What causes concrete pumps to clog?

A concrete pump truck is an important piece of equipment when transporting liquid concrete. However, blockages in pump lines are a very common problem, which can delay and put the entire job behind schedule. Therefore, avoiding concrete blockages is critical to keeping your project on track.

While there are many reasons why clogs can occur in pipes, some of the most common causes of clogged concrete pumps include:

Mix Problems: The most prominent clogging problem when pumping concrete is not retaining a sufficient amount of water in the mix. Mixing problems may also occur if pumping is delayed. For example, allowing the mixture to set in hot weather for too long may cause the mixture to harden, making the mixture difficult or even impossible to pump.

Operator Error: If a pump operator is inexperienced or does not receive adequate training, errors can result that inhibit the performance of the equipment and lead to blockages. A skilled pump operator knows how to set up the job so that there is no need to add more hose to the pumping process. Careless handling of the hose can create kinks that prevent the liquid mixture from flowing properly, causing a blockage at the end of the line.

Plumbing Problems: Plumbing problems may arise if the capacity and horsepower of the pump do not match the concrete pump truck. For example, an underpowered motor can cause blockages because it cannot push the mixture through the piping system. Additionally, connecting larger-diameter hoses to narrower hoses can create obstructions because the concrete will flow more slowly through the smaller units.

Use of inferior materials: Not every form of concrete is suitable for pumping. Situations such as the use of substandard pumped concrete or the inclusion of substandard mortar in the mix can lead to clogging. Improper selection of additives such as retarders, pumping agents, and fillers can also increase the likelihood of clogging.

Insufficient Pipe Maintenance: Poor pipe maintenance is another common cause of clogged concrete pumps. Concrete residue inside the pipe will eventually set and harden, forming an obstruction that blocks the flow of concrete. It’s also important to replace damaged or worn concrete pump truck parts as soon as possible, routine maintenance takes much less time and cost than repairing concrete clogs.

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