Taking the World of Concrete by Storm

ProAll Reimer Mixers

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ProAll is an award-winning producer of specialized concrete mixing technology. The company is based in Olds, Alberta but sells its equipment around the world. Its unique mixers have been used to fix airfields and build everything from skyscrapers to swimming pools.
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“The main focus of the company is our flagship concrete mixing equipment – the ProAll Reimer Mixers – which are continuous mixers. They come in several models and configurations. That’s the main focus of what we build and produce,” says Steven Fillmore, ProAll’s vice president of sales and marketing.

One of the outstanding features about the ProAll Reimer Mixer is its ability to mix a fresh batch of concrete at a worksite, as opposed to the traditional method of mixing concrete at a plant then delivering it to the location where it will be poured.

The ability to mix concrete fresh on site “provides a lot of advantages to customers. One is they have complete control of the quality and the production at the site. It also gives a ProAll Mixer owner the ability to think about how he or she wants to use [the mix]. Other key advantages: there’s no waste. With traditional concrete batching and production, whenever you have concrete that’s not used, it has to be either reused for some other application, or it becomes waste concrete. Here, you only use what you mix, and you mix it on site the way you want it,” states Fillmore.

The construction industry is the main sector that ProAll serves. “But the versatility of the mixers takes them to many different places within the construction industry including road and highway work and utility-supporting work [involving] hydro powerlines, through to structural concrete to residential. So they actually have quite a wide reach. Wherever concrete needs to be produced, you can probably see a ProAll Reimer Mixer,” says Fillmore.

ProAll recently enhanced the Reimer Mixers’ appeal by adding a new, proprietary control system called the Commander. The Commander is the result of a process that saw the company take suggestions and recommendations from customers, industry figures and other experts, says Fillmore. Commander controls were rolled out at the 2016 World of Concrete trade show. The Commander auto-controls all aspects of the mixing process while offering verification data on a touch screen display. All elements of the mix are precision measured several times a second and all functions are connected, so the mix elements track automatically with any change in belt speed to match any pre-set water-cement ratio. Anyone who uses the Commander control system “is able to calibrate and use any mix design, and control the mix and production rate onboard,” their vehicle, says Fillmore.

“ProAll prides itself on the fact that we’re an innovative company, trying to always move the product and the design forward. We have some tremendously talented staff and people in our organization who took together what the needs of the industry were and developed the Commander control system in-house,” he continues.

The Commander control system has been winning industry kudos. The system earned a ‘2016 Most Innovative Product Award’ at the World of Concrete show where it debuted. “It’s a great honour. You put [the product] out there because you feel like this product is going to change the way we look at volumetric mixers, and it has,” says Fillmore.

ProAll also sells an economy version of the control system, called the Ranger. It was “developed for a customer who is not looking for as much sophistication or all of the automation that is supported through the Commander. It’s another control system for a particular market,” states Fillmore.

First created in 1968, next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Reimer Mixer. They have been manufactured since 2013 by ProAll, a new company formed by Reimer Alliance International merging with long-time fabrication partner Pro-Ject industries in an effort toward complete vertical integration. The union means that Reimer Mixers are produced totally in-house, from raw steel to final product.

ProAll’s head office and manufacturing operations are located on an eighteen-acre property in Olds, not far from Calgary. The company also has a full-service center in Texas – a key region for the firm – and a dealer and distribution network that extends into Great Britain, Central Europe, South Africa, Western Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and Mexico, among other locales.

The prime item being sold to all these markets is the Reimer ProAll Mixer. “It’s our main product. We sell some support products for the mixer, but the main thrust is the mixer. We have the ability to ship [the mixers on] sea containers to regions and mount them on local trucks and trailers as needed,” states Fillmore.

The company’s equipment has been used in several intriguing projects. The company worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for example, “to develop a specialized unit for rapid response to damaged runways – whether damaged through natural causes or compromised one way or the other. The equipment we build is able to be deployed and repair runways so some of the biggest airplanes can be landed within four hours of an event where a runway is compromised. The equipment is deployed on military bases throughout the world,” states Fillmore.

Other interesting projects include a huge construction job in Mexico “where one of our customers utilized one of our mixers in a high-density area in downtown Mexico City to build a high-rise building in an area [known for] seismic activity,” says Fillmore.

Seismic activity is a serious concern in Mexico City; a September 1985 earthquake toppled hundreds of buildings and killed nearly 10,000 people. With this in mind, the company doing the project used a single ProAll Reimer Mixer to mix special, earthquake-proof concrete at the job site. The building in question was twenty-five storeys tall and located “in a very difficult construction site, with a very small footprint,” reports Fillmore. All went well, and the client finished the project promptly.

ProAll maintains quality through adhering to industry standards and certifications and through, “good training and good processes,” as well as premium machine tools and other equipment. “We use top equipment in our manufacturing process including lasers, CNC [computer numerical control] type machines, computerized equipment, as well as some robotics and a state-of-the-art paint facility. There are a lot of things and a lot of equipment that go into the quality of the product,” he says.

Alongside quality, “safety is number one in our mind in terms of our employees. We have a very aggressive safety program [involving a] multi-faceted approach. Basically, each employee at whatever level is required to be part of that process,” Fillmore continues. “We have personnel – key employees that are in charge of safety and make sure everybody’s training certification programs are followed.”

Asked what ProAll looks for in a new hire, Fillmore offers insights on the company’s corporate culture. “We have a culture here of innovation and growth. Our staff kind of reflects that. People who are innovators; who like to move forward; who buy into a culture that’s one of growth; someone who is willing to learn; who likes to work in a safe environment – we’re looking for people like that,” he states.

Fillmore says the company’s biggest challenge is simply coping with all the opportunities it faces and maintaining its growth in an orderly manner. The company needs to prioritize the various opportunities on hand and structure itself to take full advantage of these opportunities.

ProAll has no intention of getting complacent, however. Building on the success of the Commander controls, ProAll “plans to roll out some exciting new and innovative features on our mixer at the World of Concrete 2018 show,” states Fillmore.

The World of Concrete is just one of several trade shows in which ProAll participates. Others include Bauma and ConExpo-Con/Agg. In addition to trade shows, the company uses advertisements, a highly detailed website and social media to promote itself.

All of ProAll’s promotional efforts are centered on the concept “seeing is believing… Our thrust is try to put product in front of as many people as we can and tell our stories as many times as we can. When people actually see the product, when they hear the advantages, hear the testimonials from people who have used it – that’s our strategy,” explains Fillmore.

“If I look back over the last five years, it’s been an exciting ride – one of growth and innovation and moving the product forward and reaching into some of our key markets and also new markets. So, if we have another five years like the last five years, it’ll be really exciting, with a tremendous amount of growth.”

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 15, 2019, 10:04 AM EST