Mar 09, 2020
There are decade-long customers and then there are decade-long customers like Kokosing Materials (KMI) President, Lee Schloss. He’s kind, witty and humble; he tells great remember-that-time-when stories; and he’s well respected among his industry peers. It’s hard not to be impressed by the depth of Lee’s knowledge about KMI’s operations and the various challenges of asphalt paving across the U.S.
KMI by the numbers
KMI, headquartered in Fredericktown, Ohio, has been in the asphalt production business for over 40 years. Its parent company Kokosing Construction Company, Inc., is one of the nation’s largest heavy-highway construction companies based in the Midwest.
KMI began with the purchase of one asphalt plant located in Fredericktown and has grown through the gradual acquisition of existing asphalt companies and additional plants. Today, KMI operates 17 asphalt plants throughout Ohio, including one portable asphalt plant, and operates liquid asphalt terminals in Wheelersburg and Mansfield, Ohio.
How it all began
KMI’s introduction to Evotherm began in July of 2012 when the company began leveraging environmentally friendly chemical warm-mix on a project in Mansfield along State Road 224 with the support of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). KMI use the same mix design on three sections, one with traditional HMA, a second with foamed WMA, and the last with WMA including 0.5% Evotherm at 290 F.
“We wanted to begin using chemical warm mix instead of foam,” explained Brian Strong, quality control director at KMI. “We knew about the benefits of an additive like Evotherm and saw this as an opportunity to innovate our mixes. So we worked with ODOT to include Evotherm on a trial section in order to observe the performance compared to HMA and foam.“ The TSR results in the lab showed great results for the WMA with Evotherm section and the final product on the road had passing density numbers.
In 2013, KMI won a stone-matrix asphalt (SMA) project on a heavily trafficked State Road 250 between Columbus and Cleveland. In addition to solid car travel, the road also sees an impressive amount of horse-and buggy traffic.
“We wanted to pave the job without fibers and made sure to prepare and test the mix design in test sections at our plant site,” commented Brian. “We got production temperatures down to about 290 degrees; we were happy to avoid the hassle of fibers that SMA mixtures typically include; and the final product on the road was fantastic too.”
Density is key
Around 2016, KMI used Evotherm again on Interstate 75 near Bowling Green where they’d previously had challenges meeting required density numbers with foam. This was a long-haul, later summer project with a 19-mm, PG 64-28 intermediate course. A few notable characteristics of this project were the compaction window needed and the typically high winds in the area.
“We have a practice of paving in a way that maximizes the width of road while paving,” began Brian, “so it can be a challenge to keep the mix workable as we roll and ultimately get final compaction. Bowling Green is also flat and the wind is fierce in the area, meaning temperatures can drop quickly. Using Evotherm enabled us to maximize the compaction window and helped us meet density numbers in both respects.”
Braving the cold
In 2018, KMI supplied the mix on a warehousing project in the Garfield Heights area for a large, private customer. This was 20,000 tons of conventional mix paved late in year. Here, KMI relied on chemical warm-mix “because we needed the best product and outcome for this customer, without exception,” shared Lee. “We knew warm mix would enable successful paving that late in the season.”
Shortly after Garfield Heights in 2018, KMI used Evotherm again in a mix they supplied and paved on Interstate 480. This was another late season job with a PG 70-22 slag mix, which is typically stiff. Lee, Brian and the team relied on warm mix in this case to lower temperatures when paving in the cold and to ensure passing densities.
A good neighbor
An important part of KMI’s mission and core values is the company’s commitment to the environment. KMI strives to be a good neighbor and corporate citizen in the areas where they operate, and has found that their incorporation of warm mix as part of overall operations helps reduce fuel usage and, ultimately, plant emissions.
An additional benefit KMI has experience since using warm-mix is easier winter maintenance.
“Since we began using Ingevity’s product, we see an almost 75% improvement in the build-up that accumulates inside our drums,” noted Lee. “When you think about the journey a mix makes from the drum, to the transfer conveyor, and then into the silo – that’s a lot of equipment to clean and maintain. Normally, we have to shut down operations and our crew has to jackhammer the residue off, which also means lost revenue. We worry far less about these slow-downs now that warm mix is part of our operations.”
Evotherm is designed to help the binder coat and adhere to the aggregate fully, compared to traditional HMA. WMA technology acts as a type of lubricant inside the drums, making maintenance more worker and environmentally friendly.
KMI’s successful decade using warm mix with Evotherm on projects across Ohio is a continued reflection of their commitment to innovation. How can your operations also benefit from the lower temperatures of chemical WMA? All the details are at www.evotherm.com and we’re standing by at [email protected] to answer your questions.