By Alexis Brumm
Becoming responsible for the maintenance of a stretch of highway is a big undertaking. Becoming responsible for the entire interstate system in Dallas County is even bigger.
IIPL USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of ITNL out of India, has been in business for three years and started its first contract last September in Tyler, Texas. Since then, the company has hired over 40 employees in six offices and secured 12 contracts that are valued at over $13 million.
One of those contracts was for the Dallas District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and involved four on-call pothole and shoulder repair projects that make up the 83.2-mile interstate system throughout Dallas County. Taking on a project of that size had its fair share of problems, such as trying to keep the asphalt warm at night for late operations, applying tack cleanly and extended working hours.
“One of our primary issues was the fact that we have three crews working these four contracts including an emergency call out item, which requires us to be on-site within two hours,” said Rick Sulzer, P.E., chief operating officer, IIPL USA.
To tackle issues head on, Sulzer and IIPL USA started a search for a low maintenance machine to help them out on the jobsite.
After scouring the Internet, they came across the Falcon 4-ton hotbox and reached out to Shiloh Equipment, the local dealer, who conducted a demonstration of the product.
“The Falcon machine solved some unique challenges for IIPL USA,” said Dan Thompson, president of Shiloh Equipment, Inc. “With it, they have the ability to purchase hot mix from the asphalt plant at the close of business each day and hold that material at temperature until it is used by their night shift crew. They’re also able to experience a lower cost of ownership for this type of equipment.”
Since they purchased it, the Falcon machine has helped IIPL USA stay both productive and profitable on the jobsite.
“Before we had the Falcon, our productivity was low due to us having to manually move the asphalt around in the trailers,” Sulzer said. “But now, in a rough estimate, I would say that our productivity has increased about 50-percent.”
One of the biggest issues IIPL USA encountered on the Dallas County interstate project was keeping the asphalt warm for nighttime operations.
“All the plants in the area are closed at night, so we have to pick up all of our asphalt before 3 p.m.,” Sulzer said. “The Falcon hotbox allows our crews to keep the material at the right temperature until they head out at 9 p.m. for the night shift.”
The Falcon hotbox is designed to keep asphalt hot all day, hold hot mix overnight, and heat and re-heat cold patch. The patented heat management system is certified to operate at 92 percent fuel efficiency, using less than 3 gallons of diesel fuel per eight-hour shift. It accomplishes this with a one-piece, seamless ceramic combustion chamber that creates a tumbling action that forces a complete blending of fuel, air and heat to achieve high combustion efficiency.
According to Sulzer, another added benefit of the Falcon’s heat management system is how quickly it allows them to work.
“The benefit of using our Falcon on the Interstate is the fact that we can get more work done faster and get off the road,” Sulzer said. “Most of the work involves a rolling lane closure with two TMAs behind our crews. It’s always dangerous when you have lanes closed on the interstates, so the Falcon helps us get off the road faster.”
One of the other issues IIPL USA faced was applying tack to potholes along the interstate. It was messy, time-consuming and challenging. IIPL USA designed and customized their 4-ton machine to include a 30-gallon heated and insulated tack tank with spray system, which helped solve that problem.
“The built-in tank and spray unit allows our crews to easily put down the tack without a huge mess,” Sulzer said. “Our productivity has increased greatly, and the tack sprayer is so much easier and cleaner to work with.”
One of the requirements for IIPL USA when purchasing a machine was finding one durable enough to handle difficult and time-consuming jobs like the Dallas County interstate system. Working two shifts per day, six times a week, the Falcon machine has proved to do that. Overall, the Falcon machine has proved to be a formidable addition to IIPL USA’s fleet. Not only is it durable, efficient and productive, but it’s also helping them enhance the livelihood of the populations they serve while modernizing the structures that support their overall well-being.
Alexis Brumm is the director of media relations for Falcon Asphalt Repair Equipment.