How technological innovations are disrupting the asphalt mixing plants demand

Novel technologies characterize the expansion of the asphalt mixing plants industry worldwide

Sunil Kumar Jha / February 24, 2020
asphalt paving

Well-known asphalt contractor Marini has recently made it to the news for having expanded its array of asphalt solutions. The firm, with a massive production capacity spanning seven facilities worldwide, takes pride in the fact that it is able to supply the latest, technologically advanced solutions to its customers. Mobility forms a vital part of what the asphalt contractor delivers in its designs—containerized ones that ease asphalt mixing plant erection, commissioning, and transport.

Marini’s latest move is remnant of the fact that a slew of trends has come to the fore in asphalt mixing plants industry with manufacturers painstakingly working to develop a novel solution for asphalt mixing plants that would keep up with customers’ demand, along with industry requirements. Manufacturers are also developing sophisticated systems that propel efficiency, with recycling taking center stage globally.

The global market for asphalt mixing plants is estimated to cross USD 7 Bn by 2024. An asphalt mixing plant is an ideal development hardware utilized in the process of manufacturing of asphalt and is mainly used for construction ventures and road development. Use of state-of-the-art technologies and response to consumers’ requirements have made it possible to meet ever-increasing consumers’ demand and manufacture high-quality products. As such, asphalt mixing plants are in the good books of road builders.

A majority of the prominent asphalt mixing plant manufacturers are providing equipment blessed with recycling capability. That said, the extent of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) application may vary as some of the asphalt plants are expected to use RAP in the range of 15%-20% in the feed. Meanwhile, large and advanced asphalt plants can avail 100% RAP in the feed. In addition, requirement for faster commissioning and ease of transport has been acting as a catalyst in the development of compact plants, which is ideal for standard shipping containers.

Companies introducing novel technologies

Keeping up with the RAP quality, major companies have come up with novel technologies lately that are characterizing the expansion of the asphalt mixing plants industry worldwide. A few examples of how companies are fostering the development of advanced solutions in this space are given below:

  • E-MAK has introduced Megaton, a large piece of equipment which can be used for cold-mix production and aggregate production. The company developed Megaton to function in leading materials production facilities for quarries or aggregate processing facilities. Megaton is said to be instrumental in minimizing dust emissions significantly from working sites and curbing energy consumption as it keeps aggregates dry.
  • Ammann has introduced a recycling machine—RSS 120-M RAP—that apparently provides high-quality output. The machine is believed to produce 80tons/hour using RAP in slab form, or 120 tons/hour when using milled cuttings in the feed. Furthermore, the machine is said to offer high-quality product given that it features counter-rotation at speeds of merely 10rpm.
  • With leading companies coming to the fore, Astec is coming up with the just-introduced BG series as the BG1800 model provides 120 tons/hour output while handling feed materials with moisture content of up to 3%. The model design is such that the plant can be innately used to keep up with the consumer demand, and yet adhering to recycling by using up to 2/5 of RAP in the mixer. Besides, Astec has introduced Voyager 140, the latest mobile asphalt plant that is designed to be quick to commission and assemble on site, along with being swift to disassemble for transport.
  • With major innovations taking center stage, Marini also boasts of a sophisticated full recycling technology (FRT) mixing plant that is expected to keep up with soaring demand for asphalt recycling systems. Marini is also coming up with an advanced batching plant that will have the capacity to utilize a feed containing up to 100% RAP. The innovative master Master Tower Filtration system ensures the plant has the lowest emissions among any asphalt production facility.
  • Benninghoven has come up with the ECO asphalt mixing plant concept that is believed to handle swift location changes and can produce asphalt at 100-320 tons/hour. The throughput capacity of ECO is said to be apt for supplying significant projects, including motorway construction. The company claims that ECO asphalt mixing plant provides versatility and helps curb logistics costs.
  • When it comes to material innovation, Tarmac has introduced a bagged asphalt product which claims to give similar output of fresh plant-mixed asphalt and yet adhere to standard specifications. Amey and Tarmac collaborated with ND Brown and RSL Fabrications to refine and develop mobile heater technology. The technology saves time in storage as it mixes materials meant for minor highways defects on site. As such, any such loss of bitumen performance owing to hardening is kept at bay.

WMA technologies: An overview

Aspects such as exhaust emissions, noise, and smell have become paramount while installing asphalt mixing plants. European companies have introduced technologies which leverage reduction in temperature when asphalt mixes are placed and produced. Warm-mix asphalt (WMA)—one of these prominent technologies—apparently leads to the energy consumption reduction as it burns fuel to heat conventional hot-mix asphalt (HMA).

In a bid to enable viscosity of asphalt binder, high production temperatures become imperative. WMA technologies are said to foster durability in the course of traffic exposure and good workability during compaction and laying.

Some of the technologies which are used in Europe in the production of warm-mix asphalt are elucidated below:

  • WAM-Foam introduces a hard-foamed binder and soft binder at various stages during plant production.
  • The inclusion of a synthetic zeolite—aspha-min—in the course of mixing at the asphalt plant.
  • The application of organic additives, including Sasobit and Asphaltan B.

Some of the technologies developed and used in the U.S. to produce WMA are:

  • The inclusion of a synthetic zeolite—Advera WMA—when mixing at the plant to produce a foaming impact on the binder.
  • Use of an asphalt emulsion product named Evotherm, which innately uses a dispersed asphalt technology and a chemical additive technology system.

These technologies have an overarching effect on construction projects during transportation in places that have air quality restrictions. Prominently, minimization of fuel usage has bearing on transportation construction projects’ cost. These five technologies also reduce asphalt binder’s viscosity at given temperature, thereby enabling the aggregate to be thoroughly coated at a lower temperature compared to what is conventionally warranted in HMA production.

Introduction of novel asphalt mixing plants technologies are palpably bolstering material quality and cost-efficiency. Novel plants are offering greater ease of transport and utilizing high quantities of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP). Prominently, companies are focusing on proliferating system versatility and meeting various end-user needs. This goes on to prove that changing technological trends and the expansion of the construction sector worldwide will characterize the asphalt mixing plants market outlook in the forthcoming years.

About the Author

Kumar Jha is a research content developer with Global Market Insights.

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