Vibrating pokers used for compacting concrete generate vibration through an internal spinning rotor shaft with an eccentric weight. The off-centre imbalance causes the head of the poker to rotate and generates vibration that moves through the nearby concrete, moving the particles and enabling trapped air to escape. The rotary action is powered by a petrol or diesel motor through a coupled driveshaft contained with a reinforced flexible hose, or driven directly by an electric motor. There are also air powered models driven by compressors that operate on a similar principle.
Their biggest advantage is that they do not rely on an available mains power outlet or generator, which is often the case on construction sites. The motors are relatively small, being generally in the range of 4hp to 6hp, and so they can easily be carried around a site. Some models even have an optional backpack harness for ultimate portability.
Mechanical pokers are cheaper than electric models but that initial cost saving is counterbalanced to a certain extent over time by running costs such as fuel and maintenance/parts etc.
The standard hose length is 5m but that can be extended with customised hoses. The operator manipulates the poker by holding its hose to immerse and withdraw it.
These are lighter and more manoeuvrable than mechanical pokers. They also operate at higher frequencies, are more comfortable to operate and less hassle all around. Electric motors go from a standing start to operating speed faster and maintain that speed more smoothly and in a more stable manner than mechanical models. Portable models are also available that can easily be carried to all areas of a site.
Summary: Electric Pokers Work Faster Than Mechanical Pokers
Using a good high frequency poker is important to ensure high quality concrete. Electric pokers meet that requirement and they are highly efficient, low noise and fume-free.
Usually, a smaller diameter electric poker is faster and more efficient than a larger mechanical poker. Fewer immersions are required to treat the same volume of concrete. This is because the higher power, greater centrifugal force and stable speed of electric pokers delivers across a wider operational radius. Add their faster acceleration and the result is extremely effectively capability to disperse air bubbles from the concrete. Other benefits include quicker start-up on the job, with no motor to refuel and fire up, and no driveshaft coupling to attach.
Other productivity gains are simple, such as simply plugging in an extension cable to achieve a longer reach from the power outlet, rather than having to purchase/customise longer flexible shaft hoses. In addition, modern electric pokers also come with an automatic frequency inverter, which means they can just be plugged into whatever electricity outlet is available. That can most any of the common frequencies/voltages from domestic to generators. Every model has different specifications.
Mechanical shafts also require periodic maintenance which electric counterparts do not need. And, as always, there is the cost and hassle of purchasing and transporting petrol or diesel for mechanical models.
Many electric pokers are also more comfortable to work with especially those that have a handle above the shaft that makes manipulating them far easier than grappling with the hose of mechanical models. That contributes to greater productivity as an operator can work for longer if the poker is less tiring to use.
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