Connected To The Land Ep 12: Wirtgen Group Impacting Road Building (John Sunkenberg)
Connected To The Land Ep 12: Wirtgen Group Impacting Road Building Equipment (John Sunkenberg) In this episode of Connected to...
Connected To The Land Ep 12: Wirtgen Group Impacting Road Building Equipment (John Sunkenberg)
In this episode of Connected to the Land Podcast with 4Rivers Equipment, Fred Eichler speaks with John Sunkenberg, the District Sales Manager for Wirtgen Group, about their new partnership with John Deere and what Wirtgen Group has to bring to the table.
- What is Wirtgen America? What other equipment might be used to help Wirtgen road construction products? So the Wirtgen Group was originally founded as just the working company in 1961, and that company was founded by Ryan Hart work, and the roots of that company were really Road excavation and road demolition, so you had these deteriorating highways and roads, and there was a need for a better method to excavate and remove that material and re-PAVE those highways. Other than traditional methods of digging it up with an excavator or traditional construction equipment, the roots of the company date back to him incorporating carbide mining tools in a rotary drum and basically grinding out the roads with that type of equipment. Traditionally, the road was heated ahead of time, and what really the roots of the working company is the cold milling process, which as I said, uses car by teeth to grind out the road and then basically excavate the road and then you can put new pavement back down in place. Yeah, that’s how the company started. And their industry leader to this day, with that type of equipment, so the Wirtgen Group consists of four, four brands of the company, well actually five brands of the company, but in this country, it’s the working white product, which is cold milling machines, stabilizers, surface minors, slip form pavers equipment like that, and then over the years, they’ve added on Vogele pavers, which was a company that was found in 1836, and that’s an asphalt paving equipment, the global company, a lot of different models, 29 different paper models across the globe. They also added the Hamm compaction equipment, that company was founded in 1878, and there are 180 different models of rollers that go with home, so it’s a huge bag of tricks that we have to sell, which is fantastic, there are 80 different types of rollers. One of the other companies is Kleeman, which is one of our divisions that manufacturers rock crushing and screening equipment, so mobile on-track type equipment, and there’s a lot of really neat technology that goes into that type of equipment, like electric drive, diesel-electric drive, and that company was founded in 1857. So if you start to look at these different companies, they have been a stronghold, European, German manufacturing companies that have been around for a long, long time.
- How has partnering with John Deere changed Wirtgen? So as I mentioned when we were talking before starting the podcast, is that I’m fairly new to the Wirtgen Group, so I am unfamiliar with working prior to the John do your acquisition, but in speaking with my colleagues and everyone else, the one thing that’s gone very well as John Deere has really done an excellent job of letting work and be working… One of the monitors of the Wirtgen Group is close to our customers, and we’ve tried to maintain that as far as a lot of the work and employees are out on jobs… The consumer, yeah, absolutely. We have a lot of different specialists, application specialists, so we’re really integrated into this road construction industry, and John Deere has done an excellent job of just letting us work and really do what works and does well. So it’s been a nice marriage and the synergies so far have really kinda worked out well.
- What type of technology is on Wirtgen products? Wirtgen is absolutely the industry leader in the cold milling products, the technology is five years ahead of everyone else in terms of the different eco-modes, the drum pattern technology, they have a two-speed drive on the milling, drum, these are all these innovations that have come out that everyone’s kinda playing catch up with us in that area, so a lot of what you’ll see in terms of what’s coming down the road is like 3D type controls. Wow. Yeah, where you take a road profile and plug in all the numbers as far as what the finished level should be, and the machine will just follow and run through all that, and that goes for the papers as well, so technology and computers are… It’s crazy. Wirtgen does a lot of their own integrated controls across the line, and that’s really what sets them apart from a lot of the competition.
- What is the typical timeline of a project for road construction? The construction time and cost are gonna be a little bit higher with concrete, but it’s going to last a little bit longer, it’s a little more of a robust product as Hall goes down quick. It’s flexible, so in areas that have a lot of freezing and sawing, the flexibility adds to that life cycle, so there are different applications, it’s gonna… You’re gonna be able to lay an asphalt road and much less time than it’s gonna be if you’re gonna do like a traditional slip form type paving for that same road, and if it’s a country road, windy country road that is traditionally gonna be paved with asphalt, mainline highway is a perfect application for a slip form, concrete paver. It depends upon the materials that you’re using, you might add cement and water and mix that in, and that has a particular cure time, or you might add like a cold emotion asphalt into there, and then that has its own cure time too, so you’re typically opening up the road within a day on that, but then they’ll come back and cap it with traditional type asphalt afterward is typically what they’re doing.
- What are road construction customer priorities when purchasing road equipment? So there’s a couple of different ways of doing it, and depending upon which state you’re in and how they wanna… How they wanna do it, there’s a lot of different methods for doing it, for instance, like New Mexico, which is a very progressive state, as far as the different types of recycling that they use, I was recently down on a project where they had what was called a CMA, which is a cold mix asphalt plant, and the process behind that job was they build up the road, stockpiled it, re-blended the materials and then put it into this CMA, which added cement and asphalt or asphalt emulsion back in, re-blends it at a very precise percentage, and then the material was then brought back on-site and put through a traditional asphalt paper, so that’s one way of doing… And that’s not really in-place recycling, and the advantage of doing it that way is you have much tighter control of your percentages of what you’re doing when you’re doing in-place recycling, there’s a little bit more of… Or a little bit less in terms of the precision of the mixing, but obviously it’s gonna be a faster and a more economical way of doing it. Gotcha, so those are the… Depending upon how… And really, geographically, a lot of it depends upon what the indigenous type stone and sub-base and everything else are, and that’s gonna help them kinda determine which way they use it, so if it’s a local Stone, in other words, or whether it’s something that’s gotta be hauled in right, right. So work and builds a machine that’s called a CR 380, which is over a 1000 horsepower machine, and it’s a specifically built machine to grind up the road re-blend, and then you can even put paving screens behind it and put it all back down in one shot. So just rough, just rough guess over a million dollars, he says, unread, that’s gotta be an incredible machine to watch work and it is the precision to hear you talk about the mixes and the timing and the percentages, what… And you guys obviously have that all figured out, but what’s the disadvantage if you have a mixed wrong, let’s say, somebody… It’s not the Wirtgen Group was Wirtgen on something and they don’t do a mix, right. What’s the disadvantage to somebody that doesn’t do that perfectly, what happens is that when you see crack highways, or is that… Yeah.It’s gonna come down to pavement performance for sure. If you missed it in as far as writable or density, or if you don’t have the right percentages of re-blending, it’s just gonna affect the longevity of that payment, so that’s really what you’re going for when it comes to cold in-place recycling really, really the ideas you’re making whatever you had, what your existing road was is considerably better, that’s really ultimately what you’re after, and then to what degree it’s going to be better, really determine which process you wanna use.
- Where do you see Wirtgen 10 years from now? So I think if you’re looking 10 years down the road, maybe further, what I think is gonna be… What we’re gonna run into is a lot of automated equipment, particularly took a highway compaction train, you have operators on there now, at some point, I think that’s gonna be automated a lot, as you see on a, say, like an auto-driving Tesla or an order driving cars which we’re not too far away from. I think you’ll see that, and we’ve got directors, not UYO, set it up and it rolls man is doing the job. And the other thing that’s obviously probably gonna move forward like it is in the automotive industry is gonna be hybrid power, Deere has done a great job of having electric finals on their loaders, and those are fantastic machines. I think you’re gonna see more of that incorporated into the road construction equipment as well. How are you guys helping? ’cause it seems like you guys are really almost helping the future in a lot of ways, just because people getting around transportation, that’s where things are… Halloween, you mentioned Amazon, people ordering from Amazon now, people are vacationing, Wirtgen, hauling supplies, like you said, ordering that a lot of that stuff hauled over the road…So that’s kind of like a basis of how we transport people in equipment and goods in the United States, that’s probably, I would say probably arguably one of the biggest ones… Am I right there? Yeah.So in terms of Wirtgens role in all of that, building quality roads, smooth roads, road a push towards sustainability in terms of fuel burn, recycling, everything else that we’ve been talking about Wirtgen is a leader in all those things, and if you look at… We’re constantly moving towards, how do we get a smoother ride out of a milling machine, how do we get a smoother finished pavement off of our asphalt pavers, all those things are pushing towards, a smooth road is gonna last longer, it’s gonna be quieter, you’re gonna burn less fuel, so if you look at all those, you can look at the direction of where all the innovations are going, That’s really ultimately the goal. So that’s kind of the direction that Wirtgen is looking to move into. Now, you guys have a ton, a ton of equipment, especially under those four companies, five companies, a lot.
Just a comment on the fact that it’s been a nice marriage with Wirtgen… And John Deere so far, I’ve enjoyed Wirtgen with 4Rivers. And in terms of going out and selling and supporting that equipment and you know, other than that, I think we covered it. It’s a great product line. As I mentioned, I’m somewhat new to this company, but I’m absolutely a static to work here, so I’m excited in the future might be really bright too, because with that marriage with John Deere too, it’ll probably… I think it might open up some really cool stuff for you guys, and like you mentioned earlier, the technology sharing, it’s gonna be really fun. Yeah, for sure. And then the parts network that Deere has and everything else and I’m sure at some point there’s gonna be some John Deere engines integrated into our equipment so these are all things that we’re looking forward to for sure.
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