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Asphalt batch mix plant manufacturers are witnessing rising enquiries and orders for their equipment. P.P. Basistha takes a look that how the producers are looking to leverage sales through offering products with competitive technical attributes.

There is a rising trend in the demand of asphalt batch mix plants in India. The spurt in demand is being driven according to the stipulations of National Highway Authority of India based on its ambitious 50,000 km of road development programme. Insistence of public works departs for usage of asphalt plants is also behind the rising demand.

Manufacturers of asphalt batch mix plants are looking to tap the growing demand. This is being done through placement of products with competitive technical properties. This primarily involves plants with lesser fuel consumption, ease of movement & emissions, and usage of recycled materials. Interestingly, plant manufacturers are incorporating the advancements through introduction of plants of varied capacities to cater the needs of varied road contractors segments in the road construction sector, predominantly being characterised by mass demand segment of lower capacity plants of 120-160 tph. This is typically for two lane EPC projects.

Asit Patel
According to Mr. Asit Patel, Managing Director, Ammann Apollo India Pvt Ltd, "MoRTH has been insisting on the use of asphalt batch plants in all the state highways and PWD works. Now this recommendation is gaining currency with many states making the use of asphalt batch plants mandatory in works exceeding certain value. So the demand for asphalt batch plants will continue to be on the upswing for at least another 5-6 years before touching the plateau. We foresee demand of higher capacity plants between the ranges of 200-260 tph. The demand of higher capacity plants will be based on large size projects to be awarded as BOT or in the recently approved hybrid annuity model."

Sunil Sapru
To cater the requirements of varied projects, Ammann Apollo offers plants of 80-260 tph. Mr. Sunil Sapru, CEO-Marketing, Ammann Apollo, says, "Our plants come with wider operating window in terms of capacity so that depending upon requirement of production the plant can be operated at different capacities. However, one needs to select the optimum size of the plant for the intended project. Further, the plants are designed to deliver the rated capacity and continuous working. Hence, the user can decide the operating hours of the plant during the day. Some features like hot mix storage silo again provide more flexibility in operation optimisation making them suitable for small, medium and even long stretches of contracts."

He continues, "We provide the plant on steel foundations wherein very strong concrete foundations are not needed. The plants are of modular construction and each module is dimensioned for easy transportation. We offer efficient, low pressure burner that can handle some deviations in fuel quality and our efficient bag house helps in controlling the emission."

Support to the asphalt batch mix plants of Ammann Apollo is provided through its pan India offices with trained service personnel and adequate stock of parts to offer support on demand. Intensive training to the customers' operators is rendered through the service personnel. Ammann has entered into a joint venture with Indian road construction equipment major, Apollo in 2013 to manufacture the entire range of road construction equipment-asphalt batching plants, continuous plants, wet mix plants, entire range of pavers, soil & tandem rollers, walk behind rollers, kerb laying machines and bitumen distributors.

Saumil Shah
Gujarat based, Indian road construction equipment manufacturer, Kaushik Engineering Works is looking forward to take on the rising demand of asphalt batch mix plants. Mr. Saumil Shah, Director, Business Development, Kaushik Engineering Works says, "The market has been absolutely bullish so far for asphalt batch mix plants. We have sold ten plants till 2015 end, between capacities of 120-160 tph, post our recent joint venture, technical collaboration with Cesan of Turkey. The plants manufactured on proven European technology of Cesan are cost competitive and advanced programme logic controlled enabled, yet they do not come with higher levels of automation. This makes them absolutely operators-friendly. The special designed Cesan burners make the plant fuel-efficient by at least 4.5 litres/ton as compared to 5.5 litres/ton in other plants. Further, based on modular design, the plants are easier to install and dismantle within two to three days. Moreover, they are made with globally accredited CE specified design."

"To take on the growing demand, we are in the process of ramping our four manufacturing facilities in Ahmedabad, to produce plants of 90-300 tph based on the customer needs. We are looking to strengthen our presence in the domestic and also Latin American and Eastern European markets. Presently, our products are being exported to South Asian, African and Middle East countries," says Mr. Shah. Kaushik manufactures asphalt batch mix plants with the capacity range of 120-160-200-240-300tph.

Kaushik Asphalt Batch Mix Plant

Besides, the company manufactures stationery and mobile asphalt batch mix plants, asphalt drum mix plants, wet mix macadam plants, concrete batching plants, bitumen pressure distributor, thermo plastic road making machines, and other ancillary products.

Growing Orders & Capacity Expansions

Capacity expansion is also being undertaken by Ahmedabad based Capious Roadtech Pvt. Ltd. in its three plants. The capacity addition will enable Capious to expand its production capacity to 24 units per annum up from 12 at present. The capacity addition is being undertaken based on rising enquiries.

Capious Asphalt Batch Mix Plant

Kiran Pandya
One of the major competitive technical attributes of Capious's CAPB/ 120 tph and CAPB 2000/ 160 tph plants, currently being manufactured by the company is its 'Counter Flow Technology.' According to Mr. Kiran Pandya, Chairman and Managing Director, Capious, "This is our own unique development initiative. It is highly productive, efficient, and environment-friendly that gives the contractor precise output."

The company offers 20 tons inline storage silo, which it claims, allows uninterrupted operation of the plant. Mr. Pandya says, "Our plants are fuel efficient as they use 4 litre/ton of furnace oil as compared to 5-6 litre/ton in other plants. They also score on ease of transportation as the components of the plants are modular. This enables transportation of individual components comprising the burners and dryers in conventional open truck trailers. Being prewired, and skid mounted, our plants can be erected in minimal time and commissioned within ten days."

He explains, "In our single drum counter flow system, aggregates are superheated as the air moves in opposite directions. Aggregates enter on the feed entry of the drum and travels towards the burner as it dries. All materials are mixed in the final drum section and then are discharged and conveyed to the storage silo. The mix material which comes out is almost equivalent to that of the batch mix one."

Solmec Bachmix Plant
Enquiries of asphalt batch mix plants have gone up to at least by 20% as compared to previous year with Gujarat based road construction equipment manufacturer, Solmec Earthmovers Pvt. Ltd. The company has bulk nos of order in hands of asphalt plants.

Solmec's main product line comprises asphalt drum mix plant, wet mix macadam plant, and bitumen sprayers is relatively a new entrant in asphalt batch mix plant. The company manufactures plants of 30 to 240 tph. Thirty percent of the present production ratio of Solmec, comprises asphalt batch mix plants while the remaining are asphalt drum mix plants. The company has delivered three units one of DM 50 and two of DM 60 to road contractors of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Maharashtra, last month.

Jaimish Dodia
"With demand going up, the issue most of the asphalt plant manufacturers are countering today is untimely delivery of the products, post placement of the orders by the contractors. This is due to their production capacity constrains and gaps in backward integration on production and materials sourcing part. We are comparatively much well placed, as we can dispatch the products to the job sites within ten days of post receipt of the order and within ten days sound trial and successful tests of the equipment. This gives us an edge over other manufacturers," says Mr. Jaimish Dodia, MD, Solmec.

He mentions, "Initially, we have developed more dynamic design of flights & improvisation in design at our own end in dryer which can save more heat in dryer for better temperature and control of heat loss."

The company offers dryer drums made on heavy duty structural steel which offers minimal vibration. It offers burners and bitumen storage tanks based on requirements of the customers. Solmec offers direct and hot oil heated bitumen storage tanks with capacity ranging between 15-50 tons. "The direct heating tanks are supplied with automatic imported pressure burner. The indirect tanks are supplied with a thermic oil heater. All our bitumen tanks are fully insulated. Being modular in design, parts of our plants are easily transported and installed. Our counter flow design drying drum is designed for their high efficiency and low maintenance. The drums deliver highest heat transfer by radiation of flights," informs Mr. Dodia. To promote sales, Solmec has recently appointed dealers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana State and Maharashtra.

Ritesh Prajapati
Fab India Batch Mix Plant
Cost-competitive asphalt batch mix plants is claimed to be manufactured by new entrant Fab India. According to Mr. Ritesh Prajapati, CEO, Fab India, "We've introduced our asphalt batch mix plants, followed by close study of the operational requirements of the Indian contractors. The plants are based on the unique 'Nigata' design. This makes the plant less complicated to operate. The design also makes the plant deliver total lifecycle costs as they come with improved materials, precisely with improved thick liners. This is as compared to products offered by other different manufacturers."

He mentions, "Our plants are also cost-competitive to own and operate, as because, most of the fabrication jobs and other critical components are made in-house. This makes our plants, easy to service." Ahmedabad based Fab India, which began production of asphalt batch mix plants in October 2015, manufactures plants between capacity range of 100-120-160 tph.

Shashank Agarwal
"We've wide portfolio of asphalt batch mix plants of 80-110-150-175 tph to cater the requirements of the small and medium contractors. We're planning to expand the range by adding up 200 - 260 tph plants of higher capacity. We're looking forward to begin production of the higher capacity plants from 2018 onwards at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Haridwar," says Mr. Shashank Agarwal, CEO, Speedcrafts Ltd.

Speedcraft Asphalt Batch Mix Plant
Mr. Agarwal mentions, "Our burners are modulated which makes our asphalt batch mix plants more fuel-efficient. Ease of maintenance and total lifecycle costs is delivered by the state-of-the-art components. Gear boxes are from Rossi of Germany whereas burners are from Bernardi of Italy. The motor and drives are from Ruetmeca Germany." Speedcrafts, which sells its plants through its own marketing channel will appoint dealers to expand sales shortly.

Newer Advancements

When asphalt batch mix plant manufacturers introduce new technologies based on the present requirements, newer advancements may have to be incorporated in the plants for usage of recycled asphalt pavement materials (RAP). Although the usage of RAP is in its nascent stage in India, however, there are positive indications, based on contractor's feedback that usage may grow, as road project developers look to bring asphalt batching and laying costs down.

Usage of higher volumes of RAP allows the plant to gain heat through overheating of other aggregates.This can generate high levels of fumes along with reducing the quality of bitumen due to oxidization. This requires special technology in the asphalt batch mix plants those are suited to use feed of overheated aggregates and RAP allowing sufficient time to expel the vapour while new bitumen is injected along with keeping the temperature homogenous throughout the mix.

Dharmesh Mashru
Ammann Apollo Batch Mix Plant
Mr. Dharmesh Mashru, CEO – Plants, Ammann Apollo explains, "RAP are added in three ways – into the drier drum, into the mixer and preheated in a parallel RAP drier drum. Ammann's scientifically designed RAH drier ensures much reduced superheating of fresh aggregates by making use of the radiation heat. Indirect heating by radiation heat ensures much lesser oxidation. Some manufacturers have simple RAP addition ring in the drum behind the burner wherein the entire heat needs to be given from super-heated fresh aggregates. While adding in mixer, there is special steam evacuation system to remove the moisture before fresh bitumen is added. Ammann's specially developed plant control system provides user-friendly control flexibility to operator to control the process optimally."

He adds, "Ammann Apollo's RAP drum lifters in high temperature zones are made from special grade steel. This allows them to withstand the high temperature associated with usage of RAP. Our high recycling technology plants are proven in Europe and Australia where there are stringent regulations for pollution and quality of mix."

Other manufacturers like Kaushik and Capious claim, since the demand of usage of RAP is in initial stages in India. However, they have in place the requisite expertise to produce plants with the specialised technology.

NBM&CW March 2016