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Every parking lot and city walkway are littered with light poles illuminating and creating a more inviting, safer space. Most people take it for granted and only notice the light poles when they’re absent creating a dark and precarious feeling at night. But if asked, the contractors installing those light poles will probably tell you how much of a pain it is to build this relatively unnoticed feature. And it’s not the actual light pole that is difficult to install, it’s the concrete base that anchors this light pole that creates so much coordination and effort.

Some parts of the country have discovered the relatively unknown secret of prefabricated concrete light pole bases, also known as precast concrete bases.

The traditional process of constructing concrete light pole bases in the field consists of drilling an excavation, placing formwork or cardboard tubing to create a round shape extending a few feet above grade, fabricating and placing a rebar cage, fabricating and securing conduit or openings for electrical wiring, and setting a template to maintain the exact spacing and vertical alignment of specific anchor bolts. At this point, a third-party inspection is typically required to ensure the proper reinforcing steel is used and placed in the correct position, the excavation and formwork have been correctly established, and finally, the anchor bolt and conduit positions are properly placed and secured to prevent any movement during the concrete pour.

Once the light pole base setup has been confirmed, ready-mix concrete is scheduled for delivery. Getting the 80,000 lbs ready mix truck close enough to the light pole base can be challenging, but once ready, the concrete placement beings and a geo-tech inspector is typically required to be onsite to take concrete samples during the pour. After the concrete has been placed and the concrete has cured, typically 7-10 days, the formwork or cardboard tubing needs to be removed and the light pole base needs to be patched and cleaned up to meet aesthetic expectations. All in, this process can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days, and that is assuming no downtime due to rain events or scheduling conflicts with the inspector, geo-tech technician, concrete and electrical trades, or ready-mix concrete delivery. It is a lot of work and coordination for a simple light pole base.

LPB set out to make this process easier. These precast concrete light pole bases can be made in advance and stocked to be ready when the customer needs them. The patented bolt pattern system allows for varying bolt patterns to determined onsite to fit exactly with the pole being attached.

This simple system changes the whole schedule and process for installing light pole bases. Not only does it simplify the 7-14 day process down to one day, but it also leaves the owner with a better quality pole foundation. The LPB’s are built in a controlled factory environment with high-strength concrete and constant quality control monitoring throughout the manufacturing process.

The contractor can control the schedule of installation and finish in a fraction of the time while virtually eliminating the risk of weather or inspection delays…all at a lower installation cost and headache factor. The LPB is delivered cured to strength, consistent, and clean with no need for additional aesthetic touchups.

Locke Solutions has recently partnered with the LPB as a licensee for the patented concrete light pole base system.

Recon LPB Precast Light Pole Base

It is not a surprise as there is a natural fit between Locke and LPB as both companies have a culture and purpose revolving around making life easier for our customers. LPB has taken the cumbersome process of constructing concrete light pole bases and turned it into a simple and quick step in the project.

 

Precast Light Pole Base Product Information

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slug: light-pole-bases
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Precast concrete Light Pole Bases are pre-engineered, pretested and manufactured in a controlled environment.

Precast Concrete Light Pole Bases provide a fast and easy way to install light poles up to twenty-five feet in height and in some cases taller.

 

We have partnered with LPB and their proven universal bolt system allowing us to stock pre-engineered units.

 

Light Pole Base Features:

• Accommodates Light Poles up to twenty-five feet tall
• Adjustable anchoring system for bolt patterns ranging from 7-1/4” to 13’-1/2” in diameter
• Pre-engineered and pre-tested light pole bases are 24” diameter.
• Light Pole Bases are designed for multiple conduits from all directions
• Other sizes available upon request
• The future of light pole bases

Minimize Your Project Time:

• Stocked and available for when you need it
• Fast and easy installation
• Less weather dependency
• Less manpower is needed

 

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slug: compressor-platform-project
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Locke Solutions recently manufactured the concrete column and beam structure for two compressor station platforms for a polyethylene expansion project for Total Petrochemicals near Houston, TX.  The total project consisted of 42 columns and 120 beams with individual sections weighing as much as 53,000 lbs.  Locke’s design team worked hand-in-hand with the contractor, Bo-Mac Contractors, and the engineering group with McDermott/CB&I to convert the original cast-in-place design to a precast construction method.  The goal was to drastically improve the schedule duration of the installation and to provide a safe working environment to manufacture this concrete frame with the tightest of tolerances.

Locke’s design team developed hundreds of drawings to detail each individual column and beam and show the unique placement of embed plates, anchor bolts, lifting anchors, steel reinforcement locations, and diagrams for lifting and installation.

The concept of prefabricated products has continued to gain favor as contractors and engineering firms are trying to find more efficient and quality methods of construction.  Not only concrete, but other materials have seen success with prefabrication methods including steel, piping, and electronic components…all benefiting from the advantages of offsite fabrication in controlled environments prior to being installed on the job site.

One of the benefits of fabricating these elements in advance is the ability to stage products and plan for delivery and installation when weather conditions are favorable.

The result is a structure built within a factory-controlled environment with zero safety incidents and laser tight tolerances, all contributing to shorter installation time and less risk of weather delays.

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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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slug: concrete-headwall-case-study
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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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slug: npca-2021
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We are proud to share the following press release from NPCA:

Local Businessman Elected to Trade Association Board

Indianapolis, Ind. – Asher Kazmann, president of Locke Solutions in Houston, Texas, was elected to serve a three-year term on the National Precast Concrete Association Board of Directors on October 5 during NPCA’s 55th Annual Convention.

Kazmann has worked in the precast concrete industry for 18 years, starting as a structural engineer before founding Locke Solutions in 2013. Locke focuses on engineered precast products in the industrial and heavy commercial markets with products including manholes, pull boxes, utility trenches, box culverts and more.

“I look forward to working with Asher and seeing the impact he makes on our association and industry,” said NPCA President Fred Grubbe. “Asher is an innovative businessman who looks for new and modern ways of doing things, which will translate well as a member of the NPCA Board of Directors.”

Kazmann has been active with NPCA since 2013, serving on the Utility Structures Committee and Education Committee. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Associated Builders and Contractors. He is a KidsHOPE mentor and serves on the St. Luke’s United Methodist Lay Leader Committee. In his free time, he enjoys coaching his three kids in soccer and baseball and traveling with his family.  “My family, especially my wife Meghan, have been my greatest supporters during my career and they are a daily reminder of why I need to be serving my employees and the industry.”


Now in its 55th year, the National Precast Concrete Association (precast.org) provides technical, educational and safety resources to more than 900 member companies in 12 countries, all 50 states and seven Canadian provinces.

For More Information:

Kirk Stelsel
Vice President of Communications
(317) 582-2318
kstelsel@precast.org

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slug: concrete-fish-house
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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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slug: concrete-boardwalk
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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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slug: marine-port-loading-conditions
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Heavy duty traffic loading poses many challenges in underground infrastructure construction these days.

Whether expanding terminals at airports, upgrading marine port crane and wharf systems, or industrial sites anticipating large rolling equipment needs, it requires a fundamental understanding of structural design and being able to anticipate potential heavy-duty loading conditions.

“From early on in Locke’s history, we’ve seen many of our contractor partners gravitate towards us to help develop precast concrete substitutes for highly complex and engineered concrete structures at marine port facilities.” says Asher Kazmann, President of Locke Solutions.

Among the various structures, concrete trench drains, power manholes, and communication handholes rank at the top of the list of underground utility structures needed.  “Most projects start with an old cast-in-place specification of concrete manholes and trench drains,” notes Kazmann.  “These structures typically have a dense web of reinforcing steel packed into thick concrete wall sections in order to provide the required structural capacity to withstand the massive forklifts, cranes, and non-stop traffic normally associated with busy port locations.”

More and more contractors are gaining experience utilizing precast concrete to speed up their project duration while reducing their safety and weather risks. “Although precast concrete manholes and inlets have become the norm for highway and residential construction, more complex projects such as airports and marine port facilities are slower to jump on the prefabrication trend,” explains Kazmann.  “With complex loading conditions, many engineers don’t realize precast is even an option to the old in-situ concrete construction methods.” This trend is slowly evolving as more and more precast manufacturers are developing the expertise to design and manufacture for these unique project conditions.

“After many years working with contractors and engineers in the marine port markets in Southeast Texas, Locke has developed a reputation for successfully converting numerous in-situ concrete structures to custom precast.  From concrete trench drains, power manholes, communication handholes, utility vaults, concrete docks, pier caps, and sumps, we have designed structures to handle some of the most intense equipment loads in extreme salty conditions along the coastline.” states Kazmann.