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AECI Much Asphalt is the largest commercial asphalt producer in Southern Africa.

We pride ourselves on the consistent quality of our wide range of hot and cold asphalt products, our service offering to all asphalt users large and small, and our excellent safety record.

Congratulations to the AECI Much Asphalt team at our Coedmore plant in KZN for taking first place in its category at the MBSA’s 2022 National Safety Competition.

Coedmore also received special recognition from MBSA for achieving more than 2 million man hours worked without a Lost Time Injury. Team Coedmore has maintained its Zero Harm culture and this focus has paid off handsomely!

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AECI Much Asphalt’s Benoni Laboratory in Gauteng is on the same journey towards Sanas accreditation.

AECI Much Asphalt’s Central Lab in a class of its own

In 2006 AECI Much Asphalt’s Central Laboratory in Cape Town became the first asphalt testing laboratory in South Africa to achieve accreditation from the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS). Cenlab, as it is known, has now taken this significant step further to become the only fully accredited bitumen and asphalt laboratory in South Africa, reports AECI Much Asphalt Managing Director Bennie Greyling. Firyaal Moos, Cenlab Manager, elaborates that all the current specialised testing carried out at the laboratory has been audited and accredited in a step that ensures the facility is 100 per cent covered by SANAS. This includes Dynamic Modulus & Flow, Hamburg Wheel Tracker, Fatigue Life and Dynamic Creep, PG bitumen testing, as well as rubber testing techniques encompassing Dynamic Viscosity, Flow, Compression Recovery, and Ball Penetration & Resilience. Extension of scope “Our Central Laboratory now has SANAS accreditation for all the relevant aggregate, binder and asphalt test methods.” “Cenlab has been SANAS accredited for a large number of test methods for the past 16 years and we have been audited every 18 months since then,” Moos explains. ‘’However, testing methods have developed and changed over the years, and we recently applied for an “Extension of Scope” to include the most recent test methods, as well as others for which we have not previously been accredited. These advanced asphalt and bitumen rubber tests methods were the focus of the latest audit.” She adds that SANAS accreditation begins with assessment of the laboratory systems, including staff, equipment maintenance, calibrations, and verifications, followed by the test methods.  Additional test methods can then be included through the “Extension of Scope” process. 14 additional test methods “Since August 2006 Cenlab has been accredited for Marshall Testing, SANS bitumen test methods and SANS aggregate test methods.  We included six additional Performance Grade Bitumen test methods in April 2022, and the final eight test methods in October 2022.” While the SANAS Accreditation applies to an AECI Much Asphalt facility, subsidiary AECI SprayPave participates in its correlation testing programmes and Cenlab plays a major role in AECI SprayPave’s binder testing and product development. “We are delighted that Cenlab is now 100% accredited, ensuring that we produce high quality test results which are continuously monitored and analysed through the checks and balances we have in place,” says Moos. “Our daily activities incorporate equipment calibrations and verifications, regular updating of test methods, and continuous staff training. It is essential for us to keep up to date with the latest developments in specifications and testing regimes. Our SANAS accreditation also requires our involvement in both inter- and intra-laboratory comparative testing programmes for all our accredited test methods.” Sustaining relationships She points out that AECI Much Asphalt aims to provide its clients with world class service and the peace of mind of knowing that test results are supported by stringent management systems to ensure quality and conformity. “What Firyaal Moos and her team have achieved is truly remarkable and we are very proud of our flagship laboratory,” says Bennie Greyling.” “AECI Much Asphalt has built strong, lasting industry relationships in the past 50 years and I believe Cenlab’s latest success will help to sustain these relationships.” Moos attributes Cenlab’s long-term success as a SANAS-accredited facility to hard work and dedication, together with the best efforts of her team to keep pace with changes and developments in the industry. “Teamwork is key, and every team member plays a very important part in ensuring overall success.” The Benoni Laboratory in Gauteng has also upgraded significantly in recent years to offer all the most up-to-date testing equipment and techniques and is well on the road to its first SANAS audit. “We are learning from the Cenlab team and will try to emulate their outstanding achievement in the near future,” says Joanne Muller, AECI Much Asphalt Inner Region Technical Manager.

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AECI Much Asphalt Coedmore takes first place at the MBSA’s 2022 National Safety Competition

Congratulations to the AECI Much Asphalt team at our Coedmore plant in KZN for taking first place in its category at the MBSA’s 2022 National Safety Competition. Coedmore also received special recognition from MBSA for achieving more than 2 million manhours worked without a Lost Time Injury. Team Coedmore has maintained its Zero Harm culture and this focus has paid off handsomely!

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Asphalt and Bitumen

World class development and testing facilities enable AECI Much Asphalt and subsidiary AECI Spraypave to offer clients consistently high product quality from design to delivery and placement. This is no easy task as local laboratories must conform to international best practice while also meeting the specific demands of the local industry, points out Joanne Muller, Manager of the AECI Much Asphalt Gauteng Regional Laboratory. AECI Much Asphalt’s Central Laboratory at the Cape Town head office and its Gauteng Regional Laboratory in Benoni are fully equipped for Sabita’s recently updated Manual 35 guidelines on the design and use of asphalt in road pavements. With the focus on Spraypave’s product offering, both also offer full performance grading (PG) capability on binders in line with SATS 3208:2019. To operate optimally and offer industry the best quality control possible, AECI Much Asphalt also offers testing capabilities that surpass current industry requirements on aspects such as moisture induced sensitivity testing as well as bond strength testing, to name a few. “We are one of three Industry stakeholders capable of analysing the chemical composition of bitumen by means of a SARA analysis and one of only two with Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy capability,” explains Morne Labuschagne, Technical Manager – Bitumen at AECI Much Asphalt. “The FTIR technology used mainly to determine oxidation levels as well as polymer concentrations and types of bituminous binders.” Capacity squeeze Joanne Muller says industry uptake and implementation of Sabita Manual 35 based performance asphalt designs have been slow and staggered since its initial publication in 2015.  “Significant capital outlay is required to gear up for these designs and AECI Much Asphalt started the process immediately. The capacity that would be required was largely unknown, so many commercial laboratories in South Africa delayed the capital investment. It has become clear that more capacity is needed, and many laboratories are only now establishing this test capability.” Accelerated Sabita Manual 35 design implementation on contracts over the last two years has placed tremendous strain on the AECI Much Asphalt facilities as there are more designs required than equipment to perform them, Muller adds. “Specific tests such as Four Point Bend Fatigue testing are very time intensive, which compounds the problem.” AECI Much Asphalt has added fatigue testing devices in both laboratories to enable increased throughput and stay ahead of the curve. The company has also commissioned more gyratory compactors and vacuum sealed devices at its production facilities in the past year to align process control and Manual 35 design activities. A new gyratory compactor at the Central Laboratory not only increases capacity in arriving at the final answer once compaction is completed but enables observation during the compaction process, using sophisticated torque transducers built into the device. “This functionality helps us to understand the compaction behaviour of asphalt mixtures, evaluate the risk of material breakdown during compaction, and optimise mixtures for workability for example,” says Muller. Constantly evolving The AECI Much Asphalt Central Laboratory will commission an Epifluorescence Microscope at the end of April 2022, taking polymer modification to the next level in terms of product quality and process efficiency. “Global technology is always changing and improving, and our technical team continuously assesses how we can look at things differently to make the puzzle pieces fit,” says Muller. “We are currently exploring testing and the associated equipment required for semi-circular bending as a possible fatigue quality control measure, as well as binder shear ratio testing as a fatigue predictor.” In a move to expand the group’s design and testing footprint, a new laboratory is being set up at the AECI Spraypave plant in KwaZulu-Natal to complement the services in Gauteng and the Western Cape. A dynamic shear rheometer (DSR), used to characterise the behaviour of asphalt binders at high temperatures, has been commissioned here and laboratory staff are being trained. The new laboratory will be fully operational by mid-2022.

AECI Much Asphalt

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The manufacturing facilities and offices of AECI Much Asphalt, AECI SprayPave and East Coast Asphalt are operating according to the requirements of the South African Government’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols. For information on Covid-19, please follow the link sacoronavirus.co.za.