They say that everything is bigger in Texas. However, with its towering structures along The Strip and explosion of new development over the past decade, the same can be said about Las Vegas. Nothing seems to slow this convention and vacation destination.
Even in the shadows of rising oil prices that have increased the cost of asphalt, local producer, Las Vegas Paving Corp., sees no signs of waning demand. "Five years ago, asphalt was $18 per ton and today it is double that, but the demand for (asphalt) roads remains strong," says Dan High, hot plant superintendent for Las Vegas Paving Corp.
Las Vegas Paving is truly a multifaceted company that tackles a wide variety of projects in the construction industry. In addition to its asphalt operations, the company has a large underground utility division, a concrete division capable of completing projects ranging from sidewalks to bridges, an environmental treatment facility, a trucking division, traffic control division, and a vast material and crushing division. In 2006, the company's aggregate production alone was nearly 11 million tons.
"Put all these divisions together, which gives us the ability to accomplish just about any task, and this is what Las Vegas Paving is known for," explains Terry Mendenhall, vice president of Las Vegas Paving. The company prides itself on delivering a finished project in a timely manner to the complete satisfaction of the customer. And this philosophy and business model has worked well, as the company ranks as the 62nd top fleet owner in the nation and has grown to an average annual contract volume of $400 million.
The company's asphalt division includes five asphalt plants stationed around the Las Vegas area. The vertically integrated Las Vegas Paving is by far the leading asphalt contractor and producer in the area. Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, the company has placed nearly 30 million tons of asphalt, or about 40,000 lane-miles.
About half of the company's annual asphalt production comes from its Terex® drum mix plant located on the southwest side of town. The 15-year-old plant is built for high production asphalt mixing for its paving operations. It features two 300-ton silos, a 500 TPH drag slat , four AC storage tanks, an energy center with 4,000-gallon storage, five virgin aggregate and two RAP bins, three tunnel aggregate feeders, lime and dust silos, a baghouse, and a marinating system.
The marinating system is required by the state for asphalt mixes used on state projects. "We marinate the sands and fines with 2 percent hydrated lime, which serves as an anti-stripping agent," explains High.
This year, the heart of Las Vegas Paving's high-production plant is getting a transplant. The company is installing a larger version of the drum mixer that has served the producer well over the past two years.
Path to a 600 TPH drum
Shortly after ConExpo-Con/Agg 2005, Las Vegas Paving took delivery of a new asphalt drum mixer design, the Terex® E3. It was the first drum with a new concept built on years of experience. "This drum draws from more than a century of asphalt production technology, as it combines components from both the CMI Triple Drum and Cedarapids Magnum drum designs," comments David Emerson, director of asphalt product management.
Las Vegas Paving's 500 TPH E3 counterflow drum mixer had three different heating transfer zones - convective, radiant and conductive.
The convective zone heats and dries virgin aggregate to desired settings. Moving closer toward the flame, RAP and a percentage of virgin aggregate receive further heating between the main and outer drum shell in the radiant zone. Once passing the flame, RAP shares heat with virgin aggregate in the conductive zone while being injected with liquid AC. Since mixing occurs behind the burner flame, any hydrocarbons resulting from this process are incinerated in the flame, so the plant runs cleaner.