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Mobile asphalt recyclers get traction

Mobile asphalt recyclers get traction

Although winter takes a toll on many industries, one of the hardest hit is road-building and paving repair. Government restrictions on using asphalt in low temperature situations leads to seasonal fluctuations in demand. As a result, most of the plants that produce hot mix asphalt shut down for some or all of the coldest months.

Without access to hot mix asphalt, most paving contractors and highway departments are left in the cold when it comes to pavement repairs. Needed repairs are put off until springtime or they’re forced to use cold-patch, an alternative to hot mix that does not last nearly as long and costs far more. For these reasons, more and more contractors are seeking year-round access to hot mix by utilizing mobile asphalt recycling plants, or MARPs.
MARPs reduce or eliminate dependence on fixed location hot mix producers without compromising the advantages of hot mix.

Set up at or near almost any job, MARPs are providing DOT, paving and utility contractors with a dedicated source of hot mix exactly where and when it's needed 24/7, 365 days a year. Crews are filling potholes in the dead of winter, with hotmix, when hotmix plants are closed. MARP has proved to be remarkably beneficial on airfields where nighttime repair is the standard and daytime runway closure is unthinkable. Colonie, New York’s largest town, has a steady stream of water main breaks. PavementGroup’s PT-PRO Series recycler has succeeded at providing hot mix when the local plants were shut down. 

The best designed MARPs require only one person to load and operate, and every 20 minutes can deliver as much as five tons of hot mix ready for lay down. This new found freedom allows faster responsiveness and offers greater efficiencies in laying or repairing paved surfaces.

Reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) has become one of the most recycled materials in the U.S. Unlike cold-patch materials which often rely on petroleum cutback to soften the material for application, RAP can be reheated to reclaim its inherent strength and stability, yielding both excellent performance and significantly lower price compared with virgin asphalt and cold patch materials.

MARPs like PavementGroup’s PT-Pro Series Recyclers provide immediate, on-site access to hotmix wherever RAP is available. Batch recyclers allow asphalt millings and chunks to be processed simultaneously, mixing and heating the material. Material torn up from streets, highways, runways, parking lots, driveways and other asphalt surfaces, go directly into the MARP for reheating. Small quantities of pelletized asphalt and/or rejuvenators can be added.
The resulting hotmix is ideal for paving repair work such as patches, potholes, utility trenches, foot-paths and base course.

Some mobile recyclers also second as a portable asphalt plant, making virgin hot mix on a smaller scale. The US Air Force (USAF) working with NCAT, National Center for Asphalt Technology, developed and tested the system for airfield repairs. The USAF embraced the technology and is using NiTech Corporation’s system of prepackaged pelletized asphalt along with small skid-steer mounted mixers for high-mobility and PavementGroup’s PT-PRO recycler for larger volume hot mix delivery. PavementGroup’ company president Mark Reeves explains: “They (USAF) spent millions testing products and equipment.

They even constructed a runway then blew it up for testing purposes. Our equipment worked well because the PT-PRO produces a homogenous mix of whatever goes in and its size and output capacity make for an ideal fit. The real secret was NiTech’s pelletized asphalt which exceeded the air force’s every expectation.”

When you factor in the lower costs of transportation, the reduced burden of handling waste materials, and the savings in tipping fees at landfills, MARPs offer savings over the cost of hot mix from conventional, fixed-location plants. The right MARP can pay for itself in a year or two.

Mobile Asphalt Recycling Plants, such as this PT-Pro Series from Pavement Technologies, allows paving contractors to process reclaimed asphalt pavement into durable hot mix, making the product available year-round for asphalt repairs even when hot mix producing plants are closed for the winter.