Asphalt batch mix plant manufacturers are carrying out product improvisations to minimize owning and operating cost. P.P. Basistha takes a look at the recent advancements.
The demand for asphalt batch mix plants has been moving north, led by a spurt in road construction projects. However, plants need to deliver higher levels of efficiency and cost effectiveness, and which are flexible both for long and short stretches of road contracts. Most significantly, contractors want plants that deliver throughput based on their exact production ratings.
He mentions further, “Our plants comes with wider operating window in terms of capacity so that, depending upon the production requirement, 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 for 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 contracts.”
He adds, “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 burners that can handle some deviations in fuel quality and our efficient bag house helps in controlling the emissions.”
Ammann plants, the company claims, are designed to take care of the same, coupled with minimal fuel consumption, heat retention and lower emission. Further it can take upon low quality fuel.
“Backed with our well developed in house, R&D support, we have been developing equipments with fuel efficiency as a focus. Core components like burners are efficient, and steps are taken to minimize waste, too – which has an enormous environmental impact. Our plants can utilize high percentages of recycled asphalt as well. That saves our customers on natural resources (aggregate) costs, while also providing a public service by reusing the materials,” says Mr. Sapru.
He further claims, Amman’s plants suited to use the overheated aggregates and RAP allowing sufficient time to expel vapour while bitumen is injected along with keeping the temperature constant for a homogenous mix. Legitimizing the claim he says, “RAP can be added 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 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 all the heat needs to be provided 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 for the operator to control the process optimally. 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.”
Ammann Apollo, Mr. Sapru says, posses, large back ward integrated, large manufacturing set up for efficient sourcing of raw materials to finish products, backed by modern facilities like plasma and laser cutting machines. He says, “Our production team has rich experience of producing about 600 batch mix plants and over 2000 continuous plants. Continuous upgradation of skills, capacities and capabilities is part of our continuous improvement process. We have ongoing programs to train our team at Amman’s European manufacturing facilities and European manufacturing and quality experts visiting our works to provide hands on training. We are also aligning our quality processes with global processes.”
The company is in the process of further revamping its production facilities, through induction of modern systems like robotic welding. This is so as to double its production during the course of few years, from present levels of one plant being manufactured.
Mr. Sapru adds, “For safe working of the plants, we have We have necessary in house, testing jigs for testing critical components like burners, screens etc and also have created facility to do full mock up erection of new plants in house.”
Ammann renders product support to its plants through its network of thirteen branches. Mr. Sapru informs, “More than 200 after sales service personnel are deployed at strategic locations with 15 of them stationed near customer place. The well-established infrastructure, backed by rational distribution of service personnel enables us to render support within 72 hours across the country.”
According to Mr. Varghese, “Marini India manufactures 80-200 tph class machines in both mobile and modular versions. India has been suffering with low quality of asphalt plants and as a result low performing pavements. Our new product range is designed to give the Indian road professionals the much needed high quality asphalt mixes.
Our Mac Smart concept delivers higher productivity, superior quality performance and environment friendliness, helping extensively road contractors improve their bottom lines.”
He explains, “With the Mac Smart concept, we are able to reduce fuel consumption between 30t- 40%. Marini plants have the highest recycling capacities. This is facilitated by our Mac Smart concept with very low investment costs, which was impossible earlier in India.”
“One of the other valued feature of the Mac Spamart enabled compact plants are that they deliver the exact output based on their ratings. Our standard 160/180 tph class machines road builders are able to achieve their targets which was not possible earlier, even with two sets of equipments”. Mentions Mr. Varghese.
Ease of transportation to job sites, quicker installation and dismantling at job sites is also extensively enabled by Marini’s Smart concept as well, says, Mr. Varghese. Explaining the utility of the concept he says, “The Smart units, needs minimal inputs for setting up and assembly at site. Each module has been intuitively designed with unique assembly systems which helps set-up the plant with greater ease. Cumbersome ducts and time consuming complex assemblies have been all done away to give way for quick setting-up. The smart’s modular and standardized transport dimensions allow use of standard trucks or trailers for transportation. Without any over dimensioned unit nor heavy transportation costs, the Mac Smart allows contractors to utilize the equipments in different terrains. Ease of assembly, dismantling and transportation is facilitated by modular cabling. This allows easy connection and reduces set up time. Major units are pre wired with cable trays and routes to allow quick set up once the plant reaches jobsites.”
He mentions, “Appropriate fuel quality and availability is a big challenge in India. Hence, we have designed our fuel systems to meet every conceivable fuel type and fuel quality. Be it waste oil, heavy oil, recycled oil, diesel, ldo or gas. One burner fires all. Smart firing concept on the European burner, with blue-air technology, specially developed and engineered for India ensures the highest plant efficiency. The Marini dryer - burner and bag filter combination with its (WHR) Waste heat recovery systems ensures around 30% reduction in fuel consumption compared to any other brands in India. Thermally engineered units reduce wastage of heat and waste recovery traps any rouge heat that might potentially leak the users pocket.”
Explaining the attributes of the plants to utilize RAP materials. Mr. Varghese says, “Marini plants produce the highest amount of recycled mixes and the most greenest of them all. The pavement which are recycled and now performing great are a proof of what Marini calls its technology – Durarap. This stands for “Durable Recycled Asphalt Pavements”. We just do not recycle asphalt but produce durable recycled pavements. Our plants are designed specifically with recycling in mind, so prevention of oxidation, protection of virgin bitumen, rejuvenation of old asphalt, best in class mix gradation, VMA’ ratios and workability of recycled mixes are all considered and well thought as a part of our standard plant engineering. We have the highest mixing volume and the most powerful mixer in the industry on our plants. Vapor handling is a standard since its common sense. We have a special bitumen injection system coupled with Smart plant controls which helps customers easily move between recycling and virgin mixes as and when required on demand. Our special RAP rejuvenation system allows easy rejuvenation of old asphalt and ensures optimal workability and savings in RAP. The RAP shield technology protects the old and new asphalt from every detrimental effect during the recycling process.”
Mr. Varghese claims, Marini’s plants delivers minimal down time and are backed by requisite product support. “We clock around 500 000 tons on our mixers, and almost a million tons on the filtering units, which are over 10 times the life of parts which are found in the market. Service is prime, since asphalt plants go through very rigorous operating conditions. Presently we are operating out of 14 service centers spread over the country. Frequent training at our facility ensures customers always have trained manpower to meet their needs. For customers who require operations and maintenance we offer various modules under the ‘Plant Mate’ service support program.”
According to Mr. shah, the plants work safely at sites as they have a series of stringent production checks. Erection and commissioning is undertaken between two to three weeks jointly by Kaushik and Cesan’s engineers. This fully ensures safety of the plants. Kaushik has delivered 24 plants since its tie up with Cesan in 2014. “We have also started exporting Kaushik Cesan Asphalt Batch Mix Plants” he adds.
Looking forward for the RAP asphalt batch mix plants, Mr. Shah says, “Our existing plants are capable of taking 15-20% of rap materials. We have refrained from offering fully RAP-enabled plants due to their higher initial costs. We will increase the percentage of our plants in stages to take on RAP materials.” So far Kaushik Cesan has two successful installations of Asphalt Batch Mix Plants with RAP system in India.
Capious Roadtech Pvt Ltd., has carried out a major production capacity expansion of its manufacturing units in Ahmedabad. Following this, Capious is now looking forward to sell 20 units in 2017; it sold 15 units in 2016. The Gujarat-based company manufactures single model of CABP-120 (120 to 160 TPH) asphalt batch mix plants for the domestic and export markets.
To ensure ease of transportation, Mr. Pandya says, “Our plants are modular in design and can be fitted in standard 20 and 40 feet containers and trailers. This also ensures faster setting up and dismantling of the plants.” He adds, “We have also addressed the issue of cost saving on fuel. Our plants are designed to use furnace oil which delivers the required calorific value and also contributes in cost savings.” According to him, safe operation of the plants at the job site is ensured by testing facilities. “We have provisions for quality checking and testing of individual components and parts. We have the expertise in checking the plants,” he avers. Capious supports its plants through stocking of essential parts with its customers.
He adds, “The plants are built on high quality standards, as majority of the key components are procured from manufacturers of global repute. Gearboxes are from Rossi of Italy, Vibromotor is again from Italian origin Oli, pneumatics from SMC, Japan and Benetton burners from Germany. We also offer plants with a coal burner option. This is beneficial to plant owners with issues of sourcing quality and liquid fuel at their job sites.”
Vibrant has carried out engineering improvisations to make the plants maintenance free. The plants are now equipped with gear motors instead of chain drive. “The newer advancements have extensively minimised breakdown and overall cost of operations. The earlier chain system needed regular lubrication and now that would be a cost saver. Safe operation of the plants is ensured, since we undertake stringent tests of the burners, pugmill, vibrating screen,drum and all the other components at our facility,” informs Mr. Kranthi.
Vibrant manufactures asphalt batch mix plants at its manufacturing facility in Hyderabad. The company has supplied plants for construction of NHAI projects (involving a 100 km stretch between Ananthapur in Andhra Pradesh to Bellary in Karnataka) to S.R. Constructions. It has also delivered a plant for construction of 40 kms of highway between Warangal to Parkal, undertaken by Patil Constructions and Infrastructure Limited. Plants have also been supplied to ECI Engineering and Construction company limited for Ranchi to Hazaribagh in Bihar. Apart from that our plants are also operational in various states of India.
Tractors India Limited (TIL), a major player in material handling, port and crushing screening solutions having pan India presence– is offering Asphalt plants based on counter flow and parallel flow technology. TIL in technical collaboration with ASTEC INC. According to the company based on the collaboration, it is offering a wide range of asphalt batching plants – that are robust with versatile features adaptable to the Indian customer needs. TIL is presently manufacturing its 200 TPH Double Barrel counter flow plants with the ability to process up to 50 % RAP, at its new, state of the art manufacturing facility at Kharagpur, near Kolkata.
He further adds: “The counter flow plants presently being manufactured by us are extremely energy efficient. They can utilize more than 50% recycled aggregates material. Faster set up, uptime and availability of the plants is ensured based on their modular features. These plants can be towed away and installed at ease.” He mentiones, “We have a full-fledged testing facility of the plants to ensure zero defect and safe working.”
Linhoff India’s wide portfolio of asphalt plants comprises 80-124-160-200-240-320-400 tp/h enables the company to meet the requirements of both short, medium, and long-term road project contracts. “For the Indian road construction sector, we are manufacturing 80-200tp/h range plants. However, depending on the market requirements, we may also take up production of bigger 240 tph plants. The smaller capacity plants find usage for road construction projects in the north-eastern part of India and other hilly areas. Our newest offering in 2016 was MSD 300, 200 tph RAP asphalt batch mix plant,” says Mr. Abhijit Padhye, VP, Sales & Services, Linhoff India. Linhoff’s Pune plant manufactures 80-260 tp/h CMX series, MSD series modular 100-240 tp/h and TSD series 80-160 tp/h mobile asphalt batch plants.
Linhoff has recently launched 80tp/h CMX 1000, TSD 1500, 124 tp/h fully mobile asphalt batch mix plant. Its other offerings include ‘Jet Patcher’ pot hole filling machine imported from New Zealand, and Road Saver-2, micro surfacing machine from Renmach USA. Linhoff India had set up a new plant in Pune in western India in 2014, for assembling its asphalt and concrete batch mix plants.
The improvisations being undertaken on asphalt batch mix plants along with newer product offerings are based on specialized technologies. However, for safe and reliable operation of the plants, closer coordination between the equipment manufacturers, contractors, and project developers is required to enable enhanced utilization of the plants. This will ensure higher productivity, based on the ratings, which is paradoxically deficient in some cases in India. Not the least, this will ensure faster job completion due to tight road project completion schedules.