As concrete mixes become more complex in order to address ever-increasing needs for strength and durability and to meet environmental sustainability standards, concrete pumpers often face challenges when it comes to moving concrete through pump lines with the efficiency demanded by accelerated construction schedules.

“We pump at such high pressures today,” says Gary Brown, director of concrete pumping for R.L. McCoy Inc., an Indianapolis, Ind.–based concrete pumping company. “It places stress on the equipment.” And that stress can cause equipment to fail.

Brown says that since the 1990s, concrete producers have increasingly reduced water and cement (paste) content in favor of chemicals designed to increase performance. “When you add chemicals, you take out cement,” he says. “I’d like to see concrete pumping at a reasonable pressure again—for safety. Chemicals aren’t the only answer to making good concrete.