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TEXAS TEXTURE

Through 30-plus years, Texas-based Superior Concrete Products has pushed the delivery boundaries of value-added precast fence and wall offerings in contracts with owners who will incur transportation premiums when a good turnkey solution for a home, building, ranch or other property perimeter is on the table. It has built a production team especially adept at crafting urethane formliners with wood, stone or other natural textures; fabricating forms for efficient handling and staging; and, formulating integrally colored mixes to yield unique ranch-style fences and architectural or utilitarian site, sound or security walls. For Superior Concrete and peers, the latter category has proved to be among the fastest growing in precast concrete.

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Superior Concrete recently completed a two-level office fronting the Cleburne production facility, where customers can see team members make formliners to yield unique wood, stone or other natural material surfaces and textures in precast fence or wall components. The office and fittingly appointed conference room serve as a product, finish and color showcase for fence, wall or form/formliner customers and production licensees. PHOTOS: Superior Concrete Products
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During the office building production, crews accustomed to fabricating textured urethane formliners for various fence or site wall motifs turned their sights to columns, architectural wall panels with finished interiors, plus counter, table and desk furnishings. The objective was a showroom for customers and prospects to experience while also observing form and formliner preparation, mix production and pouring, kiln transfer and mold stripping. PHOTOS: Concrete Products

The producer saw a strong Texas market rebound in the early post-recession period, backed with a growing order log for wall projects across the country, plus increasing interest from customers or prospects outside North America. By 2014, Superior Concrete determined that aging equipment—batch plant, 20 years; coloring system, 10 years—at its Cleburne, Texas, facility would hamper growth of the core business and newer utility or novelty lines, namely: ReCon Retaining Wall Systems, licensed units with plain or decorative finishes and textures, cast in .5- to 1.5-ton sizes and now available under design-build delivery; and, Superior Tiny Houses, offering all-precast packages for mobile (park model) or fixed installations.

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Mixer Systems’ 1.5-yd. planetary mixer has two discharge doors and chutes, moisture probe and automatic washout system. It runs on an E-250 control, which is integrated with a color pigment dispensing system. Material handling at the Cleburne plant encompasses a 10-ft. square hopper with 26-ton capacity to hold a full load of aggregate from a typical dump truck, plus two 30-ton aggregate storage bins with shuttle conveyor. Superior Concrete crews tooled a chute to directly feed fence forms, or charge buckets for mix transfer to larger product forms.

A major investment in the Cleburne operation, located along the southern end of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, has brought a new batch plant, process water and slurry recycling system, and dedicated ReCon production area, coupled with construction of a two-level office building and 600-sq.-ft. Superior Tiny House. The office and house showcase architectural and structural precast design and fabrication, along with custom formwork capabilities.

“We are in a position to produce more product at better quality than before,” says Superior Concrete Founder and CEO Todd Sternfeld. “We can create more colors and maintain color consistency at a higher level.”

“It is unusual for a precaster to engineer a project, manufacture molds, then fabricate structures and install them across the country,” he adds, noting that the Cleburne upgrades afford customers and prospects a close look at each step of the architectural or structural product casting, finishing and shipping processes. Recent visitors have included international accounts seeking wood or other textured form liners, or production licenses involving standard Superior Concrete fence and wall designs.


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The batch equipment Mixer Systems detailed for Superior Concrete’s Cleburne, Texas, operation had to fit into a limited plant footprint and operate in tandem with a new mix slurry and water recovery station. Wisconsin-based BFK oriented the slurry dewatering system around a Model M6 Concrete Reclaimer with .5-yd. capacity Star Hopper; Model AFD Automatic Flocculant Dispenser; and, Slurry Dewatering Stand. Waste concrete or process water is washed out into the Star Hopper, where it is fed into reclaimer, which in turn delivers clean sand and rock to separate stockpiles and drains coloring agent-laden cement slurry to a collection pit.


SMALLER HOMES, BIGGER PLANT

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The Texas Two-Step debuted in fall 2017 at the National Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree, staged in Arlington, Texas, near Superior Concrete Products and Superior Concrete Tiny Houses Euless headquarters office. The Texas Two-Step evolves from three decades of custom precast at Superior Concrete, which has served a variety of residential and commercial clients requiring solutions for everything from utility substations to storage buildings, equipment enclosures, barns, ranch fencing and sound walls between oil and gas drill sites and residential and commercial developments. A park model tiny home, the Texas Two-Step combines exposed concrete on the interior with laminate products and engineered stone. Designers sought to furnish the model with all the amenities and modern conveniences of a full-size home. PHOTOS: Superior Concrete Tiny Houses

“Few people realize how visually appealing a concrete house can be. Not to mention the fact that concrete is maintenance free, and has better insulation properties than wood and other building materials,” Todd Sternfeld explained as Superior Concrete Tiny Houses unveiled the precast-enclosed Texas Two-Step for the 2017 National Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree. “Superior Concrete Tiny Houses, known as The Original Concrete Tiny House Co., sells tiny homes with maintenance-free exteriors made of high-grade steel and fiber reinforced 5,000 psi precast concrete panels, which are held in place by galvanized metal studs and framing. Our precast panels are designed to duplicate the natural look and appeal of wood, brick, stucco or stone, and outlast any other conventional building material in the market.”

To build the 225-sq.-ft. Texas Two-Step, the company’s construction team used a blend of warm wood-toned concrete timber siding, imparting a modern twist on a rustic Hill Country theme. Laminate products and engineered stone were used on the interior to ensure the house is as care-free as possible. The Texas Two-Step is secured on a custom steel frame trailer so it can be relocated to a home site, lake lot, tiny home village or community or other suitable location.

Texas Two-Step panels were among initial products of an upgraded operation for which Superior Concrete enlisted Mixer Systems to provide a new batch plant, anchored by a 1.5-yd. planetary mixer, along with controls package and aggregate storage and transfer equipment; and, BFK to tailor a slurry capture and water recycling system.