However, that’s where the similarities stop. Read on to learn more about the differences between asphalt hot boxes vs. asphalt patch trucks and which one is right for your application.
How Hot Boxes Work
Hot Boxes come in various configurations, capacities, and options.
- The Dump Box has two hydraulic cylinders that raise the hopper and allow easy asphalt offloading.
- The Trailer offers a more economical solution, especially when built with only one burner.
- The Mini is a scaled-down version of the trailer and increases flexibility. It can go where larger asphalt repair equipment cannot, such as golf course paths, bike paths, and nature trails.
Onboard propane or diesel burners fire into the box and keep the material at an optimal temperature. This helps prevent the asphalt from cooling and can hold it overnight.
Pros and Cons of Hot Boxes
There are several advantages to using a hot box. For starters, they can keep asphalt material warmer for longer when it’s cold outside. Compared to a traditional dump truck, hot boxes have a much lower shoveling height, reducing operator fatigue and increasing productivity. They also help solve some of the biggest problems in patching potholes.
Hot boxes also cost far less than patch trucks. However, there are a few minor downsides, such as requiring regular maintenance to ensure that they’re in optimal working condition. You’ll also need to keep them plugged in and tuned up.
How Patch Trucks Work
A standard patch truck uses an auger delivery system that belt-feeds the asphalt to the operator. One of several types of burner systems is used to keep the material at the optimum temperature.
Depending on the manufacturer, a patch truck can come with several features, such as three to six-cylinder asphalt hoppers, heat transfer oil system, or dry radiant heat system. There are truck chassis or trailer-mounted options as well.
Pros and Cons of Patch Trucks
Patch trucks offer everything you need in one location, so there’s no need for multiple trailers. This provides an advantage for smaller crews while enabling them to get the job done without additional support. They’re also nice to have in tight city areas where pulling around a trailer could present logistical challenges.
However, there are several downsides to patch trucks. Many manufacturers build very complex systems that require ongoing maintenance and repairs. The auger belt delivery system is not ideal as it can easily break down.
Patch trucks also cost significantly more than hot boxes, which means it will take far longer to realize a return on your investment. If the patch truck goes down, your entire patching operation system goes down with it—and that can lead to significant losses until repairs are made.
Asphalt Hot Box or Asphalt Patch Truck?
There are many things you’ll need to consider when it comes to making an informed buying decision. While patch trucks offer an all-in-one package, you might be restricted by manpower and budget.
Hot boxes offer far greater flexibility, and you can add or retrofit them with a wide range of valuable options, such as an asphalt rejuvenating system, compaction equipment, and warning and safety lights.
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