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Wirtgen 2100s Prove to be ’Blessing’ for Angel Brothers

Sat June 26, 2004 - West Edition

A major Houston-area road contractor is using its big Wirtgen W 2100 and 2100 DC cold milling machines to bring home the bacon and leverage bonus payments for early completion.

Angel Brothers Enterprises Ltd. paves hot mix asphalt (HMA) and portland cement concrete (PCC), in addition to other business in the petrochemical industry.

But the company looks to its W 2100 and older 2100 DC to cold mill tons of aged asphalt off Texas streets and highways, keeping critical projects moving and the firm in the black.

Recently, for the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), Angel Brothers executed a night project, the Katy Freeway (I-10 between Beltway 8 and I-610 West). Angel Brothers used both machines to tandem-mill 4 in. (10 cm) deep.

“The hours we could work were limited,” said Glenn Angel, president of Angel Brothers Enterprises Ltd. in Baytown, TX. “We could only close the freeway from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., but we had both machines out at night and we finished the project ahead of schedule by 29 days.” As a result, Angel Brothers enjoyed a substantial bonus payment for early completion.

A Diversified Contractor

Angel Brothers began in 1972, serving the oil industry. The firm diversified into fuels and construction and now is a major concrete and asphalt paver.

“Today we own three asphalt plants, in Baytown, downtown Houston and one in Katy on the west side,” Angel said. The firm has four asphalt pavers and employs about 250.

In addition to Glenn Angel, the firm is owned and operated by his brothers Greg and Gary Angel. “Our family name is associated with each project, and we make sure that the name ’Angel’ means quality craftsmanship,” Angel said.

The majority of all work is done by Angel Brothers’ own staff and equipment. “By minimizing the amount of subcontracting on a project, we remove many of the unknown elements that might prevent a project from being completed correctly and on time,” he said.

In addition to concrete paving and asphalt milling and paving, the firm undertakes underground utility work like storm drainage, water lines and sanitary sewer lines, and earthwork such as clearing and grubbing and soil stabilization and base material placement.

Angel got into cold milling of asphalt in the early 1980s, Angel said. “The market changed in 81-82,” he noted. “Back in the 1970s, when we first started, cold mills weren’t used that often. As they improved the market progressed.”

In doing so it changed the way work was undertaken. “In Harris County [TX] we do a lot of reconstruction of two-lane asphalt roads and making them into boulevards,” Angel said. “Digging them up with a backhoe did not cut it. Now we can mill them up and salvage the material.”

Angel Brothers also retains its reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP). “It goes back into all our mixes,” Angel said. “Every government we supply mix to allows RAP in mixes.” Separately, Angel uses crushed demolition concrete as base material, when permitted.

Stable Four-Track Design

In the milder Houston climate Angel Brothers works the year around, so productivity and uptime are paramount. And, according to Angel, one key to the W 2100’s productivity is its four-track design.

“The W 2100 is a four-leg machine,” Angel said. “We prefer four legs to the three-leg machines. In the areas in which we use them the four-legged machines serve our purposes better. We don’t have to worry about them tipping over in unconsolidated soils.

“I’ve seen too many three-legged machines laid over,” said George Jordan, Angel Brothers general superintendent. “But Wirtgen’s been good in that regard.”

The current machines are only the latest in a series of Wirtgens that Angel Brothers has purchased after moving from a competing brand.

“Our first machine was a 40-inch mill, a VC 1000,” Jordan said. “The Wirtgen was brought down for a demo and I fell in love with the machine. Despite the power it had, it was as quiet as it could be. Its production and horsepower was so much superior to what we had. And after we decided on the Wirtgen, all the other contractors started contacting me and now some of them have Wirtgens as well.”

The DC is a 6.5-ft. (2 m) drum, and the W 2100 is a 7.5-ft. (2.3 m) drum.

“When you run a machine down the highway, we can get a 12-foot lane in two passes,” Jordan said. “If you have a shoulder to mill you can get the lane and the shoulder, too. That’s why we want to run a little-bit wider machine for that. And if you put them both together, you can cut 14 feet at once. On several occasions we run them in tandem.”

Keep Welder Off Job Sites

According to the company, to keep its machines productive, Angel Brothers sticks with Wirtgen replacement teeth from Rhino Parts.

“A big advantage of the Wirtgen machines is being able to replace teeth without a welder on the project,” Jordan said. “When teeth were welded-in we tended to leave them in a little bit too long, and would have to take the holders out as well. Now, changing teeth as often as you want is no longer a problem,” he noted.

“Any time you put a machine to chewing rock, you’re going to need maintenance,” Angel said. “But the maintenance required on both our Wirtgens is minimal compared to what we did with our previous machines. Also, when we need parts, Wirtgen is very good in terms of parts and product support. But very seldom do we have to send a mechanic out in the field for one of these mills.”

But there’s another part of it too, Angel said. “We do extensive preventive maintenance,” he said. “When we get caught up with the mills, we will bring them into the shop to keep them in first class shape. That’s why the oldest mill we have runs just as good as the newest.”

To keep his mechanics on top of their game, he sends them to Wirtgen classroom training at Wirtgen Group North American headquarters in Nashville, TN, as needed.

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(This article appears courtesy of Wirtgen Technology.)