Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Well our Christmas cards have all gone out and we're just about ready to head off on our short winter break and begin the promised festivities! Have a wonderful Christmas and we'll see you in the new year!

Friday, 9 December 2016

My Lovely Mug

This morning we were the proud recipients of our new promotional coffee mugs! We have been drinking our hot beverages out of some very nice mugs (at the back here) up until now, its just that we though it would be nice to add a little humour and brightness to the experience. And so voilĂ  - here they are!

The idea was two concrete pumps, a mobile pump and a static, pumping concrete round the mug endlessly and obliviously into each other's hoppers. The picture was cleverly executed by the chap who does our Christmas cards (we've been busy sorting those out too...) and the mug people even managed to make the image wrap all the way round going through the handle. Good work!

So now we have our new mugs, if that isn't a good excuse to visit Schwing Stetter for a nice new concrete pump I don't know what is!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Surprise Date

Our 2017 calendars have arrived from Germany and guess who's got the January spot? The opening picture is the one I took up at Merseylink of the three Reilly's pumps at dawn!

I knew they were putting my picture in there somewhere but it's nice to open the calendar and actually see it 'in the flesh' as it were. Nice also to realise that my 'work' will be hanging on thousands of walls around the world, if only for a month!

They have cropped the original a little differently to how I did (see mine below) - basically because theirs needs to fit into a square rather than a rectangle - I've think they've done it just fine though.

Happy January everyone (when it comes...)

Thursday, 29 September 2016

New Platform

As we constantly strive for better ways to do things and increase our productivity, it was decided to make use of a whole lot of unused space a few metres above the floor in the back corner a create another mezzanine floor.

Robs design and workmanship once again came to the fore to build everything needed and over the last few weeks the whole thing was build and assembled from scratch. He was even able to tell me how weight each step was able to hold. Such a talented team we have...
The space to fill

Rob assembling the staircase

First part of steel structure in place

Structure taking shape

Flooring down

The view from the new platform

All finished

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Old Pictures

When a firm has been going as long as this, you never know what you might find lurking around the place. Yesterday, while sorting something in one corner of the workshop I suddenly noticed three pictures propped up by a pipe again the wall.

My first thought was that they were paintings; the years of grime mixed with the slightly surreal colours of old images combined to remind me for a moment of some of my dad's old paintings in his workshop. A couple of seconds and a slightly closer inspection revealed them instead however to be photos of some of our pumps.

What I found really intriguing was the last one (at the bottom here). It was obviously a very old style pump. Scott (our chief engineer) vaguely recognised it as one of our old Screed pumps from the 1980s - possibly from before Schwing and Stetter had joined forces or Schwing had patented the Rock Valve (both happened in 1982).

Scott also mentioned that one of our long serving old employees, Jack, features in the one in front of Tower Bridge (click of the image to enlarge it).

A few minutes with a damp cloth and some paper towel managed to remove most of the dirt from the pictures and so I was able to get the shots of them here on the right before placing them back where I had found them, albeit a little cleaner and brighter.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Safe Slewing

A few days ago I gave Scott, our chief engineer a lift down to the docks to pick up a new mobile pump - just rolled off the ferry from Germany. However beforehand there was a client nearby who needed a quick problem solved.

They were about to start using an SPB32 separate placing boom to place the concrete on a new development which was quite close to some high voltage power lines. Of course any metal (or earthed object) getting too close to these things is inviting serious trouble so they wanted us to restrict the slewing angle so the boom couldn't get too close to the lines.

We climbed up the tower and Scott set to work and programmed the necessary restrictions and had tested the results in what was probably less than half an hour while I took a few shots from the platform.

It was interesting to see an example of the variety of things our engineers are asked to do. It was also interesting (and quite affirming) to see how quickly and easily a Schwing Separate Placing Boom can be adjusted in this way.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Promotional Film

Over at our German HQ, our opposite numbers have put together a rather good promotional video which they have playing in their reception area. They have been kind enough to forward me the file for this - so here it is for your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Animated Ability

The people at our Head Office in Germany have been busy of late. Alwyne, one of our very good sales chaps came back from Bauma with a memory stick for me with some really good animations which the Germans had put together. They show the new S 38 SX 'Reptor' boom opening and reaching into some really tight spots.

One of this blogs most popular posts has been the one showing the S 36 S reaching into the workshop space. These animations show how the new Reptor (as in Reptile - Snake like flexibility...) can reach into a difficult space in a similar manner, and also shows it opening up under a restricted height (7.4 metres since you ask).

I have put them both on a new web page on out website. You can also see them below...

Monday, 9 May 2016

Boom Up Stairs

As regular readers will know, we have been doing some renovations here at Schwing Stetter HQ in Perivale. And this has left us with some spaces to fill in terms of brightening up the place. The stairwell was one such place and I was asked to produce a connected series of 5 shots of a new S 52 SX and its boom to fill the void above a sections of the stairs.

Creating such a series was as interesting challenge as it's not a just a quick photo cut up and stuck on the wall.

A second visit to the S 52 SX at Merseylink was organised (thanks to Paul and Mark at Reilly's) which was luckily a short pour so the pump operator had the time afterwards to raise the boom to the right angle to get the shots. I wanted the angle to roughly match the angle of the stairs so it could reach from the lower left corner of the space to the upper right one.

Finding a spot to take the shots from wasn't easy given the fence in front of the truck but I tried from a few different places and came away with a few sets of five shots that were usable. I needed five separate shots as a single shot would not have been a high enough resolution for large canvasses like this. The actual shots overlapped by quite a lot and I needed to find the ideal size to crop them down to so that they were small enough not to overlap each other too much, whilst being big enough to get a decent shot of the truck mounted pump itself in the bottom left image. There was also the issues of ensuing the colours and exposures matched properly - Photoshop is a very useful tool...

There is actually a bit of overlap there on the finished canvasses - making the boom look a little longer compared to the size of the truck, but for a boom that can reach the other end of an Olympic sized swimming pool anyway, the exaggeration is quite small - the S 52 SX really is an impressive piece of equipment.

A few calculations were required to get them in their correct positions on the wall with the whole display centred properly but I think people would agree that the finished display was worth the effort.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Linked T-Shirt

Part of my job is to design and procure promotional clothing like the branded caps t-shirts and polo shirts that we wear and (occasionally!) give out to clients... Sometime the designs are my own ideas and sometimes the ideas comes from Hughie (the MD) or even one of the staff.

For this one above (a one off exclusive run for Bauma) Hughie wanted to include a bar code and (at my suggestion) a QR code that could actually be read. And so here it is - a t-shirt that connects you to the internet!

The link is of course a page on our website specifically for people who have spotted someone wearing one of these cool puppies...

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Linked Images

A short while ago I wrote a post about the first new generation Schwing S 52 SX Mobile pump in the UK. The machine promptly went up to its new owners - Reilly Concrete Pumping in St Helens and after a quick showing at the UK Concrete Show, was out working almost straight away.

One of its first jobs was working on the new Mersey Gateway Bridge project which offered an excellent opportunity to go and take some photos of the new machine at work. The S 52 SX was one of three Schwing pumps on site. The other two were both Schwing S 43 SX machines and between the three of them provided some wonderful photographic scenes (as well as getting the bridge built).

Below is a selection of the photos I took on site (click on an image to enlarge it):

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Surrounded By Work

How many times have you learned about something new that you'd never noticed before and all of a sudden you see examples of it everywhere you look?

Early last year I considered the fact that when learning how something is done, we often find we didn't even realise there was a problem needing this solution prior to finding out about it. I had not really previously considered how concrete reached the top of high rise buildings before finding out that we can pump it with specialised Schwing machines.

I suppose partially related to this is that once you are aware of a 'new' technology, suddenly you start seeing it all over the place.

It is probably just a random cluster but I have recently noticed a lot of concrete pumping equipment about the place as a drive about London on various errands. I will often find myself trying to identify the model of concrete pump or placing boom and see which company is responsible for it. Over the last week or so I have whizzed past a Camfauds mobile pump (I think is was an S 28 X) working on a site very close to my home, a Byrne Brothers Separate Placing boom near the city (pictured left and identified by our chief engineer as an old 3 section, 27 metre Schwing boom - still going strong), a mobile pump in Putney, one or two Concrete Mixer trucks bearing the Schwing Stetter name and a couple of our mobile pumps being driven to or from site as I have travelled around. I do try to get a picture if my camera is to hand and I'm walking or it's safe and convenient to stop. I took the picture above of a Schwing SPB 30 Separate Placing Boom a short while back when visiting the Isle Of Dogs. I hope this isn't all a sign of impending madness...

Friday, 26 February 2016

Recycled Investment

I was very pleased a couple of days back to go and visit a site in East London where the company MixIt have just installed a new Stetter Concrete Recycler.

The new site is on the Thames just East of London City airport and they produce a lot of fresh concrete at their new facility there.

Jim Taylor who owns the business saw the value many years ago in recycling the leftover unused concrete because it gives him free aggregates and water to use in fresh batches that he would otherwise have to pay for.

It also saves him from having to pay to send all that unused concrete to landfill, which, leading to less landfill is also positive thing for the local community and environment as a whole.

It was interesting seeing it all working together, and in conjunction with a silt press machine for further cleaning of the recycled water.

Normally extra cement would need to be added to fresh batches where recycled water collected in this way was being used but not here. Jim added a silt press machine to clean the water to the point that it can be used just as fresh water in new batches.

The reclaimed aggregates add up to several tons per day and while not a lot in the grand scheme of things, that is money still saved. In fact Jim, who has another similar set up at a different location said that the whole system at the other location, including the silt press paid for itself in six months.

Having the recycling system also allowed the company to gain it's ISO 14001 certificate which is quite good for landing certain jobs where the end client is concerned about environmental impacts.

All in all it seems that MixIt's investment in a Stetter Recycling system is paying serious dividends.

Friday, 19 February 2016

A Day To View

Paul Reilly, Brendan Reilly, Neil Coupe, Mark Reilly
The UK Concrete show has once again come and gone and once again I popped on up to the NEC in Birmingham to see what the great and the good of country's concrete industry wanted me to know all about.

Like last year's it didn't appear to be exceptionally busy but I did manage to speak to a few people I knew which I enjoyed.

The top team from Reilly Concrete pumping who recently bought an S 52 SX mobile pump from us were all there as was Neil, our Financial Director so we took the opportunity to get the photo at the top of Neil with Paul, Brendan and Mark Reilly in front of the new S 52 SX which they thoughtfully brought along with them to display.

It was heartening to see that Camfauds had also brought along a Schwing mobile pump which they had proudly on display. Their's was a new S20 machine.

I also got to see Utiform's new VH2 machine which I hear is already quite popular, so all in all, when added to general look round at what's going on in the industry, a day well spent.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A Big Machine

A couple of days ago a very large box arrived which took our engineers several hours to open... Well actually that's not quite it, but we did take delivery of this, the first of the new generation Schwing S 52 SX mobile pumps which, had it come in a box (I'm not sure how it would have been transported) would certainly have taken a while to free from it's packaging.

One thing is certain though, and that's that this is indeed a big machine. Being able to pump concrete 52 metres into the air obviously requires a big machine. If you think about it 52 metres is actually a long way. It is more than the length of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

This machine is on it's way to Reilly Concrete Pumping based in St Helens, (between Liverpool and Manchester) and I hope to head up that way and get some shots of it once it's in action when I can.