Barnes Construction Solutions Enjoys Increased Efficiency & Concrete Quality By Adding Volumetric Mixers

A growing Tulsa, Okla. market demands concrete. That’s why Drake Barnes, owner/operator with Barnes Construction Solutions, opted to produce concrete within the business by adding Cemen Tech C Series mixers.

Tell us about your company and what you do.

We do excavation, utilities, concrete foundations, and paving. We’ve been in business for almost 12 years.

How much concrete do you guys use in a week or a month?

Right now, we pour a minimum 10,000 cubic yards a year. If you break that down between the seasons and whatnot, I’d say we probably average 300 yards to 400 yards a week.

How did you hear about volumetric mixers?

I can’t remember where I first heard about them, I may have seen them at the World of Concrete. But, it seems like there’s a local company that has some of the older Cemen Tech mixers. It’s always been something I’ve seen. Once our company grew to the point we could think and entertain the idea of purchasing one, it was immediate. I was interested and I wanted to do it. The big help was some of the other guys who were getting into the volumetric trucks. Hearing their testimonials is what made me pull the trigger as quick as I did, as quick as we could.

What was the business problem you were looking to solve with the volumetric mixer?

The biggest problem for us was the availability of concrete. Tulsa, Okla. is a pretty big market now, we can’t get concrete as quick as we used to. I used to be able to order concrete and get it there the next morning for a little 20, 30-yard pour. But nowadays, we’re ordering it a week, week and a half in advance, and that doesn’t work with the way construction is. There’s always issues, things pop up, so then we need to cancel our order, push it [back] and we get pushed a week.

So we decided to take that into our own hands and be able to provide ourselves concrete when we need it. Our next move would be to sell to the public that we’ve already started a few customer accounts and things like that. We’re providing for their needs which comes from the same issues we had, the availability of concrete, being able to get it when they need it.

What was the process like deciding to go with Cemen Tech?

It was very fast, very easy. Cemen Tech made it simple, their customer support is second to none. It’s probably the best I’ve ever purchased. I told my wife this was the best thing — I’ve bought a lot of things equipment-wise for our earthwork, track hoes, excavators, things like that — and never gotten exactly what we wanted out of them at first. And buying this truck was immediately more than I thought it could be and that was mind-blowing to me.

Did you then decide to put ACCU-POUR™ on the truck?

Yes, we have ACCU-POUR™, and we use it quite frequently. It’s a great system for scheduling, planning, tracking your materials, how much you’ve used, making sure your mixes are the correct mixes being poured on the correct project. ACCU-POUR™ is a great system. I couldn’t do it without ACCU-POUR™.

You’ve gotta have ACCU-POUR™. You can’t make a scheduling system better than ACCU-POUR™. For dispatching and scheduling all your concrete pours, it’s the way to go. 

Is there anything else you wanted to say about the unit or Cemen Tech?

The concrete quality we’re getting is so much better than what you get from your typical barrel mixer company and ready-mix companies just because of the temperatures. I think today it’s 95 degrees; we’ve got time limits on a lot of our projects, the concrete would time out, and you can’t time out with this truck. Your mix won’t go bad, you use what you need. Our yield is so much better, we’re not over-using, we’re not having it over-order to wait on order back. The truck’s there, it makes what we need, and moves on down the road to the next one.

Did you get the insulated water tank to keep the water from overheating?

Yes. With our truck, we added the color admixture system so we can put dry powder color, calculate the dosage rate, and we can pour colored concrete that’s consistent. That’s great for the smaller colored pours that you may have to buggy the concrete. This truck, you can pour 10 yards and it takes you four hours, so be it. With the barrel mixer trucks, we would have to split that up and probably have five two-yard trucks versus our truck sitting there for four hours. No delivery charges at that point; we’re just all-around a better and more efficient company by using the Cemen Tech volumetric mixer trucks.

What do your operators think about it?

Oh, they love it. Our truck driver, the one who drives our first unit, loves it. It’s a new opportunity for him, and he’s learned a lot. Then our concrete guys, our finishers, think our concrete is better than any other concrete supplier’s. It’s more finishable, it’s got more cement in it. It’s a better all-around mix, and we’re not fighting the temperatures because it’s produced fresh on site.

Do you feel the training curve isn’t tremendous for them?

The computer system and the truck make it so user-friendly. If you can use an iPhone nowadays, you can make concrete, and that’s the coolest thing.

Talk about the start-up process after your truck arrived.

The initial start-up with Tony Hood from Cemen Tech was the most informative. Tony understood that we added this truck to our existing business and operations were fast-paced. When we jumped in to start learning on this, Tony made it quick, fast, and easy to get us going. I’m sure there’s more we can learn along the way. But, he got us to a point where we could turn the truck into something that immediately starts helping us as a company and start turning a profit.

Barnes Construction Solutions: At A Glance

CUSTOMER PROFILE: Excavation, Utilities, Concrete Foundations & Paving
EQUIPMENT: Cemen Tech C Series