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Midwest Team Tackles Tough Mix, Tight Schedule
Retail giant Amazon is entering Oak Creek, Wisconsin with the construction of what will be its largest Fulfillment Center in the state. This facility, set to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, will be four stories, 2.6 million square feet (1.9 M square feet of metal deck) and span 75 acres
Contractors hit their stride in construction of Amazon Fulfillment Center
Retail giant Amazon is entering Oak Creek, Wisconsin with the construction of what will be its largest Fulfillment Center in the state. This facility, set to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, will be four stories, 2.6 million square feet (1.9M square feet of metal deck) and span 75 acres. The center is expected to generate 1,500 full-time jobs by the end of 2021 and be able to ship 1 million packages a day.
In order to complete this massive project, developers tasked Meyer Concrete Pumping and Conveyor, LLC of Milwaukee to handle its unique demands. They deployed two Putzmeister 32Z-Meter boom pumps to rise to the challenge due to the brand's reputation of reliability and durability. One pump was designated to be the workhorse, while the other was brought on site as a backup.
Pumps in Putzmeister's 30-meter class are generally preferred for their compact footprint, accurate placement, and maneuverable boom design. Meyer needed an 84-foot reach to complete the job, and determined that their 32Z would be perfect for the job.
The Fast Track to Fulfillment
Working with construction manager Ryan Companies US, Inc. and contractor Lewis Construction, Inc., Meyer Concrete Pumping began work on the site on May 1, 2019. An aggressive schedule was set forth to complete a slab on grade foundation, followed by three stories of reinforced metal deck. For a period of nearly three months, the team poured continuously Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., taking only the occasional 15-minute break to tear down and reassemble the piping.
Timelines that intensive are "uncommon," said Todd Schaller, General Manager for Meyer Concrete Pumping. "There are no other jobs that I can remember over the last three to four years where we're pumping concrete Monday to Thursday, twelve hours a day for three months."
The Putzmeister pump was set up on the east side of the building, and pours commenced at the far west side, gradually moving back towards the pump throughout the day. On most days, Meyer pumped 850 cubic yards of concrete, and on some days up to 1,100 cubic yards.
Despite the high volume, the reserve pump stayed on the sidelines.
"We never had a breakdown," Schaller said. "We never had to use the backup pump."
A Mighty Mix
In addition to the rigorous schedule, the crews faced another significant challenge: an uncharacteristically dense concrete mix. It contained 7.5 pounds of FORTA fiber per cubic yard, substantially higher than most reinforced mixes.
"This was one of the most challenging mix descriptions that we've pumped," Schaller said.
The mix was a 4000 psi standard, pumped through 1,000 lineal feet of pipe system to place 100 cubic yards per hour. Moving tough mixes at a steady pace for three months is a tall order for a single concrete pump, which is why Meyer needed a machine that would be up to the task.
"We knew Putzmeister would pump these challenging mixes." Schaller said. "It was a no-brainer for us."
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It
For the contractors on the Amazon site, a lot has gone right in recent years.
Meyer Concrete Pumping and Lewis Construction have both completed major projects in the Midwest throughout the 2010s. They brought their experience together for the Amazon job in Wisconsin, then went 10 miles down the road to complete a project for technology company Foxconn. Here they enjoyed another success with the same crews and same equipment.
The familiarity with Amazon, similar projects, and equipment capabilities has helped both contractors hit their stride and find their rhythm on these demanding builds.
"They want the same team on these jobs," Schaller said of Ryan Companies. "They want Lewis Construction, they want Meyer Concrete Pumping, they want Putzmeister concrete pumps. They want what works, because it makes the whole process go a lot smoother. And there's some peace of mind with that."
Relationships and Reputations
Looking back to the project's inception, Schaller emphasized that this was a true collaboration among the owners and developers, contractors, equipment manufacturers and other parties with a role in the project.
"It was a team work environment with good communication and a successful project where everyone is proud to share that they worked on it," Schaller said. "It was like that from day one."
Having reliable equipment that can push the limits goes a long way in this industry -- and people start to take notice.
"When everything goes as well as it did, that's like hitting a grand slam," Schaller said. "It goes so far with future business."
In job meetings since the Amazon project, various partners and clients of Meyer have asked if similarly ambitious pours are even possible. Schaller's response?
"Of course," he says. "We just did it a few months ago over at Amazon, with great success. We've done it before, we can do it again."A Putzmeister 32Z-Meter Boom Pump pours the 2nd floor metal deck. The machine pumped up to 1,100 cubic yards in a day.
The competed Amazon Fulfillment Center in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Rebar is set, ready to receive a mix containing 7.5 pounds of FORTA fiber per cubic yard.
Developer: Amazon.com, Inc.
General Contractor: Ryan Companies US, Inc.
Concrete Placement Contractor: Lewis Construction, Inc.
Concrete Pumping Contractor: Meyer Concrete Pumping and Conveyor Service, LLC
Ready Mix Supplier: Ozinga Bros., Inc.
Equipment: Two (2) Putzmeister 32Z-Meter Boom Pumps