Permian Basin Materials, LLC (PB Materials) is located in Odessa, TX, managing 15 ready mix operations and over 20 aggregate locations. They have developed a footprint with strategically placed aggregate and ready mix facilities across West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. Their mission is to provide customers with high quality products and services, while maintaining corporate responsibility to staff, shareholders, and the communities they operate in.
PB Materials is a large player in West Texas with a heavy focus on “High Spec” commercial work. The space that they work in the most is a highly populated one due to the number of oil and gas companies that call the area their home. The population drives up the need for more/improved infrastructure, retail opportunities, churches, hospitals, schools, multi-family residential, as well as single-family homes.
Many of PB Materials’ competitors don’t have the sophistication to provide materials of higher specification. Therefore, PB Materials thrives on spec work and DOT work because they have the technical resources to offer higher quality products to those market segments.
One of the components of PB Materials’ success on the quality front is due to the partnership that they’ve established with Command Alkon. In the past, their salesmen were doing submittals by copying and editing submittals that were two years older for new jobs, and they had a poor system for tracking and creating mix design submittals for spec work. Once PB Materials implemented COMMANDqc, that way of doing things was eliminated.
The system allowed them to consistently deliver a quality products and make mass mix adjustments in minutes. Having access to information in one place helped them to create and deliver accurate and comprehensive submittals, reports, and analyses.
COMMANDqc did wonders from a quality standpoint..
...but there were still challenges. Working in the southern region in the ready mix business, they found that a big problem was the abuse of water addition – which often resulted in wasted time and sometimes wasted materials.
It wasn’t uncommon for it to take nearly an hour after a truck had been sent to a job before test data became available. Meanwhile, while six other loaded trucks were in transit, PB Materials would learn that the first truck that made it there was slightly beyond the targets.
“One of the things I really like about COMMANDassurance is that it forces us to manufacture concrete the right way. It requires involvement from the batch man, the drivers, and everybody doing everything right.”
- Brad Burke, Technical Services & Marketing Manager, Permian Basin Materials
COMMANDassurance is Command Alkon’s concrete telematics system. It provides real-time information on the concrete properties of a load and ensures that materials meet all quality requirements and specifications at the time of delivery by capturing real-time and historical data on the properties of concrete from the time of loading through placement. Slump, temperature, volume, drum rotation, homogeneity, water additions, and other data that summarizes the overall workability of the concrete in the drum is available in real time to all stake holders in a ready mix operation.
Sensor data provides visibility into the properties of the materials, ensuring quality and that job specifications are met while removing materials waste and saving time that would be wasted adjusting slump. Typical properties of the concrete mix can be analyzed and communicated for future orders. Visibility also allows for continuous improvement where the collected data brings meaningful information to the entire enterprise. The data collected from the probe is fed back into other Command Alkon systems for production, dispatch, quality control, and fleet management.
PB Materials primarily operates in dry batch plants, and the probe system allows them to actually measure the homogeneous nature of the mix until it achieves a “Fully Mixed” status.
They discovered that many of their trucks were in the yard 5-10 minutes after the “Fully Mixed” status was achieved. That 10 minutes of wasted time in the yard was something that was never measured in the past – but now, PB Materials is able to keep tabs on it. A mixed truck costs between $1.25 and $1.50 per minute, which equates to over a dollar a yard on a 10-yard load. That alone helps PB Materials pay for the system and leads to less adjustments on site. It also helps them to improve their trucks and their drivers.
“Not only does COMMANDassurance minimize our liability exposure on out-of-spec concrete, but it also makes a better product for the end user.”
- Brad Burke, Permian Basin Materials
The documentation that COMMANDassurance provides can be extremely beneficial. For example, PB Materials had a customer who had an issue about excessive cracking in a slab. The documents that COMMANDassurance delivered enabled PB Materials to go back and track how much water their customer’s crew was adding on the load that caused the cracking. PB Materials was able to avoid having to lower their price or give them a credit for the materials, and their customer had the knowledge that they needed to stop their crew from making such mistakes in the future. It also created a tremendous opportunity to increase sales of High Range Water Reducer, aka “Superplasticizer.”
“The problem with our industry? If we keep on doing what we always did, we'll always get what we always got. We need to challenge ourselves to use new technology like this as we move forward to make a better and a more informed industry in the future.”
- Brad Burke, Permian Basin Materials
We live in a world that constantly needs more. That will never change – as time goes on, this world will always need more. More hospitals, more homes, more schools, more facilities to accommodate the global human population growth – which amounts to around 83 million annually. Adopting new technology can seem scary, but at this rate, it’s a necessity. We’re grateful to work with leaders in the industry, like PB Materials, who spearhead this change. “Together, We Build Amazing,” and we are looking forward to that in the years to come.