Bergkamp has added another feature to its all-in-one pothole repair equipment that might add another source of revenue for pavement maintenance contractors who work in areas where snow and ice are common during the winter months. The FP5 has a sand spreader that can be used to spread sand - but not salt - during the winter months. This is just one of the ways Bergkamp is trying to expand the utility of the FP5, Cooper says.
Another type of equipment on the market is a spray injection pothole repair machine. Spray injection units, such as the DuraMaxx from Duraco, almost completely eliminate manual labor. This one-person unit can repair a pothole without the contractor ever leaving the comfort of the cab of the truck, says Nat Alford, vice president. Alford says that spray injection units not only eliminate manual labor but also increase safety because the worker does not have to stand in the road to repair a pothole.
Spray injection machines mix together liquid asphalt emulsion and crushed aggregate to create a permanent, water-proof patch, Alford says. The DuraMaxx has a boom mounted on the front of the truck and a joystick control that positions the boom and controls all of its functions. Air is sprayed into the hole to clear out debris, and then a tack coat is sprayed. Next, air is used to blow a mixture of emulsion and aggregate into the pothole, according to Alford. Finally, a light coating of dry aggregate is sprayed over and also compacted over the repair. The area can then be opened to traffic immediately.
Alford says Duraco's first spray injection unit came onto the market in the mid-1980s, and since then he has seen an increase in the use of spray injection machines, turning them into a well-accepted practice now. The DuraMaxx is used by larger contractors, but Alford says Duraco's trailer-mounted unit can be used by smaller contractors for parking lot repairs. Like other equipment available for pothole repair, spray injection machines can be used for utility cuts, shoulder repairs, alligatored areas, as well as repairing really wide cracks, he adds.
The DuraMaxx and a two-man truck-mounted Durapatcher have 7-yd. hoppers and carry 250 gallons of emulsion material. A trailer-mounted Durapatcher has a 250-gal. emulsion tank and is towed by a dump truck carrying the aggregate.
Alford says the spray injection equipment is very easy to use and operator friendly. Even so, Duraco offers a factory rep to do onsite training for contractors who purchase its equipment. No matter how easy a piece of equipment may be to use, Alford still suggests the operator have some form of training. "I think training should be done. That eliminates all your problems from the very beginning," he says.
According to Alford, spray injection units can save a contractor in a few different areas. For example, he says the material cost is approximately half the cost of other mixes. Another area of savings is in labor. "Everyone fights the problem of having enough labor. You can put down more material with less man power than you can with the conventional methods," he says.
No matter what type of equipment a contractor uses for pothole repair, it is bound to be a beneficial investment or area of business. "The parking lot repair business for contractors is huge," Kwapis says.
Cooper agrees that pothole repair can be a profitable business. "It's a natural revenue source for them," he says. "They're in the pavement maintenance business anyway, and potholes are just a naturally occurring flaw in asphalt. So a contractor has to have a way to deal with potholes."