APAC Keeps RAS Under Fabric
BY Jessica Batchelor
For the past two decades, APAC-Missouri Inc., an asphalt, aggregate and construction company, has been recycling used roofing shingles into asphalt pavement mixes. Over the years, the company regularly ran into problems caused by a lack of storage space for the recycled asphalt shingles (RAS). This led to issues with excessive moisture.
After having conversations with several farmers in the Missouri area who have purchased fabric structures and doing some research, APAC Asphalt Superintendent Robbie Freels made a decision. He purchased three fabric structures, one for each of his company’s locations, hoping that the structures could protect his material and improve his operation’s efficiency.
Problems with Moisture in RAP and RAS Piles
Producers know that when RAS and reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) piles are exposed to inclement weather conditions, such as heavy rain and high humidity, the piles tend to hold in too much moisture. This forces unneeded costs and obstacles in a company’s operation. For a long time without adequate storage space, APAC was forced to store its piles outdoors.
“We just had to pile them outside, and they were collecting a lot of moisture,” Freels said.
When piles are exposed to a lot of moisture, it increases drying time, forcing fuel costs to shoot up. For example, when material from a pile with 20 percent moisture content goes through the drying process, it can cost a company over 6 percent more in fuel costs, when compared to a RAP pile with 3.5 percent moisture content. Operating costs also increase.
Moisture also causes a stall in an operation due to a longer wait during the drying process and possible problems during use. Research has shown, if the moisture level in RAS piles exceeds 7-8 percent, it can cause issues, such as the RAS being “too sticky,” leading to buildup in the feeders and sticking to the belts. Therefore, if aggregate moisture is managed there will be fewer complications, creating a more efficient workday.
APAC’s Fabric Options
If an asphalt company works with the right fabric structure manufacturer, they can get a structure engineered to meet all regional building codes and weather requirements.
“The fabric and the size of the pipe looked a lot sturdier than other fabric buildings we were looking at,” Freels stated, after opting for buildings from ClearSpan Fabric Structures.
Galvanized steel is coated with a protective coating of zinc to make it corrosion-resistant and strong. A cover that is moisture-resistant, climate controlled and strong in order to withstand all weather is also important. A rip-stop weave fabric cover design helps resist tearing, allowing the cover to withstand high winds, heavy rain and snow loads. The weave also stops tiny tears from expanding, so users can easily patch them before they become a bigger issue.
Some companies also offer climate-sensitive covers, which help decrease moisture buildup and create a comfortable interior environment in just about any climate.
APAC decided to build on a 6-foot concrete block wall, which gave them the height that was needed to allow access for trucks, materials and equipment, while also providing them extra storage space.
“We got the most space we could possibly get,” Freels said. “We pile the shingles up to the rafters.”
Ideally asphalt companies should opt for fabric structures that are designed with no support posts and high clearances, because it makes it easy for machinery and equipment to maneuver inside. The design creates an open floor plan, allowing companies to lay out the interior for the highest work efficiency and maximum storage space.
Expansion to Come
Freels was so pleased with the structures he hinted at potentially getting more for other operations within his company.
“We are extremely happy with the three of them, and we’re talking about purchasing a couple more to use for our quarry operations,” he said.
By their very nature, fabric structures make it easy to expand. While they generally have a set width, expanding lengthwise can be done in a matter of days. The structures are also easily installed, come in all different sizes, and can be built wherever needed.
Moisture is a common problem many companies run into when storing RAP and RAS piles, and that is why it is so important for these materials to be stored in a spacious, dry and climate-controlled space. Fabric structures offer that, because they are durable, feature an open interior layout for maximum work and storage space, and allow opportunity for easy expansion.