What Is Volumetric Concrete & How Does a Volumetric Mixer Work?

For many people, working out what type of concrete is most suitable for a job can be confusing. There are many elements that need to be considered within a project when ordering concrete, from which type of concrete ready mix, volumetric to which mix, to even how much concrete will I need? The experts at Axtell Concrete help explain the benefits and explore the mixing process of one particular type – volumetric concrete.

What is Volumetric Concrete?

Volumetric concrete is, rather simply, concrete which is mixed by volume of material as opposed to weight. Specialist self-contained mixer trucks hold all the required ingredients and are typically used to mix the concrete on-site. In contrast, solutions such as ready mixed concrete are manufactured in a batch plant according to an exact recipe and then delivered to a work site.

What Are the Benefits to Using Volumetric Concrete?

Volumetric concrete comes with many advantages, especially when compared to traditional ready-mix solutions, such as:

  • Increased capacity
  • Reduced waste – making it easier to keep costs down
  • Flexibility
  • No time limitation to use the concrete after its arrival on-site

One large benefit of using volumetric concrete is the reduction in wastage. Since only the concrete that is needed will be mixed, excess costs can be avoided. Once it has been batched, traditional ready-mix concrete must be dispatched as it is, meaning any sudden changes in your project can create unnecessarily wasted concrete.

The flexibility in using volumetric concrete provides an undeniable benefit to the user. Due to the nature of volumetric concrete and its mixing process, concrete can not only be mixed on-site but the size and specification of a mix can be adapted and changed on the fly depending on a project’s requirements.

With volumetric concrete you will only ever need to pay for what you use. When using traditional ready-mix concrete, the required quantities are estimated and then mixed up, meaning that you may either have too much, causing wastage and overpayment, or too little meaning you must pay extra and wait for more, putting your project on hold. The use of volumetric concrete means you are able to eliminate the worry of over or under-ordering, since you’ll be able to receive the exact amount needed for the job at hand.

Having the ingredients for your concrete mixed onsite means you are reducing the risk of them setting before you have begun to even lay it, ensuring you’re always getting a fresh mix, and any inclement weather or change in plans can be accommodated for.

What Types of Projects Can Volumetric Concrete Be Used?

Volumetric concrete can be used on a variety of projects, however, despite its core advantages over traditional ready-mix concrete, both still have their place. Given the large capacity of the volumetric mixer truck, volumetric concrete is ideal for larger projects where the mixture can be scaled up further than other mixers may allow.

As is often the case with many projects, multiple mixtures each with different ratios may be required for different uses. Alongside this, any unforeseen changes or occurrences within the project which may affect the timeframe provide further evidence as to why volumetric concrete may be used.

Volumetric concrete is a popular choice for many domestic usages, such as for foundations, shed bases and even for driveway concrete. Commercial and industrial applications of volumetric concrete can be found throughout construction projects, basement foundations and even flooring. With its many previously discussed benefits such as reduced wastage and increased flexibility, it’s easy to see why the ingenuity of volumetric concrete makes it the optimal choice for projects of all sizes and requirements.

How Does the Volumetric Concrete Mixer Work?

With an understanding of what volumetric concrete is and the benefits it can provide to your project, it’s important to further recognise how volumetric mixers operate and how they differentiate to traditional drum mixers.

The volumetric concrete mixing process happens onboard a truck which carries all the necessary materials – cement, water, fibres, etc. Depending on the requirements of the project and the needed use for the concrete, the specifications are programmed into the mixer to create a solution there and then.

Axtell volumetric concrete supply truck and operator

The Differences Between Volumetric Concrete Mixers Compared to Traditional Drum Mixers

Compared to a traditional drum mixer, volumetric concrete mixers can facilitate a much larger capacity of concrete in them, often reaching over double the capacity of a drum-based mixer vehicle.

Drum concrete is mixed offsite, meaning it cannot be altered on the day. In comparison, volumetric mixers are able to offer greater flexibility with being able to mix onsite, meaning mixtures can be tailored and altered on the day depending on how much is required to complete the job.

This flexibility in how a volumetric mixer operates and only mixes what is needed also means that less wastage is created when compared with a drum mixer, where any unused concrete is wasted.

The Process of Volumetric Concrete

As previously mentioned, the volumetric mixer trucks contain all the necessary raw ingredients onboard. Depending on the project requirements, particular ratios are programmed into the mixer. Once the mixture has been created to the required specification, it is then poured or pumped from the truck into the desired location. During this process the exact volume of concrete used is being displayed on a screen, similar to a petrol pump, allowing you to know when the exact amount required has been reached and how much it costs.

Close-up of Axtell Volumetric Concrete supply delivery from truck

Volumetric Concrete Services with Axtell

With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Axtell are the only accredited supplier using Volumetric Concrete mixers in the region. With a state-of-the-art fleet of volumetric concrete mixers, we are able to provide a modern delivery method with quick and easy concrete pouring to commercial and domestic customers across Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire. Whether it’s a large construction project or a small DIY job, Axtell are equipped with an on-board system to mix just the right amount of concrete you’ll need, directly on site giving you the reassurance that you’ll never pay for more than you need again.

Explore our full range of concrete services and find out how our volumetric concrete services can meet your project requirements. Alternatively, visit our Concrete Calculator to find out which type of concrete we recommend for your project and how much you’ll need.

For more information, or to request a free quote, fill out the form below and a member of the Axtell team will be in touch.