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slug: personalizing-precast
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At Locke, we take pride in the relationships we create through the products we build. Though we do have some products readily available “on the shelf”, we primarily create custom pieces for our clients by solving their technical problems in order to create a design that meets their needs.

We consider this service as part of our larger process, even referring to ourselves as “Your personal precast division.” With our refined design process and our years of experience in custom solutions, we try to help customers see the benefits—and flexibility—of precasting. We understand that good customer service is a cornerstone to product creation and we take our process very seriously and our products are a direct result of that.

 

OUR APPROACH TO CUSTOM

Just because a product is “custom” doesn’t mean the approach has to feel that way. Since our inception, we have developed unique approaches to precast design that get results without all of the typical design headaches like decision fatigue, delayed build times, or blatant delivery issues. Our tried-and-true process allows us to stay on task while still remaining flexible in pursuit of what we find incredibly important: solutions. Have questions about our approach to precast? Reach out, we’d love to talk about it.

 

IMPROVING PROCESSES

We actively refine our process for better efficiency, shortened production times, and smarter communication throughout the product lifecycle. As we move forward as an organization, we are considering even better ways to implement technology into our daily workflows, creating tighter feedback loops and simplify progress updates. We’re even actively investing in our proprietary software that tracks hours and production timelines, leading to better, more transparent billing and scheduling.

 

GROWING OUR CAPABILITIES

A process is only as good as your ability to implement and support change That’s why Locke continuously improves our industry-leading plant, ensuring what we can dream up can swiftly become reality. From our recent investment of 2 new crane 45′ Proserve bridge cranes to our proprietary production application, Locke puts it money where its heart is: better service.


And as 2020 comes to a close, we’re thankful for all the little improvements on our horizon and look forward to sharing them as they are deployed. We truly are a solutions company, even for ourselves.

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You see it along any farm-to-market road in the country, drainage swales and stormwater outfalls gauged with deep ruts the likes of the Grand Canyon.  Locke was recently asked to provide a concrete headwall (also known as a concrete wingwall) designed specifically for one of these situations.

The 3D CAD Modelers and Engineers for Locke worked with them using AutoDesk Inventor modeling software to create a 3D rendering of a possible solution.

The dimensions and shape of this headwall were unique and therefore no standard mold was available to cast this structure, but…this is a common situation here at Locke.  Our production team is used to dealing with one-of-a-kind structures and they went to work building a custom mold utilizing both wood carpentry and steel fabrication skills during the process.  The final product was loaded up and “received without any issues and the delivery was perfect, notification and timing were great as well.” mentioned the customer.

The customer set the concrete headwall, backfilled, and placed concrete rip rap as a final erosion protection control.

Marco Ramos, sales for Locke Solutions commented, “The best part of the process was knowing we provided value to our customer and helped make their life a little easier.”

Marco’s efforts were definitely noticed as the customer’s final words after completing the installation, “Let your management know we appreciate Locke’s key role in our success and a special thanks to you for being a great customer interface for me.”  Great job to Marco and the whole Locke team!

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If someone asked you what a “Fish House” was, you would probably think of a fishbowl or aquarium with pebbles, fake plants, some overgrown algae, and a plastic shipwrecked at the bottom.  Now if you were asked to think of an environmentally friendly “Fish House” for the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, you would probably have something like this come to mind.

Mike Turley of Wayfarer Technologies partnered with Locke back in 2018 to develop a precast concrete design to manufacture several hundred Fish Houses to be deployed and placed in strategic locations along the Gulf Coast.

 

Use of the precast concrete was chosen because of the durability of reinforced concrete materials, the scalability and consistency of the manufacturing process, and the rapid installation process due to prefabricated units.

This is not the first time Locke and Wayfarer have teamed up to provide an environmentally friendly solution to the Gulf Coast.  President of Locke, Asher Kazmann, first met Mike Turley back in 2006 when Wayfarer first began marketing the multi-functional OysterBreak system.  “Mike has always been good at listening to the people in the coastal restoration arena and coming up with solutions to satisfy their needs,” says Kazmann.  “Together we turn those ideas into real products and value engineer them to be worthwhile and economical solutions.”  Locke’s engineering team worked directly with Wayfarer developing several iterations of this Fish House design until the most efficient product was developed in terms of materials, structural integrity, manufacturing productivity, and efficiency of shipments.

With apparent changes in climate and an excessive number of hurricanes reaching the Gulf Coast, we need to continue exploring ways to protect our shorelines and ecosystems that depend on them.

 

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Let’s face it, COVID-19 has forever impacted the human race in so many ways.

The year 2020 has been a struggle and a challenge for an untold number of people throughout the world, but…being the optimist, there are some bright spots that have come to light this year.  One bright spot being the movement to spend more time outdoors.

One of Locke’s partners, PermaTrak, is positioned to help us enjoy the outdoors with their patented concrete boardwalk product.  PermaTrak has been providing unique boardwalk systems since 2010, and in 2015, Locke Solutions became a manufacturing partner with them.

“Locke Solutions was specifically chosen by us because our niche product appeals to both engineers and landscape architects requiring both accuracy and aesthetics in one product. Locke Solution’s teamwork has been critical to our success in meeting the needs of our customers and I am grateful for them stepping up to the challenge that is required in a partnership when introducing a new product to the marketplace.” says Jason Philbin, President of PermaTrak North America.

Much of the appeal of this concrete boardwalk system is the natural look and feel of the boardwalk while enjoying the inherent durability of reinforced concrete.  “The different combinations of surface finishes and integral color options helps make each boardwalk system unique in itself.” says Matthew Chesser, project manager for Locke.  “Plus, the combination of PermaTrak’s engineering and design work along with Locke’s custom precast experience allows for virtually any shape or size system you can think of.”

Over the years, Locke and PermaTrak have teamed up to provide projects all over the country from Washington state to Pennsylvania, to the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado.  As of this writing, PermaTrak has provided more than 320 boardwalk systems of precast concrete in the United States.

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Arguably the most frustrating and time-consuming aspect of an industrial or commercial project revolves around the construction of sloping concrete trench drains.

The ever so subtle slope required to create a positive water runoff flow creates a challenge for the most skilled carpenters and concrete crews to obtain.  Pre-fabricating these trench drains often appear unthinkable as each precast section would have to be unique in order to achieve the sloping invert.

Luckily, the precast industry has made great strides in innovative mold designs allowing for efficient and cost-effective manufacturing methods in precast trench drains with an integral sloping floor.

From electrical utility trenches needing a sloping floor allowing for drainage of excess water, to concrete trench drain systems with the sole purpose of conveying sheet drain stormwater runoff from the surface down to underground drain pipe, there are various manufacturing processes to create this integral slope in the precast product.

Trenches on each project are different, but with the advances in mold equipment, the economic value has shifted in favor of prefabricated concrete segments versus in-situ concrete. This along with the inherent advantages of prefabricated construction to reduce the project duration and minimize the downtime and risk associated with weather delays has made sloped concrete trench installation as simple as laying concrete pipe or box culvert.

These precast concrete trench drain systems have started highlighting how important it is to minimize weather delays.  The “excavate as you go” construction method with prefabricated trench sections is ideal for wet climates and helps reduce the amount of “mucking out” required after a heavy rain.  Gone are the days of excavating and prepping subgrade for hundreds of feet at a time and praying for 2 weeks of dry weather.  Now these systems are excavated and installed in half day increments with 50 to 200 feet of sloping trench fully installed each day.

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If you have seen the precast concrete pull boxes Locke Solutions manufactures (also known as ground boxes or handholes), you might be asking “What’s up with those round recesses all over the box?”

We sat down with Michael Luck, Vice President of Sales for Locke Solutions, to give us some background on how this look came to be.

“From the beginning of Locke, we’ve always tried to find ways to make precast more valuable to our contractors.” says Luck. “These recesses can be used as a guide in the field and it helps the contractor visualize the location of the duct bank or conduit during installation.”

 

Luck says, “It’s not as noticeable on the smaller concrete ground boxes, but we also developed these pull boxes with rounded corners.  The recesses and the rounded corners both help to reduce the amount of spalling when handling or knocking out openings for conduit.”

Although the precast concrete industry has proven the value of long-lasting steel-reinforced concrete, there have been few changes in precast technology over the years until recently.  Many precast manufacturers, including Locke, have started developing new and innovative ways to make the use of precast even more cost-effective and valuable to contractors and owners.

“We believe that if the concrete looks good with little or no chipping, the contractor and the owner feel better about the product.  Most of our products are going underground, but we care about how it looks when it leaves our facility and arrives at the site.” Luck reiterates “It just looks better!”

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Once again, the tried and tested values of precast concrete have partnered up with innovative and progressive ideas in coastal restoration.

Mike Turley of Wayfarer Technologies has been marketing and perfecting the OysterBreak artificial reef system along the Gulf Coast for more than 15 years.

Shoreline with installed precast concrete products

“The unique features about the OysterBreak reef system is primarily the ability to modify product design with minimal effort just by changing the wall thickness, overall height and concrete mixture to meet your specific project parameters of load-bearing, wave energy stability and habitat goals. The second feature is the ability to use our specially designed pervious concrete mix to offer a much greater opportunity for shellfish to colonize on the reef. The structure design allows for wave energy to move through the structure which mimics a natural occurring reef for fishery and shellfish habitat.” says Turley.

From proprietary concrete mix designs to custom-engineered handling devices to wave attenuation computer modeling, the OysterBreak system has been process engineered forward and back several times to create a multi-layered shoreline system with the most efficient cost per linear foot installation in the market.

Inventory Stock of Fish House & OysterBreak Units

Inventory Stock of OysterBreak Units

Turley explains, “The design has always been approached from a contractor’s point of view and we work closely with our installers to affirm their creative ingenuity for new and improved techniques in deployment. The latest handler has the ability to hydraulically clamp on the outside walls with a preset spacer jig that allows for cycle times of 2 minutes with only 1 man for guidance in the water.”

Salt Aire Marsh Creation | Mobile, AL

Often these shoreline protection systems are needed for erosion control of the shoreline, or to provide a submerged barrier to place dredging spoils and actually build back the shoreline. Other times, there is a need to create an ecosystem suitable for promoting the growth of oysters for recreation and water filtration. And other times, the need is to create a breakwater barrier capable of withstanding the overturning forces created by annual hurricane surges in the Gulf of Mexico. Only one system can provide all these benefits with one single product, backed by the benefits inherent with a scalable precast concrete manufacturing process. To date, about 7 miles of this OysterBreak reef system has been installed in the water with no damage or loss.

Joshua’s Marina | Buras, LA

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LOCKE CONTINUES TO GROW WITH—AND FOR—OUR CUSTOMERS.

We recently installed two new 45′ long Proserv bridge cranes, one bridge crane in each of our service departments with 50-ton and 20-ton load capacities. Read below for more.

PROJECT PURPOSE

These overhead bridge cranes were installed to increase our handling capacity, productivity, and give us the ability to lift larger precast concrete structures. Plus, the previously installed cranes along with the new cranes allow us to lift up to 100 tons on a single pick inside our facility.  “We often design and manufacture large structures such as concrete pits, concrete pier caps, precast concrete columns and beams for pipe rack systems, or aircraft loaded concrete manholes with thick wall sections.” says David Espino, Locke’s Operations Manager.  “These structures can easily range from 20 to 100 tons, so having this 100 ton lifting capacity will reduce our manufacturing costs and significantly reduce our overall production lead time.”  There is a misconception that prefabricating concrete structures is only possible with smaller structures.

RESULTS OF THE INSTALL

We are now able to provide larger structures to our customers with shorter lead times.  Espino notes, “The cranes have also allowed us to be more productive on the manufacturing side increasing our bridge crane count up to 6 within our facility allowing us to perform more crane dependent activities simultaneously throughout the day.”  At Locke, we continue to invest in our equipment and facility to keep ourselves ahead of the competition in terms of service and lead time for our concrete products.  Our culture is centered around making life easier for our customer.

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Precast concrete spread footings are a structural member designed to spread out or evenly distribute the load to a wider area where it enters the ground.

INTENDED USES OF SPREAD FOOTINGS:

  • Transfer the loads of the structures into the bearing soils they sit upon
  • Resist uplift forces caused by the wind and soil pressure
  • Stabilize above ground structures

MINIMIZE YOUR CONSTRUCTION TIME FRAME.

  • Product is installed quicker
  • Anchor Bolts and Embedded Weld Plates are Pre-Installed
  • Less manpower is needed
  • Less weather dependency
  • Reduced coordination of trades
  • Concrete strength is strictly controlled and consistent
  • Improve job safety with easier connection of structures

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Heavy Traffic Loading from a CraneThis image shows the potential heavy-duty traffic loading imposed on underground trench structures.

 

What does HS-20 traffic rating mean?

This is the term used by AASHTO and ACI to describe normal MOVING traffic loading conditions up to 18-wheeler loading. This loading assumes a 16,000 lbs wheel load and therefore a 32,000 lbs axle load. It also takes into consideration the additional loading that occurs from moving vehicles. These loads are called IMPACT and LIVE LOAD SURCHARGE and are an additional safety factors that help prevent underground enclosures from having a structural failure and collapsing in from traffic conditions. There are few construction materials that are designed to withstand these type of loadings other than concrete and cast iron (or ductile iron) steel. 

What is the difference between H-20 and HS-20?

Generally speaking, these terms are used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference. You can see the different diagrams showing the difference between H-20 and HS-20. There is minimal, if any, cost savings from designing structures with H-20 versus HS-20, so my recommendation is to always require HS-20 loading if you think there is any possibility of vehicle traffic.  

HS-20 vs H-20 Wheel Loads
This image helps show the difference between H-20 and HS-20 wheel loading and location.

What does the number “44” represent in HS-20-44?

Quite often, this number “44” is mistakenly assumed to mean 44,000 lbs in some design context. The number “44” actually refers to the year, 1944, in which the HS-20 traffic loading conditions were originally developed by AASHTO.

What is the difference between HS-20 and Tier 22 Ratings?

It is difficult to compare these two designations but there are some key points that people sometimes confuse when dealing with different load ratings.  One of the differences between these ratings, is HS-20 refers to traffic loading conditions with wheel loads up to 45,136 lbs, when considering impact and load factors, while Tier 22 is using a 33,750 lbs wheel load tested in a vertical position. The ANSI/SCTE 77 2007 code for the various Tier designations include Tier 5, 8 ,15, and 22 are meant for small boxes with only INCIDENTAL traffic conditions. Any underground enclosures with potential wheel loading conditions should consider using HS-20 traffic loading criteria and materials should be limited to concrete, steel, and/or cast/ductile iron materials.

 

Typical Container Yard Aerial PictureMany marine facilities have heavy-duty loading conditions due to storage containers and the equipment needed to handle these containers.

 

When do I need to consider designing above & beyond HS-20 traffic rating?

It is smart to consider special designs if you have larger than standard 18-wheeler traffic driving over your structures. Large construction equipment including front loaders, forklifts, mobile cranes all should be considered when installing underground structures. Airport, marine, and railroad facilities should also be looked at closely to determine what type of loading conditions will be present. From a cost/benefit analysis, it is very easy to justify the cost of a heavy duty load design versus the risks of a catastrophic failure because of an unexpected piece of equipment needing access on your structure.

What are the concerns when installing an underground enclosure?

The most critical factors include the type of loading conditions that could create a structural failure leading to the collapse of the enclosure. Vehicle loads on top of the enclosure dictate how the top and bottom of the enclosure should be designed. Lateral loads from soil, water, and loading derived from moving vehicles impact the design considerations of the side walls of an enclosure.

What is the difference between HS-20 and HL93?

HS-20 is the truck live loadings of the AASHTO specification, where H stands for highway, S stands for semi-trailer, 20 stands for 20-ton weight of the tractor (first two axles). Each axle will carry the loads as follow, the first axle carries 8,000 pounds, the second axle, 14 feet away carries 32,000 pounds and a single-axle semitrailer 14-30 ft away from the second axle carries 32,000 pounds.

HL93 is the Basic LRFD Design Live Load, where H stands for Highway, L stands for Loading and LRFD stands for Load and Resistance Factor Design. The HL93 design loading consists of a combination of “Design Truck Plus Design Lane Load” or “Design Tandem Plus Design Lane Load” which ever produces the worst case. A “Design Truck “is same as the HS-20 load. The “Design Tandem “consists of two axles, each axle weighing 25 kips spaced 4 ft apart. The Design Lane Load is equal to 640 pounds per linear foot. This uniformly distributed load is designed to apply on the above grade bridge deck but It does not apply to below ground structures per ASTM C1577. 

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