by Jim Keller–– Achen Gardner, one of the largest construction companies in Arizona, was recently awarded a project to install a large pipeline project in Arizona.
For most of their history they had been opening trenches like everyone else…hire a sawcutter to cut both sides of the trench, dig out the chunks, load them onto dump trucks and haul them off to be dumped somewhere.
An employee, recently hired from another construction company that owned an Asphalt Zipper, told them one day,”You should take a look at the Zipper. You’re losing an awful lot of money opening trenches this way.” Anxious to increase profits, they took his advice and scheduled a demonstration. They liked what they saw and soon purchased a 3 foot Asphalt Zipper with the 173 hp turbo diesel engine.
Ernie, a foreman at Achen Gardner, the man in charge of running the Zipper every day and getting the trench ready to dig, said, “This machine is saving us a lot of time and money. On this particular job we are putting this trench through 14” to 16” thick asphalt. If we had to saw cut this, it would be very expensive because they would have to cut it probably three times to get through asphalt this thick. They would have to cut about 4-6 inches each pass.”
“With the Zipper we set it at 11 1/2 inches deep and make one pass,” he explained. “This sometimes leaves two or three inches of asphalt not cut in the bottom but when the excavator digs the trench it easily takes out the remaining asphalt with the dirt. We can usually cut about 250 feet (this thick) in one hour, depending on the hardness of the asphalt.”
“Like I say,” Ernie said smiling, “this machine saves us a lot of time and money. It just makes the job of opening trenches so much easier”.