Worlds Fastest Roller Coaster

For two years we have been trying to plan a family trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.  For some reason our family thinks thrill rides that make you want to cry, scream and throw up all at the same time are fun.  This year my wife took control (not that I was ever in control), set a date and told me “we are going”. So like any other broke father of two I said, “sounds good”.

A seven-hour ride in an RV with my wife, two daughters (one is a teenager), brother-in- law, his wife, my niece, my nephew, my mother-in-law and father-in-law we arrived in Sandusky.  Of course with three guys working the directions we took a wrong turn and headed into the park down a road not made for large vehicles, at least that’s what the dozen or so signs said that we passed.  The view of Lake Erie was beautiful; the look on the people’s faces standing in their front yards shaking their heads at us was not. The rest of the story of the RV trip belongs in a psychology publication.

Top Thrill Dragster = 0-120 mph in 3.8 seconds and is over 400 feet tall.
Millennium Force is the longest roller coaster I have been on.  It is ridiculously fast and has a crazy first drop.  This ride was the first time I saw my father-in-law pray.
The Maverick– A fast and smooth coaster where the first drop is past vertical, it goes through a dark tunnel and was the first ride that my 10 year old nephew rode the front car.

I thought there was no way he would ride in the front, especially since the last time we went to the amusement park we had the poor kid crying on much smaller rides.  Once we were strapped in and past the point of no return I told Zack I thought he would chicken out.  His quick response made me smile.

“I told you I was going to ride in the front with you so I’m riding in the front with you” is what he told me.  If he keeps that attitude he will be successful at anything he does.

Doing what we say we will do is a policy and attitude at Mid-States Concrete.  This attitude has helped us build great relationships and repeat business with our partners.

As for visiting Cedar Point…Do it!  Go in May before school is out and try to go on a weekday.  The lines are much shorter.  If you stay at a hotel on the property you can also enter the park an hour before the public.


The Fonz (Yes as in Happy Days)

With nearly three miles of walkway along the Milwaukee River, the existing downtown river walk is an amenity that serves as a highly used, year-round pedestrian thoroughfare.  Constructed largely of piling supported precast members and decorative panels, the river walk segments traverse a wide variety of grade differences and conditions.  The City has made a concerted effort in the last few years to address ADA compliance and accessibility issues, which have traditionally limited access to certain portions of the river walk.   The newest of the river walk improvements produced by Mid-States Concrete Industries, is a lift tower, which was designed to accommodate a traditional wheel chair lift, within a precast tower structure which protects and enhances the appearance of a standard lift unit, in an outdoor environment.

The Riverwalk project (click to view pictures) in Milwaukee, WI is a unique project in a couple of ways. The structure was erected from a barge. This took a good deal of planning between the CM, Gilbane, the precast project manager and the barge company, Gillen. The project was an important addition to the river walk area. It is used to provide handicap access between the upper and lower levels. It also has a statue of “The Fonz” in front of it.
PACE Architects chose precast over various other materials because of it’s inherent durability, flexible assembly attributes and the ability to produce detailed components in a controlled environment to achieve consistent results.  Precast planks and decorative panels gave the team the ability to produce a structure with thinner, lighter components, which still appeared “substantial” as a final product.  Additionally precast allowed for the ability to hide the metal lift structure, embed weld-plates for support of the roof system and accommodate anchoring of sunshades to the various faces of the tower.

Brian Kobasick, Architect/Principal stated: “It just made sense to opt for precast as the material that would “deliver on design” and stand-up to long term use in a public environment.”   “We couldn’t be happier with Mid-States’ attention to detail and the care and efforts that their team brought to this project.” 

R-Value of Precast Wall Panels

What is the R-Value of a precast wall panel?  The answer of course will depend on the type and thickness of the insulation.  It will also depend on the type of wall panel.  The type of wall panel can help the system perform at a greater value than the insulation itself or it can make the system under-perform significantly compared to the material value.  Understanding how the building is to be used and how it is to perform is key in determining what type of insulation and the panel type that is to be used.

In a composite panel the wythes act together.  This composite action is typically achieved with solid areas of concrete and/or metal trusses.  This can create thermal bridges in the panel, reducing its performance R-value.  The thermal image above is an example as to how this happens.  There are many cases where a panel with 3″ of extruded polystyrene is specified as R-15, but performs much lower due to the thermal bridging, approximately 60% or more.

In non-composite panels, the concrete wythes act independently.  This design is used when high insulation value is required.  The wythes are isolated by high-performance rigid insulation and are connected together solely by non-conductive connectors.  This type of panel can perform at a R-value that is higher than the material R-value of the insulation.  Companies, such as Thermomass,  can calculate the wall panel performance by analyzing the building envelope. 

The thermal performance of edge-to-edge insulated precast concrete wall panels with no or minimal thermal bridges maintains the R-values for continuous insulation as defined by ASHRAE 90.1-2010, thereby lowering energy costs.  In some climates, increasing wall and roof R-values by as little as 5 can reduce energy costs by 5 to 20%.

For more information on R-values of precast wall panels contact us about our Lunch & Learn program.

Information provided by PCI and Edward Losch.