Some tools are luxuries and others are five-minute wonders. When it comes to a bulk mixer for flowable materials like screeds, grouts or epoxies, Portamix Hippo falls into the category of the essential, especially for the likes of a commercial flooring professional obsessed with quality.
With South Africa being a developing country, we don’t always get to play with the bright new shiny toys seen or used in first world countries. Our product and resource-saving tool exposure tends to be limited and expensive, especially when we have access to a glut of accessible labour and manual old-school tools and devices. They can be a hard sell if they can’t stretch beyond a purely labor-reducing hurdle.
Fortunately, the local demand for more technical floor types is increasing and we are seeing a noticeable acceleration in technical floor options, especially in the commercial sector.
I recently had the pleasure to test drive a brand-new unit, compliments of National Urethane Industries (NUI), the local Sub Saharan distributor of the Portamix range of mixing tools and products.
Now, if you are going to just mix up a single bag or two of self-leveling screed for a domestic project, this might not be for you. If you’re running a team that does entire domestic or commercial units in a single day then this is most definitely the tool that will change your experience or that of your team’s life, your profit margins and the quality of your end result.
The last point is where the real magic happens – when working with modern technical mixes in large volumes. As you are mixing multiple bags at any single point in time, a higher distribution of the colour or chemical ingredients occurs throughout the entire mix, and in record time, giving you a higher degree of product consistency.
During our demo day, I quickly discovered that the maneuverability and functional layout of the unit to be very well thought out. Unlike other mixing units that I have previously researched, every element of the Portamix Hippo delivers on function and high quantitative value.
It’s very apparent that the build quality of each and every aspect of these units has been built with a harsh construction site in mind. The units are exceptionally easy to manage on your own. Yes, one person can mix up to six bags of product, maneuver the possible combined weight of 200kg easily to the desired position and strategically pore compound exactly where you need it. It will certainly reduce labour and the workforce grunt factor.
From cabling through to locking pins and replaceable canister sleeves, these units have been designed by someone who has thrown down a momentous amount of compound and brainstormed various proactive solutions to every aspect of the job, from transport, single-handed use to maintenance and cleaning.
The curves of the nylon canister, which I must admit do make it look very elegant and easily identifiable, have a very important function to do with compound movement during the mixing phase. The specially designed helix is able to create compound movement and lift to encourage a very even mix while optimizing low RPM. This reduces the possibility of flash curing and strain on the mixer’s 1800W motor. Another benefit of the rounded edge canister is its tough pliability which makes your job much easier when breaking out old compound or swopping multiple liners out to prevent cross-contamination.
I don’t say this often, but the Portamix Hippo is a well-made functional tool that I can highly recommend for any commercial flooring professional. The build and design are world-class and will last in the toughest of environments. And it will pay itself off in the blink of an eye.