners, the creativity of the architect and the capacity of the concrete contractor. As the concrete pump evolved through the years, it has become increasingly versatile and efficient, with Australia's current industry standard being one floor per week.
Currently, the most popular concrete pumps are the truck-mounted boom pumps and the trailer-mounted concrete pump. Truck-mounted boom pumps have a vertical reach of about 71 metres, enabling unique use cases, such as extending over entire job sites. On the other hand, trailer-mounted pumps are highly mobile and can be used in residential settings, such as pouring a patio. These pumps can also be raised to up to 300 metres for high rise construction.
Commercial concrete pumping has obviously come a long way over the years. However, the ambitions of the construction industry are boundless. The future of construction is driven by innovation and efficiency. Two unique building trends on the horizon include prefabrication and 3-dimensional printing.
Prefabrication is the process by which a building is constructed offsite. Typically, this involves entire rooms such as bathrooms and living rooms being assembled at a distant factory and then transported and assembled onsite. The greatest advantage of prefabrication is its cost and efficiency. Mass production greatly reduces planning effort and labour costs. One example of prefabrication in the real world is the La Trobe Tower in Melbourne, Australia, which stands at 133 metres, or 44 storeys tall. During construction, it was raised at two floors per week, which is double the Australian industry standard.
The earliest trials of 3D concrete printing were conducted in the 1950s. While it generated a lot of media excitement, the technology was quite primitive and the results insubstantial. Since the 2000s, many new 3D concrete companies have emerged, with a significant few being backed by major authoritative bodies from within the construction industry. Currently, 3D printing technology is able to print entire houses. The advantages of printing technology include faster production, and the ability to form atypical structures and artworks. Several residential buildings have now been constructed entirely through 3D concrete printing technology, with many 3D printing companies aiming to reach for mass production.
Taking all this into account, how does commercial concrete pumping fit into the future? In short, commercial concrete pumping is here to stay. Concrete pumps have evolved over time to fit a variety of uses and will continue to do so in the future. While there are many innovative technologies emerging, the reliability of concrete is undeniable. Concrete is highly resistant to damage and is also a sustainable means of construction material. Hence, even if prefabrication or 3D printing becomes more prevalent in the future, there will still be a need for the conveyance of concrete.