For over 40 years, Egge Sand and Gravel built a solid reputation as a supplier of aggregates and construction services for customers in Eugene and the surrounding Lane County area. As a leading sitework contractor, Egge, now a division of Oldcastle Materials, specializes in building sites, utilities, grading, paving and concrete work. With over 40 percent of its business represented by the production and supply of construction aggregates, including base rock material, concrete rock and sand, and asphalt rock; and the company's construction division rapidly growing, Egge management felt the time was right to further solidify its position in the market by entering the asphalt production arena.
"We always subcontracted the paving work on our projects, and we had to purchase asphalt from other producers," notes Gary Warren, Egge president. "Since we have access to the aggregates required to produce asphalt, we felt it was time to invest in our own production facility."
Well, there's a little more to the story. Warren was hired by former Egge founder and owner, Vern Egge, two and a half years ago to evaluate products and services that would propel the company to its next level of growth. With approximately 99 percent of the business tied to commercial development, Warren set his sights on adding products and services that would allow the company to pursue government agency work.
"There's a lot of potential for pursuing public works' projects and a lot of those types of projects require asphalt production and paving capabilities," Warren says.
"So it just made sense for us to expand in that area," he continues. "We were already supplying aggregate material for those projects and we already had a construction division in place to handle the type of site preparation and construction required to execute those projects, so it just made sense to also supply the asphalt required to complete those projects."
Making the investment
Warren drew on the vast experience he gained with other asphalt producers/contractors prior to joining Egge when it came time to purchase a new plant.
"There are a lot of good asphalt plants out on the market today, but we went with a Gencor plant because I've always been happy with the product and service the company has provided over the years I've known them," Warren says. "We purchased the plant in November 2005 and by mid-July 2006 we were up and running."
Along with the new plant installation, Egge acquired the small paving company it relied on for past paving services. "Acquiring a seasoned asphalt paving company concurrent with the installation of the asphalt plant has been a good fit," notes Warren.
Warren's decision to purchase a Gencor plant was also based on the plant's energy efficiency and low emissions.
"We have a waste oil distributor located at our facility, so we have access to an economical supply of fuel to fire the plant," Warren says. "And the plant's efficient burning capability, along with its blue smoke reclamation features make it a very environmentally-friendly operation."
The Gencor Ultra Model 400 Skidded Plant includes:
- Four 10' x 14' stationary cold feed bins rated at 32.5 tons capacity each, with vulcanized feeders, variable frequency drives and bin vibrators
- A 5' x 14' aggregate vibrating screen
- A 30" x 70' skidded aggregate scale conveyor and sample device
- A 400-tph skidded Ultradrum with Ultra II-135MBTU oil fired burner
- A variable frequency AC pump with a Coriolis meter.
- A blue smoke volatile reclaim system
- A primary collector
- An Ultraflo 89.217 CFM skidded counterflow baghouse
- A dust return system
- A 12' x 36' skidded operator's control center with integrated motor control center
- A BC-250 process blending control, Gen III Burner control, SL-400 loadout control and remote phone modem diagnostics package
- Two 200-ton deluxe stationary silos with safety gates
- A top-of-silo blue smoke volatile reclaim system
- A 400-tph by 86' stationary deluxe slat conveyor
- A 400-tph by 16' transfer conveyor
- A HyWay HYFGO-200 2MBTU hot oil heater
- A HyWay 30,000-gallon AC skidded tank
- A HyWay 1,000-gallon calibration tank
The only modifications or considerations Warren wanted in his new plant were self-cleaning systems and operator ergonomic features that would make the facility easy to maintain. "We made sure there was easy access to the components that need to be maintained, and we also made sure we had ample electrical and air connections located throughout the facility," Warren says. "We also installed a lot of lighting to improve visibility of all the components both for maintaining and operating the plant."
Warren considers the $3.5-million investment a major component of the company's long-term strategic growth objectives.
"We've only run a minimal amount of tonnage through the plant to support our own operation since we began producing mix six months ago, but we want to make sure we're producing a quality product," Warren says. "So, we've taken our time to ramp up our production capabilities. We'll continue to increase production to meet the needs of our own projects, as well as supply other customers over time, but we'll only do so at a pace that enables us to maintain control over the quality of mix we produce.
"We purchased this plant to meet our long-range objectives," he continues. "We purchased a plant that will allow us to pursue projects with high tonnage requirements, projects with complex mix designs, and projects that will allow a high percentage of RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement) in the mix design. We purchased a plant that will allow us to pursue those types of projects, and we didn't want to have to make modifications to the plant three years down the road."
An eye on the future
The investment Egge Sand and Gravel made to enter the asphalt production business is one that Warren sees as vitally important to the company's competitive posturing for continued growth.
"The market is in transition because some of the principal players are at depletion (running out of aggregate material)," Warren says. "With the fact that some of our competitors can no longer provide or produce the aggregate the market requires, our aggregate resource coupled with our asphalt production capabilities now gives us the ability to be a customer's complete product and service provider."
Egge's aggregate supply market has been within a half-hour drive from the company's Eugene location. The addition of its hot-mix capabilities has expanded the company's market potential to a 1 1/2 hour drive.
"In this business, margins can be tight," Warren says. "But having the ability to secure your own source of materials gives you flexibility in pricing, and that's what we believe we now have with our asphalt production capability."