Situated in the mountainous region surrounding Toowoomba in Queensland, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) is a significant road infrastructure project requiring flexible and high-quality equipment, given its remote location.
For Colas Australia, tasked with delivering significant pavement works on the 41-kilometre bypass of Toowoomba, it needed the right mobile asphalt plant with the capability to meet the demands of the project.
Kevin McCullough, Divisional Manager at Colas Australia says the scope of works encompasses the eastern section of the project, covering all aspects of asphalt and bituminous sealing on that specific section.
“We needed a mobile batching plant with production capacity in excess of 200 tonnes per hour and one that could produce up to 2000 tonnes of material per day for our single paving operation. We need to also produce multiple mixes for the project, which includes AC20 Class 600 heavy duty base asphalt and SMA 14 surfacing course,” Mr. McCullough says
Colas required a versatile mobile batching plant that could produce a range of mixes and product variations to meet not just the specific requirements of the project, but to give the contractor flexibility to mobilise within a short timeframe and meet other project demands in the future.
With a strong relationship with technically-driven equipment supplier Wirtgen Group both in Australia and internationally, Colas opted for a class-leading 240-tonne-per-hour, German-built Benninghoven Batch Plant for the TSRC works.
“We have a fixed Benninghoven plant in Queensland, another mobile batch plant in New South Wales and the company also helped with an update to our existing plant in Newcastle,” Mr. McCullough says.
“As an international group, Colas has strong ties with Benninghoven, and has bought a number of plants from the supplier in the past, particularly in Europe where there’s a strong relationship between Colas France and the Benninghoven factory.”
According to Greg Astill, General Manager Wirtgen Australia (Mineral Technologies), a very strong focus on customer support in technical, parts and service backup were areas where Wirtgen brings significant depth and capability. “We believe for Colas this was a key consideration when selecting the preferred plant supplier. Wirtgen Australia remains committed to growing its presence in the asphalt production market and will continue to extend its support and capability offer. Customers investing in manufacturing plants need assurance that we will be there for them now and well into the future,” Mr. Astill says.
While Mr. McCullough says Colas sought fairly standard Benninghoven features for its new mobile batching plant, he explains the quality of the equipment, and its ability to meet the quantities and capabilities required, made it the right choice for the company.
“We mainly thought about capacity and the mixes that could be produced when looking for a new plant. We didn’t initially look at this plant specifically for the TSRC, but for mobile projects in general and something that had a bit more versatility when it comes to meeting the technological demands of a project. For us, having recycling and warm mix technology were really important in this plant.”
The familiarity with Benninghoven equipment was also part of the selection criteria for Colas, with Mr. McCullough explaining that adapting to the new plant’s operations is less of a struggle, particularly as staff have used similar controls on the company’s other Benninghoven plants.
The depth of support and service capability from Benninghoven in Australia was key in the plant being delivered, assembled and commissioned by the end of November last year – ahead of the project commencement date.
“It’s also quite easy to address any technical issues with the equipment because we have that connection straight to the factory through Benninghoven. For us, that’s pretty essential to have that immediate contact and to be able to solve issues and find solutions in real-time,” Mr. McCullough says.
Robert Messner, Product Specialist at Benninghoven, says the technical capabilities of Colas Australia’s new asphalt plant put the contractor in a unique position in the infrastructure sector.
“This plant is the very first of its kind here in Australia. It is equipped with all the options, making it the most capable and precise high production mobile plant in Australia,” Mr. Messner says.
“Such mixes possible are SMA, warm mix asphalt, liquid bitumen additives, and the capability to inject recycle products. The plant boasts parts commonality with the other Benninghoven fixed plants already here in Australia, and, best of all it is backed by the Wirtgen Group’s vast coverage right here in Australia.”
Comprising eight trailers, the plant is designed for quick and easy set up, which Mr. Messner says is part of what makes this particular plant unique.
Located at a quarry in Withcott, adjacent to the project, the plant is now set to produce up to 2000 tonnes of material per day through a single paving operation, with an eye to finish work by September 2018.
Mr. McCullough surmises that the incorporation of Benninghoven into the Wirtgen Group of companies helps facilitate the successful ongoing partnership between the two companies in Australia into the future.
“Colas already deals with Wirtgen Group for equipment such as rollers, pavers and planers, and having these different brands under the one banner really allows them as a group to recognise what your overall needs are as a customer. It gives Wirtgen Group the ability to be reached across a range of equipment, which is to their benefit, but also to ours.”