Tag Archive for 'sealcoating'

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

The Road to Maximum Efficiency

Morgan Pavement Finds a Custom Solution to Increase Productivity

By Scott Knighton

There aren’t enough hours in a day. Every sealcoat operator, manager, and company president has found themselves thinking this at one point or another. Even without unexpected equipment breakdowns, weather delays or staffing shortfalls, there are plenty of small things that eat away at productivity, leaving crews wishing for just a little more time. 

Even in Utah, which averages more than 14 hours of daylight in summer, asphalt maintenance contractors push their productivity to the max, making every hour in their 12-hour workdays count. For some, this comes at the cost of overall quality. Others, like Morgan Pavement – a full-service asphalt contractor providing earthwork, asphalt paving and asphalt maintenance services – find strict quality control and a proactive approach to tools and products that increase productivity key to optimized efficiency.  

From humble beginnings in 1983 as a Utah-based striping outfit to today’s multi-million-dollar company serving communities in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Texas, quality control has set Morgan Pavement apart. It was the driving factor in the company’s expansion into earthmoving, paving, and eventually manufacturing its own sealcoat and slurry seal oils to provide the quality solutions for customers from start to finish. That commitment to the best quality for its customers is the core value that keeps employees like Dean Garrett, President and CEO, clocking in year after year, decade after decade. Morgan Pavement has never shied away from investing in the tools, resources, infrastructure, and employees to ensure its customers receive solutions that are completed quicker and last longer.

With clogs causing productivity problems, Morgan Pavement approached Neal Manufacturing for a custom solution pump and spray system for their high-volume truck

The focus on quality makes Morgan Pavement quick to embrace new technology when it benefits its customers. So, when a new product, Onyx, hit the market in 2012, the company quickly realized the frictional mastic surface treatment’s potential. In terms of quality, it offered customers more friction, durability, and longevity than any other spray applied mastic on the market. Onyx’s proven performance gave Morgan Pavement confidence to expand its application services into roadways knowing it could deliver on its commitment to quality.

The only problem was, its current sealcoating equipment hadn’t caught up with Onyx’s unique properties, resulting in frequent clogs and slowing productivity – putting Morgan Pavement’s reputation and overall efficiency on the line. 

Black Gold

Just what was it about Onyx that convinced Morgan Pavement to risk its 35-year reputation on a product that – temporarily – decreased productivity? Simple, Onyx’s unique ability to load significantly more aggregate than conventional materials. The larger, harder aggregate also improves micro texture on the pavement surface for enhanced friction. 

“Although Onyx is a spray seal – it has significantly higher loadings of unique polymers and catalysts that deliver the long-term performances a customer demands on parking lot roads,” said Garrett. “We want the best for our customers. With Onyx, they’re getting the best ­– durability, permeability, friction, and dark black color – with the ease of installation of a spray seal.”

But it was more than the friction coefficient that convinced Morgan Pavement this was the quality solution its customers deserved. Onyx is specially engineered to provide shortened dry times and extended long-term performance, increasing efficiency, durability and longevity. As a consistently black sealer, Onyx also reduces ultraviolet damage and increases striping contrast for added safety and aesthetics. 

Ingevity, the owner of the Onyx formula, sourced the product through Morgan Pavement’s manufacturing affiliate, NuRock Asphalt Coatings. This allowed NuRock to manufacture a high-quality road and parking lot sealer for its customers’ needs. 

Morgan Pavement recognized the potential of the optional AutoTrim attachment on Neal Manufacturing’s DA-350 to revolutionize cutting in from a time-consuming, labor-intensive chore to a quick, efficient process that would allow the completion of edge work in less than half the time.

However, as part of the partnership, Morgan Pavement was tasked with perfecting the application of Onyx. The mixture’s thixotropic nature and high aggregate load made application a challenge for its current sealcoating equipment. 

“Onyx has an extreme load of polymer and aggregate, making it more difficult to pump with standard spray seal equipment,” Garrett said. “The machines we were using worked well with conventional sealcoats, but with the new aggregate intensive compound, productivity was suffering.” 

Despite 12-hour days and six-day work weeks, Morgan Pavement saw limited productivity with Onyx application due to frequent malfunctions. Clogs developed in the filtration system of their tank truck, causing the seven-person crew to stop what they were doing, clear the clog, and go back and manually apply the product to cover gaps, a process that increased unscheduled downtime and cost money.

“You can imagine you’re clipping down the road at 6 miles an hour and all of a sudden you have a clog for 20 feet,” Garrett said. “That was happening several times an hour. It was very frustrating for the crews and for our customers.”  

Morgan Pavement knew it had the best product with Onyx, but they needed to do something to decrease the downtime brought on by the equipment mismatch. 

In terms of productivity, Neal Manufacturing’s DA-350 has revolutionized Morgan Pavement’s edge work, reducing a seven-person to crew to just one on a DA-350.

The Solution

With only two or three contractors using Onyx in Utah and less than 20 nationwide, mass-market solutions were unavailable. So, Morgan Pavement turned to a trusted name for a custom solution to their Onyx problem – Neal Manufacturing, a Division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC. 

Neal Manufacturing and their parent company Blastcrete Equipment were well known to Morgan Pavement. In 35 years, the sealcoat applicator had found success with a number of Neal Manufacturing machines and appreciated the customer-focused approach and dedication to quality that mirrored its own core values. It had found industry-innovating machines often carried the Neal Manufacturing logo, as well. But it was the OEM’s experience with custom engineering that sealed the deal. 

“They’re open-minded and easy to work with, so when we need a solution, Neal Manufacturing is the first name on the list,” Garrett said. “Not to mention, when it comes to pumps, few understand different consistencies and how to effectively pump sealcoat better than Blastcrete.”

With the DA-350 and spray truck modifications from Neal Manufacturing, Morgan Pavement was able to increase productivity more than 53 percent a day, applying up to 130,000 square feet (260,000 with double application).

Morgan Pavement presented their Onyx spray problem to Neal Manufacturing and within two months, their team had engineered a pump and spray system that virtually eliminated the clogging issues that were costing Morgan valuable daylight. 

With the retrofit, productivity increased immediately. “Before we struggled with multiple clogs an hour, now it was more like one a day,” Garrett said. “Reducing clogs added 10 percent, or an extra hour and a half to our day. The retrofit also reduced cleaning time at the end of the day by 80 percent and saved 90 percent of the material we were wasting during clean up.” 

In that usable time, crews were able to increase application by 28 percent. Heightened productivity also meant jobs progressed quickly and efficiently, improving crew satisfaction and delighting customers in a job done to Morgan Pavement’s high-quality standards. 

Morgan Pavement was back on the road to maximum productivity. But the collaboration with Neal Manufacturing and the success of the refurbished system encouraged management to examine other areas where they could increase productivity. 

Cutting-in edges had always been a time-consuming and efficiency-draining task. The tedious, manual process was always the limiting factor for efficiency on their sealcoating jobs. On roadways and city streets, edge work required a crew of seven and a significant amount of the time budgeted for each contract. While the main truck drove down the center of the street, two hose crews would cut in on either side – one person operating the hand wand and spraying the sealcoat, one protecting the curb and gutter with a guard, and one progressing the hose. On parking lot jobs, the process was slightly more efficient, but only because a single-hose crew was needed and there was less cutting in to do in general. Even with the improved pump and reduced clogs, cutting-in cut into their profits and limited their productivity on roadway jobs. 

It wasn’t as if they were the only applicators battling the drain on efficiency caused by edge work. Industry-wide, the process is a time- and labor-intensive burden, especially for companies with high-quality standards. Sloppy edge work, such as not getting close enough to the gutter or spraying material on the curb, will cause unplanned clean up and dissatisfied customers. As part of its dedication to providing the best solutions for customers, solutions their competitors couldn’t, Morgan Pavement wanted to find a way to do high-quality work faster. 

Working with Neal Manufacturing proved there were OEMs in the industry that would listen to their concerns and help them improve their business. Luckily for Morgan Pavement, since they weren’t the only applicator struggling with cutting in edges, the Neal Team was already a step ahead with the revolutionary DA-350.

All-In-One for Optimum Efficiency

The three-wheeled, self-propelled DA-350, a drivable, dual application sealer buggy, holds up to 350 gallons of material. Operators can choose between the 8-foot Even Flow diamond squeegee assembly with hydraulic windrow or 87-inch, six-nozzle spray bar with electronic actuator for an ideal application on a variety of jobs. The machine incorporates the HDP hydraulic piston pump capable of processing high sand loads for specialty sealants like Onyx. The HDP piston pump can also be used to transfer materials up to 100 GPM.

But the feature that really piqued Morgan Pavement’s interest was the DA-350’s optional AutoTrim, a baffle attachment for automatically cutting-in sealcoat materials while keeping curbs and edges clean. Morgan Pavement recognized the potential to revolutionize cutting-in from a time-consuming, labor-intensive chore to a quick, efficient process that could be completed expertly from the comfort of the DA-350’s driver seat, allowing completion of edge work in less than half the time. 

After seeing the machine at the National Pavement Expo, Morgan Pavement quickly recognized the impact the unit could have on productivity and immediately bought one. Soon after using the new unit, Garrett said they ordered another. 

“In terms of productivity, the DA-350 is revolutionary,” Garrett said. “For us, it took a crew of seven and reduced it down to one man on a DA-350 to do the edge work. Those other crew members can be employed in other areas to get the job done faster – directing traffic, operating other machinery and cleaning up a jobsite. Overall, we’ve been able to significantly increase productivity while decreasing crew size to just five.”

Now, the DA-350 sets Morgan Pavement’s pace. It precedes the main spraying truck, with the driver doing all the edge work on one road before moving on to the next. The machine’s ability to cut a radius while keeping a tight edge with the curb and gutter allows the driver to continue uninterrupted until it’s time to refill the tank. The rest of the crew follows behind, applying Onyx to the center of the road. 

Nowhere has Morgan Pavement seen the benefits of the DA-350 more than in their work with one of Utah’s largest cities. This picturesque suburb of Salt Lake City hosted several events during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. For the past three years, Morgan Pavement contracted with the municipality to seal an increasing portion of city streets with Onyx. 

Like many municipalities in Utah, the city requested a frictional mastic surface treatment – the generic name for Onyx – and they have come to expect exemplarily service from local providers, Morgan Pavement and NuRock Asphalt Coatings. 

In 2017, the first year of their partnership, Morgan Pavement sprayed Onyx on over 1 million square feet of roadway to gauge the performance of the sealcoat. The project lasted over two weeks with crews applying an average of 85,000 square feet a day – 170,000 square feet when factoring in Onyx’s double coat application. A year later, with the DA-350 and spray truck modifications, they were able to increase productivity more than 53 percent a day, applying up to 130,000 square feet (260,000 with double application). In just 11 days, they completed the 1.5 million square feet of roadway and were on to the next job. With the DA-350, Morgan Pavement has seen a significant increase in the number of jobs they can complete in a season as well as an overall increase in their bottom line with smaller crews, more productivity and quicker turnaround.

Industry-wide, the edge work is a time- and labor-intensive burden, but with the DA 350, Morgan Pavement was able to efficiently complete high-quality edge work. 

The Willingness to Embrace Change

At 35, Morgan Pavement is still in growth mode. The company’s willingness to embrace productivity-enhancing techniques and keen eye for quality continues to win them customers and bids across the western part of the United States. 

With Neal Manufacturing’s custom retrofit of their truck system and the addition of two DA-350 units to their fleet, Morgan Pavement realized exceptional productivity without sacrificing its customer commitment and high standards of quality. In the fall, Neal Manufacturing will retrofit three more truck system units, allowing the company to meet the rising demand for Onyx and propelling them toward even greater productivity.

Morgan Pavement still wishes for more hours in a day, but with the DA-350 and custom solutions from Neal Manufacturing, they are able to make each hour of daylight count over 50 percent more than before – all 14 of them.

This feature appeared in the March 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

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.