A holistic asphalt solution under one brand | Infrastructure news

While an asphalt plant is at the heart of the production process, there are a range of supporting solutions required to deliver optimum results – an area where the Ammann Group leads with its associated product line of bitumen processing, storage and heating systems.

Progressively expanding its Southern African footprint since 2011, the Ammann Group’s ongoing penetration of the regional asphalt plant market is being spearheaded by its wholly owned subsidiary, Ammann Kenzam South Africa.

The latter was formed in October 2022 following the Group’s acquisition of Kenzam Equipment, Ammann’s South African agent for the past three years. An OEM in its own right, Kenzam has traditionally specialised in custom build solutions for the asphalt sector, which include emulsion plants, rubber modified binder units and bitumen decanters.

Its extensive fabrication experience and well-established track record in Africa will now support the roll-out of locally made or modified Ammann associated line products and components, alongside those imported from Group factories based in India, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey.

“The Ammann Group’s strategy is to provide a holistic solution that supports the optimum performance of its asphalt plants. The advantage for customers is that they can interface with one OEM for all their requirements,” explains Rocco Lehman, managing director, Ammann Kenzam South Africa.

Streamlining supply chains and fostering innovation

“The end goal is to keep the overall cost of plant ownership at competitive levels by employing integrated Ammann systems. In this respect, having an Africa-based fabrication arm means we can significantly shorten supply chain lead times and get far closer to country-specific customer requirements with fit-for-purpose designs. So, overall, there’s a high degree of flexibility as well as opportunities for innovation,” Lehman continues.

A prime example is Ammann Kenzam’s unveiling of a custom-built mobile CounterMix 120 (120 tonnes per hour [tph]) continuous drum-mix plant in Q3 2022. Produced by Ammann India, the plant (in its various configurations) was modified by Ammann Kenzam to make it fully road legal for towing in Southern Africa.

In addition to the main plant, products like a mobile laboratory can also be mounted on their own dedicated trailer. The latter can be supplied as a standard laboratory for routine asphalt testing, or a more advanced laboratory housed in a 12 m container. These are equipped according to specific customer requirements.

“To save on overseas shipping and manufacturing costs, we are also investigating value-added routes that include fabricating plant elements like cold feed bins and bitumen tanks in South Africa,” Lehman continues. “An additional benefit is that these initiatives will also support local content targets.”

Ammann’s associated product line

Ammann’s bitumendecanter will be locally manufactured and branded as the Ammann Kenzam Drumming Unit for the Southern African and broader African market. A drum decanter, the bitumen is transferred from the barrels to the Drumming Unit, where it is heated before moving to a tank.

“We also plan to build a generic bitumen emulsion plant series as a price-competitive option alongside the original Premium Line produced at Ammann’s Turkey facility,” Lehman explains, adding that around 14 of these units have been sold within Southern Africa in recent years.

In turn, Ammann’s thermal heating unit can be sourced either from Ammann’s factories in Turkey or India. Designed to warm bitumen, the system features a double-line, double-pipe heating coil and can utilise all fuel types.

“Demand for these units is growing, as some consider them a greener option compared to direct heating,” Lehman expands.

Emulsion plants

From a production perspective, Ammann’s EmulTEK 4 and EmulTEK 15 units, with capacities of 4 tph and 15 tph respectively, are designed for projects where high volumes of emulsion are required for downstream applications that include tack coats (like SS 60 stable grade) between binder and wearing courses, prime coats, surface dressings, slurry sealing and microsurfacing.

For more advanced asphalt products, Ammann fields the ModiTEK – a compact, fully automatic and easily transportable polymer modified bitumen (PMB) plant housed in a 12 m container. Configured to process a wide variety of mix designs and recipes, the plant has an output capacity of up to 30 tph.

PMB units are commonly employed by roadbuilders who require durable mixes for projects that include highways and runways and are increasingly specified by roads authorities as a contractual requirement.

The market can choose between EmulTEK and ModiTEK units shipped from Turkey, as well as locally produced versions manufactured by Ammann Kenzam.

Plant retrofits

“Our operating philosophy is to add value at each stage of the asphalt manufacturing process, from the binder to the final asphalt product. In addition to new asphalt plants, this strategy extends to include retrofit solutions for older Ammann plants, as well as other OEM units,” Lehman continues.

Standard upgrade additions like Ammann proprietary burner technologies, drums, bag filters and screw conveyors can significantly extend the life of old plants and equip them for the latest asphalt mix formulations. Plus, and depending on the age and type of plant, some can be upgraded to make them environmentally compliant.

“Together with energy savings, the initial investment will break even after a few years, depending on ensuing production volumes and standard OEM maintenance requirements,” Lehman explains.

Supporting its global subsidiary and dealer network, these refurbishment projects are managed by the Ammann Retrofit Centre, which has an expert understanding of each specific plant rebuild requirement.

Another key benefit of the Ammann Retrofit Centre is the transfer of knowledge to Ammann Kenzam, as well as allied Ammann operations worldwide. Thanks to this support, together with OEM training programmes, local technical personnel keep pace with the latest engineering developments.

“Some customers fully embrace advanced automated operations, while others prefer to stay with more manual control. At Ammann, we cater for both, without any compromise on quality,” says Lehman.

Customers can also opt for a maintenance and service contract incorporating scheduled inspections by Ammann Kenzam technicians to ensure plants are running at their designed level of efficiency. As Lehman points out, outsourcing specialised skills is a viable option for contractors because they can focus on production.

Inventory on hand

Alongside technical service support and expertise, the foundation for class-leading OEM solutions is based on delivering parts on demand, which is a core focus for Ammann Kenzam in 2023.

“During 2023, we will continue to expand our inventory and fabrication capabilities at our Brakpan facility in Gauteng to ensure customers gain the maximum benefit from our unique turnkey and value-engineered approach,” Lehman concludes.

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