INNOVATIVE, ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE, LONG-LASTING.
Most roads in Italy are in terrible condition, especially in urban areas. Poor maintenance, inconsistent and inadequate restoration of distressed road surfaces, emergency maintenance work to fill potholes and cracking.
Simex therefore decided to develop a technology that can be used for the restoration of road surfaces, with a depth varying between 5 and 7 cm. A cutting-edge technology that would not require milled material to be removed or virgin HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) to be added, but which could use only the existing material available on site. A technology that would not totally disrupt traffic flow and that would ensure immediate road drivability after its restoration. It also needed to ensure it would last for a reasonable amount of time, to allow local authorities to plan road maintenance, with significant benefits in terms of road user safety.
Simex ART, asphalt repair technology, (a technology for the restoration of pavement surfaces).
By drawing on the tried and tested self-levelling milling technique of PL milling machines, Simex focused on researching materials and the regeneration of existing distressed conglomerate, with a view to achieving a high level of sustainability and without having to resort to virgin HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) of any kind, re-evaluating the milled material as a valuable resource and not as mere waste.
After the milling stage, the equipment offered by Simex uses an environmentally friendly chemical admixture for the cold regeneration of the HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) granules produced.
It is also thanks to a valuable collaboration with the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering of the University of Bologna that we were able to carry out several tests in the laboratory and at the construction site to check whether the chosen approach was appropriate.
Simex ART takes care of everything: cold milling, volumetric reduction and mixing the admixture with the milled material. With a single piece of equipment. The compaction phase is the last step of the process for the operator: the distressed surface has now been restored and the stretch of road in question can be immediately driven on. Costs for purchasing and handling new mixes are also reduced.
The mobile construction site will be quick and easy to set up, since all the equipment required can be taken to the site in a single vehicle carrying the following: a compact loader, a compact roller, a cement spreader with an amount of cement suitable for the area to be restored and, naturally, Simex ART. The number of workers involved in the restoration process is also expected to be relatively small.
Construction site work consist of 3 main phases. A first phase during which only the Simex ART milling drum is operated at a depth of between 5 and 7 cm, depending on the extent of distress of the road surface, by spraying water as needed to ensure dust abatement. After spreading the cement on the milled material obtained, it is spread a second time by operating the second drum, i.e. the mixer drum, which mixes the milled material with the admixture (the correct dosage of the product is ensured by the presence of a measuring wheel, which measures the advance speed). In this phase, water is sprayed in order to obtain the correct moisture rate of the milled material. The final step is compaction. The end result is 100% regenerated HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt), which can be driven on immediately and is highly sustainable.
Therefore, Simex ART has a triple goal:
- To repair road surface distress quickly and effectively, without totally disrupting traffic flow and, especially, without repeatedly having to carry out emergency maintenance.
- To reduce the costs of purchasing and handling new mixes by using only the HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) available on site.
- Environmental sustainability: 100% of the materials present on site are recovered and regenerated, while construction site traffic is reduced as a result of the procurement of new materials and the removal of discarded ones
In short, the introduction of Simex ART brings two advantages for road maintenance.
Logistical and operational advantages.
• Restoration of road surface distress, quickly and with long-lasting results, which allows for adequate road maintenance planning, at sustainable costs.
• A dynamic and smaller construction site: no large machines are required, which significantly reduces traffic disruption. A reduced number of workers and a single vehicle containing the necessary equipment.
• Money savings: zero costs for the procurement and transport of new mixes and virgin aggregates.
• No impact: pre-existing materials are reused, recycling and rehabilitating worn HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt). Technically, this operation can also be repeated in subsequent maintenance operations.
• Use of eco-friendly materials.
• No handling or management of special materials or waste.
Simex ART, previewed at Asphaltica 2021, which has already undergone a rigorous testing phase, including experimental tests, will be launched on the Italian market in the second half of 2022.