Alchemy-Spetec Blog

Essential Gear for Starting Your Next Generation Slab Lifting Business

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 19, 2018 2:49:45 PM

Polyurethane Slab Lifting is a Popular Add-On Service for Contractors Across the U.S. Get Info on Gear You'll Need to Start Your Slab Lifting Business. Read more...

Slab lifting with polymers is rapidly replacing old technologies because it’s fast, strong, doesn’t shrink, and has a low impact on the environment. So it’s no surprise that we get a lot of inquiries from contractors interested in adding this service, in addition to individuals wanting to create a startup slab lifting business. So what exactly are we talking about in terms of the essential gear?

A slab lifting rig is a rolling business unto itself. It is a self contained, turnkey, mobile unit that has all of the equipment necessary to perform the work. There are a variety of configurations but all of these setups will contain the following: Trailer or Box Truck, Power Source, Compressed Air System, Fluid Transfer System, Proportioner Pump, Heated Hoses, and Impingement Gun. Let’s look at these in more detail.

AP-Trailer-Rig2

Trailers and Box Trucks

This is a matter of preference but since this business is mobile, you need to have one or the other (unless you start out with the ultra-mobile PolyBadger system for small jobs). I prefer trailers because they are easier to load material into if you don’t have a forklift. They are lower and can be equipped with a ramp door for the back of the unit. A trailer can be dropped at the jobsite freeing up the pickup truck for scouting other jobs or for grabbing supplies. Box trucks do have their place too and in some cases may be required for performing slab lifting for DOT work. In both cases we recommend a high ceiling height and at least 16’ of floor space to work with.

Power Source

Although some slab lifting rigs are designed to work off of shore power, most of them contain a generator to provide power. A rig that is properly built will have a breaker panel allowing the operator to switch on and off the different systems that require power. Depending on the type of proportioner installed in the rig (and the size of the heaters), the generator can be either a gasoline powered unit at approx 18kw, or a diesel powered generator ranging from 22kw to 40+kw power.

Compressed Air System

There are some proportioner pumps such as PMC’s PA-25, where the main pumping action is done through pneumatic power. These units have high CFM requirements and thus need a larger air compressor. Other proportioners like PMC’s PH Series operate off of hydraulic motors and don’t require air at all.

Some air is always needed though, for running the pumps that transfer the polyurethane from drums and totes over to the proportioner. A complete compressed air system will always include an air compressor and air drying system. An air drying system can be either desiccant style or refrigerated.

Fluid Transfer System

Polyurethane lifting foams are two component systems which means there is an “A” side and a “B” side. When these two components meet they react and form structural foam. Because the reaction is so fast, great care is taken to ensure the A and B components are kept separate until the actual point of spraying or injecting. A typical slab lifting rig is going to use either drum transfer pumps (sometimes referred to as stick pumps) or diaphragm pumps to pull material from the drum or tote sets and then transfer that material over to the proportioner. There will be a dedicated “A” side pump and a dedicated “B” side pump.

Proportioners

The proportioner is the heart of the slab lifting rig. Every proportioner should have the power to heat the A side and B side materials to the required temperatures while the materials are actually flowing. Additionally, a proportioner must then also have the pumping power to push the two preheated materials through up to 410’ of heated hoses, maintaining up to 2000 psi the entire way. Because the A material (ISO) is thinner than the B material (Polyol), separate temperatures must be maintained both within the proportioner and through the length of the heated hose. Solid state controls are used to monitor and adjust the temperatures.

Heated Hose

The heated hose system is actually a bundle of a few different hoses. There is an individual hose for the A (ISO) material and B (Poly). Each of those hoses has a heating element to keep the materials at their correct temperatures. PMC makes a superior heated hose that has braided heating element s that completely surround the hose for even heat. Heated hoses usually come in 50’ sections and between the second to last and the last section will be a temperature sensing unit (TSU) that relays temperature information back to the proportioner.

This TSU is sending the info through a thermocouple wire which runs the length of the hoses out to the TSU. The temperature information relayed to the proportioner lets it know whether to send more power or to back off the power as necessary.

For example, on a hot day there may be very little hose heat required while on a cold day a constant stream of power will be keeping the materials in the hoses up to temperature. Also within the heated hose bundle will be an air hose for compressed air to power air purge impingement guns. For fluid purge impingement guns designed for slab lifting, a fluid line will also be bundled together to transfer the flush required to blast clean the mix chamber of the gun.

Click the MixMaster gun link to see this type of gun used for slab lifting and resisting back pressure inherent in this line of work. Finally, all of the hoses are contained within a durable scuff jacket to keep the hoses from being damaged while dragged around the job site.

Impingement Gun

Whether spraying foam or injecting foam for slab lifting, these A and B materials must finally meet. This meeting occurs within an impingement gun. The materials are “impinged” or squeezed through tiny orifices which generates a high pressure stream of A and B (Iso and Polyol). When the preheated, high pressure streams of material meet, the reaction is almost immediate. At this point the mixed materials are ejected through the end of the gun, and beneath a slab.

The ensuing reaction, in addition to the pressure from the pump, generates the force required to lift. This could be either lifting a small sidewalk slab or lifting a railroad track or building foundation. Frankly it is incredible what the entire system working together can do. Because of the incredible back pressure generated from this operation, a gun like the MixMaster Pro is recommended because it is designed specifically for this application. It is not a spray foam gun modified for lifting.

Well this covers all of the main components that make up a slab lifting rig. There are other accessories like fresh air systems, air conditioning, heaters, etc that can be incorporated into a rig but how you customize it is up to you and your wallet. The next blog will include other tools of the trade that will assist you in your success.

Want in-depth info on slab lifting procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Marketing Your Slab Lifting Business

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 16, 2018 1:43:09 PM

Marketing your new slab lifting business takes time and the right approach. See tools and strategies to help you market your slab lifting business.

Marketing your new slab lifting business takes time and the right approach. See tools and strategies to help you market your slab lifting business.Marketing your new slab lifting business takes time and the right approach. If your slab lifting business is a small to medium-sized operation, tools and strategies that increase your market presence and help you attract leads are extremely important. Here are a few you may need to get started...

A Website That's Attractively Designed, User-Friendly and Optimized for Search

Regardless of your industry, a website is an imperative tool that validates your business and arguably serves as your first line of sales and marketing attack. Professional design, photography and content will help you stay competitive and either depict you as a confident, articulate leader in your field or just the opposite (if it's not professional). Even as a B2B website, up-to-date design and user-friendly navigation that creates clear information pathways is important. 

Did you know that a significant number of website visitors make up their mind within seconds whether or not they “like” the business based on the look of the site? And frustrated users who are forced into repeated clicks to arrive at their intended destination, or who must sift through poorly presented messaging are likely to leave and not return. Just as you invest in the tools of the slab lifting trade, investing in your website with regular content updates and a design refresh every 3 years or so is a sound best practice.

It is also imperative to make sure that your website is Search Engine Optimized. Designing a search friendly site for your industry niche and market location will make a world of difference in the amount of leads you capture via your online presence.

All of this means turning to a professional and reputable website firm to do the work – even if you’re starting out with a small brochure site for now.

Marketing Strategies

Partnering with Complimentary Companies

You may want to find companies that serve your market, but offer slightly different services. For example, foundation contractors, pool contractors and landscaping professionals in your area may be interested in trading leads.

Exhibiting at Home Shows

Home shows are a great place to meet potential customers and partner companies. Contractors tell us over and over again that home shows are a GREAT source for leads.

Presenting at Professional Associations

Giving presentations at local chapters of professional associations like the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and similar organizations is a great way to network, meet potential customers and lead sources, etc. Activities like these establish you as a local expert, and encourage people to come to you when they have slab settlement problems.

Want more contractor marketing strategies and additional resources?

Download an Info-Packed Contractor Marketing Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Business Tips, Lift Slabs

Selling the Customer: Why Polyurethane Slab Lifting Is the Better Choice

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 14, 2018 10:20:23 AM

Polyurethane slab lifting foams are one of the most resilient foundation repair solutions. Guide your customer in using a solid polyjacking repair solution. Read more...

Polyurethane slab lifting foams are one of the most resilient foundation repair solutions. Guide your customer in using a solid polyjacking repair solution. Read more...The first question any engineer will ask is “Does the solution fit the needs of the application?” When it comes to structural foams used for slab lifting repair projects, you can confidently answer “yes.”

But if you want to guide your customer to a concrete leveling repair solution, you should also be able to illustrate the pros, explain the cons, and enunciate the selling points.

Enduring Strength of Polyurethane Foam

Concrete, a mixture of cement, sand and aggregates, weighs on average 150 pounds per cubic foot, and high-density concrete can weigh in at 300 pounds or more. Any material used to serve as an elevating cushion of support between concrete and soil is literally caught between a rock and hard place – the concrete and the natural soil on which it rests.

By definition, structural foams need only be strong enough to heft sinking slabs back to level ground and durable enough to stop them from sinking again once cured. But polyurethane foams are actually one of the most resilient foundation repair solutions ever innovated.

Rated on density and compressive potency, the strength-to-weight ratio of lifting foams is staggering. Successful applications include airport runway and railway bed repair projects – in other words, structural polyurethane slab lifting foams like AP Lift 475 are heavy-duty enough to support the lift-off and landing of a 747 or the constant travel of a freight train.

Cost-Effective Option

Demo and rebuild or rethink and repair – these are, generally speaking, the two available resolution options when shifting soils give way under structural foundations and existing slab work. When possible, remediation repairs for settling concrete require far fewer resources than reconstruction.

Traditional mud jacking, which requires hydraulic pressure to inject mud into the void or weak soil beneath the slab, can’t hold a candle to the power or expanding, high-density polyurethane foam. Lifting foams are injected in bursts and rapidly expand 15-25 times or more the original volume, filling voids or strengthening soil in the affected space and creating comprehensive support. These stronger-than-bedrock polymers also subdue the kinds of stress points that mud jacking applications can create, eventually causing cracking and a second round of expensive repair work.

Another contrast with traditional mudjacking materials is the fact that polyurethane does not shrink or wash out over time, saving property owners the extra cost of re-treating the problem at a later date.

Rapid Delivery

Slab lifting foams don’t just save money, they save time. Because of their expansion properties, they can be applied quickly to lift slabs, and curing doesn’t require the same amount of time as other solution applications, such as mudjacking with cement slurry. That means a seasoned slab lifting technician can deliver project completion – with drive-on capability – in a much more efficient manner. Depending on contingencies and project timelines, that savings alone can be worth its weight in gold to potential customers.

Want in-depth info on slab lifting procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Navy Veteran Takes On The Chemical Grouting Industry

Posted by Charlie Lerman on Nov 12, 2018 3:17:22 PM

As a contractor you have to be able to adjust on the fly to get the job done, and doubly so when it comes to grouting. Often, while on a job site, I find myself relying on the numerous skills and tools I got while I was in the US Navy. Read more...

As a contractor you have to be able to adjust on the fly to get the job done, and doubly so when it comes to grouting. Often, while on a job site, I find myself relying on the numerous skills and tools I got while I was in the US Navy. Read more...

As a chemical grouting professional, you have to be able to adjust on the fly to get the job done, and doubly so when it comes to grouting. Often, while on a job site, I find myself relying on the numerous skills and tools I acquired while serving in a US Navy submarine.

As one can imagine, waterproofing is a bit of high priority on a submarine! Attention to detail is ingrained into each and every service member. With waterproofing, attention to detail is also king. Remember, 99% waterproofed is still 100% leaking. Focusing on the details, whether on you’re a mechanic on a submarine, or waterproofing a below-grade structure is the very foundation for success.

Another important attribute for service members and contractors is integrity. No one is perfect, and it can be hard to own up to our mistakes. Taking ownership of an issue and making it right for your client is important. In the civilian world, doing things right can be expensive, but the alternative is often costlier. In the military, shortcuts can lead to mission failure, or even more dire consequences like loss of life. Whether repairing a pump, standing watch, making oxygen, or something as tedious as routine maintenance, integrity was an essential characteristic.

I enjoyed the discipline of the submarine service. I am certain this has steered my path in life. It prepared me well for being in a specialized technical industry like chemical grouting.

Fair winds and following seas!

Want information on Alchemy-Spetec products?

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Slab Lifting Market Hot Zones

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 9, 2018 3:41:02 PM

Once you’re ready to make the move to start up a slab lifting business, one of your first areas of focus should be identifying and defining your service areas and your potential customer base within each sector or area.  Read more...

Once you’re ready to make the move to start up a slab lifting business, one of your first areas of focus should be identifying and defining your service areas and your potential customer base within each sector or area.  Read more...Slab Lifting Markets Include Residential, Commercial & Municipal

Once you’re ready to make the move to start up a slab lifting business, one of your first areas of focus should be identifying and defining your service areas and your potential customer base within each sector or area. Broadly speaking, there are three viable market segments to explore for slab lifting services: Residential, Commercial and Municipal. We'll cover all three in this article.

For spray foam contractors and foundation repair specialists, adding slab lifting to your available services is more than mere expansion – it’s good business. It not only adds an extra dimension of foundation support solutions to offer to clients, it also organically increases word-of-mouth referrals and is more cost-effective for you as a business owner. By managing remedial foundation repairs in-house rather than outsourcing those projects, your company increases its profitability and controls timeline, budget and final results – that’s a win-win for you as well as your customers.

Now let's take a look at those market segments we mentioned...

Residential (Single and Multi-Family Structures)

Dwellings – both privately owned and rental properties – offer multiple potential hot zones for slab lifting repair solutions. Many factors can cause concrete foundations and slabs to settle and sink: location in a flood zone, high local water tables, unusually wet climate conditions, weak soil density, and more. These can directly impact:

  • The entire structure
  • Dedicated parking areas
  • Walkways
  • Patios
  • Porches
  • Outbuildings
  • Hardscaped areas
  • Swimming pools and surrounds
  • Leisure and recreational areas, such as picnic tables, gazebos, private tennis and basketball courts

Limiting long-term damage and helping owners protect their investment is where you stand to gain as a supplier of a unique and cost-effective service.

Commercial (and Industrial)

Sinking foundations and slabs cause not only property depreciation issues for commercial owners, but liability concerns as well. Bucking sidewalks, unlevel floors, wonky stairs and sinking walkways create dangerous conditions that - when neglected - often prove far more costly than repairs. Slip and fall cases make up a significant portion of the 20 million civil actions filed in courts each year in this country, and the U.S. Department of Justice reports that personal injury plaintiffs overall are successful litigants about 50% of the time (and in premises liability cases 39% of the time). The potential risks that slab lifting can mitigate for commercial property owners are very nearly endless.

Municipal (and Government in General)

Federal, state, county, and city budgets are never without limits, and administrators will always seek to cut taxpayer-supported costs where and whenever possible. This factor alone makes slab lifting an attractive and viable alternative to complete foundation and concrete slab replacement. The most viable areas of opportunity for slab lifting solutions providers for governmental entities include:

  • Transportation pathways that include highways, state and county roads; culverts, curbs and berms; railways, light rails; mass transportation platforming areas; and airport runways and parking areas.
  • Public buildings and monuments, administrative buildings, hardscaped areas and outbuildings located in parks, courthouses, public transportation hubs and all commons and parking areas connected to any and all of the above.
  • Public healthcare facilities, hospitals, and public assisted living accommodations.
  • Public housing - both single-family and multi-unit structures.

Whether you choose to focus on a single specialty area or multiple areas within a service region, these are but a few of the potential hot zones where slab lifting can offer an alternative solution that falls within safety margins as well as budget constraints.

Want in-depth info on slab lifting procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

So You’re Thinking About Starting a Slab Lifting Company: Key Considerations

Posted by Andy Powell on Nov 8, 2018 1:25:25 PM

Having the right slab lifting equipment, top-of-line materials, vendor support, and deep expertise in this unique industry are the first keys to success for startup companies. Read more...

Having the right slab lifting equipment, top-of-line materials, vendor support, and deep expertise in this unique industry are the first keys to success for startup companies. Read more...Why Slab Lifting?

Slab lifting is an economical alternative to complete concrete replacement, be it a simple sidewalk repair or providing a cost-effective remedy for an entire building foundation.

If you want to corner the market in this potentially profitable business, begin by scoping out a specialized area, such as residential, commercial, or civic/municipal.

Next, make a simple short written list of the assets you absolutely must have to get started. Do you need a full sized slab lifting rig to get rolling? Or maybe just the portable PolyBadger lifting system? (Review both options here.) Are there any special licenses or certifications required for operation? Do you have a good relationship with an equipment and materials supplier? Having the right slab lifting equipment, top-of-line materials, vendor support, and deep expertise in this unique industry are the first keys to success for startup companies.

Do You Have a Business & Marketing Plan?

If someone asked you to drive to Seattle, would you get in your car and take off, or would you look at a map first? A business and marketing plan is the roadmap for your slab lifting/concrete leveling business. It will help you define and stay true to your path, and it’s a tool you will need to attain startup financing. In it, you should define your target market segments, project revenues and milestones for the first 3 to 5 years in business, define fixed and variable costs, and outline how you plan to get the word out among potential customers.

Do You Have Vendor Support in Place?

Whether your goal is to launch a slab lifting venture that caters to home or business owners, you will need a dependable, knowledgeable supplier who will not only sell you slab lifting pumps, guns and foams - but also serve as a trusted advisor.

At Alchemy-Spetec, we go the extra mile to help guide you to the best solutions, choose the right lifting foams and equipment for each project, and watch out for your ROI. We also offer field training, both for beginners and as ongoing professional development. We are always willing to offer you the benefit of our decades of experience. If you’re considering going into the slab lifting business, we not only applaud your decision, we want to be your first phone call!  (The number is 404-618-0438 if you want to call ASAP.)

Subjects Covered in This Series

In this blog post series, we will address some of the key points and considerations that slab-lifting startups frequently face. With so many years of market experience, we are uniquely positioned and qualified to offer this guidance. Because we are passionate about what we do, we are motivated to be part of your success story! Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • Identifying your target market
  • Selling to your potential customers
  • Marketing your business
  • Essential gear & accessories for starting your business

Some of these subjects may be familiar territory to current business owners, such as spray foam or foundation contractors - but even if that's the case, a quick review will be well worth your time!

Want in-depth info on slab lifting procedures and products?

Download an Info-Packed Slab Lift Brochure!

Topics: All Posts, Lift Slabs

Independent Representative Spotlight : Jim Hunter

Posted by Jim Spiegel on Nov 5, 2018 1:19:30 PM

Meet Jim Hunter, an Alchemy-Spetec independent rep who has represented manufacturers of quality construction materials since 1959. Read more...

Meet Jim Hunter, an Alchemy-Spetec independent rep who has represented manufacturers of quality construction materials since 1959. Read more...Alchemy-Spetec welcomes Independent Rep Jim Hunter, covering Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

R. M. Hunter Company
Representing Manufacturers of Quality Construction Materials Since 1959

April 9, 2019 marks the 60th Anniversary of the R.M. Hunter Company.  Founded in 1959 by Richard M. Hunter, the R. M. Hunter Company began from the idea that quality product lines needed to be promoted within the architectural and engineering industries.  This would later earn them a remarkable reputation as a leading manufacturers representative company in the Midwest Region.  James (Jim) Hunter has been in the business for over 39 years and assumed the position of President in 1990.

The R. M. Hunter Company is recognized for their knowledge and expertise in the respective product lines they represent and provide architectural and engineering consultations. Current product lines include Concrete and Masonry Repair Materials, Expansion Joints, Waterproofing and Green Roof Components, Precision and Injection Grouts, and Spray-On Insulation.

The R. M. Hunter Company is a member of these reputable organizations:
CAM (Construction Association of Michigan), MANA (Manufacturers Agents National Association), Builders Exchange of Grand Rapids and Ohio, Masonry Institute of Michigan, and BEC (Building Envelope Council.)

Want to learn more about Alchemy-Spetec products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

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Independent Representative Spotlight : Tim Avery

Posted by Jim Spiegel on Nov 2, 2018 1:40:15 PM

Meet Tim Avery, an Alchemy-Spetec independent rep who has injected cement and resins into the ground for over 30 years. Read more...

Meet Tim Avery, an Alchemy-Spetec independent rep who has injected cement and resins into the ground for over 30 years. Read more...Alchemy-Spetec welcomes Independent Rep Tim Avery, covering 15 states in the western US.

Tim Avery has been injecting cements and resins into the ground for over 30 years to fix anchors in place, prevent water flow or strengthen the ground.  He’s done it with the Corps of Engineers, specialty contractors and many consultants in the US, UK, and South America.  He’s excited to bring his experience to work with Alchemy-Spetec as a rep in the geotechnical field with his firm GG&C.

GG&C is focused on supplying tools, materials, and know-how to the geotechnical construction and tunneling industry with chemical grouts from Alchemy-Spetec, borehole survey tools from Devico, specialty TBM products from Lamberti, and specialty concrete admixtures from Euclid Chemical.

Want to learn more about Alchemy-Spetec Geotech products?

Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!

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Alchemy-Spetec Seeks Technical Services Representative

Posted by Jim Spiegel on Oct 31, 2018 9:21:56 AM

Alchemy-Spetec is seeking an Atlanta-based Technical Services Representative with relevant field experience utilizing high-pressure spray and injection proportioning equipment. Please contact Jim Spiegel via LinkedIn message and/or email at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for job descriptions or questions.

Alchemy-Spetec is seeking an Atlanta-based Technical Services Representative with relevant field experience utilizing high-pressure spray and injection proportioning equipment. Please contact Jim Spiegel via LinkedIn message and/or email at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for job descriptions or questions.  With growth comes the need to be on more job sites offering top quality technical support.  In order to keep pace with this demand in 2019, Alchemy-Spetec is seeking an Atlanta-based Technical Services Representative with relevant field experience utilizing high-pressure spray and injection proportioning equipment.  This experience should include significant competency with maintenance of referenced equipment.

Please contact VP of Sales & Business Development Jim Spiegel via LinkedIn and/or email at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for job descriptions or questions.   

Learn more about the Alchemy-Spetec product lines now.
Download our product catalogs...
 
Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!
 
Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog! 

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Alchemy-Spetec Seeks Midwest Regional Manager

Posted by Jim Spiegel on Oct 29, 2018 2:40:53 PM
The quickly-growing Alchemy-Spetec team is seeking a Regional Sales Manager for the Midwest to manage and promote the A-S Leak Seal and Geotech product lines in the construction industry. Please contact Jim Spiegel via LinkedIn message and/or email at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for job descriptions or questions.
The quickly-growing Alchemy-Spetec team is seeking a Regional Sales Manager for the Midwest to manage and promote the A-S Leak Seal and Geotech product lines in the construction industry. Please contact Jim Spiegel via LinkedIn message and/or email at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for job descriptions or questions.
 
The quickly-growing Alchemy-Spetec team is seeking a Regional Sales Manager for the Midwest to manage and promote the Leak Seal and Geotech product lines in the construction industry.  Ideally, this candidate would be based in Chicago or Minneapolis.  Relevant chemical grout experience in Leak Seal or Geotech is preferred.  Competitive packages offered.
 
Please contact Jim Spiegel via LinkedIn and/or email him at jspiegel@alchemy-spetec.com for job descriptions or questions.  
 
Learn more about Alchemy-Spetec's product lines now.
Download our product catalogs...
 
Download the Info-Packed Geotech Product Catalog!
 
Download the Info-Packed Leak Seal Product Catalog!

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