System measures air content across mixing window
- Written by CP Staff
The AIRtrac Process Monitoring System offers a proprietary, turnkey solution for real-time air measurement during the concrete mixing process. It is designed for use in all stationary-wall models, such as pan, twin-shaft, or turbine mixers.
The AIRtrac is mounted to the mixer wall, its probe measuring air content and temperature characteristics during the mixing phases. The probe relays real-time measurements to the batch control operator, who has full insight into the effects of mixing time, batch sequencing, and mix design materials on form- or bed-bound concrete.
The AIRtrac nets information that allows the operator to take action (air increase or decrease) before the batch is dumped from the mixer, ensuring concrete will be within specification. Producers now have “eyes into the process” — a spontaneous relay of data not previously available. The technology enables producers to better understand and optimize mixing time, batch sequencing, and mix designs. It equips quality control and production managers with air-measurement records for all concrete produced. AIRtrac improves concrete quality and consistency and reduces the cost of production, product engineers affirm.
The system moves critical entrained-air measurement upstream in the process. Developer CiDRA is a pioneer in the area of real-time entrained-air measurement in slurries, noting that AIRtrac is the first and only solution to supply air and related process information during the concrete mixing process. The current pressure-pot method only provides for post-pour air measurement, company officials contend, when it is not possible to take action and correct a batch that is out of specification. Air is a critical ingredient for optimum performance of concrete, and it can be used to improve the long-term durability of surfaces and structures exposed to water and deicing chemicals in freeze/thaw environments.
“The AIRtrac system has afforded us insight and information never available before … real time air and temperature information for every batch of concrete is extremely valuable information for our operation,” says Jim Fitzgerald, Quality Control manager at Connecticut-based Blakeslee Prestress. “AIRtrac [alerts] us if it is necessary to take action while concrete is still in the mixer. The system provides us a much better understanding of mix time, batch sequencing and how admixtures affect [air content levels]. Producing high quality, consistent concrete day in and day out is a challenging job.” — Cidra Concrete Systems, 877/CIDR77; www.cidra.com