Historically speaking, India missed the benefits of the ready-mixed concrete (RMC) technology. It was only in the early nineties that the industry was born; but the real growth commenced from the second half of nineties. Thanks to the consistent growth in GDP of around 6-8% witnessed by the Indian economy during the past decade and the increasing investments in the infrastructure, housing and other sectors, there has been a rise in the demand for faster speed and improved quality of concrete. The newly-born Indian RMC industry responded positively to these demands and spread its wings initially to the metropolitan cities and then to other major cities in India. Presently, RMC industry has its presence across nearly 50 major cities and the unofficially-estimated volume of concrete produced by commercial plants during 2010-11 was of the order of around 40-45 million m3 . Considering the long history in the use of labour intensive site-mixed concrete in the country, this is indeed a creditable achievement. Yet, the percentage of cement consumed through the batch-plant concrete operations has not crossed the 10% mark.

Construction is the second largest industry in India, next only to agriculture. According to the document of the 11th Five Year Plan, the contribution of construction to the GDP at factor cost in 2006–07 was Rs. 1,965,550 million. The share of construction in GDP has increased from 6.1% in 2002–03 to 6.9% in 2006–07. The importance of construction activity in infrastructure, housing, and other asset-building activities can be seen from the fact that the component of construction comprises nearly 60 to 80% of the project cost in certain sectors such as roads, bridges, housing, etc. The public and the private sectors in India have been investing huge sums of money in construction. Over years, nearly half of the annual budgeted expenditure was made on construction. Barring the world financial crisis during 2007-09, which did affect the Indian construction sector badly, the Indian industry witnessed a growth of around 10% during the past decade. The recent slow-down in the Indian economy that drove the GDP growth rate to around 6.5% also affected the construction industry adversely. However, it is believed that this will be a temporary phase and that the construction industry will hopefully be on a growth track again. Indian construction is highly fragmented. According to the Planning Commission data, with 27,770 enterprises involved directly in the activity of construction in 2005, the industry is one of the largest employers in the country and is characterized by a mix of both organized and unorganized entities. The employment figures have shown a steady rise from 14.6 million in 1995 to more than double in 2005, that is, 31.46 million personnel comprising engineers, technicians, foremen, clerical staff, and skilled and unskilled workers. It is interesting to know that in terms of construction spending, India is amongst the top few nations of the world. According to a study conducted in 2004 by Global Insight Inc., a Massachusetts-based economic consulting firm, India ranked 11th in construction spending. However, based on the forecast by Global Construction Perspective & Oxford Economics, it is estimated that by 2020 India will take the 3rd slot in global construction after China and USA and that Indian construction will accelerate faster than that in China up to 2020.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

9620252004695India has the distinction of being the second largest cement producer in the world, next to China. Based on the data from the Survey of Cement Industry, the Indian Cement Industry comprises of around 180 large plants belonging to 55 companies, with an aggregate capacity of 290 million tons in 2010. Unofficial estimate predicts that the cement industry capacity will reach a figure of around 350 million tons by 2012-13. Historically speaking, the indigenous cement industry has generally achieved 1-2% higher growth rate than that in the GDP. Thus even if we assume a very conservative GDP growth rate of around 5-6% during the 12th Five Year Plan (2013-2017), it will be safe to assume that the cement industry will grow at an average rate of 7%. With this assumption, the cement industry capacity would reach 442 million tons in 2017.

Based on the cement figures, let us now find out the approximate size of the organized concrete industry in India, which comprises of companies/organizations producing concrete using modern batching/mixing plants — for either commercial or captive consumption. Here, based on the previous discussion, it may be safe to assume that cement consumed through the RMC/batch plant route will reach 7.5% in 2012-13 and 10% in 2017-18. Further, assuming that the average cement consumption per m3 of concrete produced is around 300 kg, the volume produced by the organized concrete industry in India will reach 87million m3 in 2012-13 and 147 million m3 in 2017. These are approximate estimates from a conservative angle. Yet, when compared with the production figures from other leading countries, the performance of the Indian industry seems impressive. By 2017-18, the organized Indian concrete industry will possibly rank the third largest concrete industry in the world, next to the USA and China. As pointed out earlier, the RMC culture has now spread to around 50 major cities in India and the unofficially-estimated volume of concrete produced by the commercial plants during 2010-11 was of the order of around 40-45 million m3 . If concrete produced by captive plants is added to this, the total figure may reach around 80 million m3. The organized concrete industry in India is unfortunately fragmented. There are only a handful of commercial RMC players who have an all-India presence. Since the entry barrier to the industry are low, there is a preponderance of small players operating in local markets. However, being late-comer, the RMC companies in India have one advantage, in that most of the batching and mixing plants installed in the county during the past decade are of the state-of-the-art variety with computerized controls.

All India Commercial Stastics As On April 2013
Region City Locations Number Of Companies Total RMC Plants-All In India Approx. Production Of RMC
South India 43 177 314 936147
Western &Central 18 142 324 753524
North India 18 109 175 457380
Eastern India 9 22 44 99211
TOTAL 88 450 857 2246262
Immediately after its formation in 2002, the RMCMA actively participated in revising the Indian Standard specification on RMC. The old standard, IS 49267, which was first published by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in 1968 and then revised in 1976, needed one more revision to incorporate the experience gained in the commercial operations RMC plants. The second revision of the BIS standard which was published in 2003 generally proved appropriate for the industry. During the early years of its formation, RMCMA realized that in a country like India having a long history in the use of labor-intensive site mixed concrete, quality of concrete has indeed been one of the major concerns of customers. It therefore took the decision of creating a quality platform for winning over the customers using site-mixed concrete. In the absence of any national regulatory framework, RMCMA decided to develop an indigenous quality scheme for ready-mixed concrete in India. It also decided that the quality scheme shall rest on two strong pillars, namely, best international practices that are suitable for Indian conditions and strict observance of the codes of the Bureau of Indian Standards. For evolving the quality scheme, RMCMA constituted a “Quality Team” consisting of senior representatives from Member companies and eminent experts from the Indian construction industry. The Quality Team met on several occasions and after thorough discussions, decided to divide the quality in the scheme following two parts:
Audit-based certification of RMC production facilities; and
Guidelines for quality control and quality assurance.

With the guidance from experts from construction industry, two detailed manuals were prepared covering the above-mentioned two parts. The QC Manual Part I developed by the RMCMA contains an exhaustive “Check List” covering all the operational areas in RMC plant. It contains some 125 items. Out of these, conformance with some 110 items is considered to be strictly essential for achieving good quality concrete, and hence for getting the certification by the RMCMA. While developing the Check List, it was ensured that the provisions in the same meet most of the stipulations in the Indian Standard, IS 4926: 2003 and the other relevant codes on concrete such as IS 4569, IS 38310, IS 910311, etc. In fact, in certain cases, the RMCMA requirements are more stringent than those of IS 4926:2003 and other codes. With a view to bring in transparency, enhance credibility and win over the confidence of customers, it was considered essential by the RMCMA to introduce a yearly audit of the RMC production facility by an external auditor. For this purpose a detailed audit procedure was drawn and the selection criteria for auditors were also finalized. The scheme was offered to members of RMCMA as well as others. One more crucial feature of the RMCMA quality scheme is its adherence to the prevailing statutory norms in India. Before undertaking any audit, the auditor seeks and verifies certificates of compliance on the following three aspects from the RMC producer:
Permission and consent to operate RMC facility from state Pollution Control Board
Permission from factory inspector confirming adherence to health and safety norms
Permission/license to operate plant from local body/municipal authority.
Till April 2012, RMCMA has certified around 250 RMC facilities throughout the length and breadth of country. Realizing that mere certification based on the Check List may not be sufficient to instill assurance on quality amongst customers, RMCMA prepared detailed Guidelines for QA and QC of concrete (Quality Manual Part II). The minimum benchmarks suggested in the this guideline document are based on the relevant provisions in BIS codes such as IS 4569 , IS 49267 , IS 38310, IS 910311, IS 381212, etc. In fact, certain benchmarks in the guidelines far exceed the provisions in different codes. Based on these guidelines, RMCMA encouraged its members to develop their own documents and make the same available to customers on request.

In terms of cement consumed through the RMC route, the total percentage is too low and it stands at around 7-8% of the total quantity of cement produced in India during 2010-11. In most of the advanced countries, this percentage is much higher, varying from around 48% (Europe) to 73% (USA). Thus, there is a great scope for the development of RMC industry in India. However, there many hurdles for the healthy growth of the industry. Some of these are listed below.

Growth Of Industry
As mentioned earlier, penetration RMC in terms of cement consumed through RMC route is presently very low. Thus, higher penetration of RMC is the top-most priority for the indigenous industry. The RMCMA is striving hard to achieve this.

Regulatory Framework
The industry has now embarked upon a new regulatory regime. The RMCMA believes that the new regulatory norms would bring immense benefits to the industry and its customers in the long term.

Shortage Of Natural Sand
India has been lucky to have good reserves of basalt, granite, limestone, sandstone, etc. However, in recent years, as the concrete volumes have picked up, the industry is feeling the pinch of shortage of aggregates. The problem is exacerbated in respect of natural sand in view of the dredging restrictions enforced by local authorities. Reports emanating from different parts of the country indicate that shortage of natural sand is widespread. In northern India, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plains, coarse aggregates are not easily available locally, forcing concrete producers to fetch them from long distances. Generally speaking, in most of the urban centers, leads for fetching aggregates are increasing and hence their cost. With the increasing shortage of natural sand, RMC producers have now commenced the use of manufactured sand and crusher rock fines.

Consolidation of Indian Construction Industry. The average size of individual civil contract would increase to Rs. 50 crore and above.

Mechanization of construction and premium on mechanized construction in tender evaluation and awards.

Changes in contract specifications and introducing separate rates for RMC and site mixed concrete. Recognizing RMC as a separate product than site mixed concrete.

Changing IS codes and making it mandatory for medium and major construction sites to use RMC. Similar changes in specification of major construction organization in Govt. / PSUs/ Private sector.

Availability of land in urban areas by Local authorities/SEZ on long-term lease at reasonable rates to RMC producers.

Production of quality RMC equipment in India conforming to international standards to bring down initial cost of the project. Initiative has already been taken by reputed foreign and Indian manufactures in this direction.

Mindset of the construction professionals and the end consumers to value quality and long term durability rather than economy alone especially in tier II and tier III cities.

Improvement in road net work to reduce turn around time of delivery vehicles.

Judicious and equitable taxation policy on RMC by Central and State Governments.

Quality Of Concrete :- Ready-mix concrete uses sophisticated plant and equipment, which enables it to produce quality concrete. There is strict control on the quality of all ingredients through rigorous testing, applying stringent controls on process parameters, meticulously monitors key properties of concrete.

Speed Of Construction:- : Mechanized operations at ready-mix plants ensure that construction activities are speeded up. While the production output from a typical site-mixed concrete operation using 8/12 mixer is around 4-5 m3/hour, the output form a 30-60-m3/hour. Thus there is nearly 10-fold increase in the output which translates into direct savings to the customer.

Elimination Of Material Procurement, Requirement and Storage Hassel:- With the use of RMC, customers are not required to procure and store cement, aggregates, sand, water and admixtures at site. This not only drastically reduces the space requirements at construction sites but also minimizes efforts on the part of customers to procure different materials, ensure their proper storage and check their quality parameters from time to time.

Saving In Labour Requirements:- Site-mixed concrete is a labor-intensive operation and managing large labour force is a big hassle for the customer. With the use of RMC the labor requirements are minimized considerably, thus benefiting customers.

Improved Life Cycle Cost:- Increased speed of construction coupled with reduction in labour cost and wastage results in considerable savings to customers. Further, the improved quality of concrete translates into enhanced long-term durability of concrete, thus minimizing the maintenance and repair costs. Overall, when one considers the life cycle costs, the use of RMC become cost-effective in the long run. The benefits directly accrue to the customers.

Reduction In Wastage:- : In site-mixed concrete job, wastage occurs in handling of all materials, including cement. The latter is generally of the order of about 2- 3 kg per 50 kg bag of cement. All such wastages are considerably minimized at RMC plant facility.

RMC is Eco-Friendly:- All plants of RMC pass the pollution control norms and are duly certified by the state pollution control authorities. As mentioned earlier, wastages are reduced drastically with the use of RMC. RMC plant can optimizes the mix proportions using the maximum possible potential from each material ingredient. All these improve the environmental performance of concrete.

Conservation Of Natural Resources:- Limestone is the raw material for the manufacture cement and limestone is a limited resource.” It cannot last forever”. We need to realize the importance of this fact. We need to use our cement rationally. Whereas we talk about huge figures describing development and building needs of our country, Concrete still remains the most widely used and environmentally friendly construction material to achieve this. Whatever we build should be aimed at improving the quality of life for a long period with focus on durability. With these aspects in mind cement needs to be used judiciously, use flash, slag etc. and best mechanism in this action process seems to be “adoption of RMC” thus relieving pressure on natural resources. Let our future generations not blame us for not conversing our natural resources.

The materials are batched at a central plant, and the mixing begins at that plant, so the traveling time from the plant to the site is critical over longer distances. Some sites are just too far away, however the use of admixtures like retarder can be added.

Furthermore, access roads and site access have to be able to carry the greater weight of the ready-mix truck plus load. (Green concrete is approx. 2.5 tonne per m³.) This problem can be overcome by utilizing so-called ‘mini mix’ companies which use smaller 4m³ capacity mixers able to reach more-restricted sites.

Concrete’s limited time span between mixing and curing means that ready-mix should be placed within 210 minutes of batching at the plant. Modern admixtures can modify that time span precisely, however, so the amount and type of admixture added to the mix is very important.

As the Ready Mixed Concrete is not available for placement immediately after preparation of concrete mix, loss of workability occurs. In addition, there are chances of setting of concrete if transit time involved is more. Therefore, generally admixture like plasticizers/ super plasticizers and retarders are used. Addition of retarders may delay the setting time substantially which may cause placement problems. In addition, it may also affect the strength of concrete. Therefore, it is necessary that the admixtures i.e. plasticizers and super plasticizers/ retarders used in Ready Mixed Concrete are properly tested for their suitability with the concrete. In case loss of strength is observed, the characteristic strength may have to be enhanced so that after loss of strength, required characteristic strength is available.

Osborne Concrete Co., a ready mixed concrete manufacturer in Michigan utilizes a filter press to recycle grey water / concrete wash out (water used to clean out their trucks). 
There are thousands of ready mixed concrete companies nationwide that cater to both the public and private sector. Concrete is a perishable product making long-distance shipping cost-prohibitive, resulting in numerous ready-mixed facilities. Many of these facilities are facing challenges related to water, due to rising cost per gallon as well as ever-evolving environmental regulation of wash water discharge.

Water is a key element to the ready mix concrete manufacturing process. From mixing new concrete to truck wash out, high volumes of water are in demand. To stay ahead, many operations, both large and small, are prepared to re-evaluate their process to find opportunities for water re-use, which is where the filter press comes in.

Osborne Concrete Co. is a family-owned company that has manufactured ready mixed concrete in Romulus, Michigan since 1965. In 2010 they transitioned to become nearly 100% recyclable, building and implementing a new system for cleaning their fleet of trucks. Their main concern was wastewater and the financial and environmental implications of its disposal. At the time, only 25% of the wash water was able to be re-used and wash water disposal had become an ongoing problem.

Key Learnings from Case Study:
While researching potential solutions for solid-liquid separation Osborne contacted M.W. Watermark to inquire about a filter press. Watermark tested a sample of the slurry in their dewaterability-testing lab and recommended a 800mm, 20 cubic foot filter press with a semi-automatic plate shifter to fit into their current recycling system. The filter press provides Osborne multiple benefits. By removing the solids from the wash water, they are able to re-use a significant amount of the filtrate to make new concrete, or, with a filter bag to wash trucks.

They were also able to reduce the waste output from washing out the inside of the drums on the concrete mixers. Frequently they produce more grey water (wash water) than they can re-use. Now, the solids can be efficiently removed from the water and they may discharge the filtrate without a water permit. This creates room in an agitated tank for more clean outs each day and has eliminated the use of an unsightly settling pond outdoors.


The growth of any industry especially in a developing country is dictated by technology absorption, immediate markets, capital investment, risk taking capacity, government support and future prospects. Construction will continue to dominate Indian economy in coming decades and cement and concrete will continue to remain the backbone of the construction industry. In this scenario, cement and concrete are indispensable components of the engine for the economic growth. Cement and concrete will continue to grow at 1.1 to 1.2 times of GDP growth and with the international exposure of the economy, the premium will be laid on life cycle cost rather than initial cost of the projects. It is here that RMC will receive considerable importance over site mixed concrete and will emerge as most preferred construction material even in ties II and tier III cities.

The growth of RMC in India over the last 15 years can be viewed from both optimistic and pessimistic perspectives. It would be more prudent to view the developments positively. In a short span of time, RMC has made a place for itself throughout the country. People have become aware of it, people like it, people want to use it, people have a very favorable opinion about it and it is this changing mindset that will accelerate the future growth of RMC in India. There are numerous constraints in its growth at present but the overwhelming advantages the product offers will become sufficient reason to resolve the existing emphases. World over growth of RMC has followed ‘S’ curve and in India also, same pattern is emerging, may be with minor changes in the gradient of the curve. The RMC industry has arrived in India for ever and it will continue to forge ahead with accelerated pace in the years to come.


I'm Lillian

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out