IMC Outdoor Living Paves Outdoor Storage and Parking Lots with SmartMIX

SmartMIX helps owners achieve sustainability goals, recycles tires and reduces life cycle costs

In the fall of 2022, IMC Outdoor Living, a division of Liberty Tire Recycling, paved two outdoor storage and parking areas with asphalt pavement using the SmartMIX technology developed by Liberty. The lots were located at IMC facilities in Mosinee, Wisconsin and Godfrey, Illinois.  Between the two projects 5,500 end of life tires were beneficially reused, producing higher quality, cost-effective and sustainable pavements.

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When made and placed correctly, rubberized asphalt outperforms regular asphalt and other modified asphalt.  Previously, small paving projects were not cost-effective due to equipment requirements and the specialized heated and agitated storage tanks that were required to incorporate rubber into asphalt.  New technologies now make rubberized asphalt easy-to-use in both large and smaller projects like driveways and parking lots.

Asphalt pavement owners of all sizes can now enjoy the benefits of utilizing rubberized asphalt, such as longer pavement life, less rutting and cracking, and staying darker in color longer, providing good contrast with striping and pavement markings. Rubberized asphalt has also been shown to reduce the carbon footprint of asphalt projects through the use of more recycled materials. To help the transportation and commercial asphalt markets use rubberized asphalt and meet their sustainability goals, Liberty Tire Recycling developed SmartMIX.

SmartMIX is pre-swelled rubber that has been reacted with oil in a heated mixer before delivery to the asphalt plant.  This type of processing allows asphalt mix producers to add the SmartMIX rubber powder directly to the asphalt without any extra liquid storage tanks or blenders at the plant. SmartMIX is added to the mix plant using the recycled asphalt chute and goes directly into the mixing drum.  This is called a dry process and simplifies the production at the mix plant and cuts down on any extra steps in the supply chain.

In Mosinee, WI, American Asphalt of Wisconsin was the mix producer and paving company that made and placed the asphalt mix using the SmartMIX technology.  A rubber metering machine accurately weighed the rubber and a flexible hose was used to blow the SmartMIX into the mixing drum through the recycled asphalt chute. The blower was set to deliver 60 pounds of SmartMIX per minute in a continuous stream of material to match the mix plant production rate of 300 tons of asphalt mix per hour.   No changes were made to the asphalt mix design and normal mixing temperatures were used.

“The plant process went very well, and we didn’t run into any issues.  The paving crew laying it down didn’t notice any difference in the workability of the rubberized asphalt versus a traditional mix” Matt Eslinger with American Asphalt of Wisconsin, said.  “We are excited to have the project so close to our business and the opportunity to watch the performance of the asphalt as we are always looking for new tools to utilize on specific projects,” Eslinger said.

About 3,800 tons of rubberized mix were placed in Mosinee.  The project involved new construction, building the lot from the ground up, with earthwork, grading and drainage completed by the project General Contractor, A&D Contractors, led by Mitch Rheinschmidt.

In Godfrey, IL, IMC hired Charles Mahoney Asphalt Company to mill and patch an old asphalt surface and overlay it with the SmartMIX rubberized asphalt.  “It was a pleasure to work with the SmartMIX team on this project.  Getting the rubber machine hooked up at the plant was relatively painless and it was easy to get everything calibrated.  We introduced the rubber into a mix that we make and place on a consistent basis. There really wasn’t much difference in producing the mix.  In the field, the asphalt did not stick to the truck beds and cleanup was easy.  Upon observation the following day, the finished product appeared to perform just as well as a mix we normally produce,” said Brian Kanallakan with Charles E Mahoney.

“In addition to all of the environmental benefits of utilizing rubberized asphalt at our sites, this type of surface truly builds upon what we do at IMC Outdoor Living”, says Todd Schultz, Vice-President of Mulch and Molded Goods.  “Each year, we at IMC use more than 425 million pounds of recycled rubber in products that range from mulch to pavers, landscape edging to timbers and mats.  It is rewarding to know that our company is always finding new and innovative ways to give end-of-life tires a second life”, concluded Schultz.

The ease of use of SmartMIX, and simple equipment at the mix plant, allows owners and contractors to use recycled tire rubber in parking lot applications.  Paving projects with rubberized asphalt can help owners of many large parking facilities, like Walmart, Costco, Bridgestone, and other tire dealers, take the next step in recycling the tires that they replace, putting them back to work in the asphalt pavements and parking lots around their stores.

© Scrap Tire News, March 2023