How to Spec a Truck for Concrete Applications

Working with concrete can be challenging. Spec’ing the right truck for the application shouldn’t be one of those challenges. “Transporting and working with concrete presents a number of challenges, including a finite working time and significant weight,” says Roy Horton, Director of Product Strategy, Mack Trucks. “Mack trucks are ideal for concrete work, as they offer a number of features tailored to the concrete industry.”

Here are a few features you should consider when spec’ing a truck for concrete applications.

  • Body building
  • Application-specific features
  • Built for work
  • A great cab

Body building

How a truck is built, determines its performance capabilities and maintenance needs. “Truck original equipment manufacturers have implemented a number of ways that make working with body builders more convenient before, during and after the body upfit process,” says Stuart Galloway, President, Canadian Concrete Expo. “For example, Mack Trucks has created a body builder order manager position and a body builder support team focused on ensuring effective collaboration among body builders, dealers and customers during the ordering and body installation process.”

Mack’s BodyLink III electrical connector simplifies the installation of your body to the chassis. It integrates communication from your body to the truck ECU (electrical control unit) and is multiplexing-capable without the need to splice wires or compromise quality. Post block terminals are also conveniently located in the top of the dash for additional connection points.

Application-specific features

Each chassis on a Mack truck is built with application-specific crossmembers and is offered in various thicknesses. A special mixer crossmember is designed for mounting the mixer barrel pump. Rear-engine power take-off (REPTO) gives the trucks plenty of power where you need it.

Now with 13- and 14-speed creeper gears, Mack’s mDRIVE HD maximizes performance and fuel economy while reducing driver fatigue. mDRIVE™ HD uses intelligent software and engine integration to automatically select the best gear and shift with speed and precision for an easier ride, all while weighing approximately 150 lbs. less than an automatic transmission. The 14-speed has an extra-deep 32:1 gear ratio that allows for the low-speed creeping needed for curb pouring applications, plus multi-speed reverse gears.

In Granite models, both engines come standard with the 13-speed Mack mDRIVE HD, which maximizes performance and fuel economy while reducing driver fatigue. It features a low-ratio creeper gear for improved startability and low-speed maneuverability while weighing about 150 pounds less than an automatic transmission.
A 14-speed mDRIVE HD is also available and adds an ultra-low-ratio creeper gear for slow-speed applications such as curb pouring. “The Mack mDRIVE HD is now also available on Mack TerraPro concrete pumpers, boosting efficiency, while also making it easier on drivers,” says Galloway.

As well, the Mack mDRIVE HD is available with split-shaft PTO functionality. “Instead of taking power from an engine- or transmission-mounted PTO, split-shaft PTOs are mounted in the middle of the driveline to receive output directly from the transmission, supplying more torque for auxiliary equipment such as large concrete pumps,” says Horton.

Built for work

Vocational trucks are different than haul trucks. Operators of vocational trucks have different needs than a haul truck driver. There are greater demands placed on a vocational truck, therefore vocational trucks have to be built to—not just transport—but work.

“Mack Granite and TerraPro models are built on chassis, which is engineered specifically for demanding vocational applications,” says Horton. They feature a fully integrated powertrain, which delivers superior performance and efficiency. Mack’s lighter weight 11-liter MP7 offers up to 425 horsepower and 1,560 a popular choice in concrete mixer applications. The 13-liter Mack MP8 brings up to 505 horsepower and 1,860 lb.-ft. of torque for applications requiring more power.”

A great cab

The cab is where the truck driver spends a lot of time. Drivers that operate comfortable cabs that offer good visibility and logical operation will be the most productive drivers.

The Mack Granite’s cab features is built for the jobsite,” says Horton. It features maximum visibility due to its high, right-sized cab, sloped hood design, large rear window and side peep window. The cab is made from galvanized steel for improved safety.” It also features an ergonomic dash built based on driver input and all-day comfort seats designed in partnership with Sears Seating.

The Mack TerraPro cab features a shorter length from bumper to back of cab, putting operators closer to the job, while a slimmer width makes the whole truck easier to maneuver into tight spaces. “The cab also boasts the most forward window glass in the industry for maximized visibility and job safety,” says Horton.