Dustrol, based in Towanda, KS, near Wichita, was founded in 1973 by Ted Dankert when he began selling emulsions for sealing asphalt and controlling dust. In 1975, the company began using rented equipment to recycle asphalt and complement its pavement maintenance operations.
In 1979, Dustrol purchased its first cold milling machine and began focusing exclusively on asphalt recycling and resurfacing. Today it provides asphalt recycling and related highway maintenance services. Its geographic focus includes Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico and Missouri. Recently the company has been building its presence in additional markets including Iowa, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wyoming and Utah.
These days, the company is focusing on customized Hot In-place Recycling (HIR) preservation trains to grow both its markets and its profits. Brian Hansen, vice president, with Dustrol, says there are several different types of HIR methods, but Dustrol uses its specialized MARS (Mobile Asphalt Recycling System) process that it customizes for each job. The company has done several projects in the above-mentioned states using the MARS method.
“Before we developed MARS, we were doing a heater scarification surface recycling, which we still perform,” says Hansen. “As a company, we wanted to be able to go deeper than we were able to with the surface recycling method we were using. We also wanted to be able to improve the quality of the material we were mixing and blending, and we just couldn’t do that with conventional surface recycling.”
The MARS method
HIR is an efficient process used to repair and rehabilitate deteriorated bituminous streets and highways on-site with specialized equipment. HIR allows available dollars to be spread over more square yards of pavement maintenance areas, which is attractive to road agencies. Increased costs of maintenance work make this process a desirable alternative in a roadway repair program. Dustrol’s MARS system is designed for rejuvenating asphalt up to 2 inches or more.
The MARS system provides a low-cost maintenance strategy for removing cracks, ruts and low areas by using existing asphalt pavement for in-place rehabilitation. Flexibility and quality are restored to the asphalt material and the pavement is prepared for other surface treatments.
The MARS process is performed using multiple-lift milling heads. The multiple-lift operation allows for the rejuvenation to go to 2 inches or more in depth, without degrading the existing asphalt and aggregates.
“The process allows surfacing to be placed the same day or weeks later,” says Hansen. “A recycled road or street can be completed and opened to traffic with only a few hours delay. Although the train is highly visible to the public, the process is fast and presents only a minor inconvenience to motorists.”
Dustrol designs and builds all MARS equipment itself. “Most companies in the HIR market build their own equipment,” says Hansen. “There is some equipment available from suppliers, but we wanted to target open highway type work. Our trains can be over 1,000 feet long ... we’re not going after the small city street market or cul de sac market with our trains.”
Because each job is different, Dustrol is able to customize its MARS train to fit the specific application. “Each state can require a different number of times the material has to be milled,” explains Hansen. “For example, some might require that you can’t take more than a 1-inch layer at a time. Other states might say you can’t take more than 1/2 inch. If you’re going 2 inches deep, you would have mill and level the road four times. This would require us to add more equipment to the train.
“Some states require us to add aggregate – rock or sand – or 10% virgin hot mix, and mix and blend it with the material we’re milling,” he continues. “This adds yet another piece of equipment to the train.