Opening day notes from Intermat

Intermat is the French equivalent of our Con-Expo, a huge heavy equipment and construction tradeshow, and is being held this week in Paris. Better Roads editor John Latta is there and had these observations from the opening day:

–As has been the case for a few years now Chinese companies are present in abundance at Intermat in Paris. Clearly a lot of time and effort went into translating from the original into French. Some companies also have an eye on the English speaking market including the US. Memo to senior execs back in China: an accurate literal translation is not always adeqaute; remember the Chevy Nova. Big ad banners and printed material here for a company called WHITE ELEPHANT.
–A Swiss company known for working with biomasses has brought a new plant to Intermat that uses an old process to cut asphalt plant costs by    according to them   up to 35 percent. Solenia ( is using pyrolysis to fuel a plant that produces hot  dry agregate from an input of milled asphalt. Pyrolosis is a thermo chemical process that decomposes the bitumen in the milled asphalt at high temperatures; typically 450 degrees Celsius; in a controlled environment in the absence of oxygen. Oils and gasses  produced by the decomposing bitumen are used as the plant`s energy. So as long as there is at least 4.6 percent bitumen in the milled asphalt the process is self sustaining; that is the energy cost is nil. Apart from high quality hot dry aggregate the process also creates heat which can be diverted to other asphalt plant energy needs. Of course no bitumen is saved in the process.
–All the big iron at trade shows is interesting. Some of it surprises with an unexpected WOW fqctor. But we all like to find something around a corner that litterally makes you feel like a kid again. I found one at Intermat: the Watermaster. It`s a Finnish machine and it is so cool.It`s essentially a backhoe that can walk into the water cruise to a work site out on a pond or river or even into shallow coastal water   anchor itself and go to work. It can also lift itself up and allow a flatbed trailer to simply slide under it. When can I have one I asked. Sorry said the Finnish salesman but this machine works in navigable waterways and US law says anything that does that must be Made in America. Check it out at