After the company first fired up the plant and ran trial batches in December, it's (the Gencor plant) has been running "pretty hard" since the first of the year, according to Counts. But you wouldn't know by taking a walk around the facility. The entire plant rests on concrete pads and the immediate surrounding area is paved.
"It makes it a lot easier to clean up at the end of each day, and a clean plant is a lot easier to maintain," Counts says.
The other advantage to installing the new plant has come in the way of fuel savings. The new plant is fired by #5 waste oil and propane. The old plant was fired by propane only. Counts has yet to analyze how much he has saved, but he knows the savings will be considerable even with the increase in output during the first year of operation.
"The burner is so efficient that even though we're burning waste oil, our emissions is a lot lower than what the old plant produced," Counts says. "And when you have residential neighbors located 300 to 400 yards away from the plant, low emissions is critical."
Some residents in the area have also commented on how quiet the plant is when operating, even with the producer operating the facility up to 10 hours a day during peak production.
The asphalt producer/contractor not only expects the new facility to meet future growth objectives, but do it with reasonable maintenance requirements as well.
"It's a well-built plant and we expect our maintenance costs will be normal standard wear and replacement parts to keep the plant in top running condition," Counts says. "We're also very impressed with the technical support we've received from Gencor, and the logistical interface (with Gencor's Orlando headquarters) allows them to analyze the plant's performance without having to send someone out to our location. They can actually run our plant from their location and with that kind of support, we know we'll be able to avoid a lot of unexpected downtime."
While there was a bit of a learning curve when switching over to the new plant, the biggest challenge the company faced was learning how to adjust to the capability of being able to quadruple its daily production output.
"When you're able to produce that much more mix in a day, you have to make sure you have the systems in place to feed the plant and haul away what you produce, otherwise the capability means nothing," Counts says.
But with that being the only primary challenge the producer/contractor faced, it's the kind of problem that's easy to address when you know the increased production allows you to go after more business, and more business can generate a profitable return on your investment.