“The parts are easy to get, and ADM’s service is excellent,” said Boom. He is also impressed by the top-notch support received when adding new components. “Even when we built our own recycle setup, ADM sent a guy to tie it into the computer and help get us going.”
Still upgrading for success
Since buying the new plant, Morris has produced between 65,000 and 100,000 tons of asphalt per year. This year, the company is projecting to reach the higher end, thanks to a sizeable state project on highway 14B, a truck route that goes around Pierre.
The project kicked off in May 2012 with the scheduled completion date for the paving work at the end of August. It is welcomed after the company experienced a slow 2011, when dramatic flooding from the Missouri River caused operations to come to a halt.
“This is the biggest highway project we’ve had in two years,” said Boom. “It’s right at 25,000 tons of asphalt, and it will put us closer to 100,000 tons for the year.”
In addition to producing asphalt for its own projects, Morris sells to other entities as well. “We sell a lot to the state, cities and counties as patch mix,” Boom said.
Overall, Boom is extremely pleased with how the plant has functioned in his operation. It fits well in the Morris line of companies, as it allows them to offer one more service to its customer base in central South Dakota. Furthermore, the ADM team that Boom has worked with seems to maintain the same commitments to integrity, quality, relationships and success that Morris has embraced for more than 40 years.
However, the company isn’t finished upgrading its asphalt plant setup. In fact, Boom plans to eventually replace the parallel-flow drum of his RoadBuilder with a new counterflow drum. This would allow him to use a higher percentage of RAP in his mixes.
“We’ve used up to 20 percent RAP, which is at the top end for a parallel-flow drum,” he said. “The more you can use, the better. Counterflow technology is where things are going.”
Although the upgrade to a counterflow drum will allow Boom to use more RAP in his mixes, he will face the challenge of finding more to use. “RAP is scarce in this part of the country because a lot of people hold onto it,” he said. “Trying to get people convinced to not use it as gravel has been a challenge, but it is getting better.”
Coincidentally, ADM recently released a new line of portable and stationary counterflow plants, the EX Series. With capacities ranging from 100 to 425 tph, these plants are able to meet the needs of both large and small operations. The single-drum design allows contractors like Morris to incorporate as much RAP as mix specifications allow.
Even with the switch to a counterflow plant on the horizon, Boom is certainly satisfied with the production he has experienced with the parallel-flow drum. And though he’s not prepared to make purchase decisions yet, he said, “I’ve been really happy with ADM, and I don’t see any reason for changing.”