Mix Masters

A lot goes into a load of premixed concrete, least of all making sure it gets to where it’s meant to be with the right consistency. For South Australia’s QuickMix Concrete, Isuzu vehicles fit the bill, with 20 of them now on the job.
Quickmix Concrete in Mt Gambia.

When you work with a material as flexible and diverse as concrete, there isn’t much you can’t create, according to Brenton James.

As one half of Mount Gambier, South Australia’s QuickMix Concrete, he’s had a lot of requests when it comes to precast concrete – concrete that is poured into moulds and hardens to create a product.

“We really are a bit of an open book because concrete is so versatile and you can turn it into anything really,” James says.

“Our only limitation is designing the cast that will hold the concrete, but basically we are always looking to assist our clients with whatever their needs might be.”

So far, those needs have been varied and have included such things as garden features, agricultural products like feed troughs for sheep and cattle, panels for commercial buildings and even septic tanks.

In fact, the company holds a Victorian and South Australia license for Eloy wastewater systems, which provides solutions for discharged water.

The flurry of concrete interest and a growing client base has led the company to expand going from locations in Mount Gambier and Millicent, South Australia to, more recently, adding operating plants in western Victoria’s Portland and Warrnambool.

But precast products aren’t the company’s mainstay.

It also provides premixed concrete, which is the material in its raw form, mixed and then delivered to a third party, often a building site or commercial concrete company.

Family-owned QuickMix Concrete began in 1986 when Andrew Buchalka, who had a background in the concrete industry, decided to go out on his own.

Years later Brenton joined the fold, purchasing half of the business in 2009. It is the premix concrete side of QuickMix Concrete that requires the services of Isuzu Trucks, which the company began using in 2007.

Starting with a 6×4 agitator cab chassis, the company upgraded when an 8×4 version was introduced in 2015. It now owns 20 of them.

The ordering process begins at Isuzu Mount Gambier where QuickMix has a good relationship with the sales team. After putting in a request for its cab chassis, Isuzu sent the vehicle to agitator manufacturers, A&A Di Medio, in Melbourne. Quick Mix’s model is the FYJ 300-350 Agitator Cab Chassis, which comes with satellite navigation as a standard.

It is powered by a 6UZ1-TCN engine that produces 257kW (345 HP) at 2,000 rpm and has 1422Nm of torque.

The 6-cylinder with 6-speed automatic transmission has a gross vehicle mass of 30,000kg and a gross combination mass of 45,000kg. As for what he likes about the Isuzu brand, Brenton said it is a combination of things.

“We’ve really been impressed overall,” he says.

“The price is great, and the product is reasonably light allowing us more payload which is good.”

He said the reliability and quality of the vehicles are also big factors, adding that he has had very few mechanical issues related to them.

Isuzu FYJ 300-350 Agitator Cab Chassis.

QuickMix Concrete is on track to continue growing, with a five-year expansion program it hopes will increase its footprint from five plants to 10. With this comes product range growth, and Brenton is predicting more vehicles from Isuzu Trucks.

“We’ve got a number of them already on order as we are always trying to improve our fleet,” he says.

The secret to the company’s success, according to Brenton, is the service and support it offers the local community, which has in turn, supported QuickMix Concrete.

“We aren’t a multinational company,” he says.

“We’re an independently owned company and we support local sporting clubs, local charity groups and local organisations, and often donate to, or sponsor, community events. We also always buy local just to ensure that we’re supporting other local businesses.”

As for his relationship with Isuzu Trucks, Brenton sees it continuing long-term.

“I think there has been a great cross pollination of businesses,” he says.

“The growth of the premix industry has helped us, and the growth of the agitator market has certainly helped them.”

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