Growing Austek Roads with Wirtgen

Austek Roads’ Hamm rollers.
Austek Roads’ Hamm rollers.

Austek Roads has grown into one of Australia’s most innovative asphalt manufacturers. Managing Director Peter Ozoux explains why Wirtgen equipment has been instrumental in the company’s development.

Austek Roads began in 2010 as an asphalt bobcat business with one bobcat and one tipper, carrying out small-scale work in North Brisbane. 

Fast forward to 2012 and Managing Director Peter Ozoux reached his first major milestone, becoming a plant hire service and a fully functioning asphalt provider.

Today, Austek Roads has an asphalt production facility, two depots and employs more than 75 staff.

As Ozoux recalls, the early days of the business laid the foundations for the company’s success.

“Back in 2010, I used to run the whole business and operate the machines myself. We’ve now grown to have 78 pieces of equipment,” he says.

As an asphalt provider, Austek Roads won a Metro Road Asset Management Contract for the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads – the company’s first major tender.

At completion of the four-year contract, Ozoux was looking to expand the company’s capabilities.

It was while establishing a Benninghoven asphalt site in Yatala, Queensland that he became aware of alternative asphalt plant fuels and additives.

Conventional fuel was being replaced with a diesel-like product made from recycled tyres.

As part of the process, tyres were recycled by desorption, producing a material called carbon black.

“We invested in testing with petroleum engineers to look at the fuel,” Ozoux says. “We then conducted some preliminary tests, putting the carbon into the asphalt.”

After launching with just two machines in 2010, Austek Roads’ fleet has now grown to 78 units.
After launching with just two machines in 2010, Austek Roads’ fleet has now grown to 78 units.

Implementing the fuel did pose a risk, Ozoux says.

“The quality and chemical composition of the recovered carbon supplied by Pearl Global in Stapylton suggested it would be a game changer and was worth further investigating to see if it improved the performance of the asphalt as we expected. Sure enough, it did,” he says.

Following a suite of successful tests, Austek Roads worked with the Wirtgen Group to develop a system that would accept the fuel. This required amendments to the burner of the plant, as well as modifications to the fuel itself.

“The plant has now been running on that fuel for the last two years,” Ozoux says. “It was a big risk, as nobody had done anything like it. It’s been really successful, and we are now looking into assisting the rest of the asphalt industry, to adopt these processes with other companies that are interested.”

Ozoux says the alternative fuel production provides significant cost – and environmental – benefits.

“Instead of tyres going to landfill, our asphalt plant can accept these products locally. We also incorporate recycled glass as a sand replacement and recycled asphalt pavement is used for up to 30 per cent of the asphalt that we make,” he says.

Austek Roads asphalt production site in Yatala is now capable of producing 240 tonnes per hour, via a Benninghoven ECO3000 Batch Plant. Ozoux says the facility can manufacture more if required.

“The production volumes can be very flexible. We’re able to manufacture 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes a year if we need to,” he says.

Austek Roads is a fully integrated business offering asphalt design manufacture lay and test, spray seal, crack sealing, profiling, cartage and recycling.

Backing Wirtgen 

Austek has continued to expand its range of Wirtgen Group equipment, including milling machines, Voegele pavers and Hamm rollers.

“All of our paving fleet has been purchased from Wirtgen. We looked at them as the leader on the market,” Ozoux says.

“Once we bought the first roller in 2015, and compared it to what we were using previously, we knew they were the right suppliers for us. We still believe their machinery is superior.”

Austek Roads will look to upgrade its machinery and plant equipment accordingly, with works in progress to win larger contracts.

Ozoux says the company will look no further than the Wirtgen Group.

“Wirtgen machinery is very reliable. They’re high-quality products.” 

This article was originally published in the June edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

 


 

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