Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Alchemy-Spetec Featured in Article on the Global Soil Conditioners Market

Posted by Diamond Purvis on Nov 17, 2017 2:15:34 PM

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soil-blog-1.pngPart of my job is keeping an eye out for Alchemy-Spetec mentions on the web. The other day I found this article on the global soil conditioners market, featuring our company alongside industry leaders such as BASF, Dow Chemical and Eastman Chemical.  The article was published on TechSciResearch.com. Here's an excerpt...

Global Soil Conditioners market, which stood at around USD4.90 billion in 2016 is projected to witness healthy growth at a CAGR of 8.16% to reach USD7.83 billion through 2026. The growth in the global soil conditioners market can be attributed to the broad array of applications in the agriculture as well as industrial sectors. 

Global Soil Conditioners market is controlled by these major players, namely– BASF SE (Germany), The Dow Chemical Company (US), Akzo Nobel N.V. (Netherlands), Evonik Industries AG (Germany), Solvay S.A. (Belgium), Croda International Plc (UK), Clariant International AG (Switzerland), Lambent Corp. (US), Adeka Corporation (Japan), Eastman Chemical Company (US), Syngenta AG (Switzerland), Novozymes A/S (Denmark), Vantage Specialty Chemicals, Inc. (US), Alchemy-Spetec (US) and Adama Agricultural Solutions Ltd. (Israel) among others.  Read more...

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Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment

Posted by Anthony Sandone on Nov 15, 2017 11:27:53 AM

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ppe- blog-3.pngPersonal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE”, is essential for minimizing hazards on the job.  Neglect can result in very serious injuries and possible death.  These injuries or illnesses can result from electrical, chemical, mechanical and many other hazards.

Personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, shields, protective shoes, hard hats, ear plugs and respirators are just some of the protective gear that is worn every day.  It is so important to know what to wear and when to wear it.  It's also very important to know is how to properly put on the safety equipment.  By law, workers must use protective equipment in the work place when it is required.

This brings me to a story about a on a project I was on many years ago.  I was training a new contractor's crew on sealing manhole leaks with polyurethane chemical grout.  When training work crews, I always put a heavy emphasis on safety.  Since we were working with polyurethane, I also made clear how important it is wear safety glasses or shields to cover your face.

A little later, when I was showing them how to mix the chemical grout, I absent-mindedly left my safety glasses on top of my head instead of pulled down over my eyes.  As I was pouring the chemical grout out of the 5 gallon pail and into a bucket - a tiny drop hit me in my left eye.  I was blind in that eye for two days.  I even thought I might end up losing sight in that eye. 

Fortunately I was fine a few days later.  But it was a very close call.  One I don't ever want to repeat.  This was all due to me forgetting to pull my safety glasses down over my face.  That is how quick it can happen!  So needless to say, it is important to follow safety procedures no matter what.  Accidents happen, but we want to follow every possible measure to prevent any tragic consequences.  

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Topics: Equipment & Accessories, All Posts

Case Study: Probe Grouting with AP Fill 700

Posted by Anthony Sandone on Nov 13, 2017 2:43:05 PM

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When it comes to soil stabilization and void filling, I get a lot of calls to help local contractors. Recently I was advising LJS Waterproofing on a structure that had issues with unstable floors. I instructed them to use the technique of probe grouting.

They inserted the grout pipes about 22 feet in the ground. Next, they began to pull the probes out of the ground while pumping about 2 gallons of AP Fill 700 every foot. This was done 5 times until they reached the 17 foot marker.

After the grouting was complete, the damaged floors were removed and replaced. This time around the floors should have a longer lifespan since they are supported by solid, stable soil.

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Topics: All Posts, Stabilize Soil

Pressure Imbalance Troubleshooting Tips for Slab Lifters

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 10, 2017 1:57:50 PM

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In this article, I'm providing in-depth technical tips for experienced polyurethane slab lifters. If you're new to slab lifting, you may want to start by browsing the Lift Slabs topic to find more basic articles on the subject. As always you can call us with any questions at 404-618-0438.

For the rest of you, let's take a look at some pressure imbalance troubleshooting tips. Making good foam is all about temperature and pressure.  Sometimes there are issues that cause a PMC Proportioner or a Graco Reactor to get off ratio on pressure.  Graco machines will throw an E24 code requiring you to go to the pump and pressure it back up again.  A PMC machine with pressure imbalance controls will also stop the machine and require a reset.  Sometimes this will happen once or twice when getting going in the morning and then the issue clears up.  Maybe the gun had a few particles in it that needed blasting out.  Other times, the pressure imbalance is persistent and you need to figure out what to do.

Consider what information you have.  When you do a test shot is the material dark in color or very clear in color.  With AP Lift products, the B side is always nearly clear and the A side is dark brown like coffee or tea.  If it is coming out clear, or very light, there is a restriction on the A side somewhere.  Inside the rig you should also see that the A side pressure gauge is reading well above the set pressure and the B side gauge will probably be reading very little pressure if any.  This means A is blocked and not getting into the mix.  The restriction is most commonly in the gun on the A side injector or A side check valve.  This will be your most common pressure imbalance situation; A side restriction due to the nature of the ISO chemical.  If the opposite situation occurs (A side flowing freely while B side is restricted) follow the same steps to check for restrictions inside the gun.  As always, wear safety glasses and gloves when checking and working around this equipment. Use proper depressurization steps of the system before performing gun cleaning or maintenance.

The gun restriction on the A side is most common for slab lifters.  If it’s not the gun, what else can be going on that may cause pressure imbalances.  I am not a master Graco or PMC technician so I always check the easiest stuff first.  

Here are a few quick items to check:

  1. pressure- blog.pngIs the air compressor running? Sometimes an electric air compressor will shut off and you can’t hear it over the noise of the generator.  Possibly a low oil indicator because the rig is on a slope or, it’s low on oil.
  2. Are the temperature settings at the machine correct? AP Lift foams have correct temp settings on the top of the B side drum.  For AP Lift 430 – it is A side 100F, B side 110F, and Hose Heat 105F
  3. Is the material in the drums too cold? We recommend keeping the A side and B side above 60F.  B side is much thicker than A side and if the material is too cold in the drums, the drum transfer pumps can’t effectively push the thicker material over to the reactor / proportioner.
  4. Are all the air lines connected to the transfer pumps?
  5. Are all the fluid valves open?
  6. If the gun was disassembled and put back together, were the check valves installed in the correct direction?
  7. Are the foot valves at the base of the transfer pumps sealing properly. If there is trash keeping the bottom check ball from sealing, it can cause a loss of pressure
  8. How about the hose heat and primary heaters? Are they still on?  PMC machines have a breaker on the hose heat transformer.  It trips every once in a while and you will lose hose heat and not know it until you start having imbalance issues.  Graco machines that throw an E24 code require the heaters to be turned back on by pushing the panel buttons.  If you forget then you will have pressure imbalance issues at the gun because the material thicknesses / viscosities will never be equalized.
  9. Check the wye strainers at the proportioner / reactor. This needs to be part of your weekly / monthly PM.  If you have imbalance issues and other steps do not reveal the issue, disconnect the air lines to the drum pumps, shut the fluid valves off, and remove the plug from beneath the wye strainer.  Have a small pail beneath to catch material; it will not be that much.  When you remove the plug a cylindrical screen will slide out.  If it is clogged with particals this could be the problem.  Clean with a small brush and solvent.
  10. This sounds obvious but make sure the valves on the proportioner / reactor are in the same direction. If one is in recirc mode and the other is in spray mode you will surely have an imbalance issue.
  11. Are the ¾” bungs on the drums (A and B) venting properly either by being open or via a desiccant cartridge.

If none of this resolves the issue it may be time to call technical support.  They are going to ask you if you have already checked the above listed steps so you might as well save time and check the items first.  Usually you will find the issue. 

A technician will ask you some more questions and perhaps ask you to send a short video clip of the machine gauges as it is pressuring up and as it is trying to spray.  This information is vital to figuring out the problem.  Maybe there is a restriction or blockage mid way through the hose.  Maybe the temperature sensing unit towards the end of the hose is not reading correctly and needs to be checked.  Worse case, maybe there is a restriction or small particles causing the main pump line assembly to lose pressure.

Give one of us here at Alchemy a call and we will try and walk you through some steps.  If we cannot figure it out, we can direct you to our technical experts with PMC and Graco that we work with weekly.

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Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Chemical Reaction - The Effects of Temperature

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 8, 2017 11:30:28 AM
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There have been studies done on the effects of temperature on reaction time and the results are conclusive and unsurprising.  Whether it is the human body and mind, a golf ball, or a chemical reaction, when the temperature is cold the reaction times drastically slow down.  If you inject polyurethane for a living, you know there are times when the weather is cold but that leak still has to get stopped or that slab has to get lifted.  Cold conditions are not that hard to overcome if you plan ahead.

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Our AP Lift series of slab lifting resins like to be kept above 60° F (16° C) in the drums.  Warmer is certainly better.  Most slab lifting rigs have insulated walls, etc.  And often a heater installed as well.  A good slab lifting rig will have a 110 V shore power outlet so you can plug it in and keep the heater running overnight.  By keeping the material warm, you will be able to efficiently pump the material from the drums to the proportioner / reactor.  If you allow the material in the drums to become cold, the resin side (B side) will not transfer fast enough and you will have pressure imbalance issues.  Keep the inside of your rig warm at night and avoid the headaches the next day.
 
For single component injection it is the same situation.  Single component resins are water reactive and in the winter you are most likely going to be fighting cold water.  Cold water will slow a reaction down so much that the resin will wash away from the leak before it has a chance to react.  This could be in a seawall or in a dam.  In fact a lot of polyurethane injection on dams is done in cold weather because the cracks open up and it's easier to inject. 

So how do you fight the cold?

  1. Keep the material warm - we consulted with one of our customers on a job in Canada last year and there was a giant void full of approx 45° F (7° C) water right behind a vault we were injecting.  We kept the AP Fill 700 in a hot van and pumped through insulated hoses.  
  2. Adjust the Catalyst - on the above project we used the fastest catalyst we have for our AP Fill 700.  With a 10% AP Cat 107 to resin ratio, the material reacted almost immediately and our customer was able to fill the void and push out the water.
  3. Inject further away from the leak - sometimes in a buried vault or pit, you may have to grout behind the structure to create a curtain wall effect.  If a joint, crack, or pipe penetration is leaking, and you have slow-reacting resin pushing through, you need to inject further away from the leaking area to give the material more time to react.  These polyurethane foams will find the leak.  Move further away and let the material do the work.
  4. Twin streaming - we have twin streamed polyurethane and warm water in some cold weather applications.  This gets the polyurethane reacting as it's being injected, rather than hitting cold water and having a shock to the temperature of the polyurethane.  Click here to read an entire blog article on twin streaming.
As always we welcome your questions or feedback.  I am from Atlanta so my idea of cold is much different than someone like Bill McGloin (Special Breaks) up in Connecticut.  Those contractors have many more tips for working in the cold.  Hit up our NE Regional Manager Anthony Sandone as well.  He can teach you how to inject in cold weather.  All that being said, I think I'll head to Florida. 

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Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs, Seal Leaks

AP Fill 700 – Polyurethane for Pipe Repair

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 6, 2017 2:17:13 PM

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How many times this year have we found ourselves saying "they need to try some 700"?  Too many to count.  Time and time again, the AP Fill 700 has stepped up to the plate when other products could not get the job done.  

culvert repair- social (2)-1.pngAP Fill 700 is a single component polyurethane injection resin that reacts when it comes into contact with water or moisture.  It can be premixed with a catalyst which will make the resin react as a foam to fill voids or shut off leaks.  It can also be injected without a catalyst as a pure permeation resin to stabilize soil.  

I thought it would be a good time to emphasize the versatility of this amazing polyurethane resin by highlighting one of its unique applications:

Void filling and water cutoff around buried culverts.  

Concrete pipes, boxes, and corrugated metal culverts are often used to help small creeks and streams transition underneath roadways and rail lines.  In times of heavy rain or just from years of the erosion process, water will find its way beneath the culverts and around the sides.  This causes undermining of the culvert and also erosion of the soils above.  Dips in rails and roadways can become evident as the undermining process occurs.  AP Fill 700 can fill these voids even in times of high water flow.  When mixed with AP Cat 107, the reaction time is barely seconds.  

Several times this year, pipe relining contractors were struggling with these culverts, trying to stop high water flow and fill voids with products that were too slow.  They reached out to us for help and we recommended the 700 with a 10% Cat 107 to resin ratio.  The results speak for themselves as we have won over many converts with this product.  The additional benefits of it being NSF / ANSI 61 approved and phthalate free only add to the appeal.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks

Schedule a Lunch and Learn with Alchemy-Spetec

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 3, 2017 3:48:52 PM

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Last year in Florida alone, I gave over 30 lunch and learn presentations on the subject of polyurethane as a method of filling voids and stabilizing soil behind bulkheads and seawalls.  These presentations were done at various engineering firms from the panhandle down to Miami.  Besides serving as an opportunity to feature polyurethane in a specific application, it is also a forum to explore other applications that may arise.  I can’t tell you how many times I would be discussing permeation of soils behind a seawall and an engineer would ask, “Hey could that be used in this other situation that I am dealing with?”  At the very least it is an opportunity to plant seeds for projects down the road. 

A lunch and learn is a training and development event that is scheduled during a lunch hour in a work day. This is a great way to give a presentation to engineers, municipalities, or contractors on the latest advancements in polyurethane technology for geotechnical and infrastructure repair applications.

Our lunch and learn presentations are designed to facilitate conversations about the benefits of using polyurethane technology on geotechnical, structural, and civil projects. We aim to be your go to partner and that includes bridging the gap about what tools to use, how to use them, when to use them, and how to market yourself in your field.

We schedule lunch and learns every month at various engineering firms, contractor offices, and municipalities. These sessions are a great way to meet our technical experts in person, ask questions, and even demo a product. And who can turn down a good lunch? We take care of that as well. 

After most presentations we will have contractors or engineers who show interest in our products. Many times we will have engineering consultants approach our team and ask for a private demo to specify our products for future projects.

Benefits of Attending a Lunch and Learn

  • Learn about the latest polyurethane technology and tools available.
  • Ask first hand questions and receive immediate feedback.
  • Networking opportunity and private demos available.
  • Complimentary lunch may be provided.
  • Sessions are usually kept under an hour

How Do I Get on the Schedule?

Contact us and we’ll have one of our regional managers reach out to set up an appointment.  Let us know the product line you are interested in, and any additional information about possible projects. We will formulate a presentation tailored to your needs. If a presentation on short notice is required, we can even have pizza delivered and give the presentation remotely via a screen sharing program.

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Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Shows to Catch in Vegas During World of Concrete

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Nov 1, 2017 2:02:42 PM

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Alchemy-Spetec will be at World of Concrete 2018 in Las Vegas. Be sure to visit us: Silver Lots - O40551. Click here for a discount on Exhibits-Only Admission.

While there's certainly lots to see and do at the concrete industry's premier trade convention, don't forget to check out some shows while you're there! To make it easy, we've done some research for you. Here's an overview of some of the best entertainment events in Vegas during World of Concrete.

Adam Sandler at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

January 27

Adam Sandler’s films have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide and include box office hits such as Grown Ups, Just Go With It, Bedtime Stories, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. In 2014, Sandler signed a deal with Netflix to produce and star in four original movies to premiere on the streaming channel. The first three films, The Ridiculous 6, The Do-Over and Sandy Wexler, are the most-watched movies on Netflix to date.

Click here for tickets and more info...

An Intimate Evening with Santana

January 24, January 26 - 28

He's one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and now you can see Carlos Santana up close. Rock out to an evening of greatest hits live when Santana returns to the Las Vegas House of Blues.

Click here for tickets and more info...

The Eddie Griffin Experience

January 22 - 24
 
This Vegas-based comedian has tons of jokes up his sleeve – if you haven't seen him in the popular sitcom "Malcolm & Eddie," and movies like "Deuce Bigalow" and "Undercover Brother," we highly suggest you get on board! His Vegas show goes to the next level. Laugh non-stop at his outlook on pop culture and everyday life.

Click here for tickets and more info...

Beatleshow Orchestra

January 22, 23, 25, 27

Beatleshow Orchestra takes everything you love about the Beatles and presents it just as if the four lads John, Paul, George and Ringo were on stage together again. From Beatlemania all the way up to the White Album, you will hear all the hits LIVE. No lip-syncers in costumes and no recorded conversations. Just live Beatles music. You will not find a more authentic Beatles concert experience in Vegas or anywhere else!

Click here for tickets and more info...

All Shook Up: A Tribute to the King

January 21 - 27

Elvis is definitely in the building — every night to be exact. If you love the King, you’ll love the only All-Elvis show on The Strip, featuring hits that made him the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. 

Click here for more info...

Blue Man Group

January 21 - 27

Blue Man Group will rock your world. Blow your mind. And unleash your spirit. Leave your expectations at the door and let three bald and blue men take you on a spectacular journey bursting with music, laughter and surprises. Electrify your night at the specially designed state-of-the-art Blue Man Theater at Luxor Hotel and Casino. 35 million people of all ages, languages and cultures know what Blue Man Group is really about. Now it’s your turn.

Click here for tickets and more info...

Learn more about Alchemy-Spetec products, so you're fully informed when you visit us at World of Concrete!

 Download the Info-Packed AS Product Catalog!

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Let Us Help You Get More Concrete Repair Jobs

Posted by Kreg Thornley on Oct 30, 2017 11:30:00 AM

AS-Contractor-Marketing-Banner.pngAlchemy-Spetec has a reputation for the best technical support in the business. Our technical consultants have years of on-the-job experience and give the best guidance and training you'll find anywhere. No job is too challenging when you know we've got your back.

But what about getting those jobs in the first place? Did you know that we also offer marketing support? If you want assistance finding and reeling in the best, most profitable concrete repair jobs out there, give us a call. The Alchemy-Spetec Marketing Department is very proactive in assisting customers.

Some of the materials and services we offer include:

  • Referrals to professional consultants on web design, search engine optimization, online advertising campaigns, etc.
  • Illustrations depicting infrastructure repair processes.
  • Photographs of jobs, products and/or equipment.
  • Videos and/or animations depicting infrastructure repair processes.
  • Customizable slab lifting graphic files for large format signs.
  • Customizable marketing brochures.
  • Guidance in creating sales presentations.
  • Ongoing advice on any marketing issues that arise while you’re doing business with us.

These are just a few of many marketing offerings available to our customers. If you have any further questions in this area, please contact our Marketing Department for assistance at 404-618-0436.

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Topics: All Posts, Business Tips

Targeting Pipe Leaks with Point Grouting

Posted by Andy Powell on Oct 27, 2017 2:48:14 PM

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Part of managing a stormwater or sewer system involves vacuum, inspection and sealing. Municipalities that own these systems either do this work themselves or sub out a portion or all of the process. Here’s an overview of the process:

Assuming that the pipes have been vacuumed, your next step is to inspect them with a remote operated pipe crawler camera (as depicted in the bottom left side of the graphic below). You can use these types of cameras to thoroughly inspect the area.  In particular you’re looking for separated joints and cracks which exhibit water infiltration. The video is monitored from the street level. 

The images coming from the camera’s location in the pipe are compared with existing plans or blueprints for the sewer or stormwater system. When leaks are observed below, the point on the ground directly above is marked for insertion of a grout pipe. You continue this process until all the repair spots are marked on the  ground above.

After all the points are marked, your injection crew begins driving the grout pipe(s). Once the pipe(s) are in position, you inject AP Fill 700 or Spetec H100, while continuing to monitor via video. When the observed water infiltration is cut off, you stop the grouting process. Your choice of product, combined with your specific amount of catalyst or accelerator, depends on the exact conditions you are working with.

The end result is a sealed system where pipe joints and manhole structures are stabilized, sealed and protected from further infiltration. As always, you can rely on Alchemy-Spetec’s expert tech support for answers to any questions regarding this procedure.

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Topics: All Posts, Seal Leaks