web analytics

Production Corner

Would You Drink it?

The rule of thumb when you’re looking at an aggregate for use in your mix designs is to pay attention not only to its dispersion across the screens, but more importantly the percentage of material retained on the pan. The retention on the pan passing the #100 sieve being usually around 6 percent or less. […]

0 comments

Single Minute Exchange of Die

Changing a product mold in our industry is never a matter of “if,” it’s strictly a matter of “when.” As such, that change out time is critical to the production flow. We’ve seen operations that approach a mold change like a race-car pit crew during production and other operations that do it at the end of […]

0 comments

Batch Control Software

We have a tendency to focus on the mechanical aspects of our products as they go through the manufacturing process. From when they strip out of the block machine, transferring into the kilns, processing through splitters or antique finishing machines, and ultimately being palletized and rolling out of the plant. It’s all visual and sensory […]

0 comments

Hustle and Flow

The old adage is that the block machine only runs as fast as the batched mix allows. There are several aspects to this, but we are going to focus on one — water demand. All of us are aware of the water-to-cement ratios that govern cement hydration and workability. As an example, I run a […]

0 comments

Color Matching

Eventually, one of your architectural salespeople is going to bring in a sample of concrete from another producer and ask if your operation can produce it. Don’t worry, because you may not be able to get an exact match, but you can certainly take a stab at it without tying up profitable machine time. Percentage […]

0 comments

Smartphones and site solutions

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s also the best way to start the process of resolving issues on the jobsite. We all get photos sent to us to explain and demonstrate a situation that our customers are going through. The question is do you have a defined policy for whom to send […]

0 comments

Cleaning house

If you scheduled your spring production correctly, your yard should be seeing some significant inventory turns due to the summer demand for hardscapes and do-it-yourself projects from the local hardware stores. As the inventory leaves, take some time to clean out the lots before you fill them again. It’s an ideal time to get behind […]

0 comments

Shift change and variability

Alan Perlis, a mid-twentieth century computer scientist stated, “One man’s constant is another man’s variable.” It’s a profound statement especially when considering the dynamics of operations running two shifts. More often than not, adjustments and settings are changed when one machine operator takes over for the next as every equipment operator has their own method […]

0 comments

Material flow and the feed drawer

If you start seeing a gradual decrease in the amount of material filling the mold box, don’t immediately increase your feed time. Stop the block machine in accordance with your safety policy and take a look at your feed drawer for buildup. When wet concrete builds up in the box due to hydration, your material […]

0 comments

Runaway job orders 

A salesperson takes an order for 2,000 8″ split face units that are light tan in color. Having concerns about variability in the light tan color, the salesperson adds 5 percent to the order which bring the total number of units to be produced to 2,100. Either unknown or untrusted by the salesperson, the ordering […]

0 comments