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What Is a Concrete Pump Truck?

By Eric Tallberg
Updated May 23, 2024
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The principle behind the use of a concrete pump truck on a pouring job is quite simple. Concrete is moved from the pumping truck, to the form or area where it is needed. A concrete pump truck is, in its most prevalent form, a large, diesel-powered truck mounting a powerful pump, and an extendable, sectioned hose, or cylinder, and cylinder frame.

The concrete is transported to the truck by a ready-mix concrete truck, commonly known as a cement mixer. The large drums on the cement mixing vehicle must be kept constantly rotating to prevent the concrete from setting-up, or hardening, prematurely. Small amounts of water are added during the mixing process as well for the same reason. Concrete pumping trucks, therefore carry no concrete, only the pumping mechanism, and sectioned hose lengths. Ready-mixed concrete is dumped from a cement mixer into the bay of the truck as the pump is running, thus emptying the pumping bay of the concrete as it’s dumped.

The extendable hose or cylinder booms on concrete pump trucks are usually from 17 meters (55.77 feet) to 61 meters (200.13 feet) in length, when fully extended. Depending on the size of the truck, and, therefore, the boom length, the boom can be folded into three to four sections, including the base section. The length of the boom, of course, determines how far away the truck will be placed from where the concrete is to be pumped.

The concrete to be pumped is in a liquefied state, obviously, and is leveled and worked as it is pumped into the form from the pumping truck. Typically, concrete pumping trucks can pump from 200 to 240 yards of concrete per hour, as long as the specific consistency of the concrete is maintained. When pumping is completed, the cylinder boom is refolded into the emptied bay of the truck.

Most pumps on the larger concrete pump trucks are operated by the truck’s engine in a power-takeoff (PTO) configuration. Some pumps, however, especially on smaller trucks, are powered with their own engine, normally a diesel. Diesel engines are used for this type of heavy-duty work because of their economical, yet powerful mechanical dynamics.

In the industry, concrete pumping is also known as “slabjacking,” “mudjacking,” and grout pumping. The concrete mixing truck, the cement mixer, is sometimes called a “mud buggy.” The concrete itself is often referred to as mud because of its thick, viscous consistency.

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Discussion Comments

By anon314429 — On Jan 18, 2013

A concrete pump truck is very useful in the construction industry. The process makes work easier for the workers at constructing sites. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

By aishia — On Jun 11, 2011

@TheGraham - Good question. Maybe it's just tradition to have cement mixers be the way they are, and concrete pump trucks be the way they are.

More probable is that money is involved -- likely it's cheaper to continue to use all of the cement mixer trucks and cement pump trucks that are already made than to make new cement mix and pump trucks and market them and have people buy them.

Construction people are a very "if it's not broken, don't fix it" kind of people; my cousin's one, and he says all of his construction coworker buddies are the same way. So even if somebody made a cement mix and pump combo truck, construction people might not be that wild about buying it.

And then there are the logistical reasons. Maybe it's more useful in a construction setting, which often has narrow paths to drive on, for the cement mixer and the bulk of the cement to be stored in one spot, with the cement pump truck driving into place it can fit to deliver cement to specific spots.

Maybe I'm overthinking this...

By TheGraham — On Jun 10, 2011

Why don't people combine the concrete mixer truck and the concretepumping truck into one vehicle? Sure, it would be bigger and take up more space on board for the equipment but wouldn't it be more efficient to have everything in one place?

The way things are now, the concrete pump truck is only good for being the "middle man", like an overly complicated bridge from cement mixer to the spot the concrete needs to be poured into.

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