Tag Archive for 'Blastcrete Equipment Co.'

Paving the Way for Success

When Charlie Swift started Southeast Asphalt and Maintenance LLC in 1996, his budget determined his equipment, and his equipment determined the jobs he could take. 

“Basically, I started out with the cheapest equipment I could get,” he said.  

For Swift, building an asphalt sealcoating and maintenance company from the bottom up meant getting things done on an extremely limited budget. Through the humble beginnings of his business, Swift quickly learned that when you rely on inexpensive, used equipment, you’re only as good as your worst piece – and that was anything but efficient. 

Since adding the DA-350 to the Southeast fleet, Swift has discovered a significant bidding advantage over many competitors. The dual applicator has made it possible to place lower bids, bid on a wider range of projects, and complete them in less time.

Early on, his equipment set the parameters for his potential. Projects took longer to complete, and he was only able to bid on small projects, such as parking lots for banks and other local businesses. Determined to keep finding work, Swift maximized the potential of his second-hand sealcoating equipment. 

“As I gained more experience, I kept getting better and better and saw my business growing busier and busier,” he said. 

Finally, Swift reached a tipping point.

“I was getting enough work that I could start upgrading equipment. It made it possible for us to handle larger jobs,” he said. 

The jobs continued to line up and Swift hasn’t looked back. It’s now been two decades and Southeast has expanded to have a national reach. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, a majority of the company’s work is centered in the southeast, but knowing his equipment is up to the task, Swift isn’t afraid to bid large projects across the country.

A driving force behind Swift’s confidence to bid bigger jobs was the Neal Manufacturing Division of Blastcrete Equipment, LLC’s DA-350 Dual Applicator, purchased in 2014. It wasn’t the first time he had bought a Neal Manufacturing applicator, but it was the first one he purchased new. 

For Swift, it didn’t take spreadsheets or months of operation to see the value of his newest machine. The DA-350 dual applicator, equipped with a spray bar and even-flow squeegee, was quick to demonstrate its value, project after project. Prior to adding the DA-350 to his fleet, Southeast would take on large lots using a truck-mounted hand-spray applicator. With the new machine, some hand spraying is still required, but only around the edges. 

Once the prep is complete and the edges are sprayed, one person is able to drive the DA-350 to complete the remaining surface. Instead of three workers hand spraying with three tips, one employee can conquer the same area in a fraction of the time, cutting overall project time and freeing up the additional crew members to move on to other jobs. Swift said the dual machine makes quick work of large lots, helping him complete jobs that once took 10 to 12 hours in as few as four.  

After Southeast Asphalt purchased Neal Manufacturing’s dual applicator machine, which features a squeegee and spray bar, they quickly saw its value, project after project.
 

A Class of Its Own

Since adding the DA-350 to the Southeast fleet, Swift has discovered a significant bidding advantage over many competitors. The dual applicator has made it possible to place lower bids, bid on a wider range of projects, and complete them in less time. Swift also increased profits, estimating Southeast can earn 35 to 40 percent more each day using the new machine.

Swift pointed out that for many projects, similar productivity can be reached with other commercial ride-on sealing applicators, but to him, there are times when there’s no comparison. 

“The pump,” Swift said, “is the differentiating factor. Their pump is capable of handling more material and heavier material than any other pump I’ve used. The Neal Manufacturing pump is known for that. They don’t need as much maintenance or cleaning, either.”

The DA-350 uses the company’s heavy-duty aggregate pump, which achieves 100 gallons per minute. It also manages heavier sand loads. 

“Diaphragm pumps work great for a standard sand load of 2 to 4 percent, but some projects require a heavier sand load. That’s when I need the DA-350,” Swift said.

Swift will run a sand load of 4 percent up to 8 percent through the DA-350 without hesitation. His fleet of resurfacing applicators also includes machines equipped with diaphragm pumps. But when a project requires anything over 4 percent, he knows it will be going through the Neal Manufacturing pump.

Prior to adding the DA-350, Southeast Asphalt would take on large lots using a truck-mounted hand-spray applicator. With the new machine, some hand spraying is still required, but only around the edges. 

Good, Better, Best

Swift doesn’t hesitate to declare that Neal Manufacturing makes the most dependable and efficient asphalt resurfacing applicator he’s worked with. He also wasn’t shy about approaching the manufacturer when he had ideas for improvement. According to Swift, Neal Manufacturing engineers not only welcomed his input, but worked with him to develop custom improvements for his applicator. 

“It was easy,” Swift said. “When I worked with the engineer, he had some solutions and suggestions, as did I, and we came out with a great machine.” 

The most notable improvements were made to his machine’s hydraulics and switches, specifically, the hydraulic dump valve. On a standard DA-350, the dump valve is controlled by a toggle switch and manually operated with a foot pedal. Swift’s DA-350 features a modified hydraulic dump control. The custom control makes it possible for the operator to open and close the valve as fast as he or she wants. The modification also allows the operator to set and hold the valve at a desired rate without having to continually monitor the control. 

“With the standard foot pedal, if you want it open 20 percent, you have to manually hold it right there. With mine, I just open it up to the dump rate I want, let loose and it stays put. I don’t have to worry about holding a certain pressure, if I set it at 50 percent, it stays at 50 percent,” Swift said. “The feature helps simplify things for the operator, who already has a lot going on – driving the machine, dumping sealer, trying not to dump too much – this modification makes it much easier.”

Dual Threat Contractor

As a business owner, Swift has discovered numerous advantages to owning a DA-350 dual applicator, the most significant of which has been its ability to transform Southeast into a dual-threat contractor. The DA-350 combines a six-tip spray bar capable of spraying 11 feet combined with an 8-foot squeegee. The option of a riding squeegee unlocks an entirely new segment of the asphalt sealing and maintenance contracts.

Many contractors don’t invest in a riding squeegee applicator because it’s not necessary for most jobs, especially smaller ones. For Swift, the ability to tackle everything from local bank parking lots to massive distribution centers has been a game changer. 

“Eighty percent of contractors can’t offer the squeegee method unless they do it by hand. Having both on one riding machine puts you in a different category of contractors,” Swift explained. “We get invited to work for large distribution centers all over the country because of our capabilities. Contractors who don’t offer the ride-on squeegee method can’t bid those jobs.” 

Swift will still tell you that you’re only as good as your worst piece of equipment, but in recent years he’s been more concerned about reaching the full potential made possible by his best piece of equipment.

The Right Flow — When a Concrete Pump Attachment Is Ideal for Filling ICFs

Blastcrete Equipment Company Retains Key Neal Manufacturing Employees Following Acquisition

Maury Bagwell

Maury Bagwell

Blastcrete Equipment Company has retained several key Neal Manufacturing employees following its acquisition of the company in November 2013. Neal, a leading manufacturer of mechanized asphalt sealcoating equipment, now operates as a division of Blastcrete in Anniston, Ala.

Greg Dodson, Eric Humphries and Edward Langley are staying on with the company. They join Maury Bagwell, who left his position as Neal’s president in 2011 to join the Blastcrete team.

Blastcrete President Jim Farrell said that, with Blastcrete’s financial stability, Neal customers can be assured Neal will be there to provide the equipment and service they need for years to come. He added that Blastcrete and Neal customers are fortunate to be able to benefit from the experience, expertise and continuity that Dodson, Humphries, Langley and Bagwell provide for the new Blastcrete division.

“We’re excited about continuing Neal’s leadership in the industry, meeting the needs of its existing customer base and reaching out to new customers,” Farrell said. “These are excellent employees who, over the years, helped connect the Neal name to quality and innovation in sealcoating. Now they’re doing the same as part of the Blastcrete family.”

Dodson brings 20 years of industry experience to his role as a fabrication specialist. He has held a range of positions at Neal and other companies, including purchaser, designer, fabricator and shop manager.

Humphries also brings 20 years of industry experience to the new division in his role as sales manager. He was a sales representative for Neal from 1994 to 2001, then opened Advantage Sealcoating in Atlanta in 2001 and rejoined Neal in 2005. Humphries serves as a seminar instructor, and with his broad experience he can educate both contractors and manufacturers from both sides of the business.

Langley, who gained 10 years of experience as a repair technician at Neal, assembles and maintains products to ensure maximum performance. He earned a degree in flexography from West Georgia Technical College in Carrollton, Ga.

Bagwell invented the 50-gpm electrically controlled pump (ESP) and 100-gpm electrically controlled super sand pump (ESSP) hydraulic piston pump systems. Both of them, along with the application specific hydraulic demand system, were protected under U.S. patents. He brings 39 years of industry experience to overseeing design, engineering and maintenance as Blastcrete’s general manager. Bagwell earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Neal Manufacturing has been leading the mechanized asphalt sealcoating equipment industry since 1977. The company pioneered the development of ride-on squeegee and self-propelled machines, as well as its 50-gpm electrically controlled pump (ESP) and 100-gpm electrically controlled super sand pump (ESSP) hydraulic piston pump systems, which were industry firsts. Neal Manufacturing is a division of Blastcrete Equipment Co., a manufacturer of mixing, pumping and spraying equipment serving the refractory, shotcrete, concrete construction and repair, underground mining and tunneling, and power generation industries worldwide. For more information: Blastcrete Equipment Company, Neal Manufacturing Division visit: www.nealequip.com.

Blastcrete Equipment Company’s Skid Steer Pump Features Universal Design

Blastcrete Equipment Company, manufacturer of concrete mixers, pumps and related products, offers the Model RD6536 Skid Steer Pump Attachment. Featuring a universal design compatible with any skid steer, the 3-inch hydraulic squeeze pump is ideal for ICF, block fill, form and pour, driveways, basements and various shotcrete applications.

With the ability to pump grout materials, 3/8-inch shotcrete and 3/4-inch structural concrete mixes, the RD6536 are a fast, efficient solution for contractors performing a variety of concrete and shotcrete applications. The unit offers a variable speed of 0-25 cubic yards per hour. Vertical pumping distance reaches 50 feet with the use of a rubber delivery line, while horizontal distance can reach up to 250 feet.

A hydraulic agitator is included in the receiving hopper. The agitator’s continuous motion keeps the mix well blended ensuring aggregate and sand stay evenly suspended throughout the mix. Not only does this result in high-strength concrete, it keeps the aggregate and sand from settling to the bottom of the hopper and clogging near the suction area.

To relieve pressure build-up clogs and eliminate potential damage to the pump, the RD6536 can be run in both forward and reverse. Hydraulically powered controls are located on the pump and also operate both agitator and pump speed.

The RD6536 weighs in at 2,700 pounds and hydraulic oil requirement is 18 GPM at 3,000 PSI. The 48-inch wide frame (55-inch with receiving hopper) is designed to be narrow enough to fit between the wheel wells of most standard work trucks. The unit includes forklift pockets to allow quick and easy loading and unloading from the transport vehicle.

Maintenance requirements for the RD6536 are simple and take just minutes. The steel-constructed unit is designed to prevent any concrete from coming in contact with the pump’s moving parts, further reducing maintenance concerns and ensuring a long service life. The primary wear part, the rubber pumping tube, can be easily replaced on the jobsite in about 20 minutes. And unlike other types of concrete pumps, clean-up on the RD6536 squeeze pump is fast and hassle-free. Using just water and a sponge ball, the pump can be cleaned out in approximately 5 minutes.