Innovative Pavement Maintenance Solutions

Written by William Young

Cimline Pavement Maintenance Group began producing pavement maintenance products in 1970, and as of 2020 will have been in business for 50 years as a foremost provider in its industry.

Cimline got its start in pavement maintenance by producing applicator machines that dispensed crack sealant to prevent water ingression and premature damage to roadways. At the time of the company’s founding, this technique was brand new, and as the maintenance method grew in popularity so did Cimline as a brand.

The product offering evolved over time to include pothole patching equipment like spray-injection patching machines and mastic production machines. In addition, the company now designs and manufactures emulsion-storage tanks that are commonly paired with their spray-injection patching units.

Today, Cimline produces a spray-injection patching truck that enables a single operator to patch from the comfort and safety of a cab, using a joystick. Cimline has become known throughout the marketplace for its innovative pavement solutions.

Putting new technology on the road
Director of Sales Ben Thielbar entered the company in January 2011 and was appointed to his current position three years later. He remembers that when he began with the company, there was only one line of melting products and one line of patching products available and the company was struggling to diversify its maintenance-product offering.

This was the spur for the company “to impact the end users and to change the technology in the field,” Thielbar says – in other words, to switch focus to bringing out new and better products.

This initiative, along with a savvy and successful business approach, would boost Cimline from the two main lines that were offered to its dealer network and the end user, to five. Confidence grew at the company. It was not only succeeding as a business but constantly bringing new ideas to the field of pavement maintenance.

In 2019 Cimline launched its second major innovation in as many years with the launch of the MA4 Melter Applicator. The product is capable of several tasks including pavement joint tacking, or joint sealing, making it the first Cimline product to perform preventative maintenance as part of the paving process. These techniques are now being gratefully adopted by those states with harsh winter climates, where there’s a real need for a development of this type.

The MA4 specifically is a trailer unit which makes it easy for a paving crew to adapt to the paving process and doesn’t require a driver with a commercial driver’s license; what’s more, for a paving crew this process prevents them from being constrained by a contractor’s schedule.

Not just what, but how
Cimline’s dedication to innovation and new technology drives its mission of “creating products that extend the life of pavement in a safer, more productive, and less intrusive way”, as Thielbar summarizes it. Consequently, Cimline focuses consistently on the dispensing technology used in pavement maintenance, compared to competitors, many of whom focus their best efforts on the materials that are put onto the roadways.

As a result, Cimline’s machines have emerged as best-in-class leaders in both ease of use and safety. It is currently the number one in the country for trailer-mounted spray patchers and M-series crack sealers, which comprise 70 percent of its business.

So it’s no surprise that, in its 50 years in business, many of Cimline’s technologies have been awarded patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office. More recently, in 2018 Cimline also won the Roads and Bridges Contractor’s Choice award. Thielbar is adamant, however, that the best award – the best form of recognition – is repeat customers, and Cimline’s regular customer base has been consistent in support throughout the company’s five decades.

Dealer partners
Client support and ease of access to its products and services is foremost on the mind of the company’s management, which is why Cimline has aligned itself with reputable dealer partners across the USA to insure that customers are supported with the training, parts, and service they need.

The company works hard to continuously supply its dealer support team with the most accurate, current and relevant information. Cimline’s clientele often reports that its machines are the safest and easiest to use in the market, commenting especially on the low load heights, quiet sound levels, and easy-to-learn control systems. Cimline equipment is famously easy to use and renowned for being the least intrusive to the general public and the end user.

In its core product produced today, the nexus of Cimline’s customer base is governmental bodies from municipal and county to state and federal. In patcher products like the P2, 95 percent of sales are to this sector, whereas in the crack sealer side (with the M1 or M2 crack sealer), the mix can be closer to 60 percent governmental and 40 percent contractor. With new innovations and products in the portfolio such as the MA4 and the C1 these products are directed more to the contractor sale in the pavement preservation market.

The company generally attributes its growth in the contractor market over the last three years to new product innovation and pavement-maintenance process solutions. It’s clear that its offerings are highly rated within the industry.

The biggest challenge for the company in recent history has been the change in the machine-operator’s role, in a general sense. Thielbar observes that, as has happened within many industries in this decade, “the dedication of a workforce to a specific skill is seemingly less prevalent today than it once was.”

Ease of use, ease of mind
With this in mind, it became important that equipment be redesigned to be easy to master and operate, and, above all, safe. Cimline initiated this trend in 2016 by launching its M-Series crack-sealing melters, which are the easiest to use in the industry, and the P5 spray injection one-person patching truck which can be operated remotely from the cab of the truck.

Continuation engineering plays a large role in the company’s support to the dealer network and, more importantly the end user. By making ease of access for its equipment an aspect of its commitment to innovation, Cimline seems poised to overcome one of its biggest challenges.

As Cimline enters its sixth decade, new and innovative products will continue to be the cornerstone of growth for the company. The company’s management is looking forward to the notable construction trade show CONEXPO in March 2020, where Cimline will reveal a third innovation in as many years – as promised in late 2017.

The new products promised three years ago will be just the start of a series of innovations to be unveiled to the industry in the decade to come. Driving these changes, and the evolution of the pavement-maintenance industry, is a particular focus for Cimline.

In addition to introducing new products, it will work to extend its dealer support network so that customers have improved access to product support in any region of the country. In practically every aspect of Cimline’s business model, the people involved come first, be they the end customers or the very people operating its equipment.

This commitment has served the company well in the past 50 years and is likely to see it through for a long time to come.



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