And for contractors who aren't so thrilled with shoveling mix out of the hopper, Spaulding now offers a hydraulically controlled auger model. "All the operator has to do is push a button and the material dispenses into the hole. It really eliminates all the shoveling," she says.
Kwapis says both municipalities and contractors purchase the Spaulding equipment. And whether pothole repairs are a main line or a sideline business for contractors, this equipment is suitable for both. "The reason being is because of the capacity sizes," she says. Units can be purchased with hopper sizes ranging from 1 to 6 tons. "That allows the price range to go into a price range that's very affordable to a small contractor or somebody that doesn't use it as their everyday bottom line piece of equipment," Kwapis says.
Jay says the Patch King's biggest customers are government agencies, cities, and states. But contractors who subcontract work from these entities might also find the hotbox to be a good investment. Three different units of the Patch King are available: a dump truck unit, an auger system unit that can fit in a dump truck or be chassis mounted, and a trailer unit. The hopper sizes range from 3.5 cu. yds. up to 8 cu. yds. "Originally it was designed to fit in the back of an existing 5-yd. truck, which most cities, counties, and municipalities have. So it would keep the cost down by not having to buy a truck," Jay says.
Dedicated repair trucks
But now the industry seems to be going in a direction of having one truck dedicated to containing all of the equipment needed for pothole repair, Jay says. And if you're one of those contractors who prefers to have one unit that can carry all your pothole repair equipment, there are a variety of units from which to choose.
These all-in-one machines offer equipment to store and heat mix as well as places to store all the tools used in the pothole repair process.
Bergkamp Inc.'s FP5 Flameless Pothole Patcher is one example of this type of equipment. Bill Cooper, director of sales and marketing for Bergkamp Inc. describes the FP5 as the "total pothole patcher." The unit is used for what he refers to as the mechanical patching method.
With an insulated hopper, similar to a hotbox, integrated into the unit and all the tools available at the rear of the unit, a contractor has everything he needs. The FP5 can be truck or trailer mounted, Cooper says, and can best be operated with two people - one driver/traffic controller and one person doing pothole repairs.
The FP5 uses electric heat to keep material in its 5 cu. yd. hopper warm, an auger system to transfer material out the back end of the machine via a material chute, and an air-driven wand that sprays both air for cleaning and tack for repairing. After cutting and removing large spoils of asphalt, the operator can set the wand to the air setting to blow out small debris from the hole. He can then switch to the tack setting to spray a tack coat in and around the hole. The material chute then delivers the material into the hole, and the operator finishes the job by spreading and compacting the asphalt.
Cooper says this mechanical method has increased the life of a pothole repair over the old "throw and go" method. Like other hotboxes, the FP5 can also handle hot or cold mix. Municipalities are the number one customer of the FP5, but Cooper says that mid-sized contractors and those who do business for municipalities purchase the equipment as well. But this isn't equipment that is meant for occasional use. "It's a specialized piece of equipment that should be a mainline business for at least one crew," he says.
This type of equipment is solely for asphalt repair, Cooper says, not for crack filling. But the new swing auger system on the FP5 makes it a good candidate for repair work other than potholes. "We have a swing auger system that actually allows you to drive down the road and deliver the material to do shoulder repairs off the side of the truck," Cooper says. "Or if you've got a longitudinal cut down a curb and gutter you can put material into that cut as you're moving the truck."