A Green Light on Greenbook Spec 315 SM

You’ve probably heard of the Little Black Book – the book of secrets! But that’s not the only book named for a color. We’ve been hard at work requesting revisions to The Greenbook that designates our industry’s material product and specifications. First published in 1967, The Greebook was a product of a 400-person task force of the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association and the Southern California Districts of the Associated General Contractors of California. Since then, the guide has gone through many updates, been adopted by ​​more than 200 other California cities, counties, and agencies, and served as inspiration for other public works officials around the world. A new edition is published every three years. Bob Rivers, part of Polyco’s sales team, has been a key member of The Greenbook committee working to update viscosity recommendations to create an attainable specification for multiple suppliers. 

Typically, changes take five to seven years, but this one took only two and half years from start to finish. This change is a big win because it levels the playing field. Asphalt producers can now use soluble rubber in combination with a hybrid serine, urethane serine, or polymer to make an easier-to-handle, more consistent product in the field. 

The revised version of The Greenbook will be distributed electronically and in hard copy in January. Before then, there will be an addendum published in the next three or so weeks accepting the updated viscosity parameters. 

Now that you know about our updated Greenbook, quiz yourself on other industries’ colorful books:

The Beige Book 

The Red Book

The Yellow Book

The Blue Book

And a bonus! The TxDOT Specification Book, which can now be downloaded as a free PDF. 

Meet the Team: Chris Reyna

meet the team

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Chris Reyna has been a critical part of our safety team at the plant in Cleburne, Texas for the past five years. We talked with Chris about his time at Polyco and what he loves doing outside of work. 

What’s your role at Polyco? 

I’m the Senior Shift Lead, so I ensure that everybody in the plant is working safely, including myself. I also make sure that all of our inbound and outbound trucks come in and go out on time, and that all of our asphalt is on specifications.

What do you like best about working at Polyco? 

I work with great people. We’re always happy over here – laughing and joking just like family. I plan to retire here. 

What do you do when you’re not at the plant? 

I like spending time with my family. I have three kids ages five to one and a newborn. One girl and two boys! I like to take my kids fishing and to places like Chuck E. Cheese to have fun. 

What’s your favorite food? 

My wife’s homemade chile rellenos, especially her salsa!

Highlights from the August 2022 AASHTO Committee on Materials and Pavements (COMP) Meeting

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the AASHTO Comp meeting on materials and pavements. If you haven’t heard of AASHTO, it’s the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. AASHTO has a set of specifications and testing procedures for all materials that go into state DOT public works projects, including bridges, paint, aggregates, asphalt materials, and more. Representatives from every state attend to propose and vote on industry-wide changes to these specs and test procedures. These meetings help us stay up-to-date with specifications and testing procedures that potentially affect Polyco’s products.

In addition to staying up-to-date, attending AASHTO gives me a chance to meet with people in different levels of the DOT from across the country. It’s a great opportunity to exchange ideas with them, as well as with the many vendors who make products that Polyco uses.

If you aren’t part of a DOT, but are a professional in one of the fields AASHTO specifications/procedures represents, you can register to attend meetings. You won’t be able to vote, but you can offer input and stay on the frontline of proposed changes.

At last week’s meeting, only minor changes to testing procedures for materials and pavements came up at the committee meeting I attended. As always, it was an honor to be part of the committee meetings to ensure we’re on track and to offer input that shapes the future of our industry.

Meet the Team: John Lopez

meet the team

John is truly one of a kind. A native of Ennis, Texas, he’s one of Polyco’s first employees — having worked with us for the past 13 years. Today, John is a technician in our Research and Development Lab, where he conducts research on polymers and asphalts, crosstrains new team members and more. We spoke with John about his long career and what he’s looking forward to doing in retirement. 

What was it like to work for Polyco at the Ennis plant in the beginning?

I wore multiple hats – I cleaned, loaded trucks, made batches, everything. It was fun at the time. I’ve really seen it all! 

How would you describe your job now?

My role is to assist with everything from getting materials and checking specifications to research, training and safety. 

What has been your favorite part about working for Polyco?

I like supervising and teaching people. I liked the people who started with me, and I enjoy my colleagues now. In our lab, we have people who speak five different languages. I think that’s so cool. Polyco is also family-oriented. My son even works here!

What are you looking forward to once you retire? 

I want to spend more time with my family and grandkids. I have three grandsons and a granddaughter — the youngest is 5 and the oldest is 25. Soon, my wife and I will be married for 45 years!

What’s your favorite food?

My wife’s homemade enchiladas, rice and beans. It’s the real deal.

The Sustainable Benefits of Terminal Rubber Modified Slurry Seal (TRMSS)

In my last post, we outlined the nuances between different types of slurry seals. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of terminal rubber modified slurry seal (TRMSS) and the significance of it for our partners in California.

Using up to 80 percent more aggregate per square yard and containing 50 percent more asphalt than other rubberized slurry seals, TRMSS has revolutionized the cationic rubberized slurry seal. It delivers the durability of conventional slurry seal in addition to the rich, black color and environmental benefits of tire rubber modified emulsion.

Unlike other applications, TRMSS can be used year round and achieve the same performance — regardless of the weather. It doesn’t crack in the cold or soften in heat. Since TRMSS doesn’t soften, it does not lead to power steering marks. This is especially important for our paving partners in places like Southern California, where summer temperatures are regularly over 100 degrees! Additionally, because the rubber from the tires interacts with the asphalt, we no longer need to add latex to prevent tracking.

Even with all of these unique qualities, applying TRMSS is no different from applying other slurry seals. The same conventional slurry seal machinery is used. And because it is a sealant, which goes on top of the pavement, the benefits of TRMSS can be gained without destroying the road.

Did you know that more than 40 million tires are thrown out in California each year? TRMSS is an effective and beneficial way to divert this waste from the landfill – about 80 tires per lane mile! With a 75 percent faster production process than other slurry seals and a quick set time, TRMSS can also be applied efficiently and with fewer resources. TRMSS also has superior resistance to UV oxidation and aging, so it lasts years longer than other products. If you regularly pave in warmer climates and are seeking a sustainable, cost-effective solution, TRMSS is a great option to extend the life of your roads.

Meet the Team: Jenn Pardon

meet the team

Jenn has worked at Polyco for more than 13 years, and has held a variety of roles during her time with us. She has been responsible for answering our phones, fulfilling orders, coordinating logistics and customer service. Now, she serves as our accounts payable supervisor. We spoke with Jenn about her current role, her interests and what she likes about working at Polyco. 

How would you describe your job at Polyco?

I make sure all documentation is accounted for and invoices get paid on time. I also field any questions regarding payments.

What do you like most about working at Polyco?

I love the flexibility and family feel. I’m surrounded by people who want to work hard and do a good job, but also, like to have fun and are friendly.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work? 

I have five kids between the ages of 7 and 14, so I am usually really busy running them to their extracurriculars. When I’m not at my kids’ activities, my husband and I go to local baseball games or you can find me working on various DIY projects. I do some sewing and woodworking as well. Next, I’ll be building a cage for our four guinea pigs. We also have two dogs, two cats and a snake!

Where do you call home? 

Reno. I work at the corporate office. 

What’s your favorite meal?

Thai food. If I was on a deserted island, I would be craving a good panang curry. 

So Many Slurry Seals. What’s the Difference?

Slurry seal

Slurry seal formulations have been around for a long time. Since the 1960s, in fact! And, over time slurry seals have undergone an evolution. More sophisticated formulations have proven to be better for our environment and result in longer lasting roads. According to the International Slurry Seal Association’s “Pavement Condition Index”, [slurry seals] can extend the life of roads up to 7 years or more. However, not all slurry seals are created equal. Read on to learn more about the features that define slurry seal types.

Conventional

In its most basic form, conventional slurry seals consist of a mixture of emulsified asphalt and aggregate. Unlike traditional hot mix and warm mix asphalt, conventional slurry seals can be transported and applied at ambient temperatures. Conventional slurry seals retain a consistency that is similar to chocolate milk without heat. The benefits include a cleaner process (no CO2 emissions), faster set times and flexibility with weather conditions. It can be applied in hot or cold climates, day or night. Due to its cationic nature, conventional slurry seals cure quickly, so road construction crews have to work fast!

Two Types of Rubberized Slurry Seals

Cold Blended Rubberized

There are two types of cold blended rubberized slurry seals: REAS (rubberized emulsion aggregate slurry) and RPMS (rubberized polymer modified slurry). Crumb rubber is added to the mixture cold, like an aggregate, so it cannot modify the asphalt by itself. There are some caveats with this method. Once applied, rubberized slurry seals are set through a dehydration process that is similar to paint drying. It sets much more slowly than conventional seals. And, in order to make pavements appear darker, carbon black must be added to the mixture. 

Terminal Blend

Terminal blend rubberized asphalt products are the best of both worlds. With terminal blends, rubber is introduced at the refinery or offsite, and is completely digested into the asphalt. The output is just like regular, unmodified asphalt. No special equipment or adjustments required. You can use the same conventional slurry seal machinery with terminal blends. Using highly modified asphalt is ideal because the color stays darker longer and retains a wider viscosity curve. Terminal blends can dip to lower temperatures without cracking and higher temperature without softening. This feature is especially useful in hot weather conditions, where softer slurry seals result in power steering marks.  

Now that you understand the nuances between different types of slurry seals, in our next post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the origins and benefits of terminal rubber modified slurry seal (TRMSS) and the significance of it for our partners in California.

Stay tuned for more.

Meet the Team: Hashem Hashemi

meet the team

Hashem

Hashem has been in the asphalt industry for 28 years, the last eight here at Polyco. He brings his wealth of knowledge and experience in chemistry, recycled tire rubber and polymer modified asphalt to his role as our Director of Technical Services — and we’re lucky to have him on our leadership team. We spoke to Hashem about his career, interests outside of work and what he likes to eat!

How would you describe your job at Polyco?
I primarily work on improving the performance of Sigmabond. Making a product that customers are satisfied with allows us to build good, long-term relationships. I’m very proud of that.

What do you like most about working at Polyco?
The opportunity to be creative and get support for my ideas.

Where do you call home?
I live in Dallas, Texas and have lived here for the past eight years.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Lately, I’ve been very motivated to do some gardening in my backyard. It gets extremely hot here in the summer, so I’m trying to do more now.

What’s your favorite food?
I like a good prime steak cooked medium. I’m a meat lover!

Safety, Culture and Quality Drive Operational Excellence at Polyco

Here at Polyco, we believe providing a culture of safety directly impacts the quality of the products we produce. The practices and standards we follow truly set us apart. I’ll explain further how we implement these principles to drive operational excellence every day. 

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance. I’m so proud of our record — no major safety incidents! We ensure this by doing a root cause analysis of safety issues or near misses. All of our employees are empowered to report near misses in order to prevent an actual safety incident from even happening. For example, if we don’t address a slow leak of hot oil, it could turn into a big problem and burn someone. Once a safety hazard is identified, we document it and, as a team, decide how best to address it — assigning a due date and responsible party who is accountable. 

Culture

Our next focus is fostering our culture. We ensure our team has the resources they need to do a great job and feel safe and happy doing it. When employees feel engaged, they will perform better. While each of our plants has its own personality, they all value community. Covid slowed some of our community events, but we are getting back to it. We are hosting a BBQ cook-off this month and have other events that build connections. It’s not just our plant workers; Our leadership shows up! It’s not uncommon for our President & CEO to fly in from our corporate office in Reno at least once a month to check-in on our Texas locations. And, with the magic of video conferences, we get a lot more face time which keeps the lines of communication flowing.

Quality

Quality is of utmost importance to us. Not only do we do quality testing as part of production, we also have an entire quality assurance department that continuously tests raw materials and product retains, watching for data trends so we can react before anything is an issue. Our trending models show us if there is special cause variation or drifts in our processing. This allows us to pinpoint potential issues quickly and react before anything goes out of specification — all in service of delivering a quality product. 

While we are constantly looking at ways to improve our operations, our four pillars of safety, culture, quality and customer service are always top of mind. A focus on high performance — from both our employees and products — is what drives us. And we’ll never stop.

Meet the Team: Michael Krynicki

meet the team
Michael

Michael is a rising star at Polyco. After being with the company for just a year, he’s already being promoted — and will transition to his new role as Research Engineering Manager soon! We spoke with Michael about his most recent position as our Operations Manager, his interests and what he likes about working at Polyco. 

How would you describe your job at Polyco?

I work at our Ennis, Texas plant to safely produce products to our customer’s specifications in a cost-efficient manner. I coordinate with all the cross functional teams — whether it’s R&D, logistics, maintenance or safety.  

What do you like most about working at Polyco?

What I enjoy doing most is working with a team to solve the most challenging problems a business faces. Seeing something that was seemingly impossible and then come out victorious is a great feeling. Luckily at Polyco we’ve got a great team and I love working with them. 

What do you like to do when you’re not at work? 

I love to learn, so I am always reading or in school. I’m working on my MBA through West Texas A&M right now. For fun, I love playing sports. Polyco has a local softball team and we play pretty much year round, so that’s a lot of fun. And I like cycling, so a lot of times I can be found cruising the roads.

Where do you call home? 

I live in Fort Worth right now, but I’ve been in Texas for five years. I’m originally from Connecticut, born and raised. I even went to college at the University of Connecticut.

What’s your favorite food?

Everything! But if I had to pick just one thing, it would be pizza. It’s just amazing. I love all toppings but the best, for me, is probably buffalo chicken.