Part of the Actophambili Group, a household name in the South African road construction sector, Actop Asphalt is a leading supplier of asphalt products. Established in September 2014, we commissioned our first plant in early 2015. Within a space of three years, we now operate a total of four asphalt plants with a combined capacity of 560 tonnes per hour. The plants are operating in strategic locations, providing our customers with top-quality, innovative asphalt products and services. As one of the country’s leading asphalt producers, Actop Asphalt combines the flexibility, speed and in-depth market knowledge of the local road construction business with its quality drive, shared expertise and operational experience of the executive team, to offer unprecedented service levels.
[Johannesburg, 5 October 2018]: To meet the asphalt needs of a newly-awarded road rehabilitation project in the Mpumalanga area, asphalt specialist, Actop Asphalt has invested in a new Ciber continuous mobile asphalt plant that sets new standards with its range of innovative technologies and, more importantly, its ‘super mobility’.
When recently contracted to supply 38 000 tonnes of hot mix asphalt for the Bambi-Lydenburg road in Mpumalanga, Actop Asphalt, part of the Actophambili Group, went straight into the market for a new asphalt plant and purchased a new Inova 2000 continuous mobile asphalt plant, manufactured by Brazil-based original equipment manufacturer, Ciber, part of global road technologies leader, Wirtgen Group. The unit is the first of the new Ciber range to arrive in South Africa.
The new plant, which can produce up to 200 tonnes of asphalt per hour, is a contract-specific investment to service the Bambi-Lydenburg road rehabilitation project over an 18-month period. Actop Asphalt will supply asphalt to its sister company, Actophambili Roads, a specialist road surfacing contractor that has been subcontracted by the main contractor on the project, Klus Civils.
The new Ciber plant brings to four the total number of asphalt plants in Actop Asphalt’s stable in the three years of its inception, which is testimony to the company’s strong growth trajectory in a very short period of time, in the face of a constrained construction market in South Africa. The company’s sturdy growth over the past three years has hinged on its relentless focus on quality asphalt production, according to managing director, Francois Kemp.
“As a result, we have done extremely well in the three years of our existence. Our early success has, to a large extent, hinged on our affiliation to the larger Actophambili Group, a key player in the road construction sector in South Africa,” says Kemp. While almost 90% of Actop Asphalt’s work stream has come from Actophambili Roads in the past three years, the pattern has started to change in recent months with a sturdy flow of external contracts. Kemp reiterates that the quality of the product is the company’s major competitive edge.
Quality is the mantra at Actop Asphalt, the figure of merit – and is a core parameter that is sought in every aspect of the company’s business. And that also extends to its equipment needs; Actop Asphalt never compromises quality of its machinery, which is key to both reliability and quality of its asphalt supply. The very same core principle informed the decision to invest in a new, technologically-advanced Ciber Inova 2000.
A key driving factor in the buying decision was the plant’s “super mobility”. “We were looking for an asphalt plant that we could install in a very short space of time,” says Kemp. The Ciber 2000 fit the bill due to its high production capacity – 200 tonnes per hour – and its compact build; it comes in just two units. This is in stark contrast to some of the existing plants in the stable, which come in six units, but only producing 120 tonnes per hour. “The compact nature of the plant translates into lower cost of transport when moving from one site to the other, as well as the lower area and cost of installation,” says Kemp.
According to Waylon Kukard, sales manager at Wirtgen Group South Africa, the Ciber 2000 is about 60% below the average of other asphalt plants of its class size when it comes to cost of transportation. “This is complemented by less time for mobilisation and assembly on site,” says Kukard. “The plant’s mobility is its key strength. It can simply be hauled to site on two trailers, get plugged in, start production and easily decommissioned and commissioned again onto the next site.”
Rudi du Toit, operations manager at Actop Asphalt, has already experienced the benefits of the new plant. While full production is yet to start, the commissioning of the plant only took seven days. “With some of the competitor plants, you are looking at up to a month to put it up. The Innova 2000 takes only seven days to mobilise and commission, which translates into three weeks of extra production when compared to other plants,” says Du Toit.
Du Toit, who was recently part of a South African contingent that made the trip to Brazil to witness Ciber’s innovations first hand, also makes special mention of the EasyControl system, an intuitive software which affords total control of all the production processes. “It allows for automated control – without operator interference – of the burner flame and other components,” concludes Du Toit.
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To remain competitive in a tough South African construction market, Actop Asphalt has extended its service portfolio with investments in two bitumen modification plants, a cold mix plant and a bagging facility, establishing the three-year old business as a one-stop asphalt product supplier.
At a time when the South African construction sector continues to reel under the pressure of a shrinking economy where road projects are few and far between, Actop Asphalt has defied the odds by maintaining a sustainable growth trajectory over the past three years. Part of the larger Actophambili Group, a renowned name in the South African road construction sector, Actop Asphalt now owns a total of four asphalt plants in a space of three years, testimony to its early growth course.
Actop’s very first asphalt plant, commissioned in early 2015 after the formation of the company in September 2014, is situated in Leandra, Mpumalanga, and has the capacity to produce 120 tonnes per hour – operating on a commercial basis. The second plant, located in Meyerton, a small town lying 15 km north of Vereeniging in Gauteng, also operates on a commercial basis, and has the capacity to produce 120 tonnes of asphalt per hour. The third commercial plant is located in Stilfontein, North West Province, and also has a 120-tonne per hour capacity.
At the end of 2017, Actop invested in its fourth plant, a 200 tonnes per hour super-mobile Ciber plant purchased from Wirtgen South Africa. Commissioned in mid-2018, the new plant is initially a contract-specific investment meant to service the Bambi-Lydenburg road rehabilitation project over an 18-month period. However, the plant will soon be commercialised as well.
Francois Kemp, Managing Director of Actop Asphalt, explains that a key driver behind the company’s sustainable growth within a short space of time has largely been its uncompromising focus on the quality of its product, especially driven by the understanding that quality asphalt results in long-lasting, high-quality driving surfaces.
“We have done extremely well in the three years we have been in business. Our early success has, to a large extent, been supported by our affiliation to the larger Actophambili Group, a key player in the road construction sector in the country,” says Kemp.
Almost 90% of Actops Asphalt’s work stream has come from Actophambili Roads in the past three years. However, the pattern has started to change in recent months with a sturdy flow of external contracts. Another growth driver is the recent focus on extending the offering, adding asphalt modification, cold asphalt mixing and bagging, as well as production of the Ultra-Thin Friction Course (UTFC), to its portfolio.
Actop Asphalt has recently invested in two bitumen modifying plants which have been co-located with the Leandra and Meyerton plants. “Bitumen modification was a natural extension for our business. This allows us to offer all the related services from a single source,” says Kemp.
Kemp adds that there is a growing demand for modified bitumen as project owners are increasingly recognising the benefits of using modified asphalt to reduce the amount and severity of pavement distresses and to increase service life. “The primary benefit of using modified bitumen is improved rutting resistance, with less thermal cracking and overall improved mixture durability being secondary benefits. Additionally, some modified binders provide improved stripping resistance,” explains Kemp.
Two months ago, Actop Asphalt also invested in a cold mix plant and a bagging facility. This allows the company to sell 25 kg bagged cold asphalt mix to mostly small pothole busting contractors. Kemp explains that the cold asphalt mixture is a high-tech road repair material, which can be used all day long. It is suitable for repairing different types of road surfaces under any environment, such as asphalt roads, parking lots, airport runways and bridge expansion joints. Cold mix asphalt is an ideal choice for non-engineered roads.
As part of the product expansion programme, Actop Asphalt is one of the few asphalt producers pioneering the development of UTCF in South Africa. In the past five years, UTFC has been successfully paved on some of the heaviest trafficked national highways in the country, as well as on other national routes, provincial highways, provincial rural roads, urban major and minor arterials.
UTFC is ultimately a very thin asphalt layer paved at between 15 mm and 20 mm thick while spraying a thick tack-coat to the road surface all in one pass. It has a number of functional properties and advantages over other conventional asphalt paving procedures and products. “We are busy with our certification for the production of UTFC. We had our first application last year and we have since been given the go ahead for a trial section,” concludes Kemp.
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