Sweeping and Paving: Opportunities and Possibilities

There is power sweeping, there is pavement servicing, and then there is power sweeping and pavement servicing. Some sweeping companies get into the paving business, while some pavement companies get into the sweeping business. Both areas of specialization often share a reciprocal relationship—paving companies frequently need the sweepers before they pave and, likewise, sweeping companies often call on pavers if the pavement is somehow deteriorating, or cracking, or any number of problems with the paved surface. They seem to be two very closely related industries in that, ultimately, they are often servicing the same or similar spaces; i.e., paved surfaces in some sort or another. Having reciprocal connections and being intimately related provides opportunities for mutual financial and professional benefits and the possibilities of substantial growth and development if the two happen to come together under one roof, like they often do.

Asphalt Pavement Maintenance and Preservation
Some companies that start off as sweeping companies expand or diversify and incorporate paving services into their business. As Ken VanDomelen, President of Coast Pavement Services out of Portland, Oregon puts it “as a sweeping contractor, we have a unique look at the pavement industry in general. This came to light one day when I was viewing our sweeping dump site mountain and noticed that the vast amount of the debris was not cigarette butts and coke cups but it was the sand and gravel we were hauling off of each pavement we were sweeping. This mountain of debris was our sweeping machines hauling away the fine material of every asphalt pavement that we swept which was either not sealcoated or was not new construction.” What VanDomelen learned early on was that a sealcoated surface was much easier to sweep because then the sweeper trucks only picked up debris, and not the non-coated surface of the asphalt pavement they were sweeping. In fact, when Ken first started at Coast over 25 years ago, the founder of the company hired him as an asphalt seal-coater. As he tells the story “he hired me to start seal coating in the company because he noticed how much easier it was to sweep a seal coated lot where all you swept was the paper debris or landscape debris. When we started seal coating on a regular basis in 1988, there were tons of unsealed asphalt surfaces and very few contractors doing it.” Wondering why, he asked around and he found that “the paving contractors looked down at seal coating as a waste of money because asphalt was cheap and so all they wanted to do was put down more asphalt instead of preserving the pavement.” Coast, a sweeping company “got into the paving end because of working with subcontractors who did not like doing the repair work prior to seal coating,” Ken tells us, continuing “although we still do sealcoating, we began looking for better products that elevated the pavement preservation industry.”
They found it in a product called HA5 High Density Mineral Bond. As VanDomelen explains “it replaced a gap in the market between fog seals which did not last very long and chip seals/slurry seals that the public does not like. Its main feature is long life with great pavement preservation characteristics.” Coast Pavement Services is presently the main contact for the entire Pacific Northwest. Ken says that “HA5 performs radically different from and superior to any asphalt emulsion seal coat on the market and was given the name High Density Mineral Bond by the American Public Works Association so that it could be defined as a product separate from any of the asphalt emulsion sealcoats on the market at that time.” Whereas most sealcoat applications carry a 1 year warranty with an average life span of 1 to 3 years, HA5 carries a 5-year warranty with a 5-10 year life span.

Mindful Methodology in the Paving Business
Ken VanDomelen explains his company’s philosophy of mindful—attentive, aware, conscientious, thorough, and forward looking—treatment and care of the paved environment. “We believe that pavement surfaces have a well known life cycle which can and should be better managed with maintenance that begins with the initial construction of the pavements and proper timing and proper products which can extend the life of the pavement far beyond its average life. Unfortunately, most of our clients do not understand anything about pavement life cycle let alone what the proper timing and treatments necessary are to keep it looking great and functioning as it was intended when it was built. Most pavement owners start the process once they see cracks in the pavement or it is breaking up. Little if any maintenance or preservation treatments are placed on the pavement when it is in good condition. Once it starts deteriorating it becomes much more difficult to keep the pavement from following the march toward a complete overlay or reconstruction.”

Paving Technologies
Paving equipment and machinery is different than the equipment and technology that is used in the sweeping business. Ben Wagner, Project Estimator for Pavement Specialties of Boise, Idaho (PSI), lets us in on some of the equipment they use in their asphalt division. “We use a variety of high end equipment. We utilize Caterpillar skid steers and rollers and Lee Boy Pavers for the majority of our projects. We also added a Writgen asphalt mill to our company this year, allowing us to provide a more eco-friendly way of removing asphalt by giving us the opportunity to repurpose the recycled asphalt material that is milled off.” Like Coast, PSI is one company that also practices sealcoating on a regular basis. Wagner continues “our seal coat utilizes large tanker trucks equipped with Neal Manufacturing ESSP pumps that provide a steady pressure for spraying, and hold up well throughout the season as tens of thousands of gallons run through the pumps each year.” For their crack filling machine they chose “the Cimline Magma 230,” Ken tells us “we found that these easy-to-operate machines hold up well to the daily use we put them through.”

Recycled Asphalt: Cost-Effective and Eco-Friendly
According to a 2013 joint National Asphalt Pavement Association/Federal Highway Administration (NAPA/FHWA) survey, asphalt is America’s most recycled and reused material. This astonishing fact was confirmed by an independent report issued by the EPA, also published in 2013. The joint NAPA/FHWA 2013 report also found that “the use of environmentally friendly warm-mix asphalt grew by more than 148 percent from 2009 to 2010, a trend that is expected to continue. Recycling of asphalt pavements and asphalt shingles in 2010 alone conserved 20.5 million barrels of asphalt.” In addition, the report found that “about 73.5 million tons of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and 1.7 million tons of reclaimed asphalt shingles (RAS) were used in new asphalt pavement mixes in the U.S.” Finally, the survey also reported that the reclaiming and reusing of asphalt cement “saved the industry about $2 billion in 2013.” According to the FHWA recycled materials policy: “The same materials used to build the original U.S. highway system can be re-used to repair, reconstruct, and maintain them. Where appropriate, recycling of aggregates and other highway construction materials makes sound economic, environmental, and engineering sense.”

Asphalt Recycling Technology
Recycling of asphalt is huge in both cost savings and environmental protection. Mark Reeves, owner of Pavement Technologies International Corporation, whose Corporate Headquarters are located Albany, New York, talks about the latest piece of equipment and patent-pending technology that his company manufactures and sells. “We call it the SkidPatcher 10A. It is a three-in-one multi-purpose machine designed to recycle asphalt milling, mix concrete, and mix flowable fill, including hot water needed to make the concrete. It’s a very versatile, portable, and convenient implement that attaches to all brands of skid loaders and it can recycle and heat 500Lbs of RAP in just 10 minutes to the desired temperature for hot mix, best at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as heat hot water to mix concrete. All of this can be done at the worksite. Its quick connect adapters provide convenient hookup to the Skidsteer hydraulics and can be mounted and dismounted in minutes. The skid steer operator controls the mixer rotation, heating, and dumping from inside the cab.” Reeves also wants us to know that his SkidPatcher 10A is “…very eco-friendly. Recycled asphalt conserves natural resources, reduces landfill dumping, and leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than virgin material.”

Infrared Asphalt Repairing
One of the newest and most interesting pieces of equipment in the asphalt pavement business is Infrared Asphalt Repair (IAP) technology. Amy McGuinn-Godbey, Marketing Director for Rose Paving, a huge company whose Corporate Headquarters is located in Bridgeview, Illinois, tells us about their IAP equipment. “The most recent state-of-the-art equipment we added to our fleet is a self-contained Infrared Restoration System (IRS), mounted on our 2014 Kenworth T270.” McGuinn-Godbey continues “the IRS is equipped with a 6’x8’ pavement heater that generates the infrared radiation used to heat the existing asphalt to a depth of 2-3 inches without damaging the asphalt. The 3-ton Hot Box reclaimer comes equipped with infrared heaters that can hold the necessary plant mix temperature of 300 degrees in all types of weather for 48 hours. The quality of the thermal bonding of the asphalt is amazing since there is no cutting involved, which makes for a totally seamless, perfectly bonded and continuous surface repair.”
Amy goes on to say that “the safety features on this system are great. It comes with pressure activated gas solenoids that prevent the flow of gas while the unit isn’t operating, full time flame sensing shut off valves, excess flow checks, POL valves and lockable control boxes. I can honestly say that we work our IRS 6 days a week 10 hours a day and rarely have any problems. This system has extended our maintenance work into the winter season, since it can be used in cold weather and asphalt can be reclaimed in the mounted reclaimer box.” What is more, according to Amy “this equipment gives us the advantage to attend not only to our customers’ needs but also to our competitor’s customers’ needs, since not everyone is operating this type of equipment in the winter in our area.” “The technology, cost savings, and eco-friendliness that this system brings to the customer, the community, and our company is outstanding,” she concludes. The IRS takes the conventional method of doing asphalt maintenance repairs and cuts everything in half—less manpower, equipment, material, and breakdowns.
Joe Baumgardner, owner of Pro-Sweep Plus out of Missoula, Montana, just purchased his own IRS, mounted on a 2011 International truck. Baumgardner says that it “has a 48sq ft infrared heater. With our IRS, repairs should be 75% faster with less need of virgin asphalt and less asphalt waste going into the landfill. When we repair now we have to take a truck and trailer for the mill machine, a truck and trailer for the roller and a dump truck for the asphalt. I have 4 to 5 guys doing the repairs. We only use 2 employees when operating our IRS and the work is much more efficient and cost-effective.”

The Natural Affinity and Synergy between Sweeping and Paving
KenVanDomelen of Coast Pavement Services has a strong opinion about the relationship between sweeping and paving. “We started as a sweeping company and we are proud of that fact. But we are also just as proud of all the asphalt pavement work we do. We really should have better communications between all of the different players in the market.” Remember, there are numerous opportunities for increased business and possible higher revenues for both parties if they can have better communications between them.