The ability to recycle using the Astec Double Barrel® drum mixer sets us apart from the competition.

There comes a time in any venture when moving forward requires change. Whether its transitioning to the latest technology or acquiring new partners, company growth is earmarked with new decisions. LL Pelling Company, Inc. is one company that understands what it takes to reach the next level of expansion, and it includes Astecs equipment and innovation.

Humble Beginning

Lloyd Pelling, Sr. started the LL Pelling Company, Inc. in 1948 in the Williamsburg, Iowa, area. It began oiling roads as road surfaces began moving away from mud to gravel and eventually to pavement. In the late 1960s, Lloyd Pelling, Jr. became president and moved the company to Iowa City to allow for expansion into the asphalt business. During the 60s and 70s, LL Pelling traveled throughout Iowa with batch plants or continuous mix plants. The decision to put down roots happened in 1975 and the traveling stopped. An asphalt batch plant was erected in Coralville, Iowa.

Forward Progress

In the late 80s, Russ Rhinehart purchased the company from the Pellings. Rhinehart and his partner, Manatts (a diversified heavy highway construction company based in Brooklyn, Iowa) took the company into the 21st century. It was Rhinehart who purchased the first Astec plant in 1997 for the Iowa City location. The 400 TPH (363 MTPH) Astec Double Barrel® plant replaced an old 6,000 lb (2,721 kg) batch plant. This was quite a change for LL Pelling.


"We knew technology had advanced beyond what we were currently using," said Chuck Finnegan, current president of LL Pelling. "It was the vision and input of new people leading to new decisions for the direction of the company, and the path forward looked promising."

LL Pelling had three asphalt plants: the Astec Double Barrel® plant in Iowa City (purchased in 1997); a small 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) batch plant in Marion; and a 16,000 lb (7,257 kg) batch plant in Cedar Rapids. In addition to its asphalt paving, concrete curb and gutter, chip and sealcoat, pavement marking, and oil transportation, being able to supply its own hot-mix asphalt (HMA) to its projects created a full-circle operation.

The Next Phase

In 2001, LL Pelling purchased a Dillman DuoDrum and put up this new plant in Marion. The plant replaced the small 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) batch plant.

In 2012, LL Pelling purchased an Astec Double Barrel® plant for the Cedar Rapids location to replace the old 16,000 lb (7,257 kg) batch plant. The plant was operational mid-April 2013.


"This replacement was five or six years overdue," said Finnegan. "We had a five-year plan probably 10 years ago to put the new Astec plant in place, but with economic times as they were, and still are, it just didnt work out according to our original timetable."

LL Pelling purchased 40 acres (19 hectares) of land outside its sister quarry in Cedar Rapids to set up the new plant, named Plant 17 by the accounting departments numbering system.

"We viewed the location as opportunistic," said Finnegan. "We can haul much of our material to the plant and dont have to travel on a public road. This saves on hauling and trucks."

The ability to recycle using the Astec Double Barrel® drum mixer sets us apart from the competition.

A Good Position

Astec equipment allows LL Pelling to be in a good position, especially with the ability to recycle. This was an area the company wanted to improve.

"Using reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) and recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) is a capability that sets us apart from the competition and helps us control costs," said Finnegan. "Anytime we can recycle, its a benefit to the environment and the community. The Astec Double Barrel® at Plant 17 uses RAP and RAS. This saves on landfilling; we even grind our own shingles. These cost-saving factors allow us to cut cost for our consumers. And in a pro-portland cement state, we need to control costs to stay competitive."

LL Pelling generates a lot of RAP from its road construction projects. One project is Interstate 380 (southbound) where a recycled mix is being utilized (4 percent RAS and 12 percent RAP). "We do a lot of night work in the corridor between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, about 25 mi (40 km) apart, connected by I-80 and I-380," said Finnegan. "Theres a lot of congestion through this area, so having a ready supply of material enables us to work quickly."

Plant superintendent Rod Haerther, who has been with LL Pelling for 23 years, oversaw the construction/setup of Plant 17 from concept to completion. According to Haerther, Plant 17 uses up to 25 percent RAP (alone in a mix), and when using RAS with RAP, the recycle amounts are 2 to 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively. RAS is not currently used alone in a mix.

"We are finishing up the I-380 southbound project and already have a contract for the northbound section of I-380, plus a project at the Cedar Rapids airport," said Finnegan. "Business is looking good moving into 2014."

  • 10 ft x 14 ft (3.05 m x 4.27 m) eight-compartment cold feed system.

  • LL Pelling’s plant features the 72,457 CFM Pulse Jet baghouse.

  • Relocatable Astec Double Barrel® drum.