Ready Made Concrete, Inc. is a family-owned business that was established in 1993 as a small load concrete supplier in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since that time, Ready Made has focused on supplying residential customers with all types of decorative concrete products, with a special focus on colored concrete.
When the company started, they had a 5-yard single axle truck. As demand grew for front discharge trucks, so did Ready Made. Today they have a fleet of 26 trucks and work on projects such as foundations and high walls.
“Single truck, two truck deliveries were our maximum load size, so we were never involved with fitting or foundations or anything along those lines, but it was a good fit for municipalities, small cities, little communities where there was a real need and demand,” said Paul Philips, owner of Ready Made Concrete. “We filled a need there and just grew.”
Being located in an urban area, Ready Made has limited space on site to dispose of material. For years, they utilized settling pits, which took up a large area on site and needed to be mucked out on a daily basis.
“The slurry was just that, it was liquid and just messy, sloppy,” said Philips. “It was impossible to contain and as a result we were tracking slurry through our yard, and the trucks were tracking it into the streets and into the public right of way. It was a constant problem for us.”
Once the settling pits had been mucked out, Ready Made was paying to have the material hauled and disposed of. Because they were using settling pits, waste material was often heavy and laden with water, making transportation costs high.
“We’re within the Salt Lake City area, and so we’re not in an area where we can get rid of waste products just by pushing it on the back 40,” said Philips. “We’re in a small lot that was paved and part of the agreement with West Valley City was to control and maintain the water on site so we had a problem we had to deal with.”
In 2014, Ready Made decided it was time for a change and headed to World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Nev. to find a solution.
On the first day of the show, Philips and his sons noticed the McLanahan booth, including a new, innovative piece of equipment that sparked their interest – the Concrete Washout System. Unfamiliar with the McLanahan name, they stopped to ask what it was, what it did and who they were.
“Once we understood how it worked, the use, and that they had put these presses in in the past, that intrigued me as well because we were having an issue with water and contamination and trying to reuse water,” said Philips. “It was a small footprint and so we thought it would fit within the area that we had designed for our reclaiming system.”
Over the next three days, they met several times with the McLanahan team and provided data on their site – how many trucks they were washing, etc. – to help with sizing. By the last day of the show, they were sold on the Concrete Washout System.
“We had a lengthy conversation with the McLanahan people on the first day of the show, and we went back every day and had kind of brainstormed between us all and felt like it could be a solution,” said Philips. “I could really see this as being an important piece to our ready mix puzzle.”
The McLanahan Concrete Washout System was installed to follow Ready Made’s existing reclaimer. Like most start-ups, this was not without its challenges. What they soon found out was that a lot of sand was escaping the reclaimer and being passed along to the filter press.
“We would get the McLanahan people back out here, and they were always quick to respond, and we would investigate – why are we having problems with the press or the filters? These were questions that all of us were trying to answer,” said Philips. “We ultimately discovered that we were losing 50 percent of the sand. We were thrilled with recovering the sand we were recovering, but yet we were still throwing away 50 percent of the sand.”
So McLanahan went back to the drawing board to help find a solution. Based on their extensive experience with sand processing in other industries, McLanahan was able to suggest a Separator™ to improve sand recovery at the reclaimer. This would improve recovery at the reclaimer, keeping sand from entering the filter press and settling ponds.
“McLanahan engineered the whole process for us. They engineered the pit, and they designed the pump,” said Philips. “We installed the cyclone and the pumps as McLanahan designed it, and it functioned perfectly. All of a sudden we were recovering 100 percent of our sand.”
Recovering the sand has been extremely important for Ready Made because it gets remixed into the concrete. Being able to recover more sand means that Ready Made can reduce the amount of sand that they would otherwise have to purchase, ultimately increasing their bottom line.
“It was McLanahan’s suggestion that we install a sand Separator™, or a cyclone, which at the time I had no idea what that piece of equipment even was. I knew it was going to cost more money,” said Philips. “But after we evaluated and realized that we were losing 50 percent of our sand – we know sand costs money – it was a quick payback once we realized that we could recover the sand that we were just hauling to the landfill.”
Philips noted that the return on investment (ROI) is easily calculated by just the sand that they are able to recover. Additional savings and ROI can also be calculated based on the reduction of trips to the landfill they are taking. Cakes are easy-to-handle and easy-to-manage – not the slurry that Ready Made is used to dealing with.
Additionally, Ready Made has been able to utilize their clean recycled water in their facility. With their need to maintain a small footprint and closely monitor their water consumption, they are also developing new uses for the recycled wash water.
“The solids are out of the water so the water is reusable,” Philips said. “Right now we are using it to wash trucks out, and ultimately would like to utilize that water in the batching process, ultimately recycling 100 percent of our water.”
Overall the relationship between McLanahan Corporation and Ready Made Concrete has been extremely beneficial to both companies.
“We have to be grateful that we hooked up with a company like McLanahan that’s willing to send a crew of three or four people out here to our little teeny operation in Salt Lake,” said Philips. “We were getting the kind of the support that we would hope to get, but didn’t necessarily expect to get from a worldwide company. Every time there’s been an issue McLanahan people have been here to help us and work through the issues.”