Pump Versus Chute Delivery of Concrete

Concrete pumping is usually the preferred method of delivery of a concrete mix to a job site’s pour. This involves the use of a machine that accepts the concrete from the mixer then places pressure on a large hose to push the concrete through to the point of the pour. Chute delivery uses a series of wide ducts in which concrete slides down to the desired location of the pour. Until the invention of the concrete pump, chutes were used frequently. Today, chute delivery is rarely used in the United States, but is frequently utilized in developing countries where construction equipment is not available.

A concrete pump uses material cylinders and hoses to deliver concrete to a specific area. A concrete pump is far more efficient in terms of time required to pour and the amount of labor required to manage the pour. Chute delivery is very labor intensive. It requires workers to prepare the chute, man the chute to keep concrete moving, reposition the delivery end of the chute during the pour, and then break down the chute. In modern industrialized construction projects, the labor costs and time to pour are not efficient enough.

Advantages of Concrete Pumping over Chute Delivery
To make chute delivery work, the concrete mix must be very wet or watered-down. This hurts the strength of the concrete. Using the same aggregate to cement ratios in a mix, the dryer mix that a concrete pump can deliver can produce concrete that withstands 3000 PSI. But to deliver the same mix with a chute system, it must be much wetter and the resulting concrete will likely only produce strength of 2,000 PSI (if you are lucky).

Because chute delivery relies on gravity instead of pressure to push the concrete to the pour site, the starting point of the chute at the concrete mixer truck must parked in a raised location. Then a system of jacks is used to put the chutes in place for gravity-based delivery. Erecting jacks and joining aluminum chutes together requires about 5 more people than concrete pumping. So set up, breakdown, as well as the delivery time results in chute delivery taking far more time to delivery concrete. A concrete pump uses mechanical and hydraulic forces that push the concrete through the hose. You only need one person on the hose and another one at the machine. Faster delivery time and less labor makes investment in purchasing or leasing a concrete pump an excellent financial decision.

Concrete Pumps Make Modern Construction Possible
The other benefit of concrete pumping is the constant speed of delivery. This type of control avoids errors during the pour, increases the likelihood of an even set on the concrete, and reduces waste during the pour and at the end of the pour when the concrete must be cut off just in time to finish the job and not deliver wasted material.

Concrete pumping affords flexibility that chute delivery cannot provide. You can deliver concrete upwards with a concrete pump. The driving force on a concrete pump is the hydraulic cylinders pushing material through two material tubes. Concrete pumps allow modern construction of monumental high-rise buildings.

A concrete pump is considered “the form of concrete delivery” in the United States now. If you can get a truck close to the pour site, it will pump the mix without having to form scaffolds to hold chutes or deal with positioning a truck in a higher location so the material can slide down.

Edward Salazar is co-owner of JED Alliance Group, Inc. When buying used heavy equipment to refurbish and sell, he visits many job sites where he sees safety being ignored. When he and his staff train their customers on purchased equipment, they reinforce the importance of knowing the machine and taking precautions. Feel free to contact Edward at 321-251-4844.


4 replies
  1. Christopher Wallace
    Christopher Wallace says:

    We are only starting to use the pump method on our 2 work sites. I have to say that it is a far superior process. I dont think we will ever move make the chute method. Your article is spot on. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

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