Working in the center of the busy suburbs of the Windy City, the crew at Builders Asphalt has limited space to make their operation function at maximum capacity.
With the tight space that Guy Dickson, plant and crushing manager at Builders Asphalt, has at the Skokie, Illinois site, he needed a portable and compact, yet powerful setup that could crush and screen both asphalt and concrete effectively. They also needed the flexibility to screen the two products easily, but they did not have an abundance of space to set up multiple screens.
Equipment size, functionality, manufacturer reputation and affordability were Builders Asphalt criteria when updating old crushing equipment. Andy Bazan, vice president at Finkbiner, worked closely with Builders Asphalt to select a CS5260 and PTSC205 Multi-Frequency Screen. “The 5260 is a big impactor so when you’re doing the concrete, it allows you a bigger feed opening so you can handle material just with an impactor. In the asphalt, it becomes more of a screening operation, which is why we needed the 5’ x 20’ to handle that volume,” said Bazan.
Danny Loughran, regional sales manager at Astec, adds, “Builders Asphalt has a small yard where they needed a new impactor, but most importantly, they needed a screen that was capable of accepting both recycled asphalt and concrete and have the ability to easily switch between the two. Working closely with Astec Mobile Screens, we decided that the 205 multi-frequency, along with the 5260, were the best options for them.”
This unique operation, dealing with both concrete and asphalt, creates fine and coarse FRAP. “On the job, they’re grinding, loading trucks and bringing it here. Our loader pulls the grindings from the pile, places them in the hopper where they go through the impactor and get screened into our course and fine FRAP materials using the multi-frequency,” explains Dickson.
“The majority of what they’re doing is recycled asphalt here, so it’s any kind of mix of product. The piles here have been accumulating for years, so sometimes you don’t know what’s in that pile, so having that 5260, gives them the flexibility to take large pieces and be able to handle them and then at the same time, if you have millings, you can just process those through the screening side of it,” explains Bazan.
PAVING THE WAY
Builders Asphalt has a legacy that spreads over 120 years. As descendants of the Palumbo family construction business, the team works together to manage, operate and grow Builders Asphalt and Builders Paving.
“We’re an asphalt plant and we do asphalt crushing to produce hot mix…we do paving as well,” said Dickson. The first crushing site, in Elburn, was in operation for ten short years before expanding to become a multi-plant company and opening its Skokie location.
Builders Paving was acquired in 2010. The million-dollar paving company is pre-qualified by the Illinois Department of Transportation and has a team of dedicated, knowledgeable and hard-working experts.
The crew at the Skokie site is comprised of eight workers who operate the loader, impactor, screen and other components. “We have two or three guys [operating the crusher] depending on the material we’re running. You have to be a little bit more vigilant when you’re running concrete ‘cause there’s steel involved and you don’t want it to get caught up in any of your elements of the plant, so we generally have three guys on concrete and two guys on asphalt,” explains Dickson.
The small union team at Builders Asphalt trained extensively on safety and general procedures, but Bazan and Dickson explain that operational and maintenance procedures are on-the-job training. “These guys basically learn on the job. When you buy a new crusher, most of the time, nobody’s run it before so we have to learn. The team has been around them maybe, but hasn’t learned that specific crusher, every [machine] has its own intricacies,” says Dickson, “It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of help from Finkbiner coming out, showing our guys, getting them familiar with the plant, the crusher, and procedures like changing the screens out, changing belts, telling us what to look for, and so on.”
The biggest operational challenge for the team at Builders Asphalt, as Dickson explains, is keeping up with maintenance with a small team and long hours of operation. “Being able to crush for nine hours a day and doing one hour a day of maintenance is a process. You’re adjusting belts, you’re adjusting blow bars, you’re lubricating bearings, all of those things need to be addressed on a daily basis to keep you up and running and make the products you want to do. We’ve tried to be part of the instruction. The apprentice here, Tom, said he’s been taking online courses that Astec offer to become familiar with it,” says Bazan. “I thought it was really interesting that a young guy would take the initiative to look online to see the information that’s provided by the group,” adds Bazan.
With the daily maintenance being done, Bazan and Dickson explain that the equipment runs more efficiently and effectively.
The CS5260 HSI crushing plant, Bazan explains, crushes the material down to a fine -3/8” where it is sent to a 5 x 20 multi-frequency screen.
“The multi-frequency screen has been beneficial in being able to get us to those fine cuts better than a conventional screen. I think that was one of the benefits of having the screening plant in combination with the impactor. Those fine cuts take a lot of surface area to get that product through the screen cloth,” explains Bazan.
Loughran adds, “The multi-frequency is able to produce fine screenings as well as higher tonnages with the recycled asphalt. The 205 allowed them to run the bottom deck vibrators when they needed to in asphalt but then turn them off when they didn’t need them for the recycled concrete.”
A SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP
Builders Asphalt and Finkbiner have been working together for over two decades. “We handle other products that they use, so that’s how the start of the relationship came to be,” said Bazan.
Although Finkbiner has only been working with Astec for a short time, Bazan has seen many benefits to the relationship. “Equipment manufactured in America is a great thing [because] it brings you the support here. I don’t have to get it from somewhere else. I can get it from Astec, frequently the same day. That’s a big asset for us, if there is a need, I can address it the same day or the next day. Being made in America helps that support come quickly when we need it, and you’ll always need it, all equipment needs it. It’s all about how quickly you can get back up,” explains Bazan.
Dickson explains that in the equipment-buying process, parts, service and availability were an important factor, “Service is very important and parts are very important, as well as the ability to stay competitive with parts and their availability.”
He also commented on the importance of having a relationship with the manufacturer, “Having the relationship with the manufacturer is great because they are familiar with your needs, they are familiar with your working environment, and therefore they can work with you a little bit better as far as parts and needs.”Dickson says he hopes to continue developing his new relationship Astec and well as Finkbiner while Builders Asphalt continues to grow and expand. Bazan also says, “They have been very gracious to work with us. They are one of the larger contractors here in the Chicago market and will continue to be that. They are in a growth spurt where they are updating their old equipment and this was one of the pieces that was part of the process. We look forward to continuing our work with Builders Asphalt.”