Steve Lode, President of National Ready Mix, says the new “mega-plant” has a number of unique capabilities to keep up with the city’s vertical growth. “We can handle and store up to 10 different cementitious materials in separate silos and batch them at full production,” says Lode.
“Having the ability to combine up to five different cementitious materials into any one mix is possible, and though it seems pretty far-reaching in today’s market, mixes containing three and even four cementitious products are already being tested in our laboratory.”
Chris Heilmann, Vice President of Sales for National Cement of California, notes such technological advancements continue to bring concrete’s advantages to new heights. “Ready mix concrete in our market is no longer some universal commodity that can be delivered in the same manner by all producers and all of the batch plants of yesteryear,” says Heilmann.
“Codes from The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) have seen revisions in recent years requiring significant advancements in our product, boosting the performance and strength of cast-in-place concrete in these structures. The code and current specifications we're seeing require a combination of materials, not always local, and a batching facility that has the capacity to stock these materials to meet new specifications.”
LA’s shift from its longtime car culture is attributed to the tech-savvy millennial generation who shun car ownership, prefer to live close to work, and fully enjoy an urban lifestyle. Developers are responding to this trend with various mixed-use projects combining residential, retail and office with walkable public spaces. By some estimates, there are over 22,000 DTLA residences being built or planned.
Heilmann notes that modern buildings, particularly those under construction in downtown LA, require everything from mass mat foundations to high-production deck cycles. It’s also not unusual to expect simultaneous delivery of multi high-tech, high-spec strength concrete mix designs.
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Company recently debuted its flagship Vernon, California operation, positioned just minutes from downtown LA. “The location of the plant is right where all the major building activity is going on in the Los Angeles area,” says Steve Wise, President of National Cement of California. “We can hit obviously, downtown LA and then some of the areas around LA; Korea Town, East Hollywood, all the areas where you see a lot of building going on. The high production capacity of the plant will allow us to do very large projects in the downtown and central areas of LA County. That's what we're most excited about.”
Custom-built for high production, the all-new twin batch plant is capable of producing 400+ yards of concrete an hour.
“That extremely high rate of production is particularly important to meet delivery requirements for downtown projects,” says Heilmann.
“Our customers are expected to safely perform and deliver under unprecedented project schedules so they need a ready mix partner that has the production capacity to meet their demanding schedules.”
“This new plant can batch at high production, full blown capacity with a variety of different materials,” Lode says. “That means we have the ability to batch one-off specialty aggregate, specialty cementitious materials without having to shut down, drain bins, and bring in new materials.”
One of those unique specialty aggregates is Orca Rock, an imported material with a higher specific gravity that comes out of British Columbia. Since 2007, this high-quality aggregate has rapidly gained acceptance for infrastructure projects across California. Engineers like the hard, dense material for its uniformity and its average 2.88 specific gravity.
“It’s a higher quality of aggregate that is not available locally,” says Heilmann. “The local aggregates cannot compete with this material and meet the performance standards we need to provide the city of Los Angeles. Its imported into Southern California and we are stocking it at the new plant,” says Heilmann.
Buildings for the downtown market are designed around strict Modulus of Elasticity construction requirements that add additional complexity to a project. “This has really increased over the last couple of years,” says Lode. “With the import aggregates that are now available in the market, we have the opportunity to reach these higher MOE targets the same time we're batching our standard or traditional concrete mixes.”
The ability to simultaneously batch both standard and specialty mixes provides National Ready Mix unmatched flexibility and versatility. Lode notes the Vernon plant can house and batch ten different materials at any one given time. “We have the ability to switch from a specialty aggregate to what we would call our daily driver, run of the mill aggregates and continue to batch the 6,000 PSI side by side with 15, 18, 20,000 psi concrete and not miss a beat.”
In addition to highly specialized mix designs, the Vernon facility is also able to handle different types of architectural concrete.
“Each designer has their own different taste or their own flavor of what they're looking for in architectural concrete,” says Lode. “It can be an exposed aggregate look, it could be a lighter concrete look, it could be a darker concrete look. The benefit that we have at this facility is utilization of various different cementitious materials and aggregates, to meet that customer's needs or specifications,” he says.
“This plant is a huge investment in the growth and modernization of the city of Los Angeles,” says Heilmann. “The new Vernon plant is going to enable us to perform at levels that have been unheard of up to this point. This is a game changer.”
To order concrete from the Vernon plant please call: (323) 923-4466. For further information and to request a quote to deliver to your project, please contact your National Ready Mix sales representative or call 626-358-9690 ext. 101.