Barrett's Road to Innovation: NovaChip®

NovaChip® was developed in the late 1980s and was first introduced to the United States in 1992.

NovaChip®/Ultra Thin Bonded Wearing Course is an exclusive pavement process utilizing a self-priming paver that applies an ultra-thin, gap-graded hot mix wearing course over a polymer-rich asphalt emulsion. This process rapidly secures the wearing course to the existing surface resulting in minimal traffic delays.

Born Overseas

Originally developed by SCREG Routes in 1988, the NovaChip® machine used a third-party concept based off of the Microsurfacing machine frame. The first patent for this development was filed in 1989. The process was developed to improve pre-coated chip seals hence the name, NovaChip® which roughly means “the new Chip Seal.”

Timeline in the States

  • 1991 – FHWA Tour in Europe to visit Novachip projects
    • FHWA agrees to facilitate demos in the U.S.
    • U.S. patent filed
  • 1992 – First trials with the help of the FHWA in (1) Montgomery, AL, (2) Columbus, MS, and (3) Braunfels, TX for a total of 350,000 square meters
  • 1993 – License signed with Midland Asphalt in Tonawanda, NY
    • Midland’s first project was on Starr Road in Wyoming County
    • SCREG and Midland had long established relations through the Midland Mixpaver they had been using for many years
    • Midland is granted a license to develop their own equipment
    • The NovaPaver is developed on the frame of the Mixpaver
  • 2000 – Barrett Industries acquires Midland Asphalt Materials Inc., and thus, the NovaChip process!

The Process

The process involves spraying a heavy layer of polymer-modified asphalt emulsion within inches of the application of the hot mix asphalt. The NovaChip®/Ultra Thin Bonded Wearing Course can be placed as thin as 0.5 inches (12.5 mm) to 1.5 inches (38 mm) thick. The emulsion cools quickly and bonds the asphalt to the pavement rapidly. Compaction is the final step in this process. The newly paver placed surface treatment can be reopened to traffic within 100 yards of compaction completion.

An Industry Innovation

NovaChip was an innovation to the entire paving industry. Barrett Industries viewed this innovative process, along with others that Midland was offering at the time, as something that set them apart from the competition. By acquiring Midland Asphalt, Barrett not only inherited a great group to add to the Barrett Family but also a treasure trove of new and innovative Pavement Preservation processes.