For 70+ years, Huffcutt has been delivering quality precast concrete products to the industry. According to Operations Manager, Chuck Kroll, he believes that the most challenging aspect of producing concrete is consistency. Consistency not only as a measure of workability, but the ability to repeat the same finish ability and hardened concrete results time after time. Huffcutt commissioned a new state-of-the-art batch plant in 2020, in which they are producing architectural wall panels utilizing a carousel system, using Polarmatic as an integral element of the progress. The following are excerpts from his overall experience collaborating with Polarmatic.
Since Polarmatic’s headquarters are in Finland, we were curious about the means of communication with Huffcutt located in the USA. Kroll mentions that communication was mostly through e-mail due to the fact that it is not usual to have international calls from Huffcutt phones. However, seeing the importance of connection for proper support, he eventually added the service to his phone plan. There were minor complications with communication as the difference in time between the US and Finland is ample, but it certainly did not hinder progress. For example, Kroll continues, ‘I knew when I sent an email that I wouldn’t get a response until the next day.’ He feels that in order for any collaboration to work well and to ensure success of a project, one must ask questions — and a lot of it.
As for the preparation of the heating container’s arrival, Huffcutt manufactured the heating registers and the components to get them installed. When the aggregate bins were delivered, there was a short time frame to get the registers installed before the bins were set into place. Kroll states that once the bins were set in place, installing the registers would have been much more difficult, if not impossible. However, he does wish that they had cut the openings for the ‘steam’ lines to the registers while they were on the ground, but for Huffcutt, time did not allow for that. Throughout the project, there was coordination with HVAC, plumbing and electrical companies to get plans in order to complete the installation.
A challenge was getting everyone on board and on the same page, in which technical specifications mostly came from Polarmatic. Initially, this was a concern as Polarmatic was a new name to the contractors of Huffcutt, so it made describing the system a bit challenging. The success of the project is due to the fact that Huffcutt was hands-on throughout the entirety of the process. The communication with Polarmatic was constant which helped with smoother operations. As far as operating the system, there are only a few at Huffcutt who are knowledgeable about the structure. The most important item to learn is how much time is needed to heat the aggregates. At the beginning, Kroll states, there were concerns of missed information somewhere because of the copious amount of questions. In the end, there was no missed information. It was just a matter of reviewing the acquired information.
At Huffcutt, Kroll regrets, the Polarmatic system is not receiving the credit and attention that it deserves. “It’s kind of an unsung hero that is just doing its job in the background without anyone noticing it”, says Kroll.
We at Polarmatic hope that this continuum will shift into more of a focal point in the future. However, Kroll continues, there have been sincere concerns from the public as the receiving hopper is clearly visible from a few nearby streets. People have been asking if something is on fire and that there is smoke rolling out from the cover. What they are seeing is Polarmatic — hard at work.