Reducing wasted hotbox asphalt




Balfour Beatty/Rochdale Borough Council


Ongoing (from Dec 2017)


The challenge

Partial load charges and high levels of waste were harming the cost effectiveness and sustainability of highways maintenance operations in Rochdale. Overnight storage of standard asphalts had proved impossible due to rapid deterioration in the quality and workability of the asphalt. This was leading to significant volumes of wasted materials, which resulted in disposal costs and damaged Balfour Beatty’s environmental record. Small, frequent material orders were incurring partial load charges. Delays at the start of the day were also a problem, absorbing around 16 operational man hours per week. The highways management team at Rochdale approached Tarmac as a key supply chain partner, to work collaboratively on a potential solution.

Our solution

Following these discussions, ULTILIFE HOTBOX 6mm and 10mm was trialed from December 2017, as a potential solution. ULTILIFE HOTBOX asphalts are designed for longer lasting hotbox storage. They use Tarmac binder technology to reduce early life aging, enable significantly longer storage, reduce waste and improve workability compared to typical hot mix equivalents. This means that they can be stored for up to 60 hours. By using this solution the client would be able to order full loads and then use them over a number of days. This would eliminate partial loads and the time, cost and environmental impact of wasted asphalt. It would also reduce any delays or downtime experienced while waiting for deliveries to arrive.

Results and benefits

The trial resulted in direct cost savings including £300 from part load charges and 10% from hotbox running costs due to the lower storage temperature: around 20oC lower than standard asphalt. When combined with reduced number of deliveries this meant lower carbon emissions and improved sustainability. As expected, there were also significant increases in productivity due to the asphalt being available at the start of the day. The client was impressed with the results: “The innovative Ultilife Hotbox range of products has saved Balfour Beatty a considerable amount of money since we introduced its use on the Rochdale Highways contract. Our supply chain has also benefited from a reduced carbon footprint as the introduction of Ultilife Hotbox material has meant we require 40% less deliveries to maintain our supply of materials.” James Mills, Operations Supervisor, Balfour Beatty.

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Additional info

Fewer delays

Time savings from immediate access to asphalt materials which improved productivity.

Reduced carbon footprint

Carbon emissions reduction from lower fuel costs and 40% reduction in deliveries.

Cost reduction

Reduction in wasted asphalt, running costs and part load charges.

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ULTILIFE HOTBOX case studies