HEAT DESIGN EQUIPMENT

Each winter, Canadian roads take a beating. Snow, ice, salt, and snow plows contribute to their deterioration. As winter fades and the asphalt appears from beneath the melting slush, the roadways are inevitably riddled with cracks, gapes, and holes.

For years, contractors and local governments wished that there were some sort of paving and patching methods to fix these cracks and ensure they are less likely to reappear. Fortunately, now there are. Heat Design Equipment (HDE), located in Kitchener, Ontario, manufactures unique infrared heaters designed to patch and mend asphalt roads. Standard techniques replace the asphalt in the problem area with cold, uncompacted asphalt. The lack of tight compaction and/or heat used in the technique increases the likelihood of water seeping into crevices, freezing under cold temperatures, and causing more cracks and holes. HDE’s patented technology heats and reworks the existing asphalt, recompacting it in place with seamless, water-tight joints. The entire process not only recycles existing material, but is also significantly faster and longer lasting than traditional patching techniques.

Bob Kieswetter, president and founder of HDE, is an expert in the gravel business. He came across an early version of infrared heating technology in the mid-1990s. In 1996, Kieswetter acquired the patent for this technology, and began manufacturing infrared heaters purposed to construct and pave new roads. Further development in the field by HDE led to the development of infrared heaters designed to repair problem areas in asphalt roads. In 2002, Kieswetter left the gravel business entirely in order to focus on the manufacturing and marketing of HDE’s equipment.

HDE’S TECHNIQUE AND TECHNOLOGY ARE TRULY UNIQUE.

Although there are virtually no manufacturers of hot, compacted paving methods in Canada, and only a few U.S. manufacturers competing on the types of products that HDE sells, the company’s biggest challenge is gaining the trust of contractors and expanding its customer base. Contractors and municipalities are often hesitant to experiment or invest in new technologies. However, through extensive research and marketing, HDE has experienced increased sales in recent years.

HDE’s products include hotbox reclaimers (storage containers for asphalt), infrared asphalt maintenance vehicles, and patching trailers. Its sister company, Infrared Pavement Repair Corporation, provides repair services using HDE’s equipment, as well as training sessions on HDE products. HDE’s equipment and technique can be used for most asphalt roads across many countries. Currently, most of its Canadian sales are within Ontario, with some in Eastern Canada. Several cities in Southern Ontario—including Hamilton and Waterloo—have adopted the HDE paving technique for new road construction.

Roughly 50 per cent of HDE’s sales are exports to countries such as the United States, England, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Peru. Its customers include municipalities, parks, and large maintenance and paving contractors.

HDE is an active participant at construction- and paving-related trade shows and expos. Kieswetter sends a team of employees to roughly 15 trade shows each year. It was at an expo that HDE acquired its most famous customer to date: the White House. Under the Bush administration (2001–2009), a request went awry to pave an antique-looking road that was seven lanes wide with camel-coloured asphalt. Repairs to the road would have cost upwards of $2 million. Using traditional methods, the existing pavement would have had to be removed, and seven new pavers required to lay the road (since previously used pavers would have been stained black from regular asphalt, and the dark tint would ruin the lighter colour of the requested asphalt). HDE was able to repair the problem using the existing asphalt within a shorter time frame, and at a substantially lower cost.

HDE’s approximately 25 employees have backgrounds in mechanical engineering and industrial trades. Over the past several years, the company has informally hired co-op students from engineering and trades programs at local educational institutions, including Waterloo University and Conestoga College. Kieswetter hopes to continue HDE’s relationship with these schools, and eventually establish a regular and formal co-op program at the company.

Kieswetter describes the manufacturing possibilities for infrared technologies as limitless. HDE has completed numerous custom jobs building special infrared tools. For example, the New York State Parks Commission purchased a custom infrared weed killer, and another customer purchased a custom infrared insect-killing tool.

FOR NOW, KIESWETTER PLAN IS TO KEEP HDE’S FOCUS ON ITS PRIMARY PRODUCT LINE, GAIN FURTHER CUSTOMERS, AND EXPAND MORE BROADLY INTO GLOBAL MARKETS.

In early 2016, the company underwent an expansion and moved locations within Kitchener—from Bleams Road to Union Street. The HDE team is in the process of developing a mini-asphalt manufacturing plant using 100% asphalt waste. The asphalt will be produced using infrared as opposed to flame heat. The final product will be used by HDE in its services, sold to customers, and used in research and development. Kieswetter hopes to have parts of this project ready for display at the company’s next major trade show. For HDE, the road to future success—and the future of Canada’s roads—looks smooth.

Discover more about HDE by visiting their website.

Company Profile

Company Description

Overview

Heat Design Equipment Inc. (HDE) manufactures infrared heaters for asphalt construction and repair using patented, state of the art technologies. HDE’s infrared system allows for a unique variety of processes including asphalt repair, joint sealing decorative asphalt and surface drying.

Key Facts

Headquarters: 1197 Union St., Kitchener, ON, N2H 6N6

Facility size: 20 000 sqft.

Executives:

  • Bob Kieswetter, President and founder
  • Matt Kieswetter, Technical Sales
  • Larry Hackbart, Municipal & Contract Sales
  • Rob Holden, Export Manager

Year established: 1976

Number of employees: 25

Line of business

NAICS:

333120 – Construction Machinery Manufacturing

333416 – Heating Equipment & Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing

541420 – Industrial Design Services

Products

Infrared asphalt heating equipment

  • Used for asphalt pavement patching, longitudinal joint heating and pre-heating for cold weather paving
    • Infrared asphalt maintenance vehicles and patching trailers
    • Asphalt recyclers and attachments
    • Hot box reclaimers/storage containers
    • Pneumatic tire heating systems
    • Mini asphalt heaters
  • Provides Canadian and American financing services
  • Equipment specific training services on-site and at the HDE facility
    • Application training
    • Operator training
    • Maintenance training

Markets

Applications:

  • Infrared crack repair
  • Asphalt joint heating and repair
  • Thermoplastic Installation
  • Cold weather paving
  • Micro-trenching utility repair

Customers:

Customers include: Municipalities, large maintenance contracts, White House (under Bush administration)

Exports:

Mainly exports to the United States.  50% of sales are domestic, and 50% sales are exported.

R&D, Skills and Educational needs

Skills: mechanical engineers, computer engineers, technicians, machinists, welders

Education: HDE hires Co-Ops from the University of Waterloo

R&D:

  • HDE patented system
  • Continue to develop the HDE heater-Studies have proven the benefits of it in increased savings for airport pavement

History

In the mid-1990s, Bob Kieswetter, current president and founder of HDE, came across an early version of infrared heating technology. In 1996, Kieswetter acquired the patent for this technology, and began manufacturing infrared heaters purposed to construct and pave new roads. Further development in the field by HDE led to the invention of infrared heaters designed to repair problem areas in asphalt roads. In 2002, Kieswetter entirely focused on the manufacturing and marketing of HDE’s equipment.

Competitive Environment

Competitors

HDE has 3 main competitors in the United States. Competitors are competing on price and quality of products

Partnerships

  • No formal partnerships with educational institutions, but does recruit from nearby colleges/universities

SWOT Analysis

Strengths:

  • Infrared technology saves time, money and resources and is more environmentally friendly that traditional asphalt patching methods
  • Leader in longitudinal joint heating to create seamless joints
  • Active participant in trade shows in the field – pushing to stay current and innovate

Weaknesses:

  • Little interaction with government

Opportunities:

  • Looking forward to expanding
  • HDE is currently developing a mini asphalt plant with infrared technology

OTHER PROFILES