What We Do
The rumbling of "Tumbler" the concrete mixer led the machine to become an icon in the eyes of millions of children growing up watching Bob, the Builder.
Hymix builds real Tumblers with their distinctive, no-frills, shape determined by the job they do. Mobile mixers are a mix-and-match selection of engine, truck frame from companies like Mercedes, Renault, and Volvo and the rotating mixer. Concrete is heavy stuff. A batch of concrete can weigh, not counting the truck itself, anywhere from 5 – 15 tons. For a truck to haul that weight, it has to be powerful.
The mixer is similar in principle to the small ones found in DIY stores. A large motor, separate from the engine, rotates the drum and a series of blades or a screw keeps the aggregate, water and cement in constant motion. This prevents the premixed concrete from setting, though the clock is often ticking to get the load to the site. Most cement manufacturers suggest it's best to get it to the site in less than an hour.
Modern cement is a complex blend of finely ground minerals, and goes by the name of "Portland." Concrete is a mix of stone or gravel, water and cement. Concrete is made by combining the three ingredients in a mixer, whether that mixer is stationary or driving down the road, and the water is absorbed by the cement, which then binds the aggregate together, creating concrete.
Older style mixer trucks use a simple tip-and-pour method to get the concrete out of the mixer. A chute attaches to a port, and the concrete oozes out of the mixer to the project. Usually, the driver of the truck operates the machinery and aims the chute. In some cases, this can be helped by tipping up the drum if needed.
Newer mixers use a pump to move the concrete from the truck to the project. The pump allows the driver to steer to a section of the site and direct the concrete from the cab. The controls can be mechanical, electro-mechanical, hydraulic or purely electronic. Hymix's latest systems use computers to monitor pumps and other components.
The People Who Do It
Hymix mixers are hand-built by a highly skilled technical team.
Steel sheets are laser cut, rolled into shape, welded, fabricated and assembled to create the distinctive drum form. Hydraulic systems are connected, electronics installed and safety features added. Along the way components are sprayed in highly durable paint before the whole structure is mounted on the drive unit.
The teams are particularly proud of their craft and you can see the workmanship and care in the product.
Finally the whole unit is checked and tested before it leaves the workshop. As a gleaming machine leaves the works is a sense of satisfaction of another job well done.
Why We Do It
Building is one of Britain's most dynamic sectors with construction techniques evolving continuously.
To keep up, Hymix is continually tinkering to find ways of doing things better - asking customers what new features are required? What improvements can be made? What safety issues need to be addressed? How to conform to new green legislation?
Hymix deliveries can range from small domestic sites to colossal infrastructure projects pushing the very boundaries of concrete form. Whatever the scale mixing concrete is an essential link in one of Britain's most dynamic industries.
So next time you see a concrete mixer on the road just check the label; hopefully it will be a Hymix.