Tag Archive for 'roads'

Intelligent Compaction is the Key

By Jeff Winke

Long-lasting, Durable Surfaces Result From Quality Compaction

The most elemental meaning of the word “compaction,” is the exertion of force on something so that it becomes more dense.

In the realm of road construction, compaction is considered one of the most important processes in pavement and roadway surface construction. It is necessary in order to attain high quality and uniformity of pavement materials, which in turn better ensures the long-lasting performance of the road. 

It has been more than a few years since the term and method of “intelligent compaction” (IC) has become a given in discusions of paving. Today, it has become the norm – compaction is pretty much considered intelligent compaction.

IC refers to the compaction of road materials, such as soils, aggregate bases, or asphalt pavement materials, using modern vibratory rollers equipped with an integrated measurement system, an onboard computer reporting system, Global Positioning System (GPS) based mapping, and optional feedback control. IC rollers facilitate real-time compaction monitoring and timely adjustments to the compaction process by integrating measurement, documentation, and control systems. IC rollers also maintain a continuous record of color-coded plots, allowing the user to view plots of the precise location of the roller, the number of roller passes, and material stiffness measurements.

“Operators have told me that intelligent compaction takes the guessing game out of their rolling pattern,” said Daniel F. Brown, President of Phend & Brown, Inc., Milford, Indiana. “They no longer need to remember which utility power pole or mailbox they started or stopped at with their rolling pattern. Additionally, uniform pass coverage is assured because pass coverage is being measured and documented.”

The Background on IC

Back in 2011, the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) reported on a major three-year research project that was designed to verify that IC, which at the time had been considered “emerging technology,” was mature enough to be implemented in the real world. The intent of the project was to create the blueprint in the FHWA IC strategic plan. This study was under the Transportation Pooled Fund project, which included 12 participating state department of transportation: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The report’s Executive Summary states that the project “demonstrated tried-and-true Intelligent Compaction (IC) technologies through 16 field projects and open house activities, numerous meetings and training for State personnel and local earthwork/paving contractors, and assistance on the development of State IC specifications.”

The IC project’s key conclusions:

  • IC mapping of existing support layers is effective in identifying weak support areas for corrective actions prior to the compaction of the upper layers. 
  • With hot-mix asphalt (HMA) paving, IC tracking compaction roller passes and HMA surface temperatures can provide the necessary means to maintain a consistent rolling pattern within optimal ranges of temperatures for coverage of 100 percent of the construction area. 
  • IC technologies can be especially beneficial to maintain consistent rolling patterns under lower visibility conditions, such as night paving operations.

IC Technology Aids Productivity

IC technology, the report stated, will have profound influence on the responsibilities of various stages of pavement constructions and will eventually help produce better and more consistent pavement products. 

“We are currently running Topcon C-53 IC Systems on two Caterpillar CB-534 D XW Rollers, and two systems on Bomag BW190 AD Rollers,” stated Brown. “At the time of purchase, the C-53, which offers the GX-55 control box, was the newest technology available.

“We like that the technology provides for remote mobile access via Sitelink to allow process balance decisions to be based on real-time data for the entire paver/roller operation, which in turn ensures that optimal production rates and density values are consistently achieved.” 

Topcon Positioning Systems offers an IC system that is designed to track pass counts of multiple rollers or IC machines working on the same project. Through secure connectivity to Topcon’s global Sitelink3D service, each compactor not only performs its tasks, but also becomes part of the overall monitored project. 

“Each operator is not only able to see their own passes, but those made by other machines on-screen in real time,” Brown said. “And in real time, the paving superintendant, foreman, and general contractor personnel can also see what exactly is going on via the Sitelink platform. This ensures proper compaction from each machine and eliminates redundancy.” 

The IC system is designed to:

  • Leverage multiple integrated temperature sensors, so each compactor can achieve consistent results through constant feedback into the system.
  • Provide accurate pass counts, geographic locations of each run, as well as georeferenced task assignments and their completion via its GNSS technology.
  • Ensure that regulatory IC standards are being met by documenting surface stiffness values through its accelerometer.
  • Connect to the Sitelink3D Enterprise service which provides 24/7 access to project data, team collaboration, custom reporting, as well as standard export to Veta management and analysis software, which can provide additional customized information. 
  • Provide data to demonstrate specification compliance and confirm proper density claims.

“We’re using the Topcon C-53 IC System with a GX-75 control box on our 850 Series Sakai Oscillation/Vibration Paving Roller, which allows the machine operator to monitor the compaction pattern and the temperature as they’re working,” stated Sergio Muniz, Paving Superintendent with Payne & Dolan, Inc., Waukesha, Wisconsin, who acquired the system working through his local Topcon Solutions Store. “I like that I can jump onto my laptop and see the work being completed in real time and make certain we’re complying with the tough DOT state specifications.”

Muniz added: “We’re finding the Topcon system to be essential for our high-profile big jobs to ensure we remain on task and is instrumental for when we work at night. It also is proving handy for smaller parking-lot-type jobs as well.”

The key benefit of IC is greater control over the compaction results, which in turn provides better finished paved results. Compaction at its most elemental is the exertion of force on something so that it becomes more dense, while IC provides the technological means to ensure that compaction is performed consistently, thoroughly, and accurately. The goal is to achieve optimum densities that ensure adequate support, stability, and strength. Achieving these densities uniformly is key, and clearly IC aids this process.

This feature appeared in the January 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

TRIP’s Rocky Moretti Speaks with ATM About the Country’s Slumping Transportation Infrastructure

Listen to the 7-minute podcast

In February 2018, the White House released President Donald J. Trump’s infrastructure principles and initiative with this quote from the president: “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.”

But almost two years later, the American public, and the business and labor sectors are still waiting for these shining words to become reality.

Every day, Rocky Moretti lives why this message carries so much meaning. As Director of Policy & Research for the national transportation research nonprofit TRIP, he examines data and information and writes, edits and presents reports that illuminate the deteriorating state of regional and U.S. transportation infrastructure — all toward the goal of promoting sound public transportation policy.

The newest “ATM Podcast,” for the Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition, features Moretti’s take on topics like quality of life and economic productivity, safety and congestion, bettering mobility, and America’s substantial transportation infrastructure funding gap. He also provides some insight into current transportation infrastructure challenges in Arizona, Ohio and Wisconsin.

In the last few years, Moretti has gone to Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and Texas to release reports on their transportation systems.

Sign our petition at http://bit.ly/2rk7EZl and share this story with your friends on social media.

Neal Manufacturing Updates Full Line to Tier 4 Final

Neal Manufacturing, a division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC and a leader in asphalt pavement preservation equipment, announces all their machines are Tier 4 Final compliant, including the DA 350 Dual Sealcoat Applicator and High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle

“As a customer-focused company, Neal Manufacturing is continually innovating, making sure our products employ the latest technology to meet or exceed all equipment standards,” said Tripp Farrell, president of Neal Manufacturing, a division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC. “Updating our line for Tier 4 Final compliance is just one of the many ways our team helps keep customers jobsite ready.”

Neal Manufacturing’s lineup of asphalt preservation equipment meets Tier 4 Final emission standards.

The DA 350 offers a 100 gpm hydraulic piston pump, for a robust, versatile application vehicle capable of handling pavement preservation products with heavy aggregate loads. The three-wheeled self-propelled sealcoating machine features a built-in, high powered blower and AutoTrim, an automatic cutting-in attachment, allowing contactors seven times the productivity on prep work along curb-and-gutter streets. A 35-horsepower Yanmar Water Cooled Diesel Tier 4 final engine powers the DA 350.

For high-quality results on large road projects, the High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle features Neal Manufacturing’s Generation IV pump that delivers infinitely variable outputs from 0-150 gpm, even with larger aggregates mixes. The Road Maintenance Vehicle is available with a Yanmar 3TNV88C, 35-horsepower Tier 4 Final engine. Individually or in combination with the DA 350 as part of Neal Manufacturing’s Asphalt Road Preservation Package, the High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle features innovative, productivity enhancing options for lasting sealcoat applications.

Neal Manufacturing backs their equipment with industry-leading customer support including free training seminars at the company’s Anniston, Alabama location. 

About Neal Manufacturing

The Neal Manufacturing Division of Blastcrete Equipment, LLC is an industry leader in the manufacture of pavement maintenance and sealcoat production equipment. Blastcrete Equipment LLC manufactures mixing, pumping and spraying equipment for the refractory, shotcrete, concrete construction and repair, underground mining and tunneling, and power generation industries worldwide. For more information: Neal Manufacturing Division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC, 2000 Cobb Ave., Anniston, AL 36201 770-830-1282; fax 256-236-9824; eric@nealequip.com; or www.nealequip.com.

NAPA Notes Opportunities in FY2020 Appropriations Bill

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) 2019 Chairman John Harper, Senior Vice President of Construction Partners Inc. in Dothan, Alabama, released the following statement after final passage of the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills:

“With President Donald Trump signing the appropriations passed this week by Congress, the asphalt pavement industry is looking forward to the opportunities that the New Year will bring. We are pleased that Congress has been forward thinking in developing and funding new programs that will have long-term benefits for America’s infrastructure, public safety, and national defense.

“Included in the $48.6 billion in funding appropriated for surface transportation programs, Congress included a new program to make sorely needed improvements to the Appalachian development highway system, support for building out critical commerce corridors to improve safety and speed the transport of goods across the nation, and research programs to expand the use of innovative materials and permeable pavements, including porous asphalt. We’re also looking forward to new innovations that will arise from the new airfield research program and the new Department of Defense program for extending the service life of military roads and airfields.

“Congress has set the stage for a productive 2020 construction season, but now our eyes turn to the future. From the heartland to the coasts, it’s America’s roads that bring us together, so while we’re hard at work building, maintaining, and improving our nation’s infrastructure, we expect Congress to be hard at work crafting a new long-term surface transportation program to replace the expiring FAST Act.”

About the National Asphalt Pavement Association

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) is the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the asphalt producer/contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations. NAPA supports an active research program designed to improve the quality of asphalt pavements and paving techniques used in the construction of roads, streets, highways, parking lots, airports, and environmental and recreational facilities. The association provides technical, educational, and marketing materials and information to its members; supplies product information to users and specifiers of paving materials; and conducts training courses. The association, which counts more than 1,100 companies as members, was founded in 1955.

The Role of Volumetric Concrete in the Future of US Infrastructure

By Mark Rinehart and Kris Moorman, Cemen Tech Inc.

When the U.S. gets an infrastructure report card rating of a D+, that’s a wake-up call. At this point, everyone knows that our nation’s infrastructure is failing, and working every day in markets like roads and bridges, water systems and airports, it becomes even more obvious. We are involved in several associations that are out there banging on representatives’ doors trying to get a plan put together, and it seems like things have been slowly moving along, but it’s time to move forward and get a comprehensive infrastructure bill approved.  

Every moment that infrastructure projects sit stalled and unfunded creates a larger and larger backlog of work that needs to be done every single day, and the longer we wait, the bigger the task is going to be to actually fix all this stuff. And as far as politics goes, one would think that this would be a completely bipartisan issue, but any real reaching across the aisle remains to be seen. 

People don’t seem to realize that our infrastructure systems need maintenance just like a car, house or piece of construction equipment. It seems obvious, but you can’t just let something go for 10 or 20 years and think that it’s not going to have problems and issues and will need to be fixed.

Spencer at work site

Unfortunately, we’ve never had an official long-term funding program in place. We’ve decided to look the other way and kick it down the road, and now that inventory of repairs is enormous and needs to be addressed before more major accidents happen. It’s important that we do something now, especially while the economy’s hot. We do have more money coming in, so it’s time to put something in place.

Over 200,000 of our bridges in the U.S. are more than 50 years old. Knowing that a typical paving mix has an average lifespan of about 30 years – and many of these bridges have been out in the elements for 50-plus years with minimal maintenance – should be enough to worry anyone. This is especially true in the Midwest and other regions where you have to deal with salt, sand, and fluctuating temperatures each year. 

One of the many upsides to concrete is that it does have a lower maintenance cost over its lifetime than other types of materials, but it does tend to cost a little bit more in the beginning to put it in place. This can lead to slightly higher bids, which can be bad news for government contracts. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s actually happening to these ailing roads and bridges.

Things Fall Apart

On a long enough timeline, concrete will always crack, but it’s important to know that there are a number of factors that cause it to do so. Corroding reinforcement materials, subgrade settling/erosion, the type of mix, the way it was poured, quality of finish work – all of these factors affect the durability and lifespan of any concrete project. 

Joe DiMaggio NorthBeach Playground

There’s concrete that’s been around for a hundred years all across the world, but from an infrastructure perspective it ultimately comes down to a cost benefit analysis. If you want 100-year concrete, we can make 100-year concrete, but the question then becomes are you willing to pay for it, and do the necessary maintenance to make it last? Are you willing to pay that higher price for longevity? This becomes a challenge, especially in the public arena where a majority of the time the lowest bid wins. 

The Role of Volumetric Concrete Technology 

A recent study showed that up to 22.3 million cubic yards of ready mix concrete poured today in the U.S. goes back to the plant as wasted. That is a tremendous, and ultimately unsustainable, amount of wasted time and money, all due to outmoded methods of concrete placement. 

Cemen Tech in the process of working with DOTs across the country to educate them on the value of volumetric technology, and how it can speed up projects and essentially save them money using technology for different types of infrastructure repairs.

Volumetric concrete is batching based on volume rather than weight. All volumetric equipment is calibrated by weight, and the material is delivered to the mix auger by volume. This produces the precise amount of fresh concrete with every pour. Mix designs can be changed on the fly at the job site without compromising the quality of the concrete. Specialty concretes like fiber-reinforced, colored or slurry can be quickly and easily produced from the same load of materials.

With volumetric equipment, companies have the ability to limit the amount of time a road or bridge must be shut down, because of how fast they can get in, pour and get out. This allows the general public to utilize that repaired structure in hours instead of days. The key advantage of volumetric concrete is that it allows the exact type of concrete that’s needed to be poured directly onsite in the exact quantity that’s needed for that repair.  

Helen Dillar Playground

Typical repair projects like overlays, hinge repairs, etc. usually require smaller pours that can be hard to estimate when working with traditional concrete placement. Volumetric technology allows contractors to pour the exact amount of concrete, and the exact mix design, with zero waste.

A volumetric concrete mixer is a concrete mixer mounted on a truck or trailer that contains separate compartments for sand, stone, cement and water. Materials are mixed on a job site to produce the exact amount of concrete needed. The process and equipment has been in use for 50 years. 

As opposed to rotary drum mixers, mobile volumetric concrete mixers allow for an efficient and more environmentally friendly method of producing and pouring concrete. Volumetric solutions produce the exact amount of concrete needed at the precise time, eliminating the possibility of under or over-ordering concrete that will ultimately be wasted. Also, as a result of mixing on-site, volumetric solutions generate less waste and consume less fossil fuels. 

Volumetric concrete also allows contractors to use the minimal amount of water needed to achieve the acquired strength for project requirements. When working with concrete, the more water you add to a mix, the less strength it will have when it finally hardens, so you want to use as little water as possible. 

Volumetric mixing has been around for 50 years, and it’s evolved incredibly in the past five to 10 years. Extremely high-quality concrete can be produced, placed, tracked and monitored, which allows contractors to get their projects done faster and have full control over the concrete production process. What that means for a DOT, is that ultimately, they can get more repairs done faster, at a lower cost, and with less impact to the public. 

GG Bridge

If we are going to find our way out of the mess we’re in, volumetric concrete technology will have a huge role in fixing the massive backlog of infrastructure repairs that are currently haunting every state, city and county in the United States. 

Next-Gen Volumetric Mixing Technology Pours the Infrastructure Backbone of the Golden City

Bauman Landscape and Construction, Inc. has helped build some of San Francisco’s most complex and iconic cityscapes. From the Palace of Fine Arts to Dolores Park to the city’s Embarcadero, Bauman Landscape and Construction has been pouring concrete in the city for more than four decades. 

The company’s success in the Bay Area has been built on a foundation of obsessive quality, efficiency, and a willingness to trust new innovations and technology. One of the most significant innovations Bauman has embraced is volumetric concrete mixing technology. When Bauman started using volumetric mixing technology, the trend was still in its infancy, but the city of San Francisco quickly realized the company was able to deliver concrete faster and more reasonable than their competitors who were still using traditional barrel mixers.

In addition to being high quality, quick, and on budget, Bauman boasted another feature that set them apart: being green. San Francisco, well known as a hub for sustainability, appreciated Bauman’s ability to take any unused concrete, take it back to their yard, crush it and re-use it as concrete aggregate.

“That was huge in the city,” said Mike Bauman, Chief Executive Officer of Bauman Landscape and Construction. “They require everything to be recycled and we are pretty green as far as recycling and reusing the concrete.

“We are the first company in San Francisco to use 100 percent recycled aggregate in our mix. The barrel mix guys use about 50 percent.”

But the company’s success didn’t set-in overnight. The city, which hires Bauman’s company to pour streetscapes, curbs, gutters, as well as structural walls and building slabs, required the company to do test pours before each load out of the mixer, Bauman said. After some test runs and some solid test results, the city gave Bauman the full green light.

“They were so used to barrel mixers,” Bauman said. “Since we were the first ones out here with the volumetric mixers, now we have a great reputation with the city. They like our mixers and they like the mix better than the barrel mixers.”

Time for an Upgrade

In 2017, Bauman identified a few soft spots in his equipment and was ready to make some serious upgrades. His previous volumetric mixers required skilled concrete operators, who were becoming harder and harder to come by, and experienced recurring issues with bent, broken or faulty chutes, which caused downtime. 

So, Bauman turned to Cemen Tech to deliver four initial C60 mobile concrete mixers to help streamline their operation, increase efficiencies on-site and in their driver hiring, while also minimizing downtime. With the Cemen Tech C Series mixers, Bauman’s team was able to batch, measure, mix, pour, record and analyze each job with just the onboard equipment of the machine itself. Additionally, the ability to load a variety of different mix composites made toggling back-and-forth between jobs or within the same job a breeze.

“The C60s we have equipped with the liquid color, which is great because everything we do out here is color, even the simple sidewalks have color in them,” Bauman said. “We probably have 25 mix designs pre-loaded because of all the different type of work that we do out here. They pretty much run themselves.”

Unrivaled Quality

You don’t hold a reputation for excellent, reliable work for more than 40 years without taking quality control seriously. That’s where Angela Bauman comes in, the company’s lead Project Manager who has a passion for process improvement, quality control and efficiency.

In addition to Angela, the company also has a full-time quality control person on staff, who is responsible for running in-house testing before mixes go out for pouring. With the Cemen Tech mixers, once the mixes are tested and approved, Bauman’s team is able to make a single run and knock-out a multi-mix job.

“One huge benefit for us is in the city there is the streetscapes. We do a lot of streetscapes and the curb, gutter and sidewalks are all different mixes,” Angela said. “We used to have to get three short loads just to pour a curb ramp, so now with the Cemen Tech mixers we can just change the mix three different times in one truck and pour the entire thing.

“That has been absolutely awesome for us because we do streetscapes everywhere and that has just been an incredible advantage.”

The speed with which Bauman is able to complete jobs nearly rivals the quality of their work. On a recent job on Chestnut Street in the northern tip of the city, Bauman Landscape and Construction was responsible for completing the entire baseline of the project. When they quoted the city with their proposed timeline, the city was skeptical.

“They said, ‘We don’t think you can do it that quick,’” Angela said. “We were beating the schedule by almost a year. And, sure enough, we did, and it was awesome.”

Curbing Driver Shortages

Across the country, companies of all types, sizes and geographic location are struggling to hire and retain professional drivers, much less good ones. It’s a trend not expected to subside, and many analysts believe the shortage could as much as triple by 2026.

With Bauman’s original equipment, which was tricky to operate and resulted in more downtime than the company could swallow, highly skilled operators became even harder to come by. Now, Mike Bauman said, the Cemen Tech machines have made that hurdle much easier to clear.

“It is incredible because now we can take a UPS driver and put them in a C60 and they could run it,” he said. “It’s a real benefit for us. It is tough to find good quality people, so we have to pay over scale, but we are able to lure away good quality drivers from other companies to work for us now.”

Part of what makes the vehicles so easy to operate are their electronic control panel that gives the user total control over how much is poured and which mixture is being used. The Cemen Tech C60 units also come equipped with Auto-Washout and Auto-Stow features for easy transportation and clean up as well as the ACCU-POUR options.

ACCU-POUR is a suite of cloud-based, wireless productivity solutions that allows Bauman to blend the everyday details from dispatch to completed jobs to a holistic view of their business operations. 

Cemen Tech also provides on-site training for both mechanical and maintenance training, as well as driver training. Now, the drivers who went through the initial round of training are able to train any new drivers who join the Bauman team.

A Smooth Partnership

The relationship between Cemen Tech and Bauman has been mutually-beneficial. As one pours foundational elements to one of America’s most iconic cities, the other continues to press-forward with innovative technology and customer support that keeps their customers running on all cylinders.

Volumetric concrete mixing technology has given Bauman Landscape and Construction a distinct advantage on their home turf. It’s an advantage they don’t expect to be relinquished soon.

“Even though it was hard to get the city to open their eyes to volumetric mixers…we took a leap of faith and they did,” Angela said. “The city, ever since then is convinced.”

During every step of the way, both organizations have worked together to guarantee success.

“The immediate customer service, you need that support, especially when you are new to a product,” Angela said. “You want to be able to call someone and have them make you feel good about what you are purchasing and make sure they are going to be on board if something were to happen, or if you need the additional support or training.

“Cemen Tech has done that, and have followed-through in more ways that we could have ever thought.”