YK Products thought it had a product that could revolutionize road repairs throughout the United States. A research grant through Washington Technology Center proved it to be true and paved the way for this Everett, Washington-based small company to create a new standard in cold asphalt application.
Building off a patented technology, YK Products has secured exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute its proprietary cold-mixed asphalt concrete product in North and South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and China, currently sold in the North America under the name U.S. Cold Patch®.
U.S. Cold Patch® is a fast, permanent, easy-to-use repair material for asphalt and concrete surfaces. What sets Cold Patch® apart from the competition is that is uses recycled asphalt concrete as its main ingredient combined with small amounts of binding material, is an easy-to-apply permanent solution for road repair, and has very low levels of emissions.
U.S. Cold Patch’s® target market includes state and federal transportation agencies, airports, military organizations, municipal and county public works departments, and private companies such as parking lot maintenance firms.
YK Products had been laying the foundation for a successful venture. The company had inroads into its target markets, and production facilities up and running in Puyallup, Washington and Orange, California. YK Products had conducted preliminary testing on their material, but the company was looking for a more comprehensive, objective verification process for their materials to build a stronger case for their product’s performance claims and accelerate their growth into these markets.
A meeting with the City of Seattle’s Solid Waste Division pushed YK Products into action and led them to seek grant money from WTC for their research efforts. The level of volatiles in current cold mix asphalt was causing concern from an environmental and waste management perspective. The City of Seattle approached YK products with an interest in U.S. Cold Patch® and King County was willing to contribute funding for materials testing to evaluate its effectiveness and compliance with environmental regulations.
YK Products and Washington State University were awarded a research grant through WTC’s RTD program to gather independent performance data on its product compared to other products currently in use. Environmental and engineering standards assessments were performed by Washington State University’s Center for Asphalt Technology, a partnership program between Washington State Department of Transportation, the Washington Asphalt Paving Association, and Washington State University.
Professors Tom Papagiannakis and Frank Loge with WSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering headed up the research project, which was conducted using Superpave® testing methods, the highest caliber processes for testing this type of material and only available in a few select facilities in the country. Testing of this level had never been done on a cold asphalt product; it was generally reserved for hot asphalt treatments, which were believed to be the only methods suitable for permanent paving repairs, and therefore the only type to held up to this level of scrutiny.
Dr. Papagiannakis says he was attracted to the project for two reasons. First, that the company was a small emerging venture. And second, the green nature of the product. “Here appeared to be a paving product that was made from recycled material, didn’t require solvents, and was benign to the environment,” Papagiannakis noted.
The project, completed in February 2004, confirmed that U.S. Cold Patch® outperformed other cold asphalt products on the market overall from both engineering and environmental standards, proving to be a robust product with negligible emissions.
Applications & Benefits
For YK Products, the research proved to be a critical factor, especially with reference to establishing performance benchmarks in a comparative/side-by-side test of US Cold Patch® with its competition.
“The credibility factor from this type of research has had tremendous impact on our company’s growth potential,” notes John Ackerman, General Manager for YK Products. “This wasn’t just a small company-funded test. This is legitimate, third-party evaluation at a facility with excellent stature and reputation in this industry.”
“The independent test clearly demonstrated the superiority of YK’s products and identified it as the strongest and best performing cold asphalt on the market as well as being environmentally friendly,” explained Ackerman.
Based on the research results, YK Products is releasing a report to current and potential customers outlining the findings from the study, which the company anticipates will be received favorably and result in increased sales.
The crux of the research has the potential to significantly impact the bulk market, which is the direction that YK Products plans to take. For a bulk market to be viable, a dedicated system needs to be in place to provide YK Products with greater access to the recycled asphalt, which makes up 75% of its product base, in multiple locations. The findings in the research report led to increased inroads into this partnership. YK Products is working with municipalities and the Washington State Department of Transportation to make this happen.
Results from the grant research also featured prominently in the company’s strategic planning efforts, the basis of which is being used to attract key personnel, develop a Quality Control Program to accompany the company’s plans to double its current production capacity by adding two new production facilities in Illinois and New York, and expand its distribution throughout North America.
Related WTC links:
– end of post –