I’ve been traveling a lot lately — taking our new Sigmabond product on the road from Texas to Tennessee. I’ve loved talking to folks about the sustainable and high performance properties of Sigmabond — and how it can lead to longer lasting roads when added to a hot mix formulation. The trade shows have also given me an opportunity to learn and keep a pulse on what’s happening in the industry. Here are a few highlights from my recent travels.
In September, I attended TXAPA’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio. This year’s theme was ELEVATE!, as in elevate your expectations for communication, performance and most importantly — QUALITY. Sigmabond definitely fit the bill of this year’s theme, and Polyco was able to communicate this with DOT engineers and contractors who attended. The former were especially interested in understanding how Sigmabond can repair, replace or improve their current process. Since Texas is usually on the leading edge of pavement innovation, balanced mix design and how that fits into performance specifications was a hot topic among this group.
In October, I attended the TML conference in Houston. The vendors varied from Christmas decorations for Main Street and street lighting to industrial playgrounds and garbage trucks — anything you could imagine cities, counties and municipalities needing to procure. While this was not a traditional asphalt convening, the experience allowed Polyco to get in front of decision-makers across the state. We met government officials from communities big and small — folks who are not familiar with the paving process but are invested in the benefits. It was a great learning experience as we had to pivot our elevator pitch to explain Sigmabond in layman’s terms.
In November, I took a break from Texas and attended the SEAUPG Annual Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee. The event featured presentations such as “Balanced Mix Design for High RAP Mixture with Rejuvenator” and “Examples of Successful Practices with State Implementation of Balanced Design of Asphalt Mix”, which provided great insight into growth opportunities and updates to DOT specifications in the region. Additionally, we were able to position Sigmabond in a way that aligns with specs and responds to needs and trends at the local level.
Just this week, I had the opportunity to visit with colleagues from the Asphalt Institute in Tucson, Arizona. Sustainability and life cycle assessment of asphalt and asphalt pavements were big topics of conversation at this year’s annual meeting. In addition to standard committee meetings — such as technical asphalt, finance and marketing — the Asphalt Institute Foundation approved nominations for its 2022 committee and board members. I’m honored to have been selected as the Vice Chair of the Asphalt Institute Foundation and the Asphalt Institute’s representative for the Asphalt Paving Alliance. Even though much was accomplished, I was still able to squeeze in a round of golf and soak up some desert sun.
As the year winds down and industry events are put on pause until the new year, I’m proud of the presence we’ve built and thankful for everything we’ve learned along the way. It’s been a great experience and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with folks and continuing to introduce Sigmabond to new audiences. See you in 2022!
A few years ago, a city in the Dallas, Texas area had some concrete pavements that were in rough shape. The city was looking for an interim paving solution for these pavements and turned to one of Polyco’s customers, which was using an asphalt binder in their hot mix powered by our Sigmabond concentrate. The pavement lasted well past the city’s expected timeline, proving to be a long-lasting solution to a short-term fix.
Since the performance of this pavement surpassed expectations, the city’s engineering department wanted to see if it could be repeated on additional roads. In June of 2021, that opportunity presented itself in the form of another four lane road construction project. The main travel lanes of the roadway used the same hot mix designed with the Sigmabond binder, while the turn lanes and crossovers were paved with a standard mix using common grade asphalt.
Three months later, I revisited the site of the June project and was blown away! The photos below show the apparent color difference between the different pavement sections. Each section of the road used the same hot mix design, however, the sections paved with the Sigmabond binder outperformed the others paved with the standard paving grade asphalt.
As the photos reveal, asphalt made with a Sigmabond binder stays darker, longer. The darker roads not only look better but also provide a safety enhancement due to the contrast of the striping against the black surface. This hotmix is also more stable, crack resistant and durable because of Sigmabond.
Seeing this big of a difference in three months’ time is an important reminder that our products are engineered to perform. The proof is in the pictures!
More than 25 years ago, I started Polyco with $400 and a napkin with the name inscribed on it in my pocket. I went from lab technician at a large corporation to CEO at a company of one (I was also chief janitor, R&D, customer service and sales). I’ve been very deliberate with our growth — taking it one step at a time, one person at a time, one customer at a time, one product at a time. As the company grew, it became clear to me that in order to compete in the highly commoditized asphalt industry, Polyco’s products had to perform.
But in order to create high-performance products from an extremely variable material, such as asphalt, you must get creative. There was a huge opportunity in the marriage of asphalt and tire rubber that had yet to be realized. Tire rubber and asphalt in roads is nothing new (the concept has been around since the 1950s) but creating a high-performance product from that union was never a reality. Until recently. Through deep scientific expertise, Polyco’s Rapid Digestion Process (RDP) was born.
RDP is the only process in the market that completely digests end-of-life tire rubber into a homogeneous, liquefied state. Since most tires consumed in the United States are burnt for fuel value, depleting the ozone, our process presents an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. RDP is unique because it extracts all of the beneficial properties out of tire waste using a clean method.
Utilizing RDP, we’ve created a truly sustainable product that performs well on roads and rooftops. Sigmabond is a revolutionary asphalt concentrate that can be used in binders, tack coats or chip seal applications. Most importantly, it’s Engineered to Perform.
By upcycling end-of-life tires into high-performing asphalt binders and coatings, we’re actually powering a circular economy. The future of our environment depends on the ability to reuse resources over and over again. And, we know that tackling tire waste is just the beginning.
At Polyco, we are committed to ending global waste. We are focused on advancing our process, product mix and geographic presence. With operational capacity growing each year, we are looking at emerging markets in Europe and focused on how we can eliminate tire waste overseas while creating longer-lasting roads and more durable rooftops. With the circular economy as our moral compass and the best team in the industry leading the charge, I am confident that Polyco will continue to evolve to meet the world’s demand for sustainable, high-performance products.
Here at Polyco, we are problem solvers. Customers are constantly challenging us to make products that are more resilient, last longer and ultimately, perform better. As a scientist, I’m always thinking about how to achieve a better end product. After almost a decade of innovation at Polyco, I’ve learned that the road to superior performance is paved with sustainability (and ground rubber tires – more on that later).
What is sustainability?
A quick Google search on sustainability returns a myriad of answers to this question. For some, the term is linked to being eco-friendly in the short-term, while for others, it means long-term conservation. For us at Polyco, sustainability is both an immediate action as well as a lasting strategy. Through collaboration, we’ve built a company culture of innovation and creativity that ensures the success of future generations. Our commitment to manufacturing the highest quality products ensures the long-lasting impact of those products. And, by incorporating upcycled materials into our products, we are powering a circular economy.
Asphalt is … sustainable?
What many people don’t realize is that asphalt is the most recycled material on the planet. Since we were already working with an innately sustainable material, we asked ourselves: What more could be done? The answer, it turns out, is garbage — specifically, rubber tire waste in landfills.
With our proprietary Rapid Digestion Process (RDP), we are able to upcycle end-of-life tires and reduce the environmental impact of discarding them. RDP is the only process in the market that completely digests recycled tire rubber into a homogenous, liquefied state. That substance is then formulated with asphalt to create our high-performance Sigmabond binder. Not only are we reusing tires that were destined for the landfill, we’re able to extract the rejuvenating properties inherent in those tires to make roads and roofs last longer.
Polyco’s commitment to sustainability
At the end of the day, performance and sustainability are at the root of everything we do. It’s a symbiotic relationship – one is dependent on the other and they do not exist in siloes. It is our responsibility as stewards of this earth to ensure we take care of it now in order to set future generations up for success. Our company culture is built around this principle.
What’s next for Polyco? We are focusing on how we can reduce our carbon footprint, cut down on energy consumption and work toward zero waste. We know that contributing to a circular economy is not the easiest route to take, but the reward for the people and the planet is well worth the effort.