In any large organization, change can be slow – especially in the construction industry. In order to stay competitive, one must innovate in order to stay relevant and stand out amongst a crowded field of
competitors. To this end, Colas Solutions Technical Center (CSTC) spends approximately 50-60% of its total annual labor hours towards product development on hot mix asphalt, pavement preservation, bitumen, and emulsions. This supports Colas USA subsidiaries developing new products or improving existing products and processes that have helped improve quality and lower costs. Examples of how CSTC has collaborated with local subsidiary business units on product development are as follows.
CSTC had experience in particle size analysis related to asphalt emulsion and quality properties. This is beneficial when trying to better understand a given plant process and effect on the quality of a produced emulsion to improve on production efficiency and optimization. Typically, the properties we are interested in are penetration, viscosity, stability, and residue in the finished product.
Terry Asphalt Materials in Hamilton, Ohio, was having difficulty with viscosity in their emulsion product (CRS- 2P) and was producing with a higher-than-normal residue asphalt content in order to meet the targeted viscosity requirements. Through a collaborative effort between CSTC and Terry Asphalt, the particle size analyzer was utilized to optimize particle size distribution based on improved plant process while still meeting the viscosity requirement. This advanced testing capability allowed Terry Asphalt to improve their product quality, lower residue asphalt content, and realize cost savings!
Branscome is located in Williamsburg, Viriginia – one of seven cities with the most historical heritage sites in the United States. Branscome recognized an opportunity to introduce a new chip seal pavement surfacing product to meet a local heritage need for natural gravel surface but with the benefits of a more durable and low maintenance road surfacing, such as chip seal. The challenge was how to achieve the natural gravel appearance in a chip seal without typical asphalt bitumen migrating between the stone, all while being rut resistant to bus traffic and horse-drawn carriage wheels.
CSTC, in consultation with the Colas Campus for Science and Techniques in France (CST), was able to transfer the Heliocol® technology to Williamsburg where Branscome replicated it using their local aggregate and Bituclair® emulsion from France in a chip seal process. Bituclair® is a synthetic clear binder allowing to beneficiate natural aggregate. Heliocol® is a Colas France brand, which has been successfully used at the Chateau de Versailles.
These are just a few of many innovative product development and solutions CSTC has assisted the Colas USA subsidiaries to meet challenges to stay competitive and create value for our customers. Don’t hesitate to contact Jean-Paul Fort or Benjamin Roujolle regarding any new opportunities related to product quality or product development.