The triumph of human ingenuity has led to many discoveries that make our lives easier, more enjoyable and productive. If it weren't for entrepreneurs and researchers asking "what if" and challenging conventional wisdom, we would not be reaping the benefits of satellites, GPS systems for construction equipment and the Internet. Rather, we would still be communicating by carrier pigeons and eating by candlelight and not by choice.
By challenging the conventional method for cutting new development roadways to grade, Miami, FL-based grading, utility and paving contractor, Persant Construction Company Inc., is proving to be one of those entrepreneurial companies. It's blazing a new method for dealing with an old soil problem, which allows the company to significantly increase efficiency.
Much of the soil in Dade County, a market staple for Persant, consists of large amounts of lime rock and very dense cap rock, which makes building new development roadways a long and arduous process. "The soil in Dade County is some of the hardest stuff there is," comments Jorge Pernas, civil engineer for Persant.
Tough soil conditions is the reason why many equipment manufacturers, according to Pernas, test the performance of their new products in this county. It's also why Persant has helped to introduce and test no less than 13 different machines in the region over the years. However, the company's latest test consisted of finding a new way to use a proven piece of equipment. An experiment designed to address an old problem is proving to be very beneficial for the company, helping the contractor to build a better rapport with its customers.
Cutting time by 2/3
Working as a subcontractor for site developers, Persant often must bring high grade lime and cap rock to final grade for a development's roadways and housing. The current pace of new construction demands that the 30-year-old business continually examine the ways it performs its duties in order to get the job done quicker.
Cutting the existing terrain to grade is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the work. For years, Persant removed the rock with a dozer equipped with a plow attachment. Lumbering along with the 1 1/2-foot-wide attachment, the dozer chiseled away at the soil and rock at six-inch depths. A second dozer closely followed to push the chucks of lime and cap rock to the side for eventual removal off site. This time-consuming process would take weeks for final road grade to be achieved.
That is until some of Persant's crew started to ask some "what if" questions in order to find a more efficient way. These questions ultimately led them to Nortrax Equipment Company — Southeast, the Bomag distributor in south-central Florida.
In an effort to find a better method for removal of the rock, Nortrax salesman, Carlos Rodriguez, demonstrated the Bomag MPH122 recycler/stabilizer to Persant. "This is an entirely new application for the MPH122, and we wanted to ensure that it would handle it more efficiently than the dozers," says Rodriguez.
Although not built specifically for this task — it's typically used for full-depth reclamation of asphalt roads and to cost-effectively stabilize or improve existing soils — the recycler/stabilizer worked extremely well for Persant, exceeding the company's expectations. "We now cut an 8-foot-wide pass at a 1-foot depth with the MPH122," says Pernas. "For every pass we make with the MPH, it would have taken us 16 passes with the dozer."
By using the recycler/stabilizer instead of the dozer, a job that used to take Persant three weeks can now be finished in about one week, a substantial time savings and competitive advantage for the small contractor.
More than efficient
However, the time factor is simply not the only efficiency gained through the use of the Bomag MPH122. When using the dozer with plow attachment, large chunks of rock were generated, which were then trucked off site. The recycler/stabilizer, on the other hand, pulverizes the soil and rock together to deliver a well-graded soil that can be reused as subbase for development roads.