“The Besser BiDi® is wonderful,” commented Carl Carlson, President of Cemcast Pipe and Precast and Carl V. Carlson Company of Hartford, South Dakota, as he watched it effortlessly produce an 18” diameter concrete pipe. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here so far. Once we did our homework, which included visiting over 20 plants looking at different machines, asking questions, gathering information and learning, selecting a Besser was easy. I’m convinced we made the right choice.”
The favorable business climate in South Dakota is attracting a lot of attention, new residents, and businesses. All this activity drives construction which is keeping Cemcast very busy with orders for curb and gutter, contracting services, and underground products including their newest product line, 12” – 48” diameter concrete pipe.
Their decision to enter the pipe business was part of the long-term business strategy that family members Carl, Matt Carlson, Vice-President of Cemcast Pipe and Precast, and Ed Davis, Vice-President of Carl V. Carlson Company, created over the last decade. They began with the curb and gutter business, ventured into contracting, and then began to precast manholes. When they found that the market demanded they provide all the underground products in order to sell the manholes they realized it was time to enter the concrete pipe industry.
About that time, in 2012, the trio traveled to Las Vegas for the World of Concrete trade show. The Besser booth caught their eye and they were greeted by Gary Ericson, Director of Sales – Pipe and Precast and Kevin Curtis, President and CEO. Carl, Matt and Ed shared their desire to diversify; Gary invited them to Sioux City to see our operation and Kevin encouraged them to visit as many pipe plants as possible to get a firm understanding of pipe production.
Realizing their need to fast track their learning curve and be part of the association that supports the entire industry, they joined the American Concrete Pipe Association immediately and were sponsored by Bo Gossett from Gossett Pipe Company. Matt shared, “We truly appreciate the help and advice we received and continue to solicit. It’s made a tremendous difference in our operation.” Additionally the education provided at the Pipe School has been extremely beneficial in knowing the proper production techniques.
As a greenfield site they had a clean slate to design a plant to meet all of their requirements. Besser staff worked closely with Cemcast to design an ideal production facility. Many designs were created and discussed before finalizing the layout.
The homework paid off. Cemcast made their first pipe on 7 May 2015. The production process begins with 1-1/2 yard batches of concrete, made with a granite aggregate called Quartzite which feeds their A-48 BiDi. Depending upon the customer’s requirement the BiDi can manufacture pipe in diameters from 12” – 48” (300 mm – 1200 mm) in maximum lengths of 8’ (2.5 m). Cycle after cycle, using a proven hydrostatic drive system, the BiDi produces pipe that are consistent, of precise height, smooth on the interior which translates into less friction for water flowing through and clean bell and spigot ends to create solid tight joints when installed. Contractors in the area report that their installation speed has increased since the joints fit together snuggly and don’t need to be coerced to fit. Another testament to their high-quality production, all sizes of their pipe meet the South Dakota and Iowa DOT specifications.
The Cemcast staff crew was green; they had no experience operating production equipment in a controlled environment prior to this operation. They all agree that the BiDi is easy to operate, adjust, and maintain and that changing attachments is quick and simple. Machine operator, Matt Durband, says that, “I make machine adjustments from the touch screen (interface) in the console. I watch product being made on three different closed circuit television cameras. The Vision 3 system is awesome.”
Matt (Carlson) has earned certifications in South Dakota and Iowa. He spent months attending courses, learning the basics and nuances so he can assure production of the mix design for each type of pipe for a variety of jobs. As the marketing department of the company this skill set gives contractors the ability to seek his counsel on job sites to facilitate the installation and address any questions promptly, keeping the installation on track. This additional level of customer services distinguishes Cemcast. They pride themselves on providing attentive customer support, on-time delivery, and fair pricing. Cemcast is pleased that they’re securing repeat business because of their attentive customer service and quality of the pipe produced on the BiDi.
Cemcast’s success is made possible by a dedicated crew, working together to produce high quality pipe and precast products that are raising the bar in the region’s quality standard. They’re anxiously anticipating the spring construction season. Carl, Matt, and Ed, along with their entire team, join in extending an open invitation to industry members to come to Hartford, South Dakota to and see what they’ve built.