Concrete chipping work is all about clearing your mixing drums of accumulated material that can load them down with excess weight, throw off their balance and lower their overall carrying capacity. (And every time your pour concrete, you add to that buildup.) Think of your redi mix drum like a water bottle on its side
. Try as you might to pour out every last drop of that water, there will always be some that stays behind along the sides of the bottle. That’s how it works with your concrete pours. Even the most precise pours will result in some material left behind — and in the beginning, that’s no big deal. As time progresses and the concrete builds up, however, it can lead to the aforementioned damage
to your drums, and can even affect your concrete blends
. The best way to sidestep costly issues is to treat your drums and silos to regular preventative maintenance
. (And in terms of concrete chipping, experts recommend appointments every three months
There are actually three separate services that make up a traditional concrete chipping appointment — ready mix drum cleaning, cement storage silo cleaning and concrete central mixer cleaning. Why the variety? Because the goal is to keep every aspect of your concrete production process up and running as it should. Here’s what goes into those three individual aspects:
- Concrete Chipping: Using handheld jackhammers, crews physically enter your ready-mix truck drums to remove hardened material that has dried along the walls. This improves your carrying capacity and helps ward off mechanical issues which can lead to costly slowdowns, repairs and replacements.
- Silo Cleaning: Members of your chosen company’s silo cleaning crew are lowered down into your cement storage silos. Once inside, they remove clumps and clogs that slow the release of your cement — and can hold up your projects. Those clogs are ushered out the bottom of the silo.
NOTE: Excess moisture tends to lead to clumps and clogs inside your cement storage silos. For that reason, silo cleaning is especially important in humid areas, or in areas that experience extreme rain or snow scenarios.
- Central Mixer Cleaning: Similar to concrete chipping services, central mixer cleaning involves crew members reaching inside your team’s mixer to remove hardened material from drum walls. This results in a healthier mixer capable of holding more material than before.
As with any business partnership, you’ll want to do business with a company you feel confident with. (After all, you’re entrusting this team with fleet and equipment that has cost your company thousands of dollars or more.) Here are a few general guidelines to help you find your right fit:
- Choose a Concrete Chipping Crew That Will Work with You: A little flexibility can go a long way in any business relationship. Seek out concrete chippers who understand the way your company operates, and who are willing to make it work. We recommend talking through any special considerations during your initial phone call or email conversation. Does your concrete plant sit in an area with noise ordinances in place — and where concrete chipping work might need to take place outside of traditional hours? Does any of your equipment require a bit of added care? Does your work schedule limit what days you can make your drums and silos available for concrete chipping? Whatever the case, let them know. That open communication can help your project get off on the right foot and ensure you’re working with the right crew.
- Choose Concrete Chippers Who Have Their Ducks in a Row: You might be surprised to learn that many people who advertise concrete chipping services aren’t actually licensed to do the work. And doing business with such a company can spell big trouble. If an unlicensed crew — or a crew that doesn’t carry proper insurance — causes damage to your drums, equipment and silos, you could be left paying for costly repairs and replacements. Of course, equipment damage isn’t the only concern. Concrete chipping work is dangerous. Allowing untrained individuals inside your drums or silos could lead to life-changing injuries or even death. As a general rule, you should request proof of insurance and adequate licensure — and ask about continuing education requirements, too. Crews that regularly take part in OSHA safety training and the like will be in the know regarding the latest industry practices — and better able to tackle your work in a safer, more efficient manner.
- Choose a Concrete Chipping Company with a Solid Reputation: As the old saying goes, word of mouth is the best form of advertising. We encourage our friends in the concrete and construction industries to reach out to colleagues about their past concrete chipping experiences. Ask who they’ve worked with before, what the experience was like — and whether they’d hire them again. From there, you can perform some quick (yet informative) online searches. What are past customers saying in online reviews? How do they rank on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website? If you still aren’t certain, consider contacting your potential concrete chipping company to request references or testimonials.
As we mentioned above, industry pros typically recommend concrete chipping appointments be carried out for your cement silos
, as well as your concrete drums and central mixers
, on a quarterly basis. Exact timeframes will depend on a number of factors, including the age of your fleet, the amount of work your crew carries out, the type of concrete you work with
— and maintenance practices between cleanings
. (Remember, volumetric mixers don’t require chipping
.) Your concrete chipping crew should be able to help you lay out a schedule that makes sense for your company.