concrete pouring in cold weather

How to Extend Your Concrete Pouring Season and Save Money

concrete pouring in cold weather

Direct-contact water heaters have revolutionized the concrete industry. Your concrete pouring season is no longer at the mercy of Old Man Winter. With a water heater, you can pour later into the winter and earlier in the spring, adding dozens of projects to your production schedule.

But there’s one problem with direct-contact water heaters: they are notorious for scale buildup in areas with hard water. When water heaters are brand new, they are very efficient and have minimal operation costs. But as they age, scale builds up in the heaters, heat exchangers, and transfer lines. Your heater must work harder to operate, which means you lose efficiency and spend more money to run the heater. You also spend more in labor to periodically descale your equipment by hand with hazardous chemicals.

Effects of Water Scale on Your Concrete Pouring Operation

If you’re experiencing inefficient heating or rising fuel costs, chances are your water heater has water scale issues. If your water hardness level is greater than 9 grains (153 ppm) of calcium carbonate per gallon, you’ll eventually experience water scaling in your heater.

If you allow scale to build up in your tank, exchanger, or water lines, you’ll feel its effects in your operation’s efficiency and on its fuel bill. Your pouring season will get shorter and shorter the more scale builds up in your heater. And as your season gets shorter, your fuel costs will rise. In the offseason, you may even find you need to pay a crew to take your heater apart and clean it with hazardous chemicals.

An Effective, Affordable Solution for Water Scale

By regularly metering in a scale inhibitor and anti-foulant into fresh water entering your heater, you can extend your production season and keep ahead of your competition. Scale inhibitors extend the life of your equipment and reduce the need for yearly deep cleaning. Clean equipment is more effective and efficient, saving you time and money.

Our most effective scale inhibitor and anti-foulant is 864A Scale Control Agent/Hardness Handler. Its liquid formula removes and prevents scaling and fouling without hazardous ingredients. In fact, 864A has a very low toxicity and does not contain zinc, chromates, or phosphates, making it safe for your employees and the environment and harmless to your concrete mix.

Because 864A is super concentrated, most Redi-Mix concrete operations need just one or two drums a year to keep their equipment working optimally. You can even conveniently dispense it directly from its shipping container into your water heater lines via a Pulsatron pump dispensing system.

Water scale issues often put concrete businesses out of commission when the weather gets cold. But regular descaling with a scale inhibitor can keep your equipment running efficiently and affordably well into the winter months. For more information on 864A, contact the experts at Seacole today.

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Meet Bill Blanchet

Meet Bill Blanchet, Seacole Surface Finishing Manager

Meet Bill Blanchet

We had a chance this month to catch up with surface finishing manager Bill Blanchet. Bill supports the Seacole sales team, coordinates with suppliers, and engineers our finishing lines. Take a moment to get to know Bill!

What is your role at Seacole?

I’m the surface finishing manager overseeing all sales, technical service, and supplier activities for the division. I also engineer finishing lines which involves design, equipment specification, quoting, and quarterbacking the installation and start up of these lines.

What surface finishing industry trends are you seeing this year?

Two trends that seem to drive our industry on an ongoing basis are the development of more environmentally friendly products and new coating technologies. Green products include those that are not only less toxic to the environment and generate less waste, but are also a safer alternative for production workers. New coating technologies include new products that provide the end user with a host of benefits and advanced methods of applying traditional coatings.

What advice would you give people in your field?

Think safety first. Last year, two major chemical accidents occurred at two different facilities caused by carelessness. I would emphasize safe handling of chemical products, obey all current rules and regulations, use proper ventilation when needed, and use properly designed and maintained equipment.

What is your favorite Seacole product?

PhosFan is one of my favorite new products/processes. It is a new form of zinc phosphate that is applied to the base substrate by a new and improved method. First, the substrate can be iron based, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, even plastic. Second, the process runs at ambient temperature, generates no sludge byproduct (which is a heavy byproduct for traditional zinc phosphate) and runs on a continuous line. Third, the coating weight can be varied and the fine-grained crystal structure can be dyed to various colors. Very cool.

What might someone be surprised to know about Seacole?

The incredible growth Seacole has enjoyed over its history, and the diversity of the industries we serve and sell into.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to work?

Review my follow up lists, which I have several going at any given time, prioritize my activities, and start in on whatever need is the greatest or warrants my attention.

Do you have a secret for staying productive?

Follow up and stay focused. I’m a follow-up addict and I never like to keep my team or customers waiting or wondering if their need is being attended to. Every need or question a customer has is important. Stay focused as much as possible to systematically knock of items on your follow up list. If you don’t, the list will become overwhelming as it continues to grow and items will get missed.

Before starting your career, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

During college, I worked evenings as a parking lot attendant at North Memorial Hospital. Over that time period, I was able to meet and strike up conversations with numerous doctors, nurses, or other health care officials as I checked them out.

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Eliminating Phosphorus

Remove Phosphates from Your Wastewater, No Special Equipment Necessary

Eliminating Phosphorus

Municipalities across the country are tamping down on the amount of phosphorus and its derivatives that can be discharged in wastewater. Phosphorus causes algal bloom in lakes and streams, which depletes the oxygen in the water and leads to the death of fish and other aquatic life.

While agricultural runoff contributes to increased phosphorus levels in water, industrial processes are also to blame. The phosphates and phosphites used in metal finishing and industrial cleaning processes are flushed away in wastewater before heading to the treatment plant and eventually, into local lakes and streams.

Complying with new phosphorus limits in your wastewater could become expensive if you had to invest in new equipment. But fortunately, reducing the amount of phosphorus in your wastewater does not require any expensive process or equipment changes. You can comply with municipal and county phosphorus limits by simply changing the chemistries you use in your finishing, cleaning, and wastewater treatment processes.

Phosphorus applications in metal finishing

Metal finishers often use phosphorus and its derivatives to clean, plate, improve paint adhesion, and prevent corrosion on metal parts. Some finishers use phosphates and phosphites to improve lubrication, too. Most facilities use a system of chemical bath to apply the products. It’s the wastewater from these baths that causes the high amounts of phosphorus in wastewater.

Affordable solutions for reducing and eliminating phosphorus in your wastewater

Small changes can have a big impact. You can reduce and eliminate the phosphorus in your wastewater without changing your processes or your equipment. Your chemical supplier can help you find affordable, alternative solutions to either remove phosphates from your wastewater or eliminate phosphorus from your chemical baths when possible.

Seacole can help you identify the chemicals that can help you reduce not only the phosphates in your wastewater, but heavy metals as well. Some of our favorite phosphate removers are a new line of products formulated by Advanced Chemical Systems. These coagulants can usually remove metals and phosphates with a single product, no special equipment required. ACP 157 in particular is an excellent phosphate remover.

If you’d rather replace the products that contain targeted types of phosphorous with safer alternatives, we can help with that, too. Non-phosphated cleaners are available while zirconium, vanadium, and titanium oxides offer corrosion protection and improved adhesion. An added benefit to these phosphate alternatives is they can be used at ambient or low temperatures, reducing your energy costs. We can also offer you alternatives to phosphoric acid.

To help reduce phosphorus in your wastewater, contact our surface finishing experts today. We can perform onsite audits and evaluations and recommend the proper chemical products based upon our lab results. These simple process and maintenance changes cost little or nothing but go a long way to keeping our waters safe.

Contact Seacole for low-phosphorus chemistries or solutions that contain no phosphorus at all.

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