A concrete plant, also known as a concrete batching plant, is a facility that combines various ingredients to form concrete.
What is Concrete
Concrete is composed of aggregate bonded together with ‘cementitious’ binders and water, which then hardens over time. ‘Aggregate’ consists of large chunks of material in a concrete mix, generally a coarse gravel or crushed rocks along with finer materials such as sand. These aggregates are extracted usually from some form of surface working or quarry site (link to quarries info page).
What is concrete used for?
Being one of the most versatile building materials, concrete is used in many forms of construction in Australia. Concrete can be used in residential driveways, house foundations, walls, as well as in major infrastructure, including foundations for high rise buildings, lift shafts and major roads. Filling pre-made moulds with concrete are referred to as pre-cast concrete. Precast concrete has a large number of applications, including for tunnel and bridge segments.
How is concrete made?
Concrete production is the process of combining various components—water, aggregate, cementitious binders, and any additives—to produce concrete.
These different ingredients are combined in a specialised facility known as a concrete batching plant.
A concrete plant consists of large storage silos for various reactive ingredients like cement, storage for bulk ingredients like aggregate and water, mechanisms for the addition of various additives and amendments, machinery to accurately weigh, move, and mix some or all of those ingredients, and facilities to dispense the mixed concrete, often to a concrete mixer truck (concrete agitator truck). Depending on the proposed application of the final product, additional accessories can include; mixers, heaters, chillers, colour additive systems, etc.
Concrete production is time-sensitive. Once the ingredients are mixed, workers must put the concrete in place before it hardens.
Different types of Concrete Plants?
Concrete batching plants can be ‘mobile’ or ‘fixed’. Certain batch plant designs may be considered mobile, but not necessarily easy to set up and tear down.
A ‘fixed’ concrete batching plant is set up to remain in place for a long period of time (up to decades), and cannot be relocated.
A ‘mobile’ concrete batching plant allows the user to batch concrete at most any location then move to another location. These are generally used for temporary project specific work, as the plant can be located near to the job site.
What will I notice?
All Boral’s concrete plants have specific operating hours which must be adhered to at all times. This is for the benefit of those who live near our operations. These hours are different across our sites. There may be occasions were a concrete batching plant will request to operate at different hours, as they need to provide product for a particular project which would require the delivery of concrete at particular times outside of normal operating hours. These hours are temporary and only apply during a specific period of time.
Boral’s concrete plants have a mix of noise mitigation strategies employed on site; these may include sound attenuation walls, one-way truck traffic to avoid the use of reversing beepers, and noise-reducing additions to equipment.
Concrete production can create dust and water run-off, due to the nature of the products that are involved in the creation of concrete. All Boral sites require a range of mitigation strategies to avoid any effects on neighbours, or local waterways. These conditions may be stipulated in local council planning permits, managed through various state environment protection authorities, or enforced by the site as best-practice measures.
Dust management may include ventilation and collectors on trucks, mixers and silos, as well as physical structures including walls or sheds to cover equipment. The set up for each concrete plant will differ, depending on each concrete batching plant, the age of the equipment, and other site-specific arrangements.
Similarly, water run-off management may be managed in different ways at each site; however the overall aim is still to avoid any contaminated water entering the local storm water system. Water is used for two main purposes at a concrete plant; to mix with the dry products to create concrete, and to clean, or ‘wash out’ the concrete equipment.
The best management practice objectives for water used in the concrete washout process are to collect and retain all the concrete washout water and solids holding pits, so that this caustic material does not reach the soil surface and then migrate to surface waters or into the ground water and recycle 100 percent of the collected concrete washout water and solids. If this is not possible, there are a number of methods that allow the water to be treated and released into the stormwater infrastructure; this can include triple interception pits, dosing to reduce PH or C02 treatment. As a last resort, Boral can apply for one time licenses to discharge excess water as trade waste into the sewer system. Again, this process will differ across each of our sites.