Mix-on-site concrete supplier adds particle size distribution testing to in-house lab facility
MIXAMATE, one of the leading providers of mix-on-site concrete and screed in London and the South East, have expanded their in-house lab facility by adding British Standard particle size distribution testing to their capabilities.
The update builds on Mixamate’s existing range of product testing and will allow the company to carry out aggregate sampling within 24 hours.
In 2016 Mixamate announced the launch of their in-house testing lab, which has now evolved to cover air entrainment, slump and cube testing. Independent verification is still carried out by an external testing company, but the full range of in-house capabilities allows the company to operate in a constant state of quality control.
‘There are a few mix-on-site companies that carry out very basic testing measures, but the Mixamate lab is far from basic,’ commented John Macleod, the company’s head of quality control.
‘We carry out a lot of in-depth testing, such as air-entrainment testing, slump testing and cube testing, and we are constantly carrying out trial mixes, whether it be our concrete or new admixtures, to help further improve the quality of product we supply to our customers.’
A new temperature-controlled oven has now been installed at Mixamate’s in-house testing facility. Operating at 110°C (the British Standard temperature for carrying out particle size distribution testing), this allows the company to turn out some aggregate samples within 24 hours, providing an almost instant turnaround on results that can take up to two weeks to come back when sent away to an external testing company.
‘Each sample is weighed and heated for 24–48 hours, depending on what we are sampling,’ explained Mr Macleod. ‘After the sample has been placed into the oven for the required period of time, it is removed and weighed again to measure the moisture content. The sample is then put through a range of sieves to check the grading on each particle size and the sample retained on each sieve is weighed, so that we can work out the percentage of sample on each sieve.
‘We have started carrying out this form of particle size distribution testing more regularly, as we used to send the aggregate samples for external testing, which can take up to two weeks for the results to come through. At that point it could be too late to act if there were any issues with the aggregates.
‘We can turn around our own tests in just over 24 hours, and these particle size distribution tests mean we can monitor the moisture content in all of our materials, so we can programme our mixers to increase or decrease the water content of our concrete mixes on a regular basis.’
By adding further capabilities to their in-house lab test facilities, Mixamate say they have added further depth to their quality-control measures, which has attracted much interest. ‘We have seen a great deal of interest in these areas from our customers, for whom it provides reassurance that we are dedicated to constantly updating and evolving to find the highest quality of mix,’ said Mr Macleod.