Sharp as a tack

Case Studies
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The E. R. Snell Contractors of Snellville, Ga., is a full-service,
fifth-generation contractor. It was founded by E. F. Snell in 1926. Today,
in addition to covering the northern half of the state with both asphalt and
concrete highway work, they build bridges, install underground drainage and
construct large box culverts and concrete and precast retaining walls. They
own and operate a total of 12 hot-mix asphalt producing plants in their area
of coverage. The firm is currently under the guidance of President Robin
Snell. According to Asphalt Equipment Manager Kevin Snell, the company has
an asphalt equipment spread that encompasses several models of Blaw-Knox
highway-class laydown machines for large paving projects and four more
compact LeeBoy pavers for commercial and smaller industrial parking lots and
subdivision work.

The bottom line for a roadbuilding contractor is, of course, giving the
taxpayer full value for the dollar. E. R Snell does this by building
long-lasting roads with the most modern and efficient machines and
professional manpower possible. The Rosco Maximizer 3 tack truck with its
dependable, high-capacity, well-heated tank has an important role as part of
this equipment spread.

“We had a final 2-in.-thick course of hot-mix asphalt to put down on the
roadways and parking areas at the Shoal Creek Filter Plant in Gwinnett
County,” said Snell. “Before any of the approximately 2,300 tons of the
Georgia DOT Type E surface mix could be put down, however, there was the
small matter of spraying a layer of hot AC-30 tack coat.

“Tack trucks are a different breed of cat. The thick, heavy AC-30 is
normally put down at a temperature of 375°F to 400°F. Using the optional
Process Heating Company’s automatic heater element in the tank we helped
eliminate the necessity of having a man come in early to start the tack

In addition to the Process materials heater, the Rosco Maximizer 3 truck is
fitted with a Viking asphalt pump, an 8- to 16-ft extendable spray bar and
hand wand, an easy-to-use cleanout and flushing system and in-the-cab
single-operator controls for all spraying operations.

“This is also an advantage during the winter months when we can’t even begin
paving until the ambient air temperature is 45° and rising. We are already
several hours late in starting our day’s work by the time this happens,”
commented Snell.

“That means that we must have all our equipment, especially the tack truck,
up and ready to go without fail. No asphalt laydown procedure can begin
until then. If the tack truck fails to start or heat the AC-30 or to pump
and spray tack, then nothing else moves. With a dozen contracted dump trucks
full and standing by should that happen I can tell you that no one is
happy,” he added.

“There are several other obvious advantages to using the tack truck. The
first of these is in its construction. It’s built like a tank, very rugged.
The reliable, heavy-duty heater element is a safer, cleaner, more
controllable and stable source of heat. A third factor lies in its
built-for-service, heavy-duty pump. It is a big unit, exposed to where it
can be repaired quickly if need be, not a small capacity pump buried down on
the inside bottom of the distributor tank. Another feature is its efficient
spray bar with few moving parts or knuckle joints to leak and wear out. The
hoses are all steel braided for long and dependable life,” said Snell’s
equipment manager.

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