ARC Asphalt Recycling Inc.
As a Canadian paving contractor in the mid-1980s, Al Rorison was irked by the fact that the ingredients to make new asphalt pavement, namely aggregates and asphalt oil, made up over 50 percent of the cost of resurfacing paved roads. Rorison’s frustration drove him to develop a new, environmentally friendly method that reuses or recycles the existing pavement materials on the road surface resulting in cost savings of up to 50 percent.
The new method has come to be known as Multi-Stage Hot-In-Place Asphalt Recycling. It is carried out by a heavy-duty mobile equipment system called the Ecopaver 400, which is designed and manufactured by Ecopave Systems Inc. (Ecopave). Rorison believes strongly in maintaining a process of continuous improvement that is largely achieved through the full time operation of one of the company’s Ecopaver 400 systems by a wholly owned subsidiary called ARC Asphalt Recycling Inc. (ARC).
Rorison is president and owner of both ARC, the contracting and R&D division, as well as Ecopave, the design and manufacturing division. He developed the prototype for the company’s Ecopaver 400 line of equipment in Williams Lake, British Columbia.
“Lumber trucks would be driving to get logs, so they were empty on the way there, but full on the way back,” he recalls. “I noticed that the inbound lane of the road was getting eroded much faster. I had the idea to make a machine that could quickly redo one side of the road for significantly less money and with little hassle and also do it efficiently.” His machine has been in constant development ever since. While this equipment has been available for a long time, Rorison and his team continue to make updates to machinery to improve performance.
How it works
ARC’s machines heat the asphalt of an existing road and remove it in two or three lifts to achieve target depth, which is typically about two inches. Throughout the process, approximately 20 percent virgin asphalt is added as compared to 100 percent in conventional applications, as well as a softening agent, called a rejuvenate, which restores oil and asphalt back to good-as-new quality. After blending, this asphalt is then repaved on the road for half the cost, in a dramatically shorter time, and using fewer non-renewable resources. The machinery itself is a train of equipment, comprised of self-propelled trailers.
While ARC uses this technology in their own applications as a contractor, Ecopave sells equipment to contractors around the world. A company in Sweden purchased a machine a few years ago in order to maintain the upkeep necessary due to icy winters. At home in Canada, the contracting and manufacturing company works with the Ministry of Transportation. The team frequently goes on the road to showcase new machinery and upgrades for local municipalities and contractors.
While contracting is currently concentrated in British Columbia, ARC’s intention is to expand outside of the province. Equipment sales have always been predominantly international in nature with sales in the United States, Mexico, Sweden, Korea and Dubai.
copave has concentrated efforts within North America in recent years. Raising awareness of the financial and ecological value of the product line has been a major component of the company’s marketing effort. Rorison invites clients to come out on the road to observe what the machine can do.
In British Columbia, Canada, the technology division has completed over 9,000 lane kilometers over the past 25 years. Customers are consistently impressed by the processes ability to cut costs in half, reduce the use of non-renewable resources and the production of green-house gases by up to 40 percent. Each machine can complete about 4 kilometers in a day, performing on par with traditional methods.
The company’s customer base includes governments and contractors doing repaving work. “Governments are often good customers because they are looking to do the work at the lowest price,” Rorison says. “Our team can do the job at the least cost and the quality is still superb.” While provincial projects are a major part of the company’s revenue stream, ARC has branched out, reaching new customers in a range of industries.
One of the most memorable projects for Rorison has been repaving the Kelowna International Airport just outside of Kelowna, British Columbia. “This is probably the first time in history that someone has repaved an entire airport by using hot-in-place recycling,” Rorison elaborates. “The airport needed tarmacs repaved, but the first offer was for $6.3 million. This was way over their budget, so they tried a different approach to see who could do it for less. The winning engineering company proposed Hot-In-Place and Ecopave/ARC. We were able to complete the job for less than $3 million. Our crew worked at night, doing half of the runway at a time so as not to raise elevations and affect the landing safety of the planes.”
Another project that stands out for Rorison was a contract at one of Canada’s Rocky Mountain Parks. Due to the conservation standards of the location, it was important to preserve roadside growth. ARC reused 100 percent of the asphalt from the existing roads and did not disturb the surrounding bionetwork.
“This is not only environmentally beneficial to the park’s ecosystem, but it also greatly reduces disruption to tourists, as the work was done at night,” Rorison clarifies.
The companies are in consultations for several upcoming projects. Potential clients include the United States Air Force with a contract regarding airstrips. The ARC team may also be paving in Yellowstone National Park. The company has major potential for growth over the coming years as Ecopave continues to improve equipment designs.
For now, ARC Asphalt Recycling Inc. is focused on demonstrating the cost-saving and sustainability potential of this innovative machinery by performing high-quality, efficient projects for diverse end-users.