Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping
Bruce Young has worked his way from being a concrete pump operator to CEO of Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping, the largest concrete pumping company in the world. While his job evolved significantly, one thing remained constant: The concrete pumps he worked with and purchased were almost always installed on Mack® trucks.
Throughout the concrete-pumping industry, approximately 86 percent of truck-mounted concrete pumps are paired with Mack chassis, and for good reason.
“Mack caters to the construction industry, and particularly to the concrete-pumping industry, better than other manufacturers,” Young says.
Uptime is a high priority in almost every transportation and vocational application, but its importance in the world of concrete pumping can’t be overstated.
Typical projects include high-rise buildings, stadiums and bridges, and Brundage-Bone takes on these projects and more in its commercial, infrastructure and residential markets. It has helped build major sports stadiums, including AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in Dallas, Pepsi Center in Denver, Sports Authority Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Broncos), Safeco Field (where the Seattle Mariners play) and CenturyLink Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks). Brundage-Bone has been instrumental in building many high-rise structures, including offices for Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle, Metropolis in Los Angeles and the Gaylord Hotel in Denver. It currently operates in 20 states and employs 750 people.
Ready-mix trucks pour concrete into the hopper of the pump (typically powered by the truck engine), which pushes it through a placement boom to the area where it’s needed, up to 210 feet away. In addition to solving the access problem, placing concrete with a pump is faster, safer and requires less labor, Young says. If a concrete pump fails or can’t make it to the jobsite as scheduled, the entire project and site plan is thrown into disarray.
“You could be on a jobsite with 20 ready-mix trucks waiting to deliver concrete to a pump,” says Travis Timmerman, a Mack vocational sales fleet manager who works primarily with the concrete-placement industry. “In that moment, it is absolutely crucial that the pump perform. If our truck breaks down, it can jeopardize the entire project. Our customers cannot afford to have a concrete pump break down in the middle of a pour, and that is why we have invested so heavily in uptime solutions tailored to the concrete-pump industry.”
This level of understanding is unique to Mack Trucks, Young says, and the company’s commitment to customer uptime is one of the main reasons Mack chassis comprise 99 percent of Brundage-Bone’s fleet of more than 500 vehicles. Brundage-Bone has tried other brands, Young says, and has always returned to Mack.
No other manufacturer has a dedicated service and support group for the concrete-pumping industry. A support hotline manned by professionals with extensive knowledge of the concrete-pumping industry and its equipment is available to customers 24 hours a day. Members of the support team have direct contact with concrete-pump manufacturers and installers, and dealer service centers. The concrete-pumping support line operates through Mack’s OneCall™ system, with cases involving concrete-pump trucks routed to the dedicated support group.
The team also is integrated with Mack’s GuardDog® Connect telematics network, which can detect issues and potential problems in all Mack trucks and instantly report them to support staff and repair centers — often before the operator even knows something’s wrong. “With our GuardDog Connect System, we’re constantly monitoring the truck’s health to proactively identify fault codes that could result in a downtime event,” Timmerman says. “Through the monitoring of these trucks, we are staying one step ahead of a potential issue, minimizing downtime and increasing our customer’s overall productivity.”
While the concrete-pumping support group, GuardDog and the OneCall system function on a national level, they share information and action plans with dealers throughout the country, creating a seamless experience for customers like Brundage-Bone that operate in multiple regions.
Brundage-Bone works with about 50 Mack dealerships, a situation that could require managers to spend a lot of time communicating needs, goals and warranty information, but Young says this isn’t necessary. Mack’s sales, support and maintenance programs for the concrete-pumping industry are managed nationally, with Mack keeping all its dealers on the same page.
“Mack corporate sets a program for us that sets standards for how we work with local dealers,” Young says. “Our industry really needs national programs so truck manufacturers can work with local dealers to make sure we’re taken care of. And that’s what Mack does better than anyone.”
Mack strives to deliver a consistent product to the concrete-pumping industry through its sales relationships and dedicated support staff, Timmerman says. “Also, anytime a truck is in a service shop, we have the same resources available to any dealer — large or small, West Coast or East, North or South. They’re getting the same direction and contact from our Uptime Center through the concrete-pump support group,” he says.
These cohesive programs are in place from the beginning of the vehicle lifecycle.
Mack’s national team works with Brundage-Bone and major concrete-pump manufacturers to custom design each truck. Most of Brundage-Bone’s 450 concrete-pumpers are Mack TerraPro® cabovers, a design that meets needs for compactness on the jobsite and maximizes pump-boom reach. Brundage-Bone specs the trucks with three- to seven-axle configurations, based on the weight of the concrete pump.
Because Brundage-Bone trucks move around the country as markets ebb and flow, all trucks are configured to meet the most stringent weight laws and to operate in the coldest climates, Young says. This allows them to work in every region.
“Our trucks are extremely heavy, up to 130,000 pounds,” Young says. “We need a manufacturer who will work with us to design trucks that will meet the demands of the construction site and also allow us to legally carry our loads on Interstates and highways.”
The company’s Eco-Pan business runs about 60 Mack Granite® flatbeds with knuckle booms. Mack worked with the company to engineer a truck that maximizes payload. “The more containers we can put on a truck per trip, the more efficient we are, so designing the truck for the maximum amount of containers is important to us,” Young says. “And it’s important that we comply with state and federal weight laws. It comes down to putting the right axles at the right places and spreading weight over longer lengths.”
Mack is working to design a truck that even better fits Eco-Pan’s needs. Brundage-Bone representatives recently visited Mack’s Lehigh Valley operations in Pennsylvania to test drive trucks with the new mDRIVE™ HD 14-speed transmission.
Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping started a concrete-recycling business called Eco-Pan in 2003. The company delivers containers for concrete waste to construction sites, then transports filled containers to recycling facilities where the material is turned into road base and backfill.
A slower reverse-speed gear would help Eco-Pan trucks move in and out of jobsites, and the mDRIVE HD provides that with its multispeed reverse gears. It also offers weight and cost savings compared to an automatic transmission, and an automated manual transmission would help the company recruit and retain drivers. “The mDRIVE HD gives you the functionality of an automatic transmission at a fraction of the cost,” Timmerman says.
Young says repair costs are lower as well, and Brundage-Bone plans to purchase more trucks with mDRIVE HD transmissions.
Brundage-Bone’s mission is to provide premium concrete-pumping services to its customers, and safety is the company’s top priority.
Young says Mack supports both areas. “Mack helps us fulfill our commitment in allowing us to have quality equipment that we get high utilization out of with minimal downtime,” he says.
In addition to building construction-duty trucks that meet weight requirements, Mack engineers its vehicles to have excellent braking power, turning radiuses and other safety features, Young continues. “In the construction industry, there’s always high awareness of safety on the jobsite, and we’re very aware of the hazards of driving up and down the road with heavy machinery,” he says.