Choosing a portable asphalt recycling plant

By |  May 1, 2016
Photos courtesy of IRock Crushers

Photos courtesy of IRock Crushers

Sean Donaghy of IRock Crushers answers questions about the selection and use of portable asphalt recycling plants.

Q: When selecting a portable asphalt recycling plant, what are the most important items to consider?

A: It’s critical for aggregate producers and crushing contractors to consider portability and the time involved in setting up the asphalt recycling plant. Some plants are very labor intensive and take days to set up, but with fully hydraulic models, it may only take about an hour. This is because hydraulic systems help reduce the need for producers to use cranes for moving equipment into place. And closed-circuit plants require minimal setup times to keep an operation productive and profitable.

Producers know they need to consider Department of Transportation regulations when considering a piece of equipment, especially portable asphalt recycling plants. Due to the weight of portable units, users transport the hopper feeder separately to meet weight regulations, which requires additional lifting and transporting equipment.

Aggregate producers and crushing contractors also need to consider the desired production rates. If plants are too small, they become incapable of meeting production goals. If plants are too large, extra costs are generated from maintaining a plant that isn’t maximizing its production potential.

With this, an important final step is to review business plans, calculate short-term growth initiatives and buy a plant that is sized to allow for that growth while maximizing efficiencies.

Q: How has the equipment evolved to become more efficient and productive?

A: Reducing the amount of manual work involved in the recycling process significantly improves productivity. For example, a plant may feature a double-deck screen and a conveyor that returns oversized materials from both screens. While it might sound like a simple task, returning material from both decks via a return conveyor can reduce expenses and boost production by as much as 20 percent.

Q: What features are important to an efficient, productive portable asphalt recycling plant?

A: For increased efficiency and production, it’s important to select a plant with the ability to split the load on two decks versus one, as this will increase production. It’s also important to look for features that protect the unit from premature wear.

Lastly, having an on-board power source running the complete operation, as well as auxiliary outlets, is an important feature. This saves on costs associated with individually powering multiple pieces of equipment like crushers and screeners.

Q: What features are available on new models, and what are the benefits of this technology?

A: Using models with a closed-circuit design plays a huge role in helping users get the job done. With this design, producers can crush, screen and rescreen all in one unit. This eliminates the added costs associated with running and maintaining individual crushers and screeners. In addition, contractors find they are more profitable with only having to buy, store and maintain one unit.

Q: What do you see down the road for asphalt recycling plant technology?

A: There’s a trend in customers demanding smaller-sized material for reclaimed asphalt pavement. This is because the finer material is flexible in terms of placement and results in a smoother surface. With this, plant technology needs to incorporate additional screen decks so producers and contractors can produce multiple sizes of material.

As customer demand increases for smaller-sized material, manufacturers also need to make adjustments to screen boxes that allow for this without compromising production rates. This means designing larger screen boxes to allow more material to pass through.

Sean Donaghy is the national sales manager at IRock Crushers. He has more than 25 years of experience in the crushing business and has been with IRock Crushers for nine years.

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