By Amanda Williams
The benefits of the asphalt industry to today’s world are endless. As a cost-effective solution for many construction and design needs, asphalt recycling in particular allows businesses to save on materials while allowing citizens to save billions of tax dollars. The team at Southwind RAS LLC, with headquarters in Bartlett, Illinois, and 22 locations in the Midwest, understands the importance of protecting recycled materials for use in asphalt mix designs.
Southwind Specializes in Shingles
Asphalt is 100 percent renewable and is America’s most recycled and reused material, with asphalt pavements recycled and reused at a rate of over 99 percent. Some of the most recycled and reused materials in the asphalt industry are roofing shingles. Southwind RAS is an asphalt recycling facility that provides customers with a low-cost, convenient way to dispose of and recycle roofing shingles, and its management team has worked with legislators to create a double credit for each ton of shingles recycled in Illinois. That means using RAS in paving and patching projects doubles credits in green projects in the state. But as asphalt producers know, you must maintain quality roofing shingles to help your asphalt business save on costs.
For example, the cost of removing moisture from materials meant for recycling can be a significant loss for a business. Damage from heat and pressure can be one of the most common results of poorly stored shingles. The team at Southwind RAS uses ClearSpan fabric buildings to provide protection for shingles that will be recycled for other uses. Let’s take a look at their best practices overall.
As a processor of asphalt shingles, Southwind RAS has trained all staff in asbestos recognition. Trucks entering the sight to drop off shingles are inspected for nonconforming debris, and then each load is sorted so non-asphalt material can be removed.
In final processing, the company uses RG-1 purpose-built shingle grinders from Rotochopper, St. Martin, Minnesota, to grind the material to a less than 3/8-inch material. Random sampling then tests again for asbestos. They use Caterpillar skid steers and 938 front end loaders to work the material around the site, stockpiling the fine, sand-like end product for use in hot-mix and warm-mix asphalt (HMA/WMA) mixes.
Material storage is serious business. Shingles should be kept in a cool and dry place, which fabric structures can provide. Southwind RAS uses a large space for stacking shingles, storing bulk materials and rotating stock. In particular, recycling asphalt roofing shingles required an indoor space for Southwind RAS. Unfavorable working conditions at their processing facility caused management to decide that investing in a building for processing would improve efficiency and promote a pleasant working environment. They needed a building that was economical and able to withstand environmental exposure. That led Manager Matt Vondra to ClearSpan’s Hercules Truss Arch Building.
“Our processing equipment was located outside, exposed to the elements,” Vondra said. “Employees were complaining about the working conditions and management foresaw that providing a building for processing would be good for future company growth.”
ClearSpan provided a building solution to Southwind RAS to help solve their business challenges. With the fabric buildings, employees at Southwind RAS find their working conditions to be more enjoyable and less risky, tucked away from the weather. Materials are safe from damaging weather and recycling practices now have a comfortable and productive home.
Not only does Southwind RAS provide drier material to its customers, thus saving on energy costs for the client, Southwind RAS sees energy savings “in-house” by using fabric structures. One of the benefits that helps combat extreme temperatures is the translucent and reflective nature of the fabric cover, which maintains indoor temperature stability and reduces the need for artificial lighting. ClearSpan fabric covers have customizable ventilation options, to optimize air quality and circulation.
Employing more than 400,000 Americans, the asphalt business is a pillar of American industry, and it is dependent upon recyclable materials. Extreme weather conditions and temperatures guarantee that an outdoor facility will reap the consequences of wasted materials and perpetuate environmentally unsafe practices. A ClearSpan structure can provide an affordable and environmentally friendly indoor space for asphalt recycling and storage, allowing companies to protect materials and employees.
APAC Puts it Under Fabric
Another company that recycles asphalt materials is APAC Missouri Inc. They are an asphalt, construction and aggregate company that does asphalt paving and recycles used roofing shingles for roadways. A lack of adequate material storage space was the major struggle APAC Missouri faced. APAC noticed their materials gathering a lot of moisture and sweltering under the sun’s radiant heat, while stored outside, unprotected from the elements.
Asphalt Plant Superintendent Robbie Freels saw an increase in fuel and handling costs by having to remove all the gathered moisture before recycling shingles into usable asphalt material. After having conversations with several farmers who had purchased ClearSpan Fabric Structures, Freels took their recommendations, and APAC purchased three Hercules Truss Arch Buildings at 65 feet wide by 60 feet long, to store asphalt recycling material safely.
“We are extremely happy with the three of them, and we’re talking about purchasing a couple more to use for our quarry operations,” Freels said.