Asphalt is a sticky black, highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It is also known as bitumen, and it has a wide variety of industrial uses, including waterproofing, soundproofing, floor tiling, and road construction and maintenance.
Asphalt is prepared and manufactured in a mixing plant before it is used in building projects. The demand for asphalt is high as it has many applications, but for businesses aiming to venture into asphalt production, there are various factors to be aware of before deciding on which kind of mixing plant to purchase. This guide will offer a brief overview of the asphalt market, and then consider the key factors to consider when choosing an asphalt mixing plant, as well as highlighting some of the main types of plants available today.
Asphalt mixing plants: market share and demand
The current value of the global asphalt mixing plant market in 2020 is US $6.77 billion. As a key industrial input, asphalt plants are directly affected by economic growth in other countries. This global asphalt mixing plant market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.25% between 2021 and 2027 to US $7.41 billion.
Several factors will contribute to this growth. In particular, demand for asphalt has increased in the past few years since asphalt is the primary raw material in road construction, and governments globally have ensured the development and maintenance of roads. Besides this, asphalt is cost-effective and quick to construct. It is also 100% recyclable.
Also, despite the fact that the China Belt and Road initiative has become dormant in the recent past, it is expected to gain traction between 2021 – 2030. East Asia is anticipated to hold 30% of the global asphalt mixing plant market. The North American and European regions follow closely as targets for future growth.
Factors to consider when choosing an asphalt mixing plant
The type of asphalt plant
There are primarily two types of asphalt plants: asphalt batching plants and asphalt drum mixing plants. They differ in the manner in which they make asphalt. The asphalt batching plant makes hot asphalt in batches. It is suitable for businesses that may want to change the composition mixture of asphalt during operation. On the other hand, the asphalt drum mixing plants produce a continuous flow of hot asphalt. They are ideal for producing a high volume of asphalt quickly.
The size of the asphalt plant
The size of the plant and equipment is determined by the production volume the business wants to achieve. For example, to process 3000 tons of hot asphalt in 8 working hours, a plant with 400 tons per hour would be sufficient. It’s important to note that asphalt mixing machines may not work for eight straight hours.
There are times when there may be a breakdown and unavailability of material and labor, all of which will impact the plant’s productivity. As a good measure, the plant should be 80 – 90% productive if it is to be considered effective. Because of this, it is not necessary for a business to acquire a machine with a huge capacity when a smaller plant could work equally well with the asphalt stored in silos.
Knowing the dimensions and weight of the plant will help determine a mode of transportation that will be cost-effective and also ensure safe transportation. It is important to work these out in advance as some plants are large and transporting them to a site may require significant logistical arrangements, and it’s essential that the business can afford these overheads.
Plant components or customization
Businesses should consider some components that will suit their plant and give them the best return in the future. Common components include:
Cold feed bins – If the business uses different aggregates, they will have to make customized cold feed bins. For example, if the business uses four different aggregates, it’ll require four different bins together with one for sand.
Asphalt tanks – They’re used for holding the raw materials as the plant is running. They need sufficient raw material depending on the plant’s productivity. A plant with 100 tph means that it consumes 5000kg of bitumen per hour. Therefore, a tank size of 20 tons would be sufficient.
Storage of hot mix asphalt – Hot mix asphalt has to be stored after preparation in storage units. Insufficient space could shut down the plant, leading to a higher cost of asphalt per ton.
Pollution of control devices – It’s advisable to pick a manufacturer that offers primary and secondary pollution control units.
The style of asphalt plant
There are two styles of plants: mobile and stationary asphalt plants. As the name suggests, the mobile asphalt plant will be suitable if it is moved periodically, while the stationary plant is suitable if it is fixed in one location. If, however, the fixed plant is to be moved after several years, it’s cheaper to install the fixed plant than to buy the mobile plant because the cost of moving it may be lower than the markup on a mobile plant. If the plant is to be moved several times a year, however, then purchasing a mobile asphalt plant would be a better way to go. In addition, it is crucial to look out for mobile accessories to go with the mobile asphalt plant.
A new or used plant
Choosing between a new and used asphalt mixing plant depends mainly on one’s budget. A new plant will have a warranty, customer support, operator training, and free installation. However, if the business operates on a tight budget, they’ll have to look for a used plant from a reputable company. They should also look for one that hasn’t been used much. Besides this, hiring an engineer to check the used plant before purchasing it is highly recommended.
Asphalt mixing plants have screens that vary in size. The different screen sizes help to accurately select the materials to be mixed to ensure consistent quality of the finished product. The standard mesh sizes arranged in a multiple deck are 37.5 x 37.5, 25 x 25, 12 x 12 and 5 x 5 cm.
The hopper is used to hold the material while it is being weighed. Its capacity comes with specifications based on the productivity of the whole plant. The hopper capacity can range from 750kg – 3000kg.
Types of asphalt mixing plants
Asphalt batch plant
The asphalt batch plant prepares hot asphalt mix in batches.
- The specifications of the mix can be changed during operations.
- It allows the customization of the screen size of the plant.
- One can monitor the oil-stone ratio in real-time and change it while in operation.
- It has an intelligent control system.
- It adopts a pulse baghouse dust collector to ensure environmental protection.
- High initial investment.
- High maintenance and operation costs.
- It has a complex structure and is not easy to run.
Asphalt drum plant
The asphalt drum plant prepares hot asphalt mix continuously.
- It has a low RPM pump and lever-operated solenoid valves.
- It has a hinged doorplate that can be opened for routine maintenance.
- It features a protective guard for electrical safety.
- It has a low investment cost and is cost effective.
- It has a low maintenance cost.
- It requires less space and can be run in confined areas.
- It has a compact structure and is convenient for transportation and relocation.
- It produces a lower-quality final mixture.
- It has simple dust collectors and is relatively less environmentally friendly.
- It has no accurate weighing and precise screening features.
Final thoughts on asphalt mixing plants
Using asphalt in construction is popular globally, and it has the advantage of having a smoother finish than concrete. As a key input in infrastructure projects, it is reliable and needs fewer repairs than other alternatives. In addition, using asphalt as a raw material in road construction improves fuel efficiency while reducing vehicle wear and tear – which can help with global efforts towards carbon reduction. Because of these benefits, asphalt mixing plants provide a great investment opportunity for businesses in the construction industry. For more info on asphalt mixing plants and to explore the kinds of plants available, check out these listings on Alibaba.com.