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RAP Management: High-Quality, Sustainable RAP … Tomorrow’s Golden Goose

RAP Management Crusher Foreman Rob Coleman
RAP Management Crusher Foreman Rob Coleman

RAP Management entered the Columbus asphalt market with a revolutionary idea, at least for the United States. The company makes asphalt that’s 60% recycled RAP, three times the U.S. industry average, using state-of-the-art technology and precisely engineered formulas to create a high-quality product.

The company produced its first full season of asphalt in 2018, targeting commercial paving companies rather than highway contractors. The product was a big success, and by 2021, RAP’s Fifth Avenue plant was at capacity, said Ryan Smith, CEO and founder.

RAP Management entered the Columbus asphalt market with a revolutionary idea—make asphalt that’s 60% recycled RAP, three times the U.S. industry average.

With the first plant booked solid, Smith added a facility on Walcutt Road with 45% more capacity than RAP Fifth Avenue. He relied on Columbus Equipment Company to provide much of the equipment, just as the dealership outfitted the Fifth Avenue plant. “The new facility is essentially the same machine we have at Fifth Avenue,” he said. “We didn’t want to change much; we want consistency between the two plants because that allows them to use the same recipes and get the same results for customers.”

One change RAP made was to use a larger crusher at Walcutt Road. “The crusher, an Astec 4250 Horizontal Shaft Impactor with a four-bar rotor, does a good job liberating asphalt,” according to Josh Lovett, product specialist for Columbus Equipment Company’s Material Processing Division. “The crusher’s throughput averages 350 tons per hour,” he added.

RAP Fifth Avenue has a portable CS3646 crusher, but Smith chose the stationary Astec 4250 for the new facility because he believes a stationary machine is a little easier to work on than a portable machine and that transfer points are less prone to spillage or leakage. The new facility also uses a 3624V screen plant and 50"x20' grizzly feeder from Astec, similar to the Fifth Avenue facility.

TCI designed and built structures for the core components to set on, and Columbus Equipment Company oversaw the machinery installation. Lovett was instrumental in ensuring everything ran correctly, Smith noted. “Josh was there every day and made sure anything that wasn’t perfect got addressed. He also created an inspection protocol for us to follow, and we use it monthly at both sites. He’s gone above and beyond to make sure we’re proficient in running machines that no one has run before.”

“I’m with Columbus Equipment Company because they’ve always been able to meet my service needs quickly.” Ryan Smith; CEO and founder, RAP Management

“I’m with Columbus Equipment Company because they’ve always been able to meet my service needs quickly,” Smith added. “We’re not experts in maintaining equipment; we’re learning to be experts in making asphalt. It’s important to have a partner like Columbus Equipment that I can call on to be there and mitigate any problems with the machines.” In addition to crushing and screening equipment, Smith purchased two loaders, a dozer and a large excavator from Columbus Equipment Company for the new facility.

RAP Management uses an asphalt plant from Switzerland designed to use a high percentage of RAP, and downtime is extremely rare for the asphalt plant itself, Smith said. However, “processing recycled asphalt is difficult. It’s abrasive and causes material wear in the equipment. It’s the nature of the business.”

With oversight from Columbus Equipment Company, including instructions from Lovett on how to inspect and perform PM on the processing equipment, RAP Management has increased its uptime, Smith said. “We’ve grown our team and gotten experience in running the equipment.” Crushing operations also work ahead of asphalt production, usually running 10,000 tons ahead of asphalt deliveries, so the company has a cushion of crushed product if needed.

“In 2023, RAP Management’s sales grew by 35%. Some demand results from the volume of construction occurring in the Columbus market,” Smith noted, “but we are growing faster than the market.” He thinks another driver of business is being transparent with customers, “letting paving contractors know if we’re having problems so they can make decisions about their scheduling.”

Paving contractors are the main market for RAP’s recycled asphalt for now. The City of Columbus has approved the material for its projects, and RAP is doing demonstration projects with ODOT. “We’re not approved by ODOT now, but we will be,” Smith said. “They can’t purchase better materials than we can deliver.”

RAP’s method of turning a byproduct into a high-quality material is “the best way to make asphalt in an urban environment. Everyone is looking for the solution we’re providing,” Smith said. “I think we’re growing because we’re reliable and provide a good product and good service. But on the back end, it’s also a sustainable product.”

RAP Management has engineered a compelling proposition. Provide sustainability by supplying customers with a high-quality, dependable product and superior customer service. Rocket science, no … recycled RAP science, absolutely.

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