Ready-mix

Why use concrete sensors as a concrete ready-mix supplier?

Thomas Concrete Group Uses Maturix

Is getting harder to retain clients and differentiate

Nowadays, many ready-mix suppliers are having a difficult time differentiating themselves in the market. Many experience that their clients start buying from another supplier almost from one day to the other. Even if the concrete product is of excellent quality and you deliver the concrete on time, this might not be enough to retain a customer in the long term.

Can concrete sensors offer a competitive edge?

Providing wireless concrete sensors like Maturix enables you to offer additional technical services on top of your concrete supplies. This offering can add an additional revenue for you or act as a market differentiation, where you can become the technical leader in your market.

Using wireless sensors in the concrete enables real-time data monitoring of concrete temperature, maturity and strength. All data is sent directly from the device to the cloud, so it is available online for both the client (often the contractor) and your internal concrete managers if relevant.

Benefits of using concrete sensors
as a concrete
ready-mix supplier

The Maturix system

The Maturix system is a solution for intelligent temperature and strength monitoring in concrete. The system enables you to see the temperature and strength development in real time from any device. This gives you the opportunity to know exactly what is happening inside your concrete and how fast your concrete is curing.

The Maturix system consists of one or multiple transmitters, sensor/s and an online platform. Sometimes, a Sigfox gateway can be added to the system to improve the network coverage. We offer two different online platforms, Maturix In-situ, for in-situ castings and Maturix Precast, for precast factories. You can see a diagram of the full system below:

How does it work?

The Maturix system offers a fast and simple installation once the online platform has been set up and you have a maturity calibration (only relevant for strength monitoring).

Online platform

1. Set up your project in the online platform

Keeping up the speed

2. Install the thermocouple

3. Connect the transmitter

4. Pour the concrete

5. Get results in real time

Who is already using Maturix?

There are many Ready-mix suppliers that are already benefiting from using the Maturix system. One of them is Holcim Mexico. We met them some years ago, when they wanted to differentiate themselves from the competition and provide added value to their customers. After considering what was the best offering for their clients, they chose to combine the Maturix transmitter and sensor with their digital service program called I-concrete. Watch the video below to hear about their experience:

How can your customers benefit from the sensor data?

The customers that benefit the most from using the system are general contractors. They are many gains to make and these can be classified into two broad categories:

1) Process and time benefits (Main gain to site managers)

1. Keeping up to speed

The sensors will provide real-time data of the current state of the curing as well as help them to predict future temperature and strength development. In this way, they can plan ahead of your casting to know exactly where you are in the casting.

2. Automatic reporting

We call it documentation as you build. This means, even on ongoing monitoring, it is possible to download nicely looking premade PDF documents containing all information you need. It is even possible to adjust the components that they want in the report. 

3. Eliminate time and cost of cube testing

Most of the time, the number of samples (also known as specimens) can be reduced to determine the current stage of the concrete casting. The use of a Maturix sensor allows for continuous real-time strength data using a reliable and validated method.

2) Quality and compliance benefits (Main gain to concrete managers)

1. Monitoring of temperature variations in cross sections

Embedding a Maturix sensor in both core and surface enables real-time monitoring and SMS-alerts on concrete temperature. In Maturix, you can view as many sensors you like on the same chart and set alerts across them.

2. Avoid cubes or cylinders with errors

A common challenge is to understand the temperature (and thereby the curing speed) between the casted specimens, stored either on the job site or in a lab, and the in-place strength. 

But by embedding concrete sensors clients have the ability to easily view and keep control of this. The automatic maturity calculations provide the ability to compare specimens and in-place concrete strength even if they are exposed to different temperatures.

3. Make castings in cold weather easy

Castings in either hot or cold weather will always be a challenge. Cold weather concrete castings mean very slow curing concrete. As an example, if the in-place concrete is only 0C, then the maturity gained over 28 calendar days is only 4.2 maturity days (days at 20C). 

Managing such temperatures is extremely difficult, but sensors do help to show reliable data under these conditions.

How can you benefit from reselling the sensors?

Get valuable insights about your concrete

Reselling the Maturix sensors to the job sites is not just a gain to the contractor, but it could also benefit you. The data could be used for internal learning of how your concrete mixes cure under various conditions. 

As mentioned, the Maturix sensors provide data from the in-place concrete casted on job sites. All reports are done automatically and also included a weather data report. Clients also have the opportunity to add our Orbit 3 climate sensor to monitor ambient temperature and humidity.

Gaining concrete curing learnings with sensors enables:

1) Help to improve and develop new concrete mixes

The sensors will provide real-time data of the current state of the curing as well as help them to predict future temperature and strength development. In this way, they can plan ahead of your casting to know exactly where you are in the casting.

2) Understanding the impact of concrete admixtures

We call it documentation as you build. This means, even on ongoing monitoring, it is possible to download nicely looking premade PDF documents containing all information you need. It is even possible to adjust the components that they want in the report. 

3) Improved answers to contractors on expected curing and drying time

Most of the time, the number of samples (also known as specimens) can be reduced to determine the current stage of the concrete casting. The use of a Maturix sensor allows for continuous real-time strength data using a reliable and validated method.

There is, in other words, plenty of opportunities in keeping track of many parameters on the job sites and automatically. Everything is done easily, remotely and independent of people involved in the monitoring and reporting of data – how easy is that?

Get the most out of green concretes

One of the new big concrete trends globally is the new green concrete with a low (at least lower) carbon footprint compared to traditionally used concrete. Some of these new concrete mixes substitute part of the limestone or calcium silicate, present in normal concrete, with clay products. 

The new types of concrete often face the challenges of:

  1. Brown-ish coloring
  2. Reduced heat development

 

The brown-ish color is often “just” an architectural/design challenge, while the reduced internal heat development from the hydration will have a significant impact on the curing process. The reduced heating can be an advantage on very big and thick castings, where you often use retarders and cooling to avoid high maximum and high-temperature variations in the cross-section. 

But the low heat development can also be a challenge on most castings where you need to achieve a certain early strength fast. Therefore, it is crucial to keep track of the temperature (and thereby the curing stage) of the concrete by using sensors when using or developing these new low carbon concrete types.

Digitize your concrete lab with sensors

The sensors are not just for clients, but the concrete lab at your different plants can also take advantage of using sensors in their daily work.

Here are 3 examples of how we have seen our sensors in use in a lab:

1) Keep track of maturity on specimens

Adding maturity sensors in the concrete cubes/cylinders enables you to track the age of the concrete.

2) SMS alarms on high water bath temperature

Both concrete labs in ready-mix plants can benefit from a simple installation of a temperature sensor with continuous information placed in the water bath. Then, the temperature can be monitored in a simple way. Temperature alarm limits can be customized (for example lower limit in 18C and upper limit on 22C) with SMS alerts in case the temperature crosses one of the limits.

3) Compliance for climate monitoring

In some countries, the standards require that the climate inside a concrete lab around the compression test machine is monitored. A simple way to fulfill this requirement is to use the Orbit 3 to have continuous climate monitoring. All data can be downloaded as a PDF or Excel if needed.

How to resell the concrete sensors as a concrete ready-mix supplier?

When reselling wireless concrete sensors as a ready-mix supplier, we typically see three alternative business models in play. And we’ve noticed that they’re all working well!

1. Renting to the contractor (Most used)

The renting model is the most used model by our partners. A ready-mix partner purchases the hardware from us + pays a low monthly subscription. Then, the hardware is rented out on either a daily or monthly basis. The cost of running the Maturix solution often is around the same price that you would pay to perform break tests during 1-3 days.

2. Hardware sale + monthly subscription

A second option is a cost-plus model, where the same business model is extended with a profit margin towards the contractor.

3. Added price per m3 concrete supplied

A third option is to add the cost to the client as a variable cost, for example, depending on the amount of concrete supplied on the job site. This model nicely adjusts the cost/benefits for the client, as the client who uses the most concrete often obtains the most benefit, and thus has the highest cost.

How to become a
Maturix partner?

We are already working with ready-mix partners globally and have built the platform that will satisfy your needs.

If you are interested in knowing more about this opportunity, fill out this form and we will share an introduction presentation with you. In the intro-email, you will have the opportunity to book a demo call, to see the solution in action.