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When Gage Brothers Concrete Plant Manager, Jim Miller, saw Nox-Crete literature about how the right products can enhance the surface finish of precast concrete, he reached out to Nox-Crete’s Precast Division Manager Jeff Bishop for tips on reducing the appearance of bugholes.

Not content to offer advice over the phone, Bishop traveled to the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant, where he viewed the mix design and production practices to determine the best option to enhance the location’s output.

“Jeff brought some different products along,” Miller said. “Then he worked with our production people until we agreed on the product that worked best for us. We have improvement in our air hole problem.”

Bishop has accumulated a lot of knowledge through his 30-year precast career. He takes that expertise on the road with him as he visits precast plants nationwide, leading educational form release agent demonstrations.

Understanding how form release agents affect concrete is important, Bishop said. If the mix is good and proper vibration practices are being followed, the wrong release agent — or even the improper application of the right release agent — can lead to staining, discoloration or excessive bugholes on finished concrete, as well as build up on form surfaces. Bishop’s demonstrations provide solutions to these common problems.

Example of bugholes in finished concrete.

Example of bugholes in finished concrete.

Before he leaves the office for a trip, Bishop prepares as best he can. He learns the location’s mix design, form types used, whether pouring is done inside or outside, how the product is cured and other essential information.

“A variety of factors influence which release agent will work best in a certain location,” he said. “Understanding a plant’s particular conditions helps me choose the best product.”

When Bishop arrives at a plant, he meets with the team, takes a tour, and inspects finished pours to see what quality issues need to be remedied – without impeding productivity.

“I’m really sensitive to their schedule,” he said. “They have a goal for that day, so I don’t want to hold them up or cost them any money. I show up at whatever time fits their schedule. Whether it’s 3 in the morning or 9 in morning, I’m there.”

During demonstrations, Bishop ensures he’s educating employees, not simply giving them a lecture.

“I don’t spray,” he said. “I show the guys how to spray. It’s a hands-on, educational approach.”

Bishop measures before and after employees apply both the Nox-Crete form release agent and current product, then compares the results. At a recent demonstration, Bishop found that one Nox-Crete release agent covered more than 3 times the form area than the location’s current form oil.

Though he does encourage the use of Nox-Crete products, Bishop’s goal isn’t sales, it’s education. He wants to ensure plant operators and employers maintain their reputation and grow their business.

“Most other companies just send a sample, but it’s typically applied wrong so it’s unsuccessful,” he said. “My goal is to come in and help you. I want to improve your quality and save you money.”