Today's asphalt operations carry a heavy load - as everyone knows that the cost of aggregate transport and handling via truck or loader is at record levels and rising. Added to that are skyrocketing asphalt cement prices, which saw a 93-percent increase between 2004 and 2006, and an additional 33-percent increase expected by the end of 2007.
While a growing number of asphalt operations are being served by onsite rail- or barge-based distribution centers, certainly the majority of asphalt plants remain dependent upon the truck delivery of aggregate. Likewise, even those asphalt plants fed by an onsite quarry feel the pinch of in-pit truck and loader use.
Savvy asphalt producers are curbing trucking and fuel costs by using truck unloading and conveying systems - and often they are even automating the process.
Truck unloading systems improve cycle times, increase safety, minimize loader use, and guarantee product quality by removing any extra handling of material. Plus, consider that when truck unloaders are used in combination with automated telescoping radial stacking conveyors, the payback is even greater in product quality control and costs-per-ton savings.
New low-profile truck unloaders
An innovative alternative is the availability of particularly low-profile road portable truck unloading systems - ones that require only 22-inch-high earthen ramps - while using less space and taking only minutes for setup. Conventional truck unloaders (at heights from 5- to 9-feet) typically demand a full day of ramp construction.
Available with either a 72- or 48-inch belt, the new RazerTail Truck Unloader from Superior Industries can quickly and easily transfer material from belly dump trucks or end dump trucks, onto a conveyor or onto another truck. Then if need be, the unloading system can be moved, set up and running at another jobsite in just a couple of hours. Its efficient use is illustrated in the following example:
A new asphalt plant requires the stockpiling of five different aggregate products. More than 170,000 tons of aggregate material must be transported in both end dump and belly dump trucks. Requiring the delivery of at least 6,000 truckloads, the company estimated a need to unload a truck every four minutes. They would also have to move the unloading system every week or two to accommodate the building of varying product stockpiles.
They looked at traditional truck unloaders, none of which were highly portable. Each required a 6-foot-or-higher earth ramp. That would mean 8 to 10 hours of moving and configuring more than 1,000 cubic yards of material at an approximate cost of $2,000 per relocation each week - a scenario that was unacceptable.
An easily transportable, low profile RazerTail Truck Unloader is chosen. Though compact, the unloader features a 72-inch conveyor belt that allows the transfer of up to 25 tons of 100 PCF material in just minutes. A removable discharge hood then directs material onto the 36-inch belt on a radial stacking conveyor. Plus, as the unloader requires only a 22-inch earth ramp, they can easily move the unit from one stockpile to another, and be up and running again in under two hours.
Truck unloaders & automated telescoping conveyors
Superior Industries engineers explain that when combining a RazerTail Truck Unloader with a TeleStacker Conveyor, asphalt producers can gain even greater control over product and operational costs, all of which is well illustrated in the following suggested application:
An asphalt producer wants to achieve greater control over the production process from material delivery through the creation of a quality hot mix.
To meet increased demand, he needs more truckloads in and out the gate, in less time. Yet the site is limited in space, and safety is compromised when traffic is congested. As truckloads arrive around the clock, a loader and operator is required 24/7 - not only to direct trucks to unload onto the right pile, but also to build the stockpiles. The producer wants to minimize loader use, and prevent stockpile segregation to ensure that the mix meets tough specifications.