Plant Excels While Regulators Watch
Darryl Byrne has been involved in the purchase of multiple asphalt plants during his career. He knows a purchase decision is not to be made lightly – especially when environmental regulators and residents are keeping a close watch.
“We didn’t rush the decision,” says Byrne, General Manager of Roadworx, an Australian provider of road maintenance services with headquarters in Sydney. “It took us years to do our research.”
The efforts paid off. Roadworx commissioned a new Ammann ABA UniBatch Asphalt-Mixing Plant in Wollongong, about an hour south of Sydney. In November 2015, Roadworx for over than 20 years has prided itself on delivering infrastructure solutions to local councils, government departments and public and private companies.
The UniBatch plant provides all the environmental features Roadworx needed, including an ability to use recycled asphalt (RAP) and options that dramatically reduce noise and odor.
Byrne and others from Roadworx made several trips to Europe, visiting sites where Ammann plants were operating. “It was helpful to see them,” Byrne says. “It’s one thing to look at a brochure, but it’s important to actually walk around and see the plants working.”
What they saw with the UniBatch, and its predecessors, was a plant that could be productive and meet the needs of customers. “The quality of the mix is first class,” Byrne says.
But customers weren’t the only concern. The plant was being located in an area where many eyes would be watching.
“Australia is quite onerous when it comes to environmental standards,” Byrne says. Further complicating the situation was another operational plant nearby, built by another manufacturer. Surrounding residents and other community members had concerns about the combined air and noise emissions from having two plants in close proximity.
Roadworx had an answer to every question asked by the residents and authorities. “We had to make sure we did everything we could to minimise the impact,” Byrne says. “We put most of the optional features we could on the UniBatch plant.”
Noise mitigation systems were utilised, including installation of an Ammapax Stack Silencer. Additional cladding helped further reduce noise and created an appealing look, too.
“We monitor the noise, and the levels are very, very good,” Byrne says.
Odour was another challenge. “We put the blue smoke extraction system in place throughout the plant,” Byrne says. The system routes any smoke and odour through the baghouse for filtration.
“Odour is extremely minimal on the site,” Byrne says. “Even the bitumen tank farm has no odour.”
Another environmental nod was the use of the as1 EcoView system, proprietary Ammann operating software that monitors the energy consumption of the entire plant, including fuel and electricity. This dynamic software makes the investment more efficient and therefore reduces emissions, too.
“The energy figures we get out of the plant are very good and better than expected,” Byrne says. “We can really fine-tune a lot of the plant settings to minimise energy consumption.”
The features have made a big difference. “We’re producing a quality product, which our customers are extremely pleased about,” Byrne says. “We’re getting good numbers in terms of fuel through the burner and energy consumption. The plant itself has been running extremely well, and the noise and odour are not issues – not in the least. In addition, the local support from Ammann Australia has been exceptional.”