If you visit C.J. Miller LLC excavating and paving contractor’s website, you quickly realize this family business is one that epitomizes the values its founder, the late Charles J. Miller, Jr., infused into the day-to-day operation from the beginning in 1957. His philosophy: “If you do good work, you’ll never run out of work.”
MEETING THE DEMANDS OF THOSE AGENCY PROJECTS WAS A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN UPGRADING OUR PRODUCTION.
—Mike Utz, Quality Control Manager, C.J. Miller
Today, while roughly two-thirds of the business is focused on excavating and site preparation, C.J. Miller’s asphalt production and paving operations represent a substantial part of the business, one that continues to grow and evolve with investments in state-of-the-art production technology. The company operates four modern asphalt plants on three different sites – Woodsboro, Westminster, and Finksburg, MD. C.J. Miller is regularly recognized for both the quality of its hot mix asphalt (HMA) and the environmental stewardship it demonstrates at its production sites.
C.J. Miller’s asphalt production facilities produce 750,000 tons of asphalt annually to support its seven to eight paving crews, as well as independent paving contractors, on heavy highway to driveway projects. As the asphalt supplier continues to produce more green and sustainable products, it relies on improved production technology to process reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), approximately 200,000 tons annually company-wide and 80,000 tons at the Finksburg plant. Most of the RAP comes from road projects Miller’s asphalt paving crews are rehabilitating.
The company can produce well over 100 mix designs that meet virtually any specification or need from stringent highway-load specifications to a small driveway. And as the asphalt continues to evolve, with environmental stewardship an essential component, producing a green and sustainable product has become significantly more important to C.J. Miller. Most of the asphalt produced by this industry leader contains RAP content to maximize the lifecycle of valuable aggregate and asphalt binder contained in the reclaimed product.
NEW ASTEC PLANT FEEDS GROWING NEED FOR HIGH-GRADE ASPHALT
Mike Utz, a 15-year veteran at C.J. Miller and quality control manager of the asphalt production operation, explains how the new Finksburg Astec plant replaced an old two-ton Barber Green batch plant to increase production and quality.
“We’re producing three-quarters of a million tons of asphalt a year and 65 percent of that is consumed by Miller paving crews, mainly on government projects,” Utz says. “So, meeting the quantity and quality demands of those agency projects was a significant factor in upgrading our production capabilities at the Finksburg site.
“You have to be super careful when producing agency mixes to the specific designs of the product,” Utz adds. “Whether it’s a mix that allows 25-30 RAP, or an Ultra-Thin (3/4 in. thick mat) design requiring a harder stone, you need to have the right equipment to produce the mix precisely to specification.”
C.J. Miller installed a relocatable Astec 400 TPH Double Barrel X 8 ft. by 40 ft. drum mixer fired by a Phoenix Talon 100 MBTU natural gas burner, with an Astec warm mix system mounted on a twin shaft mixer. Production is fed by eight 10 ft. by 14 ft. cold-feed material bins and two RAP material bins. Three Heatec insulated 30,000-gal. vertical asphalt tanks fired by a gas/oil heater supplies asphalt binder to the plant. The facility also has a 15,000-gal. vertical tack tank and a 20,000-gal. fuel tank to supply the 75 dump trucks used to supply the company’s asphalt paving operation
Finished mix is moved to four 330-ton New Generation storage silos via a drag conveyor. Other major components include a 76,718 CFM Pulse Jet Baghouse and a pilot control center.
“We went with a relocatable plant to minimize disruption to our existing batch plant operation and also bring the new plant online as quickly as possible,” Utz says. “We tore down the old two-ton Barber Green plant, but we still needed to keep an adjacent three-ton Barber Green plant operating to meet our asphalt needs until we could get the new plant up and running.”
Utz says he’s starting to tabulate the savings and efficiencies the new plant is generating based on six months of operation in 2016 and three months earlier this year.
“The older batch plant required one more guy to maintain daily production, but we’re also noticing an overall operation savings in both fuel required to power the plant and the increased production without added operating costs,” Utz says. “There are days when we have to hire 150 additional truck drivers to keep our projects supplied, and we’re able to do that with our new efficient capacity.”