"We have a lot of repeat business for both the mills and the recyclers," Kowalski comments. "What we are seeing is those that have just mills are starting to look at reclaiming/stabilization equipment, and those that have reclaiming/stabilization equipment are looking at mills. They are looking to expand their knowledge and business, so as not to be left out of possible work available in their area.
"Also, asphalt-producing contractors that sub out the work are starting to buy machines to help manage their own work when the sub is not available," he continues. "With a lot of contracts having some extreme penalties for not getting work done, the contractors want to have the flexibility to do it themselves if they need to."
This diversity can help ensure success. "If you specialize in only one area, you are at the mercy of having up and down times," Kowalski comments. "Several contractors are looking to expand their fleet of equipment and the knowledge of processes, so they can be more competitive in the market and have a chance to get more work."
Milling Machine ROI
As the price of virgin materials continues to escalate, it becomes easier to justify the purchase of a milling machine. According to Roadtec, RAP is worth the virgin material it replaces. In other words, 30,000 tons of RAP is equivalent to 28,200 tons of aggregate.
"We did a study on an RX900," says John Irvine at Roadtec. "If you can find five or six days of work at only 334 tph, where you can collect the millings off that job and reuse them in a mix, just getting the RAP and putting it on your yard to be used later will pay for the annual ownership costs of that machine."
Roadtec reports that the total virgin cost per ton of aggregate plus asphalt ranges from $40 to $50/ton. The cost of processing and screening RAP ranges from $4.02 to $4.45/ton. That equates to a per-ton savings of $35.98 to $50.55.