What is Dry-Cast?

Dry-cast concrete is a very dry type of concrete mix with zero slump, where just enough water is introduced to initiate the cement hydration. Working with this type of concrete requires having the correct equipment, as it needs a very high level of vibration energy to make the concrete move and thoroughly consolidate in the mold.

The advantages of dry-cast include:

  • Increased production output on a daily basis
  • Lower labor requirement in man hours per ton
  • Requires only one form per product as the form is immediately stripped once casting is complete
  • Lower cement costs, dry-cast typically requires 20 to 25% less cement per cubic meter or yard
  • Faster strength gain, design strength can be obtained in as little as 24 hours of curing
  • Less shrinkage and creep due to the lower water content
  • Reduced absorption, it is a tighter matrix
  • Increased freeze/thaw durability

Dry-casting requires an investment in machine that can pour, consolidate, and then allow the form to be removed and stripped. The machine is commonly designed to be able to make a range of products and only form for each product is required, yielding significant savings to the producer versus having to invest in multiple forms for each individual product as is the case with wet-casting.

Moreover, in many cases dry-casting can require less space than wet-cast production, because some dry-casted concrete products can be stacked immediately on top of each other with no consequence to product quality.

As mentioned above, the dry-cast business requires equipment suitable for it. Products that are manufactured with zero slump concrete need to be consolidated through intense vibration, and the machinery and molds used for this process must be designed to withstand the impacts of such vibrations. Strong and rigid equipment will transfer the vibration energy much more effectively to the concrete, resulting in the highest quality products.