Going the Distance

High-Volume Asphalt Maintenance Mixture Sets Innovative Roadway Solutions on the Path to Productivity

The hardest part of a project for most contractors is the bid. Balancing customer specs with overhead costs to produce a number both sides are comfortable with takes skill and a deep understanding of an operation’s capabilities. Partnering with industry-leading OEMs to provide efficiency-optimizing equipment can give contractors an edge in the bidding process. But a tool is only as good as the hand wielding it – or, in the case of asphalt preservation applications, the one applying it. In this competitive industry, a successful bid requires expert leveraging of experience and equipment to provide quality results with no waste.

For Innovative Roadway Solutions success means taking advantage of new innovations, even if they present a challenge to current processes. The company partnered with Neal Manufacturing to help meet quality and efficiency needs on specialized high-volume highway and shoulder applications

For Innovative Roadway Solutions – a pavement preservation specialist operating in Texas, Missouri, and the surrounding states – success also means taking advantage of new innovations, even if they present a challenge to current processes. This was the case when the company began using Onyx, a high-performance mastic sealer produced by Ingevity and spec’d by several DOTs in its operating area. To apply Onyx efficiently, Innovative Roadway Solutions needed an OEM partner with not only the experience to produce reliable equipment for the high-aggregate mixture; it needed a manufacturer willing to listen and custom-engineer machines for specialized high-volume highway and shoulder applications. So, the company turned to Neal Manufacturing, a division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC, for a solution to help them maintain their reputation for quality and dependability and still be able to submit competitive bids. 

Challenging the Status Quo

With more than 30 years of experience, Innovative Roadway Solutions always strives to provide affordable preventative maintenance applications that extend the longevity of asphalt roadways. In 2017, the company became part of Lionmark Construction Companies, a privately held group specializing in pavement preservation and road and bridge construction. The acquisition extended Innovative Roadway Solutions’ service area and gave the company a chance to grow, doubling its size in just two years.

One thing that remained constant throughout the growth period is the company’s commitment to harnessing the latest technology and products for the benefit of its customers. New and existing employees worked together to ensure Innovative Roadway Solutions remained just that – innovative. As they grew service offerings, they looked to incorporate processes and products popular across Lionmark’s area of operation.

Onyx was one such product. Introduced in 2012, the frictional mastic surface treatment quickly gained popularity with DOTs across the U.S. It offers high durability with frictional characteristics achieved from improving micro texture on the pavement surface. Fast drying times makes it popular with contractors and motorists alike, while the consistently black color offers striking contrast for aesthetic and safety benefits. For Innovative Roadway Solutions, the high-performance product looked to revolutionize pavement preservation processes in terms of durability and affordability. 

“Onyx was starting to show up on the spec sheets for DOT projects in numerous states, which are about 95 percent of our business, but even where customers weren’t specifically asking for it, we recognized its value for certain applications,” said Kevin King, President of Innovative Roadway Solutions. “The product bridged the gap between a fog seal and slurry seal, allowing us to offer customers another solution that would extend the life of their road surface without breaking the bank.”

Innovative Roadway Solutions worked with Neal Manufacturing to retrofit one of its existing high-volume application trucks with the HDP system and spray apparatus. It also bought a new 3,000-gallon truck system from the OEM. Equipped with the Generation IV 150-gpm pump, the new truck provided productivity like never before.

But there were a few bumps in the road when it came to integrating the new product into its service lineup.

The Path to Productivity

“Contracts with government agencies at the city, county and state level aren’t easy to get,” King said. “It’s not just about the lowest bid, though that is definitely a part of it. It’s about reputation. The high aggregate composition of Onyx requires a stronger pump than other spray applications. To maintain our reputation for quality and dependability and still be able to submit competitive bids, we needed specialized equipment that provided the volume and precision that customers required.”

When it came to pump design, Innovative Roadways Solutions knew there was no one in the pavement preservation industry with more experience than Neal Manufacturing and their parent company, Blastcrete Equipment LLC. Both companies have long histories of pump innovations. Since the 1950s, Blastcrete Equipment has been at the forefront of shotcrete pumping technology – introducing several equipment designs over the years that revolutionized applications in refractory and construction applications. Neal Manufacturing has similar claims to pump fame in the pavement preservation industry. Before its merger with Blastcrete in 2013, the company made significant innovations to hydraulic piston pumps to allow more efficiency and longevity for use with asphalt sealcoating products. Once the companies began operating out of the same Alabama-based facility, engineers continued to expand pump capacities for a number of applications. This combined experience and continued innovation earned Innovative Roadway Solutions’ trust.

“When dealing with high-aggregate products, Blastcrete provides a unique expertise other OEMs don’t have,” King said. “Their pumps are originally designed to handle robust, difficult materials. When they integrated that technology with Neal Manufacturing equipment, which already had excellent pumps for traditional preservation coatings, we knew we were working with a winning team for developing high-aggregate pavement preservation equipment.”

As Innovative Roadway Solutions made the transition to Onyx applications, the team worked with Neal Manufacturing to upgrade the pumps on some of their existing equipment to a more reliable hydraulic piston pump. Neal Manufacturing’s heavy-duty aggregate pump (HDP) system offered the fastest transfer rate on the market – up to 150 gpm – but more importantly, produced enough pressure to move mixtures with up to 10 pounds of sand per gallon. 

With a metering system custom-engineered from Neal Manufacturing, Innovative Roadway Solutions could accurately assess application rates and ensure uniform distribution of the surface treatment, allowing the contractor to remain a competitive bidder with agencies across its area of operation.

“Using Onyx with a traditional pump system results in a lot of unnecessary downtime,” King said. “Asphalt maintenance has a very limited season, only about seven months in some of the states we work in, so we need to make every minute count. Neal Manufacturing’s equipment is simple, easy to use and durable. With it there’s less cleaning, less maintenance and fewer clogs, saving us valuable minutes every day.” 

To truly maximize its potential on high-volume projects, Innovative Roadway Solutions needed more than a heavy-duty pump – it needed a reliable system with the precision to meet government agency specs. 

Miles to Go

Innovative Roadway Solutions worked with Neal Manufacturing to retrofit one of its existing high-volume application trucks with the HDP system and spray apparatus. It also bought a new 3,000-gallon truck system from the OEM. Equipped with the Generation IV 150-gpm pump, the new truck provided productivity like never before.

The basic design also provided a number of features that made application more user friendly for Innovative Roadway Solution crews. In-cab controls allowed drivers to easily control spray bar height for optimum control as weight shifted during application. This on-board system was also capable of controlling individual heads to provide more precision and flexibility for applications on narrow surfaces. 

However, the precision required by DOT and other government agencies still needed to be accounted for.

“We were bidding on projects with specified application rates, but, at first, we didn’t have a way to monitor that with the Neal Manufacturing system,” King said. “We had the right equipment but the trucks had to be modified to meet our customers’ standards. With Neal Manufacturing’s reputation for customized solutions, we knew we had the right partner to help us develop the appropriate equipment for our operation.”

True to their reputation, Neal Manufacturing listened to exactly what Innovative Roadway Solutions needed and engineered a metering system to work in conjunction with the contractor’s High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle. The system combined information for four load cells positioned on the corners of the tank with a component that measures distance to provide an accurate application rate. The OEM also included an on-board printer to provide immediate results when necessary. 

“It’s not always easy to find a manufacturer that’s willing to collaborate,” King said. “Often what you see is what you get when it comes to pavement preservation equipment. Or you have to wait awhile for the updated model to come out. Having Neal Manufacturing on our team meant that not only did we get the upgrades we needed quickly, but they’re now standard and will be available on the next high-volume vehicle we buy.”

With the new system, Innovative Roadway Solutions could accurately assess application rates and ensure uniform distribution, allowing the contractor to remain a competitive bidder with agencies across its area of operation.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Since 2017, Innovative Roadway Solutions has completed approximately 25 contracts spec’ing Onyx. The majority of these have been with local, state or federal agencies, requiring a high degree of precision, quality and dependability. All of which the asphalt maintenance contractor provides time and again.

“We’re still submitting the low bid for these projects,” King said, “but at this point, some of these agencies are more like our loyal customers. They know we will get the job done quickly, efficiently, and to spec.”

For one such project, completed for the Paris District of the TxDOT, Innovative Roadway Solutions applied 767,331 square yards of Onyx in the weeks leading up to Memorial Day weekend in 2019. As part of the overall job, crews used the Neal Manufacturing equipment to apply the mastic sealer to 207,748 square yards of parking areas, boat ramps, main grounds and RV spots at US Army Corps of Engineers Lake Jim Chapman at Cooper Dam, commonly called Cooper Lake. The application didn’t disturb visitors and surfaces were dry enough to resume normal traffic in time for the holiday. 

“This is a great time to be in the asphalt maintenance industry,” King said. “The process is changing. New products are coming out. Experienced manufacturers are stepping up to provide the equipment we need to leverage these to our customer’s advantage. It’s an ideal environment for Innovative Roadway Solutions to continue growing and continue pushing ourselves.”

This material appeared in the June 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder

Volvo Autonomous Hauler wins Red Dot award

The TA15 – part of the TARA autonomous transport solution from Volvo Autonomous Solutions – has won a coveted Red Dot Award for product design  – the most globally-recognized mark for industrial design quality.

The revolutionary TA15 autonomous electric hauler from Volvo Autonomous Solutions has wowed a panel of design experts in Essen, Germany, to win a Red Dot Product Design Award 2020 – a seal of high design quality from the world’s largest and most distinguished design competition.

Commenting on the award, Nils Jæger, President at Volvo Autonomous Solutions, said: “We are thrilled to have won such a prestigious award as the Red Dot. It shows that we are delivering world class designs at the cutting edge of autonomous vehicle technology. We are proud to continue the Volvo Group tradition of being innovative leaders in the commercial vehicle and machine design arenas.”

Autonomous electric ecosystem

The battery-electric load carrier is a new machine concept, compared to traditional off road hauling, and forms one element of Volvo Autonomous Solutions’ TARA transport solution. It is designed to disrupt today’s off-road hauling. 

The hauler runs on a battery-electric drivetrain based on shared technology from the Volvo Group. The automation system uses GPS, Lidar, Radar and multiple sensors. Being autonomous, the TA15 has no need for a cabin – making for a dramatically new machine profile. 

With a 15 tonne hauling capacity, TA15 forms part of the wider TARA autonomous transport solution concept, so that a series of them can be connected together to form a ‘train’ of machines, for maximum loading and hauling efficiency. The TA15 will be a critical element of the TARA electric and autonomous transport solution.

The autonomous electric hauler was, and will continue to be, developed by Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) based on the former HX02 concept and has now been handed over for commercialization to Volvo Autonomous Solutions, a new business area of the Volvo Group. Operational since 1st January 2020, Volvo Autonomous Solutions’ objective is to ‘accelerate the development, commercialization and sales of autonomous transport solutions, as a complement to the Volvo Group’s current products and services’. Volvo CE also won a Red Dot award itself this year, for a machine that, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, will be introduced to the market later this year. 

“It is exciting that two Volvo products have been awarded this internationally recognized mark of design excellence,” says Melker Jernberg, President of Volvo CE. “On top of that, it is great that this is the result of a great internal collaboration with Volvo Autonomous Solutions. Partnership is the new leadership.”

Volvo Autonomous Solutions is a separate business area of the Volvo Group. Incorporated in January 2020, its mission is to accelerate the development, commercialization and sales of autonomous solutions for our defined segments in the onroad and offroad space. In such segments, autonomous transport solutions can create value for customers by contributing to improved flexibility, delivery precision and productivity.

Vacuworx Offers Faster, Safer Way to Handle Precast, prestressed Concrete

When an industry leading precast company wanted a faster, safer way to handle precast, prestressed double tee beams, Vacuworx provided a smart solution. The new CC-TT Computer Controlled Double Tee Vacuum Lifting System offers an alternative to using anchors and chains, and eliminates the need for personnel to climb on stacks or ladders to set dunnage.

Vacuum lifting technology has been a preferred method of material handling in the pipeline and construction industries for over 20 years. The new CC-TT is one of the largest systems engineered by the company, boasting a lift capacity of 77,000 lb (35 tonne)!

Based on the time-proven design of the company’s popular RC Series, the CC-TT is designed with a multi-function computer operated remote control system with touch screen which provides real-time operation and diagnostic information including vacuum pressure (reservoir and pads), fuel level, battery status and more. Closed circuit cameras allow unobstructed views to enable precise pad placement. Variable pad positions ensure even lifting and avoidance of key stress points.

The CC-TT system is powered by a diesel engine and is designed to work with mobile or stationary gantry cranes. Pads are specially engineered to accommodate the weight and size of double tee beams. Each pad is equipped with a sensor to confirm that the load is engaged. The system can also be modified to handle other precast structures or steel.

About Vacuworx

Vacuworx is celebrating “20 Years of Building an Industry.” Founded in 1999 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the company engineers and manufactures innovative heavy-duty material handling equipment for the oil and gas, water and sewer, highway and heavy construction, concrete construction, landscaping and manufacturing industries worldwide. Parts, service and technical support are available 24/7/365 for installation, training, repairs and troubleshooting.

Doosan Bobcat partners with Ainstein to develop radar sensor technology for compact equipment

Strategic partnership will leverage state-of-the-art technology for autonomous operations

 Doosan Bobcat North America announced today it has partnered with Ainstein AI, Inc. – a radar technologies company headquartered in Lawrence, Kansas – to develop next-generation radar sensor systems for Bobcat® equipment. Through this partnership, Ainstein and Doosan Bobcat North America will collaborate to create radar-based sensing solutions to detect objects on jobsites. 

“This strategic partnership leverages the respective strengths of Bobcat and Ainstein to further advance our connected and autonomous technology,” said Joel Honeyman, vice president of global innovation at Doosan Bobcat North America. “Working together, we can evolve autonomous operations and provide our customers with optimal productivity and the ultimate operator experience through sensor technology.”

Doosan Bobcat North America and Ainstein will collaborate to create next-generation radar sensor solutions to detect objects on jobsites when using Bobcat equipment. The radar system developed by Ainstein collects object position data — like range, azimuth, elevation and doppler information — to provide real-time alerts to operators by incorporating a combination of mmWave radar, sensor fusion and artificial intelligence. This technology will enable obstacle avoidance solutions and future technologies that support autonomous operations.

“At Ainstein, we design and develop radar systems that are smarter and more affordable, and offer complete solutions for autonomous vehicles,” said Andrew Boushie, vice president of strategy and partnerships at Ainstein. “We are excited to begin our partnership and collaboration with Doosan Bobcat North America.”

The partnership is part of Doosan Bobcat North America’s initiative to identify forward-looking solutions to help equipment owners and operators maximize their productivity, efficiency and safety through innovation and technology. 

“As a global market and innovation leader, we strive to provide our customers with the latest technological advancements,” said Honeyman. “Ainstein has shown the technical capabilities and commitment to customize industry-leading solutions for Bobcat. We look forward to a strong partnership to bring the latest innovation to empower our customers to accomplish more.”

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About Doosan Bobcat North America

Doosan Bobcat North America is the U.S. and Canadian subsidiary of Doosan Bobcat Inc. As a leading global manufacturer of construction, agriculture, landscaping and grounds maintenance equipment, attachments and services, the company is committed to empowering people to accomplish more. Doosan Bobcat is home to world-renowned brands, including Bobcat® compact equipment, Doosan® portable power products, BOB-CAT® mowers, Ryan® and Steiner® grounds maintenance equipment, and Geith® attachments. 

About Ainstein

Founded in 2015, Ainstein enables safer driving, flying, working and living through radar-based technology. Leveraging our radar technology and expertise, we are continuously imagining, developing and perfecting products that haven’t been built before. We make radar more affordable and easier to deploy, offering complete customized solutions for autonomous drones, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous vehicles, and IoT Applications. We incorporate a combination of mmWave radar, sensor fusion and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into all of our products. Headquartered in Lawrence, Kansas, Ainstein is in the business of improving safety and protecting valuable assets through innovation.

A NON-BLINDING AGREEMENT: MIDWESTERN INDUSTRIES’ KLEAR-SCREEN PANEL’S UNIQUE NON-BLINDING URETHANE WIRE DESIGN PROMOTES SCREENING EFFICIENCY, CONSISTENCY, AND SCREEN LIFE FOR AGGREGATE / MINERAL APPLICATIONS

By Jay Nagy, Midwestern Industries, Inc. 

Over the years, screen blinding and pegging have been barriers to efficient material screening that processors have sought to overcome via a variety of half-measure solutions including; frequent washing, slap chains, ball decks, and heated decks. Screen blinding of media is typically a result of fine material accumulating around screen openings–remaining unaffected by a machine’s vibration. Similarly, pegging ensues when an irregular material enters the screen apertures but is unable to pass through.

KLEAR-SCREEN SOLUTION:

In response to the demand from a vast array of aggregates, minerals, and other media processors, Midwestern Industries, Inc. (Massillon, OH), a leading manufacturing mainstay of innovation for the screening industry since 1953, is introducing their new KLEAR-SCREEN series panels. The series (Styles: S-M-W) design features spaced wire cloth urethane strips that essentially operate as live moving wires, to create more through-put to dislodge materials. Ultimately, the resulting ‘near size’ particles wont’ blind the screens.

The non-blinding, wire cloth clear screen’s urethane strip designs are spaced across the panels and the wire flexes so it won’t fall apart–meaning less screen changes. Made to fit most applications and rectangular vibrating machines, each series’ panel is available in openings ranging from 1/16” TO 1” and in a variety of wire sizes.

The KLEAR-SCREEN design configuration increases screening efficiency, extends screen life, and produces a consistent product–decreasing costs per ton! 

“S” STYLE:              Most Common Weave…Square Type, More Precision

Midwestern’s KLEAR-SCREEN “S” style screen panels are ideal for applications with a high percentage of near sized particles that often cause blinding in traditional woven mesh screens. This style of screen has a square opening and is measured the same as woven wire openings. 

“M” STYLE:             High Impact…Precise Sizing

Midwestern’s KLEAR-SCREEN “M” style screen panels are ideal for applications with high impact and heavier loading. This style is also great for smaller openings for fine material. The “M” style screen has a triangle opening which is obtained by alternating crimped and straight wires. The crimped and straight wires vibrate at different frequencies–practically eliminating blinding and optimizes throughput. 

“W” STYLE:             More Open Area…High Production

Midwestern’s KLEAR-SCREEN “W” style screen panels are ideal for applications with a high percentage of fine material. The “W’ style screen offers the largest percentage of open area in the KLEAR SCREEN line-up. It utilizes a “W” shaped opening with all wires parallel to each other.

KLEAR-SCREEN / CONCLUSION:

Midwestern’s new KLEAR-SCREEN wire product series premiered to potential end-users in March at the CONEXPO/CONAGG 2020 (Las Vegas, NV), and will be available to order in late summer 2020.

According to Midwestern’s President of Manufacturing and Sales, H.J. “Chip” Painter, “The launch of our KLEAR-SCREEN panel series unique designs overcome the age-old issue of pegging / blinding, which prevents fine material from passing through. Screening efficiency is key…KLEAR SCREEN consistently achieves that goal.”

For more information visit: www.midwesternind.com

CORPORATE PROFILE: Since 1953, Midwestern Industries, Inc. has been a mainstay of innovation for the screening industry, delivering customized manufacturing and design solutions for a myriad of processing industries including: Pharmaceutical, Food & Beverage, Chemicals, Aggregates, Shot Peening, Plastics, Brick and Clay, Ceramics, and Powdered Metals, amongst others. Known throughout the industry as “The Sizing People®”, Midwestern’s comprehensive product line offers advanced application solutions for handling coarse, fine, wet, and dry materials with the ability to screen and separate particles from 20 microns and up. We achieve these demanding standards by leveraging advanced precision manufacturing screening techniques and accessories that drive productivity.