Concrete pumping was created in France at the beginning of the 60s for manufacturers of ready-mix concrete (BPE). The advantages of such a technique are many ; speed of operation, access to difficult areas, quality of materials, etc.
In the last ten years or so, the volumes of pumped concrete have increased considerably, due to the fact that two strong trends require recourse to this technique :
the ever-increasing use of poured concrete, especially on civil engineering sites (TGV, metro, motorways etc),
the development of new concretes, self-levelling concrete (for the pouring of horizontal units) or self-placing (for vertical elements), light concrete, etc.
Concrete pumps are made up of a hopper (either a square or a rectangular tank), and a pumping and piping system.
There are two types : rotation pumps (also called "compressed tube" type) for short pumping and piston models for larger pumping operations.
The pipes are operated mechanically, along an extendable arm, over a length which can be up to 60 metres ! this system of flexible pipes is called a "boom" and it’s pumping rate can be from 60 to 120 m3 of concrete per hour.
Concrete pumps are sometimes fixed onto ready-mix concrete lorries, at the mixing tank outlet, or situated separately on a site.
The French fleet is currently estimated at around 600 machines.