There have been significant developments at ProAll International Manufacturing, Inc., since the firm was profiled in the September 2017 issue of Construction in Focus magazine. Based in Olds, Alberta, ProAll designs and manufactures concrete mixers and mixer controls for a global clientele. The company will be launching a first-of-its-kind line of lightweight, aluminum mixers and a telematics system next year while a mixer trade-in program is in the works.
One thing that has not changed is ProAll’s focus on concrete. All of the company’s mixers are designed with concrete in mind, though end-users can use them to mix other materials if they wish. “We’re committed to making the best mixer for our customer, so they can pour the best concrete,” states Marketing Manager Ryan Anderson.
First introduced in 1968, ProAll Reimer Mixers are still the company’s star product. These mobile mixing plants can mix and pour fresh concrete onsite, a function that aids in quality control and time management.
This capability appeals to “people that want to have a mixer that they can take to a remote location and don’t have to worry about driving back to a batch plant to refill their concrete. You don’t have to worry about load times, don’t have to worry about any kind of logistics.”
Concrete production capacity on truck-mounted ProAll mixers ranges from 5.5 cubic metres (7.5 cubic yards) on the P50 to 9.5 cubic metres (14 cubic yards) on the P95. ProAll also offers a P75 with a 7.5 cubic meters (10 cubic yards) capacity and P85 8.5 cubic metres (12 cubic yards) capacity. The P95 trailer-mounted unit has a production capacity of nine cubic metres (12 cubic yards).
The company’s new mixer line, dubbed the ‘L’ series for ‘lightweight’, is to be unveiled at the World of Concrete trade show in February 2020 in Las Vegas. The L series mixers contain some steel components but are mostly aluminum and, therefore, lighter than ProAll’s existing mixers. The series was designed with a combination of British laws and Florida weather in mind.
In Great Britain, “vehicles have to be a certain street weight before they are deemed safe to be travelling on roads. We also made them for places like Florida, where’s there is a lot of water and moisture in the air. Aluminum isn’t as corrosive and doesn’t deteriorate as quickly [as other metals],” explains Anderson.
Mixers in the L series “can do everything that our regular steel mixers do. They’re just made from aluminum,” he adds.
ProAll also specializes in mixer control systems. Its proprietary Commander controls, which can be used to control the mixing process and record data, are now standard in all its mixers.
Solutions such as the Commander help ProAll stand out from the competition. The Commander system “makes everything so much easier. It’s a wonderful system. It gives you ease of use. The exact mix that you enter into your mixer is the mix that’s going to be coming out the end. You don’t have to constantly measure; you don’t have to constantly guess what belt speed you need, the amount of water that’s going into it, et cetera,” explains Anderson.
ProAll will be releasing another technological tool shortly. The telematics system called Spider also records data and has a remote-monitoring feature. Office staff can use it to observe mixer performance in real time via graphs and other visual displays.
“We’ve got diagnostics you can pull off of it. If you’re sitting in the office and a guy calls in and says, ‘My mixer’s not pumping out concrete,’ we can go in, check what’s wrong, push a button, say: ‘Yup. Now you’re back on track, back to making concrete again,’” he says.
In addition to the head office and manufacturing facilities in Alberta, ProAll has a refurbishing plant in Keller, near Fort Worth, Texas, and a global distribution network. This network covers much of Europe, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Australia, and parts of Africa.
“We’ve got mixers on just about every corner of the globe. Of course, North America is our biggest target market, especially in the United States. We also do quite a bit into the UK,” notes Anderson.
On top of new product launches, ProAll has introduced a trade in and trade up program. This allows customers to “trade in their old mixer and get up to $5,000 of the purchase of a new mixer,” he explains.
“I think the trade-in idea is a great idea, especially for people sitting around with a mixer that’s looking long in the tooth. They say: ‘Maybe time for an upgrade. What can I get for my old mixer?’”
The company does not do any rentals at present, just sales. E-commerce, however, is not feasible, given the level of customization that clients seek. “So many customers require specific options on their mixers. Some of them want different paint jobs. Some of them want different specs on their mixer. If we put all of that on a website, it would take hours for a person to fill out [the proper forms],” he explains.
ProAll is planning to expand its online reach by beefing up its social media presence and search engine optimization (SEO) activities. “We’re going to be starting with a couple of new campaigns that we hope to get out in the New Year that will drive more traffic to our website,” states Anderson.
The company has not neglected more traditional forms of promotion like appearing at industry conventions. On top of World of Concrete, ProAll likes to take in the massive construction trade show CONEXPO-CON/AGG and other events.
To be sure, the team has been earning industry kudos for its products. The firm won a sustainable development award at the 2017 Contech Montreal Building Exposition in recognition of the ‘green’ aspects of its mixers since having an onsite mobile mixing plant means fewer trips to a batch plant, which means lower energy use and fewer emissions.
The company was nominated for an international green solutions award by the Construction21 network as well, earning the nomination because of its involvement in the Glorieta Insurgentes Tower construction project in Mexico City in 2018. A Reimer Mixer from ProAll poured the concrete for this energy-efficient building. The company “is trying our best to make sure the world we live in is a healthier, cleaner, more environmentally-friendly place,” says Anderson.
The main challenge facing the firm is convincing potential customers of the benefits of purchasing a mobile mixer. “It can be a challenge getting people who already own a fleet of mixers to switch over to a volumetric mixer. We aim to get out the idea that, in the long run, it is going to save you money and deliver the advantages of being able to pour only what you need, limit waste, access remote locations, and more,” says Anderson.
Expect to see a continued emphasis on concrete and customer feedback. “We do a good job of listening to our customers when they tell us, ‘We’d like to see this.’ We do our best to implement [their suggestions]. When we came up with the Commander, one of the things we did, we listened to our customers. They wanted something that was easy to use; they wanted something that would verify what was going into the mixer was actually the stuff that was coming out after it was poured, after it was cured, after it set,” Anderson explains.
“I think that’s played a really big part in our longevity, just listening to our customers. We take all the stuff they say, and it inspires us to make new innovative products like the Commander, like the aluminum mixer, and hopefully, in the foreseeable future, a whole bunch of new products as well.”