New Plant Springs From Regional Growth

Asphalt Article December 28, 2000
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In
southern Colorado, the city of Pueblo, and Pueblo County are
experiencing growth, which is good news for contractors and
construction material suppliers.

Western Mobile Southern,
formerly Broderick & Gibbons, with offices in Pueblo and
Colorado Springs, is a supplier of construction materials in
southern Colorado. To answer the needs of this growing region,
the company completed an asphalt plant upgrade, which has
greatly improved material output, as well as the quality of
material.

The company anticipated this regional growth and
were ready for it when it happened. Mike Hurley, southern area
manager explains, "Western Mobile recognized Pueblo's growth
potential five years ago and planned to expand our asphalt
operations to meet future needs. Now that Pueblo is growing, we
are ready and able to provide an important resource."

Rusty
Cochran, Pueblo asphalt superintendent adds, "In essence, we
bought a saddle with the hope that someday we would get the
horse."

And the horse has arrived, in the form of one of the
largest asphalt jobs to date in Pueblo--a 6.5-mile stretch of
I-25. The job involves milling off the old surface and laying
down a new one. The work is being done at night and has a
completion date of October. It is estimated that this project
will use 60,000 tons of asphalt, a fitting job for breaking in
the new plant.

While this is the company's largest current
job they remain involved in numerous overlay, subdivision and
commercial projects.

The plant

The new rotary mixer,
supplied by Gentec, Louisville, Ky., is the final addition in a
five-year plan to upgrade a 1953 batch plant. Hurley explains,
"We started out by moving the under-ground feedbin, and the oil
tanks were moved above ground and replaced with new, larger
tanks. We added silo capacity and a load-out scale system under
the silo. Then we added the recycle capabilities and now we
added the mixer." The new drum mixer replaces the batching
tower. The drier and baghouse have been retained.

Planning,
and updating the new plant was an employee effort. "We had a
picture of the perfect plant, and what this plant could be, and
our employees stepped up and made the project happen," states
Cochran.

The new rotary mixer, which took three months to
install, is environmentally friendly, and computer-automated.
The company has reported that the new computer system has
increased loading efficiency and improved the comfort level of
the mixing operator.

To familiarize and prepare its
personnel for working with the new system several plant
employees were given computer training.

"Western Mobile is
committed to training our employees to work in a more
computer-operated environment," says Hurley. "This has become a
very technical industry during the past 10 years and training
our employees to operate these new automated systems benefits
the employees, the company and all the communities we serve."

To help run the new operations the work force was increased
by five jobs to a total of 50 employees.

Environmentally
friendly

The new facilities have improved the company's
ability to be an environmentally responsible asphalt supplier.
With this upgrade the company now boasts owning the only asphalt
plant in Pueblo with recycling capabilities. Approximately 30%
of the asphalt produced by the company contains recycled
asphalt, saving more than 25,000 tons of asphalt per year from
going to local landfills. Additionally, according to Western
Mobile, the upgraded plant nearly eliminates dust and smoke
emissions because of a 30% reduction in transfer points, areas
where raw materials are transferred during processing.

The
new plant has allowed the company to cope with the increased
construction activity in the region. "It helped double the
production capabilities. We went from approximately 160 tph to
300 tph. It also gave us the capability to handle different
types of mixes, and gave us the ability to run a night job and a
day job," states Hurley.

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Overlay Init