SoilTech Mk. III World’s first stabilizer that guarantees 100% improvement of pavement sub-base

Mr. Nick Muller, CEO, Polymer Pavements, South Africa
Mr. Nick Muller, CEO, Polymer Pavements, South Africa, shares his views with Maria R on Polyroads’ growth prospects in India, upcoming opportunities, expansion plans and marketing strategies.

What demand do you see for specialized materials like SoilTech MK. III in India, in view of the government’s focus on road development?

India has the second largest road network across the world at 5.4 million km. As of 15th May, 2017, there were 1,582 PPP projects in India, with a value of $74.63 billion. At the Excon conference in 2015, Road & Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari mentioned that the road authorities were constructing 30 km per day, and that the target was 100 km per day by the end of 2016. Furthermore, the Minister encouraged companies to bring in superior road stabilizing technologies to assist in achieving these targets.

SoilTech Mk. III polymer stabilizer is such a technology. It is a proprietary stabilizer developed by Polyroads in South Africa, in collaboration with leading specialist chemical companies in Switzerland, Germany, and the U.S.A.

A big driver in the Modi government is to deliver services to the people of India. It includes construction of rural and secondary roads to the poorer regions in India. SoilTech directly contributes to the ambitious road building objectives of NHAI and NRRDA.

Please elaborate on the benefits of SoilTech MK. III in reducing initial project cost, saving construction time, and meeting a project’s quality standards.

SoilTech Mk. III is a third-generation polymer specifically engineered for road material stabilization. It will turn marginal in-situ materials into useable road materials, eliminating the need for imported materials, speeds up road construction and reduces costs. Quality and performance is the number one criteria in product development at the Polyroads Advanced Laboratories (PAL). SoilTech is the first stabilizer product in the world that guarantees 100% improvement of the pavement’s sub-base, even though only the base-layer may be stabilized with SoilTech Mk. III. Internationally, this technology is proprietary to Polyroads.

Rural Road

Please give instances of projects where the product has shown proven performance.

SoilTech Mk. III is mostly used in stabilizing of the base-layer of the road and sometimes the sub-strate as well, subject to the road design and the traffic loads. It is also used for stabilization of hard stands, parking lots, walkways and driveways.

Polyroads Advanced Laboratories (PAL)
One instance of a project where SoilTech MK. III has been used effectively, eliminating all concerns of the developers regarding soil weakness and cost benefits, was the Golfshire project of Prestige Developers in Bangalore. In 2008, Kaveri Ultra Polymer, our local partner and distributor, was contracted to supply and supervise the application of SoilTech Mk. III to the project. The development included the construction of more than 7.5 km of dual carriageway using SoilTech Mk. III on 320 acres of land, which included a 5-star hotel, an 18-hole golf course, hundreds of luxury villas, and a conventional centre for seating 5 000 people. Nine years later, zero maintenance costs have been incurred on the 7.5 km road. Prestige’s Project Manager, Mr. Hara Kumar, acknowledges that using SoilTech Mk. III for stabilization, has saved the company around 25%.

The most radical application of SoilTech Mk. III was in the construction of the Bita road that leads to the presidential country palace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This project was completed in 2014, using non-plastic in situ materials, which is basically farmland soils with very poor grading. Due to the geographical location, it was impractical to bring in borrow-pit material. Instead, it was decided to treble the application rate of SoilTech stabilizers from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent per weight of the material. The road was then sealed with 35mm wearing course consisting of crushed stone and AsphalTech, a polymer modified bitumen that can withstand the heat and rains of the Congo. This road is also used as a construction haul road by the Chinese, carrying building supplies to the presidential palace. To date, no maintenance has been required on this road, despite receiving more then 2000 mm of rainfall every monsoon.

What R&D is Polyroads doing to make its products suitable for India’s diverse regions with their different soil types and climate?

As mentioned above, SoilTech was developed to utilize marginal materials and to reduce quarry or borrow-pit materials when constructing roads. In fact, in-situ materials vary throughout the world, and could change within one to two kilometers. We, therefore, conduct material tests in our laboratories from all sites, prior to approving SoilTech for the specific project. In extreme cases, we may need to alter the material’s properties by mixing in complementary in situ materials. Due diligence and material testing across regions in India has enabled the use of SoilTech nationwide.

Besides SoilTech Mk. III, are you planning to introduce any other products in India given the rising demand from the road industry?

Polyroads is constantly developing new technologies for the construction industry. We recently supplied several containers of Polyseal to our local partner Kaveri, for use in the repair and sealing of old concrete canals and reservoirs, and for lining of dams.

We are in the process of aligning retail costs for the India market for our AsphalTech polymer modified bitumen product, which is a high-performance polymer wearing course or seal for roads. Its cold application is especially suitable for remote areas where application of hot asphalt is difficult.

Polyroads Advanced Laboratories (PAL)

What initiatives are you taking to create brand awareness and expand your market reach in India?

Through our local partner Kaveri Ultra Polymers, we have certified SoilTech MK. III with NHAI, as well as IRC and KRRDA in Karnataka. We have secured an order to do a few kms of roads with KRRDA, and will be rolling out these projects via local contractors, who are being trained by Kaveri Ultra Polymers. In 2018, we will be expanding our product offerings to other rural states of India. Local advertising and conferences also help us in creating awareness among road engineers and potential customers.

NBM&CW January 2018

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