Asphalt Contractor Expands Business Opportunities With Volumetric Mixers
Though Milan, Tennessee-based Pavement Restoration, Inc. (PRI) traces its roots to pothole repair, the company has quickly grown to provide asphalt and concrete services throughout the Volunteer State and several surrounding states. One area of constant jobs is the burgeoning Nashville metro where PRI handles a range of work, from covering utility lines to pouring residential sidewalks — often on the same day with the same mixer.
What services does PRI provide in Nashville?
We provide a concrete and flowable fill service for utility companies and residential, such as pouring sidewalks and driveways. We [also] cover up electrical conduit with red concrete so if anybody digs into it they will know that they’re digging into an electrical line. Whatever the customer needs were going give it to them.
How has a Cemen Tech C60 changed the way you approach each day?
We’re able to do multiple pours at one location with one truck. We can do 3,000 psi kicker, a 4,000 psi headwall, and then we can change that truck over and pour flowable fill out to cover a line up for them. That way they don’t have to have three trucks – we did it with one.
What’s your experience been like working with Cemen Tech’s service department?
When we bought the truck, they came to us and helped us calibrate them. Then they showed us how to use them and if it wouldn’t have been for that, we would have been up [a] creek without a paddle. They took us through it and taught us how to use the truck. It made us where we are good at what we do now because they showed us some secrets for how to use the truck.
All you have to do is call them. They have it online where you don’t have to talk to nobody, just look up the website, look up the part, and have it delivered. Me, I am old school, I want to talk with somebody and make sure they know what I am getting, and they’re able to do that.
What has the customer reaction been since switching to a fully automated mixer?
When we started with the Cemen Tech trucks, it’s different from what they are used to seeing so we had to show them what they have. Now, I have people that [when] we pull up on the job, they make comments like ‘I love that truck.’ I have two customers when I am running flowable fill they don’t want any other truck on that job but our Cemen Tech truck, because we’re able to pull up there, use the remote, fill the ditch, and get out of their way, and get gone. That is all they’re looking for.
Talk about the quality of concrete.
We done a 4,000 PSI in a three-inch slump and it broke at 7,800 [psi] so the quality of concrete is there. The people that we were pouring for they loved it because it’s pure Portland [cement]. We don’t have any fly ash in it and they’re able to get that cream up to do the mix with and it gives them a better product to show their homeowners. Like if you’re doing a driveway and you’re brooming it, and you’re edging it, it makes the driveway look a lot better.
Has there been any learning curve for the drivers in terms of learning how to drive and operate the trucks?
It’s pretty easy to learn how to use the truck. It has two joy sticks, a push button to start, I mean come on, it’s right there. These boys who drive these trucks, they are drivers. They are operators. They know enough about the concrete to know when they are pouring it if something is wrong, but they are more about operating that truck — if that truck is doing the job for them. That is how they look at it.
What has been your overall experience working with Cemen Tech?
Cemen Tech has been a good social company from the beginning. Everyone from the salesmen to the people to talk with to order parts from, they try to help you. They understand that a lot of people don’t know everything, they have patience, and they will help you.
Marty Ragland, Driver
What do you like about using the C60?
These trucks are so much smoother and everything. It pretty much does everything for you.
I love that remote. Especially going down a ditch doing flow fill, you don’t have to keep going back and forth from the truck. You just sit in the truck and it is awesome. You can fit in more places than they can. I feel like we make a better mix myself.
What’s the biggest difference between the Cemen Tech mixer and the other mixer you previously used?
With the [other mixer] you have all those controls to keep up with — you got to do this, and you got to do that. With this one, you pretty much have to push a mix design, it tells you the numbers, and go over there, adjust your gates, push that button, and she’s ready to go. You have the water set for you. On the other truck you have to get your eater just right and it’s very touchy. If you just make the slightest little turn, it’s too much or too less. With this one it’s pretty much on target where you want it.
It’s a great truck, it’s built good. I like everything about it. I like the conveyor belt on it compared to the other truck because they have the chains on it and this one just has the conveyor belt. It’s a whole lot easier.
I just love it. I love the way it drives, the way it rides because with the other trucks it gets really wobbly. This one just hangs with the curbs and I love everything about the truck.
John Hargett, Owner
What does PRI handle on a daily basis?
We are primarily a contractor doing different things in concrete and asphalt. We started out with fixing potholes and expanded to infrared work.
We also getting into concrete with our volumetric operations.
We do a lot of stuff with fixing potholes and sidewalks, with fiber optic infrastructure, handling repair work that larger contractors who are doing major projects. We got into our volumetrics and being able to use it as a supply for our own operation. [We also] use some folks who had been doing that and acquiring some other people that we’re able to make it more of a supply business for us than it is for even running our own operations.
When did you switch to Cemen Tech?
We have been using the volumetric trucks for three years now
How did you start with concrete production?
We started out being able to supply cement because I have a production facility in which we make bagged cement and sand products. We were already running trucking operations where we were able to supply other folks because I am supplying my own facility with cement.
We were using volumetrics on a project — a Google project — where we were doing a lot of the restoration work. Our supplier was able to do some stuff rather quickly with our smaller quantities of operations with our repair work that we were doing on this fiber optic infrastructure project. So, we were using somebody else in doing that. I got to where I was able to supply them with cements because of our capacity to do that with our own trucking operations because of our plant and we just got more interested in that. [Then, we] became more interested in having our own line of trucks with that so we gradually added those.
I have multiple operations and Knoxville is one of my operations and we bought a used Cemen Tech truck several years even before this and had been doing our own concrete work just for our crew work and we weren’t even looking at supplying other people with the concrete. We were having to pay such pricing for getting small quantities because we were doing curb work because that is a small usage.
We ended up going to some training at Cemen Tech and being able to go a little more in depth understanding of the truck that we had. Then when I got interested in going through the supply of our own operation here in west Tennessee and primarily in Nashville because of the growth there we have been able to add to that. We had another brand and my dispatcher was a part of that brand for a long time and that is what he wanted. I felt like from everything that I had researched that Cemen Tech was the best unit. We like to buy new stuff that has all the bells and whistles so that when we go out, especially as a supplier, that we’re able to provide the best work and spending the money to make sure we have longevity in that.
Since then he has been like ‘You are right. This works better.’ This is a better piece of equipment and we are able to do a lot more. We are very impressive when we go on the jobsites now because they were used to seeing some other equipment before.
What do you love about using Cemen Tech mixers?
I love to be able to tell folks that we can do anything a concrete plant can do. Just tell us what you need, and we can bring it in any quantity.
If we pick up a new customer generally we keep them. That is kind of the way it goes and so we just need to continue to have the reliability that we have had thus far, and I feel like we have some professional folks. Certainly, the product has been good for folks.
When you have one you can only meet a certain demand so with multiple trucks we have been able to add the customers and we aren’t scared to go look for those because people are wanting to do more of this. The weekend work and doing stuff special and not having to have everybody come into a plant. Marty went this weekend on Sunday and did a job for somebody who was very appreciative that we can get out there and do that, but I don’t have to have multiple folks when I am not having to put things into a plant operation.
What does Cemen Tech do that you appreciate the most?
I am excited about a company that is interested in growing my business and that is another difference. We’re able to have somebody on our team that’s helping us grow our business and it’s not just on us so that’s a big difference for us.