Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  23 Oct 2014

ENGINEERING: Recycling May Aid In Bitumen Problem


Recent Western Cape Business News

MORE Asphalt has bought a Terex Finlay 683 mobile screen to extract even greater value from its tar recycling operation.

The Cape Town-based asphalt producer uses a Pilot Crushtec RubbleBuster SR500 impact crusher to recycle asphalt waste as well as waste product generated in its production process into reusable raw material.

“By introducing a screen into its process, More Asphalt has gained increased efficiencies as it now has the ability to produce a -15mm product which is then blended back into the production cycle,” says Pilot Crushtec director sales Graham Kleinhans, adding that the Terex Finlay’s secondary function is to screen sand out of the plant.

According to plant manager Franscois Ruiters, reject asphalt is produced when the plant starts up or is shut down, and the use of recycling techniques is generating significant savings, not only in terms of raw material costs, but in operational efficiencies.

“Apart from the benefit of a greater utilisation of our raw materials, recycling means that we no longer have to carry the cost of transporting and disposing of waste,” says Ruiters.

“What we are doing here is normal practice in countries like Australia and America, where asphalt waste is often referred to as ‘black gold’.”

He adds that globally there is growing pressure for the conservation of essential raw materials and that it is only a matter of time before local legislation to enforce a recycled content of waste into asphalt production comes into play.

“Our RubbleBuster, which we have operated for over three years, and the new screen work well together and produce up to 60 tonnes of recycled product per hour. We are only able to re-introduce product at our main plant and the product is currently re-introduced (blended back into the product cycle) at 7% of our total output.  Should there be an upturn in the economy, we may look to increasing our capacity.”

Recycling efforts like these may go a little way to alleviate the problems we face with the shortage of bitumen.  Already it has been predicted that there  may not be enough bitumen available for the construction of the N1 and N2 wine lands toll roads as well as to maintain existing roads.

“There has been a shortage of bitumen for several years and this has led to costly delays in construction projects and even the repair of potholes,” says Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

The Gauteng toll road project was held up several times because of the shortage of tar and this was one of the factors which increased costs.

“The toll road delays were just the most visible part of the problem. Other projects had to compete for bitumen supplies and because they were smaller they frequently came off second best to the toll road contractors.”

Bagraim doubts whether there will be enough bitumen available in the Cape for the municipalities to maintain their roads.

There is already a shortage of bitumen and evidence of this can be seen on Boyes Drive where expensive construction equipment have been standing idle for days because there is no bitumen available. Other companies are also being crippled by the bitumen shortage.

A leading asphalt company reports that the there has been a shortage of bitumen for several years and that there have been shortages of 20% to 35% in some months in the last five years.

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