CONCRETE PUMP OPERATOR
What Makes A Good Concrete Pump Truck Operator?
To be a good concrete pump operator, it takes a very special person who has some great character traits. Operating a concrete pump truck requires a lot of responsibility to make sure everything goes smoothly.
A concrete pump operator's job is very demanding, both mentally and physically. He or she has to be a leader, a self starter, and a self motivator. A pump truck operator has to get up very early in the morning to be at the job-site and all set-up before the concrete arrives.
Pumping two or three jobs in a day and working twelve to fourteen hours a day aren't out of the ordinary when business is good. This means good concrete pump operators need to know how to do many things well.
What to look for in a good concrete pump truck operator:
- A Good Truck Driver - Most of these pump trucks are very big, a good concrete pump driver has to be able to maneuver his pump truck in very confined areas.
- Safety Awareness - Pump truck operators always have to be concerned about safety, if something goes wrong someone can get hurt very quickly. If a hose kinks or becomes plugged everyone needs to know what to do so nobody gets hurt.
- Concrete knowledge - Good Pump operators have some knowledge about concrete mix designs. Which concrete mixes pump easier, Why a concrete mix is pumping hard today, what effect adding water to the mix has, what effect hot or cold temperatures have on concrete mixes, what effect adding accelerators to the concrete mix has, all things a pump operator should know.
- Electrical & Hydraulics Experience - Being able to fix the mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic systems on the pump truck are a must. The newer pump trucks and concrete pumps are very technologically advanced and complex. If something breaks down, the concrete pump operator needs to know how to fix it fast. That concrete won't stay in liquid form for very long!
- Can Make Good Decisions Quickly - Deciding where to set up the pump truck, how to lay and hook up the concrete hoses, where to start the pour, how to complete the pour and how to proceed when a problem occurs are all decisions a concrete pumper need to be able to make.
- Care When Cleaning Up - Cleaning out the pump truck and hoses on the job-site requires special attention. A pump operator that thoroughly cleans his truck and keeps the washout mess on the ground to a minimum, cares about what he is doing.
TRAINING CONCRETE PUMP OPERATORS
- ON THE JOB: Traditionally, the concrete pumping company does the training itself. Larger concrete pump companies have designated trainers, usually very experienced pumper operators or mechanics. Smaller companies use an experienced operator for training.
- CONCRETE PUMP MANUFACTURER TRAINING: Most concrete pump manufacturers provide some initial operating training as well as service training. Often the local distributor conducts this training.
- AMERICAN CONCRETE PUMPING ASSOCIATION (ACPA): In its continuing efforts to raise the level of professionalism across the industry, ACPA has developed programs and materials that emphasize pump safety and efficiency, including a checklist, videotapes, safety posters, and ACPA's concrete pump truck operator certification program.
Of all the concrete pump manufacturers, Schwing concrete pumps conducts the most ambitious training program. Courses at three levels are held two or three times each year at Schwing's training center in St. Paul, Minn. Schwing's newest training innovation is its Virtual Boom pump, a very realistic concrete pumping computer game.
Using a real remote pump and boom controller, this computerized concrete pump is extraordinarily lifelike. Other software packages teach the pump truck operator how to determine if all systems and controls are working properly, and how to adjust the sensitivity of the controls to personal preferences.
Putzmeister concrete pumps also conducts an extensive schedule of classes at its headquarters in Racine, Wis., oriented toward maintaining and servicing their concrete pumping equipment.
Training of concrete pump operators improves the quality of concrete, enhances the pumping experience and makes the job-site safer.
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