When you own and operate a business that you and your four siblings are dedicated to grow in order to provide a comfortable life for your families, as well as the families of all your associates, investing in new equipment is the right thing to do.
So for Rodney Urbano and his brothers, investing a couple of million dollars in a new asphalt plant at a time many others in the construction business were reigning in their expenditures was essential to position Town and Country Paving for the future.
When Town and Country Paving brought its new Asphalt Drum Mixers Milemaker 225 on line in April 2009, it marked a significant milestone in the company's evolution.
The company was started in 1982 and quickly expanded its construction offering two years later when it purchased Babcock Paving, which operated an old batch plant facility.
Urbano, who is vice president and general manager for Town and Country Paving, says the ability to produce its own asphalt mix not only gave the paving contractor more control over the availability of quality mix, but also opened the doors for growth and building a solid reputation in the northwest Indiana counties of Jasper and Newton as a leading commercial and private paving contractor. Land developers and small municipalities quickly developed a trusting relationship with the folks at Town and Country.
Growth and success continued in the 1990s when the asphalt producer/contractor upgraded its production capabilities with a newer used Barber Green batch plant located about 40 miles from the company's main market area.
"It was located in a quarry owned by the Rogers Group, and it did allow us to produce more mix during the six years we operated the plant," Urbano notes. "As fuel and other trucking costs rose, we soon realized the plant location was really not ideal for our operation. Fortunately for us we found a piece of land and a used Cummers batch plant that was ideally located to serve the market we were interested in, and we're still at the same location. The batch plant served our needs from 1999 until we decided to purchase our new ADM plant."
Even though the Cummers batch plant provided a satisfactory quantity of quality mix, the decision to purchase a new counterflow plant was based on more than just future growth and the ability to increase production.
"We were looking at the issue of sustainability, how we could efficiently utilize the resources required to operate an asphalt production facility, and the old Cummers was dusty and not the most fuel-efficient facility," Urbano says. "We also wanted to operate a plant that complied with the Indiana Department of Transportation's certification standards and that required a plant that could supply a consistent mix that was produced without creating significant dust and other emissions to environment. The new ADM plant also has an INDOT certified lab. And, we wanted the plant capabilities to produce mix with recycled materials."
Town and Country's new ADM Milemaker MM225 plant is designed to meet the asphalt producer/contractor's growth objectives for many years to come. Included in the original plant purchase that was installed in 2009 included:
- MM225 Dryer - A 7-foot 4-inch-diameter by 30-foot-long rotary drum with alternating flight design that provides high efficiency material veil, and an exhaust gas incineration collar that allows mixing drum gases to be incinerated.
- MM225 Mixer - A 6-foot-diameter by 16-foot-lon rotary drum, with 1 ½ inch exterior insulation and staggered, adjustable flight design for maximum mixing efficiency and consistent mix quality. The mixing drum gas recovery fan channels gases back to the burner flame for incineration, which also reduces fuel consumption.
- Ecostar ESII-75 Burner Equipment by Hauck Manufacturing Co. - a 75 million Btu/hr sealed burner with adjustable flame-shaping capabilities. Town and Country's plant currently burns natural gas, but it is set up to burn waste oil.
- BHS585-10 Stationary Baghouse that features a 47,000-acfm air volume design with 9,185 square feet of filter area that provides a 5.1:1 air-to-cloth ratio.
- 5CFB30 Cold Feed Bins - Each of the five cold feed bins measures 14 feet wide and 10 feet deep, and has a capacity of 30 tons based on material density. Steep-sloped sidewalls ensure free flow of material, with two of the bins equipped with electric bin vibrators to enhance the flow of wet or dense aggregates.
- RAP15 Recycle Bin and Feeder System - Purchased after the original plant installation, a 15-ton capacity system that includes a recycle bin grizzly, intermediate recycle conveyor, recycle lump breaker, RAP2465 recycle Weigh Conveyor, single deck Deister Scalping Screen and reject conveyor. Town and Country purchased two 15-ton bins that included bar grizzlies, intermediate conveyor, weigh conveyor and scalping screen.
- WC3050 Weigh Conveyor - A 30-inch-wide by 50-foot-long weigh conveyor, powered by a 10-hp by 1800-rpm motor, weighs and transfers material from the scalping screen (Single-Deck Deister 4-foot by 8-foot Scalping Screen) to the drum fast feed conveyor.
- SS100 Stationary Silos - Two 100-ton silos feature a 6,000-pound enclosed batching hopper with dual clam gates to maximize use of barrel volume while minimizing segregation. The silo cones include AR liner for extended maintenance life.
- Horizontal AC tanks.
- Plant control system.
Poised for success
Even when their business began to fall off from a high-production volume of 109,000 tons in 2005, the Urbanos moved forward with the intent of expanding its capabilities to handle INDOT projects and being ready when the economy rebounds.
"We have 10,000 tons of recycled asphalt on hand and we're expanding our market further north," Urbano says. "This plant will handle 150,000 tons annually and we currently have a backlog of business that's 10% to 15% higher than it was a year ago."
For the Indiana asphalt producer/contractor, that's definitely a good sign considering 90% of its total production output supports its own paving crew.
"We know it still may be awhile until we see the kind of development (residential) activity we experienced in the past. Prior to 2008 there was a lot of development for people who would commute to the southern Chicago area. That development dropped off with the housing market and the economy in general," Urbano says. "But we still have approximately 13 small municipalities that continue to invest in street and parking lot projects, and our new plant has opened the door for INDOT projects. We're not large enough to take on major interstate projects, but we can deliver on smaller state road projects."
So the investment for Town and Country Paving is one that Urbano says clearly sets the stage for who the company is and what it wants to be going forward.
"We all (Urbano and his brothers) want to pursue a future in the asphalt production/construction business and we want to do it with a quality plant that's designed with sustainability and the environment in mind," Urbano says. "While some may have viewed the timing (during an economic downturn) as a bit precarious, we saw it as the perfect time to prepare ourselves for the future."