The fusion design of the transit mixer as loader, mobile batching plant, and mixer, has positioned it as a unique product that owes its popularity to projects requiring small to medium volumes of concrete. The machine’s ability to weigh, batch, mix, and transport concrete to sites, plus its compactness, makes it especially useful in urban construction with constrained spaces. P.P Basistha checks out the latest in the market.
Demand for self-loading concrete mixers (SLCM), is expected to rise with the implementation of many new or stalled urban infrastructure projects. The other demand drivers will be India’s growing tunnelling and agro infrastructure projects such as deep wells, irrigation canals, and rural roads – all of which require machines with compactness and mobility for faster loading and discharge of concrete.
Giving the features of AJAX ARGO SLCM, he informs that it is available in capacities ranging from 3m³/hr to 14m³/hr of concrete output, based on site conditions. The smart concrete batch controller (CBC) fitted in the machine ensures that the right quantity of materials is fed into the drum by the operator, such that a homogeneous concrete is assured. “The dual helix spiral design blades with optimal width provide best-in-class homogenous concrete mix and faster discharge of concrete. Also, the optimised blade width reduces the friction of the blades with the concrete, thereby reducing the overall maintenance cost.”
AJAX ARGO mixer drums are of superior abrasion resistant steel material. Helical spirals with end protection give the highest degree of wear resistance, along with effective drum mixing. For accurate weighing and quicker loading, a sliding gate bucket facilitates cement and aggregates to feed into the mixer without spillage by the operator, while sensors measure the load, acting on the pressure transducers fitted on both sides of the bucket cylinders.
The ARGO self-loading concrete mixers (SLCMs) have a 4x4 wheel drive which provides better control to the operator while driving off-road and the heavy-duty axles ensure better traction on inclined terrains. There are three mode of steering which enable the machine to work on normal roads, and on tight turning radius in confined spaces. Its crab steering gives easy manoeuvrability and diagonal travel on constrained spaces. ARGO comes with a swivel variant designed for sites where there is a space constraint for placing the concrete. The drum can swivel up to 240 degrees, thereby providing customers easy access to the discharged concrete. The operator seat can swivel to 180 degrees which helps in loading of materials even if he is unable to turn the vehicle.
Adds Aneja, “AJAX is seen as a trendsetter in the CE Industry. Our load cell technology in the SLCM segment will take concreting to the next level. We have applied for a patent for it in India and have already received it in Italy for the ARGO SLCM. Our SLCMs are certified by NABL-accredited laboratory as per IS standards for load cell technology machines for accuracy of weigh batching, which is the most important requirement of mega infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, railways, and flyovers.”
The company has over 35 dealers with 100 touch points across India. The service centers are fully equipped to undertake maintenance, repair, and overhauling of the SLCMs in order to deliver total lifecycle cost of the machines. “Our customers can reach us 24x7 for any queries or requests as we provide round-the-clock support,” says Aneja.
He informs that the Apollo Carmix 45FX, which has been conceived on a grand scale, has a capacity of 6100 litres with a mix yield of 4.5 m3, which means that larger volumes of concrete can be produced in a short time. Internally, a system composed of a double mixing screw, a drum with hydraulic motor rotation, planetary gearbox and an automatic hydraulic loading system help in producing a homogeneous and compact mix. Large 600-litre capacity bucket loads the aggregates in the right quantity into the drum in a single operation and without wasting material.
Says Patel, “Apollo Carmix SLCMs have been competitively designed with highly advanced engineering attributes, while the components have been sourced from reputed vendors only. Our design is based on our thorough understanding of project requirements and usage. The drum of Apollo Carmix SLCM, for instance, contains a double helical spiral for better and faster mixing quality and discharge of the concrete without spillage. Due to this, the machine does not have to lift the drum in a horizontal position for discharging the concrete.”
“A standard electronic weighing system with printer attachment enables accurate weighing and quicker loading of the concrete. Onboard electronic weighing system with load cells also gives the provision to produce quality concrete as per the mix design of the project’s client. Our SLCMs are fitted with a bigger shovel for loading bulk quantities of raw materials. This reduces the cycle time such that more batches are produced in a day. A hydraulic shutter gate in the shovel prevents material spillage from the back while loading and also ensures that the correct measured material goes inside the drum. This way, our SLCMs produce quality concrete.”
The cab of Apollo Carmix houses an electronic weighing system complete with a printer to issue a mix certificate on the spot. Thus, any concrete recipe can be checked and replicated directly on site. The equipment also features closed cab with a ROPS FOPS structure and control and block valves ensure safety and security for the operator. The reversible driver’s seat with automatic inversion of the flow circuit allows the operator better visibility when moving around the site.
Apollo Infra which manufactures its self-loading transit mixers through its partnership with Carmix of Italy, markets and supports them through its own network of distributors and dealers.
“Hence, for a long time, there was a need for a SLCM which could offer the best of both the machines. KYB Conmat identified this need and after years of R&D, trials and tests, introduced its new 4.5 cubic meter SLCM. This new machine combines mobility, versatility, and the cost economics of a SLCM, with the accuracy, mix quality, and speed of a Batching Plant.”
He informs that with its unique blade profile and double helix design, the new SLCM can mix and quickly discharge even zero slump concrete with minimal residual matter in the drum. Use of special abrasion resistant steel and edge protection on the blades gives the machine a longer life. “Our in-house Automation & Controls team had developed an interactive Concrete Batch Controller like a Batching Plant, which not only helps the operator to use the SLCM more efficiently, but also ensures the weighing accuracy and productivity. Hence, more concrete is produced and delivered per hour.”
The SLCM comes with time-tested and proven features like the 4x4 wheel drive, 4-wheel steering including crab steering for better manoeuvrability in confined places, a tighter turning radius, joystick controls, hydraulic pressure transducers, close loop proportional hydraulics, and sliding gate for loading bucket, etc. “KYB-Conmat had earlier launched a 4 cubic meter SLCM; today, scores of these machines are successfully working on project sites. With the new features and capabilities, we expect to enter new markets and create new application areas for our SLCMs like concrete roads, large canal projects, high performance concrete projects, and even DLC projects,” adds Verma.
The company uses its own Sales & Service network across the country to support its SLCMs, and is currently appointing distributors to extend its reach to new regions.
He informs that Schwing Stetter SLCM drums are made of high wear-resistant steel, as standard. “The optimum design of our drum spirals ensures fast dosing and discharge of concrete. Our drum spirals also come with protection as a standard, which greatly reduces wear at the edges of the spiral and reduces shear stress. We use a loading bucket designed to not only load the material, but also accurately weigh it before dosing, using hydraulic pressure transducers. The loading buckets have an in-built gate which is operated by the joystick in the operator cabin. Since we use only proportional hydraulics, the operator gets good control - often with an accuracy of a few centimetres.”
Schwing Stetter SLCMs come with 4- and 2-wheel drive. Crab modes are offered as standard to keep their turning radius low and also to help the machines work in confined spaces.
The SLCMs are presently being sold by Schwing Stetter’s own distribution channels and are supported by the company’s field service engineers across its 26 branches. Informs Sakthikumar, “Since the launch of our Global Manufacturing Hub this year, we have already doubled our manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for SLCMs.”
With competition growing, the manufacturers are adding newer features, besides planning promotional campaigns and demos to create more awareness of the uses and benefits of the machines. Given their high performance, quality output, and cost-efficiency, the coming years will see demand increase significantly for self-loading transit mixers.