Infrastructure services firm FM Conway has started to produce its own polymer modified bitumen (PMB), which is added to asphalt mixes to improve the long-term performance of road materials.
The company claims it is the first highways materials manufacturer and contractor in the UK to produce its own PMB and the new products support FM Conway’s asphalt manufacturing division supplying London and southern England.
FM Conway's Gravesend bitumen terminal
FM Conway’s director of aggregates and asphalt, Tim Metcalf, said: ‘As a business, we’ve long championed the benefits of a self-delivery approach, manufacturing, supplying, as well as laying our own materials on the local and strategic road networks to drive cost and time efficiencies for our clients.
‘The production of our own polymer modified bitumen marks the next evolution of this model, allowing us to continue producing high-quality materials for the UK’s highways that meet the needs of roads users now and in the future.
‘We’ll continue to explore how extending the use of PMB across all layers of our roads can support a more durable, whole-life approach to highways asset management and help us respond to industry challenges such as dealing with the effects of climate change.’
Asphalt mixes that contain PMB can have greater elasticity, which can significantly improve the durability of highways assets and ensure greater resistance to rutting and cracking.
The development of the PMB plant was done in close collaboration with FM Conway’s chosen polymer supplier, Kraton Polymers, and leading plant equipment manufacturer, Benninghoven. The materials will be manufactured at a newly opened facility at the company’s Gravesend bitumen terminal in Kent.
The company owns and operates six asphalt plants across London and the south of England in addition to the Gravesend bitumen terminal and PMB production facility.