"It's kind of an entry level unit," Marshall says. "Down the road, if you'd like to increase production, all of our portable units are designed where they can be attached together to work in tandem and off of one control." The 4-ft. by 6-ft. unit, which was introduced at National Pavement Expo in 2009, is now competing with the 4-ft. by 4-ft. unit as Asphalt Reheat Systems' best selling unit.
Taking on joints
Heat Design Equipment has seen a recent emphasis on joint heating and a growth in sales of its longitudinal Joint Match Heaters. Kieswetter says pavement joints are one of the most critical problems in today's paving industry, adding that reheating joints can help eliminate low density areas and prevent premature cracking. Heat Design's 16-ft. unit can be attached to the side of a paver, and the company offers another model that is towed behind a truck to heat the joints. "The unit allows for reheating and recompacting of the cold edge," Kieswetter says. "It also creates a seamless, waterproof edge."
The unit is pre-wired for electronic ignition and has both manual and automatic modes. When attached to a paver and in automatic, if the paver stops the heater switches to low and heats the joint slowly until the paving commences and it switches back to operating pressure. Heat Design's trailer joint heater unit includes a hinge to attach another heater creating a longer joint heating system for highway joint repair.
Infrared on a roll
Thermotrack manufactures infrared heating units for pavement repairs as well as decorative stamped asphalt and thermoplastic application niches. Its heaters feature technology that allows the infrared elements to roll back and forth on a track, while achieving short heating times, says Greg Larsen, owner and president of Thermotrack. This reciprocating movement of forward and reverse travel safeguards against overheating the surface while allowing for deep penetration. "You can visually see what you're doing and how the asphalt is reacting due to the fact the heating elements are non-stationary and non-obstructive," Larsen says. He adds that the visual aspect can be beneficial for many applications and situations including changes in ambient temperature and variants in asphalt mixes.
Early next year Thermotrack will be releasing a new model, Larsen says. The new model will feature larger wheels and tires allowing the unit greater mobility. A direct-spark ignition will allow the unit to ignite faster and more frequently with greater ease.
Transitioning with combo units
Ray-Tech Infrared Corporation offers contractors a step up from the portable, walk-behind units. Ray-Tech's Mini-Combo, which came on the market in the early 90s, is the company's best selling unit. The Combo features a 2-ton reclaimer and an 8-ft. by 6-ft. heating chamber all on one dual axel trailer.
The heating chamber allows each side to operate independently for heating smaller areas while the reclaimer allows the contractor to carry more asphalt or operate in colder weather. Van Velsor says customers have found this size of Ray-Tech's chambers to work best for most types of infrared work. Ray-Tech also offers a Mini-Combo with a 4-ton reclaimer for customers who want the ability to carry even more asphalt.
Keep on truckin'
The Patriot, from KASI Infrared, features a 4-ton reclaimer and a 48-sq.-ft. heating chamber mounted onto a truck chassis. Tom Allen, KASI's general manager, says the Patriot has been a KASI offering since the company started. But in the last 12 months it has taken over as KASI's number one selling unit.
"Customers are doing larger areas of restoration which requires more asphalt. And with a bigger area to cover - from one job to the next they may have to travel 30 miles - and a 4-ton reclaimer will provide more asphalt in one day," Allen says.
He says the Patriot is popular with contractors who do or are looking to take on larger jobs such as working with property management companies who own multiple properties.
The Patriot features KASI's newly redesigned infrared chamber with eight converter rows. The added converters allow for even heat transfer and a reduced time for heat penetration, Allen says. Plus, the unit is totally hydraulic - requiring less manual work on the unit - which is an added feature for safety and ease of operation, Allen adds.