Unlike handmixing cement with a shovel, a cement mixer thoroughly mixes the materials, lessening the chances of weak spots in the final product. If you’re laying floors or pavements, or casting gate pillars or walls, a cement mixer is essential if you want to get the job done well and reasonably quickly.
At BS Commercial Power, we are proud to be one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of cement mixers, concrete mixers, and a wide range of construction equipment and products. We guarantee that our cement mixers are durable and high quality to ensure you get the most out of your purchase.
The Cement Mixer – Where It All Began
As is the case with so many of the construction tools that are used in this day and age, we seldom stop to think about the origin of the cement mixer. The truth is architecture and infrastructure as we know it only exists because of the cement that was used. Across centuries, many societies developed ways of mixing sand, aggregate, and clay powder into something that could form sturdy walls. These walls made homes, art and many other architectural wonders.
At BS Power, we know that learning from history is crucial to remind us where we came from and where we are going. Let us look at some of the earliest methods of mixing cement, then look into how the cement mixer was invented and patented before the modern era and what the cement mixer of choice should be now.
The Beginning of Cement
The earliest record of cement dates back 12 million years ago. Cement deposits formed next to layers of limestone that were buried by natural causes after oil shale formation. Later groups used these concrete-forming deposits more frequently, like the ancient Macedonians and, three centuries later, Roman engineers.
These ‘ancient architects and engineers’ realised that when this unique natural powder was mixed with building materials, it resulted in a far more robust material to build with. This specific powder was commonly found in the countryside near towns around Baie and Mount Vesuvius. When combined with lime or rubble, this material provided robustness to the cement mixture, allowing civilisations to begin building remarkable constructions like the temple of Athena, with its large pillars.
The Greeks used the volcanic tuff of Thera as a pozzolan, and the Romans used crushed volcanic ash (active aluminium silicate) with lime. This mixture hardens when used in conjunction with water and may have been more resistant to corrosion. This material is called Pozzolana and comes from Pozzuoli, west of Naples, where the volcanic ash was mined. The Romans used crushed brick and pottery as a substitute without pozzolanic ash. The Roman Pantheon’s enormous dome and the Caracalla Baths are examples of these ancient concrete structures, many of which still stand today.
The Inventor Of The Modern Cement Mixer
According to history, Stephen Stepanian is credited with inventing the cement mixer. Stepanian is also credited for developing or improving several other extremely important tools and mechanisms in the building and construction industries, such as conveyors, elevators and specific wrenches.
In 1916, Stepanian had developed plans for an innovative device to transport cement from the factory to the construction site, continuously mixing it while it was travelling. His idea was to replace the horse-drawn mixer of the current time. He applied for the patent for the first cement mixer that same year. Still, the Patent Office did not believe integrating trucks and cement mixers was possible, so the original patent application was rejected. Stepanian persevered, and his patent was finally granted in 1933.
Since then, cement mixers have changed the face of building and construction whilst improving concrete performance. In the same breath, cement mixers have also enhanced the safety of workers who are mixing concrete and maximised workers’ output.
There is an extensive range of cement mixers on the market today, each with different advantages and benefits. At BS Power, we understand the need for excellent quality equipment, so our range of cement mixers provides you with the right tool for the job, whether you are working on a small home project or a large industrial one.
What Type of Cement Mixer is Best for You?
If the construction project you are working on is time and labour-intensive, then you need a cement mixer. Cement mixers will always be found on more extensive construction sites with a significant amount of work is required, and a lot of concrete needs to be laid. However, even small construction jobs benefit greatly from using a cement mixer. Smaller cement mixers are often used when paving driveways or expanding houses. Whatever the task at hand, using a concrete mixer significantly increases the efficiency of any or all of these projects.
A cement mixer cancelled the time-consuming and challenging process of manually mixing water, cement, and aggregate to produce concrete. Whether you are new to mixing or have years of experience, being aware of a few approaches that come with using a cement mixer can be beneficial in boosting efficiency and productivity at construction sites.
What Steps to Take Before and After Using The Cement Mixer
When using a cement mixer, several key steps boost efficiency and productivity in the construction workplace and here are some of the main ones.
Make sure your work site is correctly prepped:
Before considering pouring any concrete, the work site must be ready. This entails manual tasks such as pounding the ground flat, cordoning off the required areas and then setting up the cement mixer for the placement of pouring.
Safety comes first:
Whether it is a big or small job, protective gear must be adhered to before using a cement mixer. This should include goggles, a respirator, boots, and work gloves.
Continually inspect your mixer:
The cement mixer must be examined and checked to see if it is all in working order before you start using it. This also applies to checking it while it is in use and after it is turned off, as you do not want any blades to bend. Frequent inspections will save you time and money.
Position the cement mixer on stable ground:
Cement mixers must be placed onto a stable horizontal surface. A rigid hardboard should also be set below the mixer.
Work close to the site:
Due to the fact that concrete hardens very quickly, you should place your cement mixer as close as possible to where the concrete needs to be poured. This also means quicker and more efficient use of your time and reduces transportation costs.
Protect your mixer:
Applying a coat of industrial oil on the outside of the mixer will prevent concrete from collecting and hardening on the machine’s surface. Adding a thin layer of fuel on the inside of the drum before the mixing process begins will also ensure you protect it.
Keep the motor clean:
Cement mixers are used outdoors, which means that potential dust and particles usually found all over a construction site can get caught in the mixer’s motor. Air compressors are the best tool to dislodge any cement or sediment from clogging up your mixer.
Draining the drum:
When the construction day has ended, it is vital to ensure any surplus concrete is drained from the drum. This should be done as quickly and efficiently as possible so that no leftover concrete may harden in the drum.
Clean your cement mixer:
Once you have completed your cement mixer for the day, it must be washed. Do not use any abrasive chemicals, as this can cause corrosion. Use two scoops of gravel and approximately eleven litres of water in the mixer’s drum, then put the mixer on for 15 to 25 minutes, making sure you change the angle of the mixer to get into all the corners.
Grease is your friend:
To keep your cement mixer in tip-top condition, all the moving parts of the mixer must be regularly greased. This includes the gears, joints, and pulleys to counteract the stress that is placed on these parts due to the constant friction.
If you follow the above advice, your cement mixer will stay in perfect working condition, which is the best way to increase its lifespan.
The Best Way To Operate Your Cement Mixer
Now that you know what you should do before and after using your cement mixer, let us learn a few ways that are the most efficient ways to actually operate it.
Open the bag of cement from the top:
This might seem like it goes without saying, but you will be surprised how many people do not follow this rule. Opening the bag this way will reduce the likelihood of making a mess and wasting the cement. Once you have opened the bag, all the contents can be poured into the cement mixers.
Do not deviate from the mix instructions:
Follow the instructions provided by the specific dry cement mix you are going to be using. If you add too much water, the mixture will be too thin. If there is too little water, the mixture will be too thick.
Check the plug and surrounds first:
Before you turn on your mixer, ensure the plug is plugged in correctly and that it is nowhere near water. Once it is safe to do so, you may start your job.
Check the consistency continually:
It would be best if you allowed the mixer to efficiently mix the concrete and leave the mixer on for as long as is recommended by the instructions on the mixture packet.
Turn the mixer off before laying:
Once the consistency of the concrete mixture looks perfect, turn the mixer off. You can then place the concrete into a wheelbarrow to take it to the allocated workspace. Concrete can harden quickly, so leaving concrete in the wheelbarrow for too long is not recommended.
How Do I Store Cement?
Cement bags should be kept off the ground so moisture doesn’t soak into them. You can use a palette or place the bags on boards spanned between wood offcuts or bricks. Unused, unopened packs of cement should be sealed in airtight bags to lengthen their shelf life. They will still not last forever, so we recommend using them within six months.
At BS Commercial Power, we understand that our clients demand and require high-quality equipment that can withstand a building site’s challenging and harsh environments. Therefore, we only stock top brands of cement mixers that are robust and high-performance, for example, brands such as Baumax, Stihl, Honda and more. These highly reputable brands offer great value for money and can be used in large construction projects or smaller home building and maintenance products. Our vast distribution network and products are available across South Africa and other areas of Southern Africa.