Roll and Fold Boom Pays Off Indoors for Georgia Pumper

General contractor Chris R. Sheridan & Co., Macon, GA and pumping contractor Cherokee Pumping Company, Stockbridge, GA, completed a challenging concrete project at the Boeing Aerospace facility in Macon in November 2002.

The facility is scheduled to house two new Brotje® Integrated Panel Assemby Cell (IPAC) Riveters. The riveters, the largest models in the world, will be used in the fabrication of fuselage panels for the C-17 Globemaster III, Boeing’s military transport aircraft. Sheridan was contracted to design and construct the foundations needed to support these massive machines.

Sheridan, a general contracting, construction management and design-build business since 1947, has a 12-year client-contractor relationship with industry giant Boeing. From the beginning, Tom Rogers, a representative for Sheridan, understood this particular project would be a challenge.

The coordination of a 505-cubic yard indoor monolithic slab pour, one of the largest in the contractor’s history, was a real test. “From the beginning, it was a coordination nightmare,” said Rogers. “The manufacturer couldn’t afford to shut down production while we completed this job for them. We had a schedule to keep, and we had to figure out how to finish our work without disrupting theirs.”

Sheridan contracted Cherokee Pumping Company and used its own placing and finishing crew to complete the 505-cubic yard monolithic mat pour inside the building. “We scheduled the pour on a Saturday when production at that particular facility was minimal,” said Rogers, “That allowed us to drive right up inside the enclosed building and position the pump right next to the pour.”

A restricted ceiling and entry height posed a challenge for Cherokee’s truck-mounted concrete pump and ready mix trucks from LaFarge Ready Mix, Macon, GA. Space for the concrete pump was tight. The X-Style outriggers set up in an economical 19.75 by 24.5-feet. With a low unfolding height of 25 feet, 4 inches, the 4-section roll-and-fold boom cleared ceiling beams and pumped the project in 5 ½ hours.

Cherokee Pumping owner Wayne Bylsma says he compared the advantages of utilizing the Schwing roll-and-fold boom versus the Z-boom. “The ceiling height was obviously a factor, but Z-booms aren’t the only way to go. After all, roll and fold and Z-booms have the same unfolding height. When beams and electrical components in the ceiling need to be avoided, the 32-meter Schwing did the job with no hassles. Plus with the Roll and Fold design we didn’t have to reconfigure the boom to prime it. That would have been a problem for a Z-boom in these tight conditions.”

Equipped with the patented Schwing Rock Valve™ and a Generation III pump kit, the 32 maintained smooth, strong concrete output throughout the pour. Low noise levels of these features were also valuable in the facility while Boeing employees continued to work.

According to Chuck E. Smith, Senior Sales Manager with LaFarge Ready Mix in Macon, GA, ready-mix design was also a special consideration. At around 4,000 psi, super-plastisizer was added to create a workable mix for finishers. “We had about a 45-minute window, and then it slumped tight,” said Smith.

Trucks made round trips to and from two of LaFarge’s nine area ready mix plants for reloading. “It was really convenient,” said Smith, “The Boeing plant just happened to be smack dab in the middle of the two sites. We had 15 trucks making relatively short trips.”

The final concrete foundations are two mass slabs. Each slab is supported by 44 cassions in a pit measuring 43 feet wide, 80 feet long, and 15 feet deep. More than 35,000 pounds of reinforcing steel and 505 cubic yards of concrete, are incorporated into the two foundations.

With the Boeing project behind him, Bylsma has a true appreciation for Schwing booms. Cherokee bid for another project in December 2002, a 5-month series of indoor pours at the Honda manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Alabama. Project owners required big output numbers over an extended period. With a 25-foot ceiling height, bidding contractors had to come prepared with the most versatile equipment that could adapt to the job.

Job specs prompted Bylsma and company to purchase a brand new Schwing S 31 HT the same month. The small 20’5” by 24’5” footprint and maneuverability provided an important advantage on the tight job site and convenient relocation. Offering the project owners the versatile 5-section telescopic boom with an unfolding height of 18’8” was instrumental in Cherokee being awarded the job.

The project began February 5th, and Bylsma estimates that the 31-meter will pump 7,000 yards per month over a 5-month period. “It was the only way to go for this particular job,” said Bylsma, “This is the only model that could complete those numbers and work under these conditions. It was a great investment.”

The investment was such a good one that Bylsma has plans to purchase his second S 31 HT in the next few months. “Everyone knows we have this unique boom and they want it. It’s not just an indoor pump. The 31-meter allows me to set up outside of buildings and telescope right in to finish a pour precisely where it’s needed without adding slickline. It’s also a great piece of equipment for house foundations. For a pumping contractor, versatility is priceless.”