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Concrete mixing control: a rock solid combination

26 October 2010

The UK’s only designer and manufacturer of specialist volumetric concrete mixers is using a rugged and proven control system on new equipment destined for a prestigious contract with the UK Ministry of Defence

Nurock Mixers ( has been designing and manufacturing its own patented volumetric concrete mixers since 2001 and has won a number of awards for product innovation. In a recent deal worth £600,000, the company has been contracted to supply six of its high-specification mixers to the UK Ministry of Defence; these will be deployed as part of a rapid airfield runway repair facility, as well as for more general rebuilding work. The units will be used with a special rapid-hardening cement to produce a concrete that, within three hours, attains a cure sufficient to support the landing of a fully armed Tornado fighter.

Nurock’s volumetric mixers are effectively mobile batching plants. They carry all the unmixed ingredients in separate compartments to facilitate on-demand, onsite concrete production. This approach reduces costs and introduces the environmental benefits of both waste and transportation emissions reductions. The concrete batch recipe can also be changed onsite to include admixtures for the production of fibre-enhanced, foamed and pigmented concrete.

At the heart of the volumetric mixer control system is a B&R Power Panel, selected, in part, for its ruggedness and ability to withstand particularly adverse operating conditions. In addition, the Power Panel control system enables delivery of precise quantities of the concrete recipe ingredients, avoiding unnecessary waste. The Power Panel touch screen stores up to 50 preset concrete recipes while monitoring all the ingredient quantities, and provides a real-time display of water-to-cement ratios.

Export opportunities
By taking advantage of the multi language support available with B&R’s 5.7in PP45 colour touch screen, Nurock has been able to develop a Russian language version of its advanced mixer control system that displays Cyrillic text. This is an important development, as the company is experiencing a growth in sales to the Baltic States and Russia, including sales to customers in regions such as Uchta in Siberia, where the temperature can dip to -40 deg C, restricting construction activities to just three favourable months of the year.

In Uchta a Russian company, currently building a shopping centre and cinema complex, had been experiencing quality, price and delivery issues with local concrete supply companies. With Nurock’s mixers, the builder now has quality firmly under its control, and has achieved substantial cost savings on the project, as a result.

Volumetric mixers are particularly suitable for applications that require specialist and recycled concretes, where there is intermittent demand, or in urban areas where congestion issues may lead to a reduction in the quality of premixed concrete. They are also ideal for use in remote locations, which might otherwise incur problems that arise from long-distance transportation of concrete products, including in-transit hydration or segmentation.

Nurock managing director, Graham Jones seems very satisfied with the choice of control system for his special line of volumetric concrete mixers, citing the robust design and ease-of-use of the B&R Power Panels as critical factors in their selection. “They have proven themselves to be extremely reliable, and the technical support is exemplary,” he says.
Nurock’s innovative mechanical design and B&R’s capable control systems have thus produced a winning combination that offers the flexibility and accuracy sought by the most demanding of customers.

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