Concrete Products

JAN 2019

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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60 • January 2019 COVER STORY BY DON MARSH A demographic shift driving development of arts, cultural and enter- tainment venues, along with high-rise residential buildings, will help Los Angeles shed the perception that its downtown is an afterthought amid southern California's sprawl of highly livable communities and business or tourist destinations. Between 2019 and the Los Ange- les-hosted 2028 Olympic Games, the downtown area stands to see a crop of new buildings exceeding 300 feet, including handful in the 700- to 1,000-ft. height league. The building boom coincides with developers and engineers increasingly receptive to seismic expo- sure-grade, structural concrete cast with high performance mixes that exhibit superior strength and modulus of elasticity properties. Prospects for high-rise and more conventional development tied to the Olympics are reflected in a jaw-dropping plant National Ready Mixed Concrete Co. opened in October 2018 on a brownfield site just beyond the southern edge of downtown. The twin alley, transit mixed operation is built for 400-plus yd./hour output and prodigious material storage and transfer: 1,100 tons of cement stored in two, five-compartment silos and 5,000 tons of aggregate in three conveyor- and tunnel-fed bins. Sand and gravel unloaded in three grizzlies is belted at up to 750 tons/hour along 12 conveyors bearing on more than 1,500 linear feet of deep truss galvanized supports. "We can recharge materials at rates faster than we can batch them, and run at full production for multiple days or finish a major pour with the plant full of materials, ready for the next day," says National Ready Mix President Steve Lode. "This plant gives us the ability to deliver large volumes of high quality concrete at a rate most ready mixed producers are not able to achieve. We can handle the one off specialty aggregate, specialty cementitious material order without having to shut down and drain bins to resume normal production. The plant has the unique capacity to house and batch 10 different materials at any one time. That means loading a 6,000-psi mix order side by side with a mix requiring 15,000-psi design strength and not missing a beat." "This plant offers maximum versatility in material handling and batching capacities, cement and aggregate storage, the speed at which we can weigh things up, and four scales weighing cementitious mate - rials simultaneously," he adds. "It is over-designed by traditional batch plant standards, but meets what is really called for in the Los Angeles market." The new National Ready Mix flagship plant is located in Los Ange- les-bordering Vernon, about three to four miles from most downtown construction sites. They will call for the occasional 10,000-yd.-plus or more mat foundation schedule, and more frequent pours in the 2,000 yd. range—routine duty for a day at Vernon. "The plant can handle ready mixed concrete volumes for high- rise building contracts without logistical problems often encountered when having to schedule raw material replenishment during the middle of a pour," notes National Ready Mix Director of Operations Sam Hild. "We have to be able to store enough cement and aggregate to cover major orders, then replenish in off hours when the traffic for tanker and dump trucks is lightest. The major focus for the plant was on having the most amount of storage and throughput capacity we could build on limited real estate." Vernon is the company's 11th plant and fills a remaining void in a service area running 50 to 60 miles north-south, 20 to 30 miles east-west. It is in the middle of seven sites on the north-south axis, each within range of Interstate 5—the route to the Lebec mill of National Ready Mix sister operation, National Cement Company of Cal- ifornia. The Vernon ready mixed operation is best situated for central Los Angeles business, but can also deliver to sites in an active, but challenging 10- to 15-square-mile area to the west. Considering land values and neighbors encountered in that area—between downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean—prospects for any new ready mixed production capacity are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Continued on page 62 LOS ANGELES LEGACY National Ready Mixed Concrete Co. parks near epicenter of a southern California building boom

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