Concrete Products

SEP 2015

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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36 • September 2015 A 118-year-old mainstay in Upper Midwest precast/prestressed pro- duction, Molin Concrete Products is ramping up an advanced, auto- mated wall panel operation in Ramsey, Minn. The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute-certified plant will have annual capacity of 1.5 million square feet of architectural cladding, insulated sandwich wall panels and solid structural panels. Following the start of initial production in June, formal dedication at Ramsey is scheduled this month. Molin Concrete and its equipment supplier outfitted the oper- ation in just eight months, a process that usually takes several years. As Henry Ford demonstrated a century ago, a moving assembly line—where a product takes shape as it continuously moves along an in-factory production circuit—isn't new to manufacturing. The concept is seldom used in precast concrete component production in North America. In fact, though the system is somewhat common in Europe, only two other U.S. precast plants currently have similar automated carousel operations in place. Why not? "The automated carousel production system is very capital intensive," says Molin Concrete Vice President of Sales & Mar- keting John Saccoman. "Traditionally, precast concrete panels are formed on long line, non-moving flat tables where concrete is deliv- ered by either a truck or a bucket. All you need is a large space, a form, many laborers and a ready mix truck to pour. In our new system we bring the form to a pouring area and panels are cured in a steam chamber with few laborers. "The carousel system requires a lot of equipment. Conveyors move the panels about to the concrete spreader, curing chamber, and tilt table for form stripping." It's a marvel of automation, he adds. Conveyors form a continu- ous cycle where wall panel molds are automatically moved from one production station to another, each performing a specific process. Control comes from a central master device and production data is transmitted directly to the automated machines. Materials, such as steel reinforcement for panels, are supplied directly to appropriate stations where needed. Computerized quality control is available at each station. For Molin Concrete, the result is faster production and less required labor. FEATURE PRECAST/PRESTRESSED Carousel Course Molin Concrete Products envisions high quality, consistency and timely delivery as it dedicates automated precast panel plant The plotting machine in the lower left corner inks a CAD fle on to the pallet for precise alignment of shutters. Also shown is the curing chamber and rack operator in the middle and right hand side.

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