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Title:
METHOD FOR CASTING REINFORCEMENT ALIGNMENT FEATURES INTO CONCRETE WALL BLOCKS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/026736
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
What is provided is a method for casting reinforcement alignment feature into concrete wall blocks and precast concrete wall blocks configured for assembly into a wall. Reinforcement alignment features, such as horizontal reinforcement grooves and/or vertical reinforcement grooves, are precast simultaneously with panels, ribs, and other components of the concrete wall blocks in the forms in which the concrete wall blocks are cast. As a result, reinforcing members, such as rebar and welded wire mesh, may be positioned, either horizontally or vertically, in desired and appropriate locations on the concrete wall blocks. Consequently, there is a significant increase in the convenience and ease of wall construction, while greatly reducing the amount of labor that is needed. In addition, the constructed walls have increased stability, strength, and water resistance.

Inventors:
JOHNSON, James R. (5481 US-31 South, Charlevoix, Michigan, 49720, US)
Application Number:
US2017/044761
Publication Date:
February 08, 2018
Filing Date:
July 31, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
REDI-ROCK INTERNATIONAL, LLC (5481 US-31 South, Charlevoix, Michigan, 49270, US)
International Classes:
E04B2/26; B28B7/00; E02D29/02; E04B1/41
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KLEMPTNER, Anthony M. (Traverse Legal, PLC810 Cottageview Dr., G2, Traverse City Michigan, 49684, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A precast concrete block configured for assembly into a wall, the precast concrete block comprising:

a first inner wall and a second inner wall;

a first side panel and a second side panel, wherein the first side panel is substantially parallel to the second side panel and wherein the first side panel and/or the second side panel has a textured surface for imparting a natural stone appearance;

at least one connecting rib, wherein the at least one connecting rib extends laterally from the first inner wall to the second inner wall to connect the first side panel with the second side panel and to form a hollow core configured to accept a filling material; and

at least one reinforcement alignment feature cast into the first inner wall, the second inner wall, and/or the at least one connecting rib, wherein the at least one reinforcement alignment feature is configured to securely position at least one reinforcing member on the precast concrete block in a substantially horizontal and/or vertical orientation.

2. The precast concrete block of claim 1 , wherein the first inner wall, the

second inner wall, the first side panel, the second side panel, the at least one connecting rib, and the at least one reinforcement alignment feature are simultaneously precast in a form adapted for making the concrete block.

3. The precast concrete block of claim 1 , wherein the first side panel and/or the second side panel is cut prior to placement of the precast concrete block on the wall.

4. The precast concrete block of claim 3, wherein the wall comprises a top and a bottom and the top of the wall has a different angle than the bottom of the wall.

5. The precast concrete block of claim 1 , wherein the at least one

reinforcement alignment feature is a plurality of horizontal reinforcement grooves and/or a plurality of vertical reinforcement grooves.

6. The precast concrete block of claim 5, wherein the horizontal reinforcement grooves are parallel to each of the first side panel and the second side panel when cast into the at least one connecting rib.

7. The precast concrete block of claim 5, wherein the vertical reinforcement grooves are cast into the first inner wall and/or the second inner wall to form side boundaries of the hollow core.

8. The precast concrete block of claim 6, wherein each of the horizontal

reinforcement grooves forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the at least one connecting rib.

9. The precast concrete block of claim 8, wherein each of the horizontal

reinforcement grooves is spaced between about 3 and 4 inches apart on the at least one connecting rib.

10. The precast concrete block of claim 7, wherein each of the vertical

reinforcement grooves forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the first side panel and the second side panel.

1 1 . The precast concrete block of claim 10, wherein each of the vertical reinforcement grooves has a length of between about 1 and 1 .5 inches.

12. The precast concrete block of claim 1 , wherein the at least one reinforcing member is rebar or wire mesh.

13. A method for casting at least one reinforcement alignment feature into a concrete block, wherein the reinforcement alignment feature is configured to securely position at least one reinforcing member on the concrete block, the method comprising:

(i) providing a form into which the concrete block is cast;

(ii) casting the concrete block in the form, wherein the concrete block is simultaneously cast with the at least one reinforcement alignment feature, a first side panel, a second side panel, and at least one connecting rib;

separating the cast concrete block from the form; and

(iii) transporting the cast concrete block to an installation site for

assembly into a wall.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the at least one reinforcement alignment feature is a plurality of horizontal reinforcement grooves and/or a plurality of vertical reinforcement grooves.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein each of the horizontal reinforcement grooves forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the at least one connecting rib.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein each of the vertical reinforcement

grooves forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the first side panel and the second side panel.

17. The method of claim 13, wherein the at least one reinforcing member is rebar or wire mesh.

18. The method of claim 13, the method further comprising, prior to step (ii), positioning in the form a plurality of mold inserts for forming a hollow core in the center of the concrete block.

Description:
METHOD FOR CASTING REINFORCEMENT ALIGNMENT FEATURES INTO

CONCRETE WALL BLOCKS

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims priority to and the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 1 19(e) to United States Provisional Patent Application Serial No.

62/369,394, titled "METHOD AND FORMS FOR CASTING REINFORCEMENT ALIGNMENT FEATURES I NTO CONCRETE WALL BLOCKS," filed August 1 , 2016 and United States Utility Patent Application Serial No. 15/661 ,615, titled "METHOD FOR CASTING REINFORCEMENT ALIGNMENT FEATURES INTO CONCRETE WALL BLOCKS," filed July 27, 2017, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

[0002] This patent application relates to a method for casting reinforcement alignment feature into concrete wall blocks and precast concrete wall blocks configured for assembly into a wall.

BACKGROUND

[0003] It is common in masonry block construction of cast center cores or cast- in-place cantilever walls to use steel reinforcing members embedded inside the structures. These members are typically assembled in the field with a variety of components, such as reinforcement bar (rebar) and welded wire mesh. These components are often secured to each other using plastic clips or lengths of wire twisted around the intersection of the components.

[0004] The design of wall construction typically defines the type, size, and placement of the reinforcing members. Typically, the correct location of the reinforcing members is specifically determined in order to maximize the stabilizing effects of the reinforcing members and their components. The loading conditions on the wall affect the location of reinforcing members. Improper placement of the reinforcing members compromise the strength and stability of structures, such as walls, and lead to structural deficiencies and/or inadequate performance of the walls. A variety of positioners and aligners exist to maintain the components at the desired position within the block core, while grout, concrete, or other hardening fill material is poured into the block core. Examples of such positioners and aligners include "rebar chair," "rebar wheels," and brackets for positioning the rebar.

[0005] Some commonly used reinforcement alignment techniques for creating structurally stable, cast concrete walls use an insulated concrete form (ICF). In these techniques, polystyrene panels are secured to each other using plastic ribbed connectors, which include grooves or holes for positioning and aligning reinforcing members. Other reinforcement alignment techniques use a rebar chair to retain rebar and to support concrete reinforcement materials and other precast structures. However, the reinforcement alignment features disclosed above are separately integrated (not precast) to the concrete core and to the formwork. As a result, the form and reinforcement alignment features must be constructed at the actual job/construction site, which greatly increases the amount of time and labor spent constructing a wall. In addition, there is a greater likelihood for placing the reinforcement members and/or their components in incorrect or undesired positions when constructing such a wall.

[0006] Consequently, there is a need to precast reinforcement alignment features on concrete wall blocks using the same forms that cast the concrete wall blocks, while maintaining the strength, stability, and durability walls constructed from the concrete wall blocks.

SUMMARY

[0007] What is provided is a method for casting reinforcement alignment feature into concrete wall blocks and precast concrete wall blocks configured for assembly into a wall. Reinforcement alignment features, such as horizontal reinforcement grooves and/or vertical reinforcement grooves, are precast simultaneously with panels, ribs, and other components of the concrete wall blocks in the forms in which the concrete wall blocks are cast. As a result, reinforcing members, such as rebar and welded wire mesh, may be positioned, either horizontally or vertically, in desired and appropriate locations on the concrete wall blocks. Consequently, there is a significant increase in the convenience and ease of wall construction, while greatly reducing the amount of labor that is needed. In addition, the constructed walls have increased stability, strength, and water resistance.

[0008] In exemplary embodiments, the concrete wall blocks have heights of about 18 inches or about 36 inches and widths of about 24 inches or about 36 inches. The concrete wall blocks may be manufactured using a steel form and incorporated into the formation of freestanding and retaining blocks used in the construction of a freestanding or retaining wall, respectively. In exemplary embodiments, the concrete wall blocks are trimmed prior to the placement of the concrete wall blocks on a wall in order to accommodate various design features, such as a slope/angle on the wall. The ability to cut upper panels on the concrete wall blocks allows for the addition of coping caps to match any desired grade on the wall. [0009] In exemplary embodiments, the precast concrete block configured for assembly into a wall comprises a first inner wall and a second inner wall; a first side panel and a second side panel, wherein the first side panel is substantially parallel to the second side panel and wherein the first side panel and/or the second side panel has a textured surface for imparting a natural stone

appearance; at least one connecting rib, wherein the at least one connecting rib extends laterally from the first inner wall to the second inner wall to connect the first side panel with the second side panel and to form a hollow core configured to accept a filling material; and at least one reinforcement alignment feature cast into the first inner wall, the second inner wall, and/or the at least one connecting rib, wherein the at least one reinforcement alignment feature is configured to securely position at least one reinforcing member on the precast concrete block in a substantially horizontal and/or vertical orientation.

[0010] In an exemplary embodiment, the method for casting at least one reinforcement alignment feature into a concrete block, wherein the reinforcement alignment feature is configured to securely position at least one reinforcing member on the concrete block, comprises providing a form into which the concrete block is cast; casting the concrete block in the form, wherein the concrete block is simultaneously cast with the at least one reinforcement alignment feature, a first side panel, a second side panel, and at least one connecting rib; separating the cast concrete block from the form; and transporting the cast concrete block to an installation site for assembly into a wall. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary concrete wall block having reinforcement grooves and a height of about 18 inches;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 1 , shown with exemplary reinforcing members positioned within

reinforcement grooves;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 1 ;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 1 ;

[0015] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an exemplary concrete wall block having reinforcement grooves and a height of about 36 inches;

[0016] FIG. 6 is another perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 5;

[0017] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 5 having trimmed side panels at the top of the concrete wall block;

[0018] FIG. 8 is side perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 5;

[0019] FIG. 9 is a top perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 5;

[0020] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block of FIG. 5, shown with exemplary reinforcing members positioned within

reinforcement grooves; and

[0021] FIG. 1 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary wall comprising a plurality of exemplary concrete wall blocks of FIG. 1 . DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the examples as defined in the claimed subject matter, and as an example of how to make and use the examples described herein. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that claimed subject matter is not intended to be limited to such specific details, and may even be practiced without requiring such specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, and ingredients have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention defined by the claimed subject matter.

[0023] Referring to FIG. 1 , FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary concrete wall block 100 having reinforcement grooves and a height of about 18 inches. The concrete wall block 100 may be fabricated from concrete, cement, reinforcing steel, or other functionally equivalent reinforcing materials. The concrete wall block 100 comprises a hollow core 192 in the center of the concrete wall block 100. The concrete wall block 100 comprises two substantially parallel side panels 110, 120 that are connected by two ribs 130, 140. The side panels 110, 120 may have any desired shape and texture. In some examples, one or both of the side panels 110, 120 may be shaped and textured in a variety of ways, such as to imitate limestone blocks, sandstone blocks, slate, or other natural stone. The concrete wall block 100 also has a top, a bottom, a front, and a back.

[0024] The concrete wall block 100 may be manufactured using a steel form and incorporated into the formation of freestanding and retaining blocks used in the construction of a freestanding or retaining wall, respectively. The concrete wall block 100 may be cast in forms of known design. For example, the concrete wall block 100 may be cast in a form similar to the form disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,854,702 to Manthei et al., the disclosure of which is incorporated herein. In some examples, side grooves may be formed in the concrete wall block 100 for handling the concrete wall block 100 with a forklift, as shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,835,343 to Manthei et al. In some examples, the concrete wall block 100 is 18 inches high, 46 inches long, and 24 inches wide. In other examples, the concrete wall block 100 may be 36 inches wide or wider to allow for the building of taller walls.

[0025] The concrete wall block 100 also comprises at least one reinforcement alignment feature. The reinforcement alignment feature is cast in the concrete wall block 100 using the same form that casts the concrete wall block 100. As a result, the reinforcement alignment feature is precast simultaneously with the form that casts the concrete wall block 100 and at the same precast facility, such as a precast plant. The reinforcement alignment feature is cast into the concrete wall block 100 so that reinforcing members, such as rebar and welded wire mesh, may be positioned, in a substantially horizontal or a substantially vertical orientation, in desired and appropriate locations on the concrete wall block 100. In some examples, the reinforcement alignment features are horizontal reinforcement grooves 193 and vertical reinforcement grooves 194.

[0026] As shown in FIG. 1 , the horizontal reinforcement grooves 193 and vertical reinforcement grooves 194 are positioned on the concrete wall block 100 such that the vertically-positioned reinforcing members may lock against the concrete wall block 100 and the horizontally-positioned reinforcing members. This type of positioning may eliminate the need to tie or clip the reinforcing members together while constructing the wall. [0027] In some examples, the horizontal reinforcement grooves 193 are positioned on each of the two ribs 130, 140 in a parallel orientation to the side panels 110, 120. The vertical reinforcement grooves 194 may be positioned along the full-length of the concrete wall block 100 to make it easier for the concrete wall block 100 to better match existing forms and concrete blocks. The vertical reinforcement grooves 194 are positioned along in the inner walls of the concrete wall block 100 to form the side boundaries of the hollow core 192 such that the minimum thickness of poured grout, concrete, or other hardening fill material around the vertical reinforcement grooves 194 meets relevant local, state, and/or federal requirements/code pertaining to the distances between the edge of the concrete and the reinforcing members.

[0028] Referring to FIG. 2, FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block 100 of FIG. 1 , shown with exemplary reinforcing members 210 positioned within the horizontal reinforcement grooves 193 and the vertical reinforcement grooves 194. In some examples, the reinforcing members 210 are rebar. The reinforcing members 210 may be readily positioned within the horizontal reinforcement grooves 193 and vertical reinforcement grooves 194 that were cast into the concrete wall block 100, as predetermined by the designer. The reinforcing members 210 may simply be installed within the horizontal reinforcement grooves 193 and vertical reinforcement grooves 194 without any additional assembly at the actual job site. As such, the reinforcing members 210 may be easily positioned in their desired and proper locations within the concrete wall block 100.

[0029] Referring to FIG. 3, FIG. 3 shows a side perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block 100 of FIG. 1 . In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 193 is spaced between about 3 and 4 inches apart on the ribs 130, 140. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 193 is spaced about 3.25 inches apart on the ribs 130, 140. In yet other examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 193 may be spaced at less than 3 inches or greater than 4 inches apart on the ribs 130, 140. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 193 has a thickness of about 5/8 of an inch, though, other thicknesses are possible in this invention. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 193 forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the ribs 130, 140. In yet other examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 193 may form an angle having less than 45 degrees and greater than 60 degrees with respect to the ribs 130, 140.

[0030] Referring to FIG. 4, FIG. 4 shows a top perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block 100 of FIG. 1 . In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 194 has a length of between about 1 and 1 .5 inches. In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 194 has a length of about 1 and 3/8 inches, though, other lengths are possible in this invention. In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 194 has a thickness of about 1 inch, though, other thicknesses are possible in this invention. In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 194 forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the side panels 110, 120. In other examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 194 may form an angle having other degrees with respect to the side panels 110, 120.

[0031] Referring to FIG. 5, FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of an exemplary concrete wall block 500 having reinforcement grooves and a height of about 36 inches. The concrete wall block 500 may be fabricated from concrete, cement, reinforcing steel, or other functionally equivalent reinforcing materials. The concrete wall block 500 comprises a hollow core 510 in the center of the concrete wall block 500. The concrete wall block 500 comprises two substantially parallel side panels 520, 530 that are connected by two ribs 540, 550. The side panels 520, 530 may have any desired shape and texture. In some examples, one or both of the side panels 520, 530 may be shaped and textured in a variety of ways, such as to imitate limestone blocks, sandstone blocks, slate, or other natural stone. The concrete wall block 500 also has a top, a bottom, a front, and a back.

[0032] In some embodiments, the side panels 520, 530 are cut prior to the placement of the concrete wall block 500 on a wall in order to accommodate various design features, such as a slope/angle on the wall with a reinforced hollow core 510 in the center. In some examples, each of the side panels 520, 530 are cut at the top of the concrete wall block 500, as shown in FIG. 7. As a result, the top of the wall constructed using the concrete wall block 500 has a different angle relative to the bottom of the wall. By cutting the side panels 520, 530 at the top of the concrete wall block 500, a coping cap may be added to the concrete wall block 500 in order to match any desired grade on a wall. A coping cap comprises at least one coping block attachable along the top of the wall. The pouring of materials to match the grade of the wall provides a smooth, level surface for coping that can beneficially eliminate the expense and time commitment of on-site coping projects. In other embodiments, only one of the side panels 520, 530 is cut prior to the placement of the concrete wall block 500 on a wall.

[0033] The side panels 520, 530 may also be cut at other locations, besides the top of the concrete wall block 500, such as in the middle of the side panels 520, 530 or at the bottom of the concrete wall block 500. [0034] The concrete wall block 500 may be manufactured using a steel form and incorporated into the formation of freestanding and retaining blocks used in the construction of a freestanding or retaining wall, respectively. In some examples, side grooves may be formed in the concrete wall block 500 for handling the concrete wall block 500 with a forklift, as shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,835,343 to Manthei et al. In some examples, the concrete wall block 500 is 36 inches high, 46 inches long, and 24 inches wide. In other examples, the concrete wall block 500 may be manufactured from other forms having different

dimensions, such as, but not limited to a height from about 6 inches to about 45 inches and a length of about 10 inches to about 120 inches.

[0035] The concrete wall block 500 also comprises at least one alignment feature. The alignment feature is cast in the concrete wall block 500 using the same form that casts the concrete wall block 500. As a result, the alignment feature is precast simultaneously with the form that casts the concrete wall block 500 and at the same precast facility, such as a precast plant. The alignment feature is cast into the concrete wall block 500 so that reinforcing members, such as rebar and welded wire mesh, may be positioned, either horizontally or vertically, in desired and appropriate locations on the concrete wall block 500. In some examples, the alignment features are horizontal reinforcement grooves 595 and vertical reinforcement grooves 596.

[0036] As shown in FIG. 5, the horizontal reinforcement grooves 595 and vertical reinforcement grooves 596 are positioned on the concrete wall block 500 such that the vertically-positioned reinforcing members may lock against the concrete wall block 500 and the horizontally-positioned reinforcing members. This type of positioning may eliminate the need to tie or clip the reinforcing members together while constructing the wall.

[0037] In some examples, the horizontal reinforcement grooves 595 are positioned on each of the two ribs 540, 550 in a parallel orientation to the side panels 520, 530. The vertical reinforcement grooves 596 may be positioned along the full-length of the concrete wall block 500 to make it easier for the concrete wall block 500 to match existing forms and concrete blocks. The vertical reinforcement grooves 596 are positioned along in the inner walls of the concrete wall block 500 to form the side boundaries of the hollow core 510 such that the minimum thickness of poured grout, concrete, or other hardening fill material around the vertical reinforcement grooves 596 meets relevant local, state, and/or federal requirements/code pertaining to the distances between the edge of the concrete and the reinforcing members.

[0038] Referring to FIG. 8, FIG. 8 shows a side perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block 500 of FIG. 5. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 595 is spaced between about 3 and 4 inches apart on the ribs 540, 550. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 595 is spaced about 3.25 inches apart on the ribs 540, 550. In yet other examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 595 may be spaced at less than 3 inches or greater than 4 inches apart on the ribs 540, 550. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 595 has a thickness of about 5/8 of an inch, though, other thicknesses are possible in this invention. In some examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 595 forms an angle between about 45 and 60 degrees with respect to the ribs 540, 550. In other examples, each horizontal reinforcement groove 595 may form an angle less than 45 degrees and greater than 60 degrees with respect to the ribs 540, 550.

[0039] Referring to FIG. 9, FIG. 9 shows a top perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block 500 of FIG. 5. In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 596 has a length of about 1 and 3/8 inches, though, other lengths are possible in this invention. In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 596 has a thickness of about 1 inch, though, other thicknesses are possible in this invention. In some examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 596 forms an angle of about 60 degrees with respect to the side panels 520, 530. In other examples, each vertical reinforcement groove 596 may form an angle having other degrees with respect to the side panels 520, 530.

[0040] Referring to FIG. 10, FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of the exemplary concrete wall block 500 of FIG. 5, shown with exemplary reinforcing members positioned within the horizontal reinforcement grooves 595 and the vertical reinforcement grooves 596. Vertical reinforcing members 1000 are positioned within the vertical reinforcement grooves 596 and horizontal reinforcing members 1010, such as rebar and welded wire mesh, are positioned within the horizontal reinforcement grooves 595. The vertical reinforcement grooves 596 and the horizontal reinforcement grooves 595 are precast into the concrete wall block 500. Since the vertical reinforcing members 1000 and the horizontal reinforcing members 1010 may be installed within the vertical reinforcement grooves 596 and the horizontal reinforcement grooves 595, respectively, without any additional assembly at the actual job site, the vertical reinforcing members 1000 and the horizontal reinforcing members 1010 may be easily positioned in their desired and proper locations within the concrete wall block 500. [0041] Referring to FIG. 1 1 , FIG. 1 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary wall 1100 comprising a plurality of exemplary concrete wall blocks 100 of FIG. 1 . The concrete wall blocks 100 may be configured to accommodate mounting structures for fences, railings, site lighting, utilities, and functionally equivalent structures. Vertical reinforcing members 1000 and horizontal reinforcing members 1010 are positioned in desired and appropriate locations on the concrete wall blocks of the wall 1100. By positioning the vertical reinforcing members 1000 and horizontal reinforcing members 1010 in these locations, concrete, grout, or other hardening material may be more easily poured into the hollow cores of the concrete wall blocks 100 in order to provide increase stability, strength, and water resistance to the wall 1100.

[0042] There are significant benefits to working with a concrete block that is precast with panels, ribs, vertical reinforcement grooves, and horizontal reinforcement grooves. Specifically, it is easier, less-time consuming, and more efficient for operators to handle the concrete block for assembly into a wall, without sacrificing the strength, stability, or durability of the constructed wall.

[0043] The forms described herein may be modified with the addition of mold inserts. The mold inserts may be positioned in the forms in which the block is cast and they form a hollow core in the center of the concrete wall blocks. The mold inserts are typically withdrawn from the concrete wall blocks after the concrete has cured. In order to form desired shapes of the hollow core, a plurality of mold inserts may be used.

[0044] In an exemplary embodiment, the method for casting at least one reinforcement alignment feature into a concrete block, wherein the reinforcement alignment feature is configured to securely position at least one reinforcing member on the concrete block, comprises providing a form into which the concrete block is cast; casting the concrete block in the form, wherein the concrete block is simultaneously cast with the at least one reinforcement alignment feature, a first side panel, a second side panel, and at least one connecting rib; separating the cast concrete block from the form; and transporting the cast concrete block to an installation site for assembly into a wall.

[0045] In another exemplary embodiment, the method for casting at least one reinforcement alignment feature into a concrete block, wherein the reinforcement alignment feature is configured to securely position at least one reinforcing member on the concrete block, comprises providing a form into which the concrete block is cast; positioning in the form a plurality of mold inserts for forming a hollow core in the center of the concrete block; casting the concrete block in the form, wherein the concrete block is simultaneously cast with the at least one reinforcement alignment feature, a first side panel, a second side panel, and at least one connecting rib; separating the cast concrete block from the form and the mold inserts; and transporting the cast concrete block to an installation site for assembly into a wall.

[0046] It will, of course, be understood that, although particular examples have just been described, the claimed subject matter is not limited in scope to a particular example or limitation. Likewise, an example may be implemented in any combination of compositions of matter, apparatuses, methods or products made by a process, for example.

[0047] In the preceding description, various aspects of claimed subject matter have been described. For purposes of explanation, specific numbers,

percentages, components, ingredients and/or configurations were set forth to provide a thorough understanding of claimed subject matter. However, it should be apparent to one skilled in the art having the benefit of this disclosure that claimed subject matter may be practiced without the specific details. In other instances, features that would be understood by one of ordinary skill were omitted or simplified so as not to obscure claimed subject matter. While certain features and examples have been illustrated or described herein, many modifications, substitutions, changes or equivalents will now occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications or changes as fall within the true spirit of claimed subject matter.