If there was one word to sum up 2021, it would be "delay." No industry has been immune to supply chain disruptions and the construction industry certainly had their fair share of setbacks due to material shortages. From steel to electrical components to rock, we've had to adapt in order to make sure the work could continue.
Missouri-based asphalt producer and contractor Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS), owns and operates 12 asphalt plants throughout the state. They also self-perform excavation, grading, underground utilities, bridge construction, asphalt paving, concrete paving and pavement preservation for their markets. They knew they were ready to expand their asphalt services within the Springfield, MO market and needed the asphalt plant to do so.
"We wanted to be the one-stop shop for the Springfield market," Tyson Collins, assistant vice president at ESS says. "With the purchase of an asphalt plant, we would be able to perform all the site development and construction work for our customers in that area."
When ESS was ready to purchase however, the equipment was not.
"When we looked into it, a new plant was going to have a 9-12 month lead time, and we wanted to get something going earlier than that," Collins says. "A used option presented itself and was ready to go and available for access immediately."
Move, Install, Permit, Produce
It may seem like an easy process to move an existing plant from one location to another, but those of us in the industry know that is not the case. It takes several months of planning and site development just to make an area ready to set up an asphalt plant. Before a single ton of mix can be produced, there are the moving logistics, installation challenges, permitting requirements and finally the training of a new staff. ESS made the commitment to do all of this for the future success of their business.
ESS surveyed and took photos of the future site of the plant before purchasing a production facility to verify the site would be acceptable. Once that was done, ESS realized they would need to power the plant somehow. They had 3,000 linear ft. of 3-phase power installed to the site. They also gained easements and permits and installed 1200 ft. of natural gas lines.
In March of 2021, ESS purchased an old CMI plant from the Chicago-area. Then the process of moving the plant to Missouri began.
"It took 34 loads to get the plant from Chicago to Springfield," Collins says. "We had to coordinate scheduling with subcontractors that were dismantling the plant and loading loads to get everything moving in a timely manner."
On top of the logistics of moving 34 trucks across two states, all loads were overweight or over sized and required special permitting. Once the plant pieces made it to Missouri, ESS obtained factory drawings of the plant in order to properly assemble the old plant in it's new home. The team also encountered some wet weather which caused challenges with footings. Luckily, the ESS heavy highway division was on hand to complete new footings for the plant.
Then came the process of making the plant operational. The team set up and installed:
500 ton per hour counter flow drum
6 cold feed bins
3 recycle bins
3 A/C tanks
3, 260-ton silos
All CMI controls/parts
Two new plant operators were trained by veteran operators for this new location and the plant was fully operational in August.
"We had many challenges getting this plant moved and installed but our ESS team did a great job of conquering these challenges and we were up and operational just five months after purchase," Collins says. "This CMI plant was in excellent condition for a used plant. With it having three, 260-ton silos, we can hold 780 tons of mix. That is going to allow us to also produce mix for other paving companies to purchase mix from us."
The new plant will also allow the company to work on several municipal jobs and department of transportation work, as well as produce mix for several large private jobs in the pipeline as well.