Varia Versilia Ambiente and Cams in the quest for sustainability

Published 5/10, 2020 at 16:22

Cams Srl is a leading player in RAP recycling, while Varia Costruzioni is a leading public works contractor in Tuscany, Italy. The two companies have been working together in developing environmental protection solutions and technologies.

Cams was founded in 2001, inheriting 40 years of know-how through the acquisition of the TEM brand, a producer of waste crushing plants since 1964. Cams has also been active in research and development, being attentive to meeting the needs of the market with innovative solutions with exclusive patents. In recent years, Cams has dedicated part of its research to asphalt recycling, giving the company the opportunity to start a long term project in collaboration with Alma Mater Studiorum of the University of Bologna. Among the technologies developed specifically for the treatment of asphalt has been the CTR 1200 secondary crusher, which is equipped with teeth specifically designed to create a product with 100% of the bitumen contained in the recovered material. Amongst other innovations, Cams has recently patented at international level a system of mechanical fingers, so called ‘pushers’ that allow the feeding into the grinding vents not only the milled asphalt but also the asphalt slabs. Equipped with knives to reduce the slabs dimensionally and to increase the grip capacity of the counter-rotating shafts, material can be processed that would otherwise be landfilled.


Established public works contractor

Varia Costruzioni was created in 1949 by Onofrio Varia, and is now run by the fourth generation of the family. This has led the company to develop and engage in a constant search for technological advances to provide environmental solutions, with Stefano Varia also being the current president of ANCE Toscana Nord for the provinces of Lucca, Pistoia and Prato. In 2019, Varia Costruzioni celebrated its 70th anniversary and now operates from four production sites: one in Lucca, another in Montebonelli producing recycled aggregates, and two located between Lucca and Pietrasanta. The latter are focused on recycling milled asphalt and the production of bituminous conglomerate, recycling 200,000 tons per year of construction and demolition waste.


Breakthrough meeting

Varia Costruzioni began producing asphalt tar conglomerates, and with Europe making great strides towards a circular economy, the company developed an asphalt recycling system using an existing plant. Once the potential of the system was evaluated, Varia Costruzioni began collaboration with University of Pisa to refine the process. The research in this field led to the company to look for potential partners that could support the development of its mill recycling process, beginning a dialogue with Cams which was selected to be Varia’s strategic partner for the development of its system.

Noticing the growing global focus on waste recovery, Cams has aimed to be a step ahead in trying to improve process efficiency by developing more and more cutting edge technology geared to the production of materials of superior quality and also providing economic return on the purchase of the plant. Stefano Varia further explains why Cams was chosen as its supplier for the treatment of RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement): “The ability of the UTS line of Cams to disrupt the material, bringing the particle size curve back to parameters similar to those of the pre-aggregation and, at the same time, to leave virtually unchanged the bitumen content on the inert. These machines make the grinding process much more efficient than the traditional mixing with hammer mills.”

The partnership led to Cams developing specifically for the Varia companies a system that includes a UTS 1000-2 primary crusher and a two-storey UVS 25/2 screen. The plant is able to provide two finished products of different grain size without producing any waste. Through a conveyor belt system, the oversize material coming from the UVS 25/2 is reintroduced inside the hopper to be further processed to obtain the required size. The high efficiency of the plant both in terms of mixing and screening, allows Varia to put the material directly into the production cycle of the bituminous conglomerate, providing acceptable product specifications.


A solution that respects the environment

Cams now has over 800 customers around the world. As to why they have chosen Cams plant, Andrea Trentini, commercial director of the company, explains: “Our team of engineers and designers has an innate passion for innovation and we vendors never tire of testing them. We work together to satisfy the customer and every new request is answered. We could say that Cams have never come out two equal plants. Every customer, as well as every market, has a different need and we must satisfy it. The endless customisation possibilities that Cams offers allow continuous jumps of quality. At first, we study the environmental protection systems, then develop the machine so that it has the least possible environmental impact.”

The crushers also have low levels of dust emissions and low operating noise being equipped with noise and dust abatement systems to keep them below 75dB. Another ‘green’ aspect is the power supply to the machinery with all being hybrid or electrically powered. In addition, the low speed rotation technology of the crushers' shafts, as well as ensuring the quality of recycled materials, requires very low fuel usage and causes little wear of the components significantly reducing maintenance costs.


The future

Cams technological evolution continues with ‘4.0 Industry’. This uses an electronic weighing system positioned that when unloading materials is able to detect the quantity of material produced and communicate the data to the company servers thereby optimising the logistics of the recycling operation. Through the installation of GPS devices, it is also able to control the systems remotely and provide diagnostics even on machinery located at the other end of the world. “Our technicians travel all year around the world and can reach the customers in a short time, but knowing the problems before the arrival of our experts allows us to reach to the site prepared and already equipped with any spare parts needed, thus reducing the recovery time,” concludes Andrea Trentini. 

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