When you build a better mousetrap, the world beats a path to your doorstep. But for Line Dragon founder Tank Stoltzfus, revolutionizing the way large concrete pours were done took a little old-fashioned legwork.
Fortunately, Tank was no stranger to hard work; running his first concrete pump at the age of 17, he learned quickly — and first-hand — how labor-intensive and dangerous dragging concrete hose around a job site could be.
“I was never the kind of guy to just stand there and watch other people work,” said Tank. “I was always in there with a hook or a chain to help pull the hose around. And I saw so many people get back injuries, so many people get hurt. I knew early on there had to be a better way of doing it.”
The solution was the Line Dragon system, two remote-controlled four-wheeled gasoline-powered machines that deliver pumped concrete precisely where you want it (the “Placer”) and pull long concrete lines behind, keeping them out of the pour area (the “Dragger”). Together, the two machines can maneuver 3, 4 or 5-inch concrete hose for long, complex runs over rebar, Nelson studs, or whatever prepared area they face quickly and safely — allowing delivery of concrete at speeds and volumes unheard of with dragging hose by hand.
The Line Dragon machines are so effective, they raise eyebrows everywhere they go; from the beginning, Tank found that just showing what they could do was usually enough to sell them. So he shows them as often as he can; back during prototype testing in 2008, Tank trailered his machines to a demo at a construction company with a large pour in progress — several floors of 90,000 square feet each.
“They had five guys dragging hose,” said Tank, “placing between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet in six hours.”
Tank offered the prototype for a free two-man demo — one man operating the Placer, the other controlling the Dragger — from time to time using a hook to get around one or two obstacles. The end result astounded the project manager.
“The first pour we did 27,000 square feet in four-and-a-half hours,” said Tank. “They took their five guys and had them running two VibraStrikes as hard as they could, and we were keeping ahead of them with the Dragons.”
Tank laughed. “That company ended up buying the very first production model we shipped out in 2009 — and they still use it today.”
Today, Line Dragons are still manufactured right in Tank’s family shop in Pennsylvania, with everything from assembly to the final powder coat truly “Made in the U.S.A.”; regularly doing single pours of 47,000 square feet in less than 8 hours, Line Dragons are being used in 8 different countries. Tank said the first one they sent out of the country went to Sochi, Russia, to help build the 2014 Olympic Stadium.
“A lot of times when you find a safer way of doing something, it also takes longer,” said Tank, “but this is one of those times where that’s not the case. We’re making bigger pours with these than we ever made pulling hose by hand, and we’re doing it faster — and obviously a lot safer.”
For more information about the Line Dragon concrete line delivery system, and to learn how to pour faster, safer, and with less labor, visit the website: www.LineDragon.com