Asphalt Supply Company (ASCO) Completes Plant Replacement
BY Mike Mauzy
Over the past 28 years, Asphalt Supply Company, also known as ASCO, located in Sellersburg, Indiana, has evolved from a consortium of as many as five road contractors to the current single entity ownership. The father and son team of Gary and Jeff Libs, also the owners of Libs Paving, have been a part of the Asphalt Supply team since its inception in 1992. Libs Paving was originated by Gary Libs in 1971. And since 2012, as the sole owners of Asphalt Supply Company, they have been on a corporate facility improvement process to meet the demands of their growing market.
“I think there will be a checkup sometime, but we see things continuing to grow for the next three or more years at least,” Jeff Libs said. This perspective has led them to completely upgrade their asphalt plant in stages over the past three years. From their beginning in 1992, when ASCO purchased a used Barber Greene parallel flow plant, to the conversion to counterflow in 2006, they have consistently grown their production to the point that a complete plant replacement was in order.
Gary Libs stated: “In 2012, we were coming out of the recession, but we could see things getting better. We were bidding larger jobs. It took two or three years to get things going, but ever since we took over the company, we had planned on upgrading things.”
In early 2016, the entire ASCO management team began the process of researching avenues for their plant upgrade. Gary Libs said others told them the cost of a new plant. “We looked at other options as well,” he said.
Gary Getz, the ASCO general manager, was instrumental in directing this plant overhaul effort. “We wanted to go with a 2-drum plant so that we could have easy access to the mixing drum portion. A 2-drum plant allows us to hot stop longer because we can empty out the mixing drum while leaving the material in the drying drum. Our unitized drum was hard to get into.”
As a result of this, Getz contacted Mike Mauzy from Reliable Asphalt Products, Shelbyville, Kentucky, to assist in completing the project.
“Our plan was to spread the upgrade over multiple years,” Jeff Libs said. “We did not know how many years, but we had to be able to produce while this upgrade was taking place. Also, we wanted to spread out the investment.”
Getz determined that the first step would be to drastically increase the plant’s production capabilities. With the assistance of Mauzy and Reliable Asphalt Products, Getz selected a very good used dryer, used mixing drum, and a reconditioned and expanded baghouse. Along with that, Asphalt Supply Company purchased a new burner, a new knockout box and ductwork, a new exhaust fan driven by a variable frequency drive, new screen, and virgin feed scale conveyor. This improvement was coupled with completely re-wiring the entire asphalt plant. As a result of these improvements, the plant more than doubled its production capabilities from less than 200 tons per hour to 400 tons per hour. They also converted to fueling the plant with natural gas instead of fuel oil.
“Our fuel costs were cut nearly in half,” Getz said.
Despite getting a late start in 2017, they had a record production year and began planning for the plant improvements for 2018.
The next winter, with the continued assistance of Reliable Asphalt Products, Asphalt Supply Company replaced their entire tank farm, cold feed system, heating and asphalt metering systems. At first glance, these were the items that seemingly needed replaced the most. But in discussions with the ASCO management team consisting of the ownership, Gary Getz, Greg Cecil, Steve Bowers and John Mosby, it was decided to upgrade the items that directly affected the production first to maximize the return on investment.
Reliable Asphalt Products engineered and manufactured all of the second phase equipment and, much like the first phase, provided all of the labor and field fabrication to install the equipment. ASCO experienced a second record production year in 2018. In the midst of the 2018 production season, the ASCO management team determined that they were going to upgrade the silo system, recycle feed components, completely replace the energy center and completely upgrade their control system. Again, with the assistance of Reliable Asphalt Products and Arrow Electric, plans were put in place to have the components on site at shut down so that ASCO could be operational by March 1, 2019.
Dennis Mauzy, Reliable Asphalt Product’s general manager and Chief Operating Officer, discussed the plant upgrades conducted this past winter: “The joint effort between our company, Asphalt Supply and Arrow Electric has been critical but none more so than this year.”
ASCO selected a Minds DrumTronix control system and new Minds silo loadout and ticketing system as well. Although the wiring that was replaced a few years before was re-used, the entire energy center was replaced. Reliable engineered and manufactured three new silos to hit their existing piers to minimize site preparation. And as in the past, Reliable removed the existing equipment and installed the new components. Currently, ASCO is experiencing another record year with back to back record months.
“We set the date of March 1 and we were running by March 3,” Getz said.
“The Minds System has been very important for us,” Gary Libs said. He also stated that he has been more than pleased with the coordination and effort provided by his team, Reliable Asphalt Products and Arrow Electric.
Jeff Libs pointed out, “Although we did plan on upgrading the entire facility over time, we did not know whether it would take four years, five years or six years. We ended up making the decision to do this in three years.”
After this three-year facility improvement has been completed, every major component has been upgraded with either new or reconditioned equipment. ASCO’s production and RAP usage have drastically increased, their operating and maintenance costs have drastically decreased, and they are now set for several years to meet their growing market demands.