Owner of infrared business in Newport: Potholes are an easy fix
The future of pothole repair lies in infrared technology, he said, but it's taking time for people to fully understand the benefits.
The technology has been hard to sell to state, city and town highway departments, Filion said, but it's catching on fast in Europe and Asia because it saves money in labor and equipment costs, has one-seventh of the carbon foot print impact of a traditional repair and permanently fixes potholes.
Kasi Infrared was started in Claremont about 15 years ago. Filion worked for the previous owner before he purchased it about 10 years ago. The company moved to Newport five years ago to accommodate its growth, he said.
Filion often travels to perform demonstrations of his machines because he refuses to sell anyone a vehicle without training the people who are going to use it.
"With Kasi, when we sell an infrared machine that person becomes part of our family," Filion said.
Kasi recently opened up a manufacturing plant in Hungary and has recently sold two vehicles to Russia.
On the other side of the business is Kasi's contracted infrared services, which has recently been dubbed North American Infrared. His son Jarrod Filion runs this part of the business out of Newport, Bedford and Rutland, Vt., and has built a large clientele in the private sector, including shopping malls and plazas and large restaurant chains.
The technology has been a tougher sell to the public sector in the U.S., though several municipalities in Georgia, Colorado and Tennessee have purchased Kasi Infrared vehicles, while other states like New Jersey contract with companies that use Kasi machines.
The machines run in the $150,000 range, but using infrared technology is more cost effective in the long run, Filion said.
The traditional "saw, cut and fill" approach, he said, often comes undone with the first heavy rain, takes between six to eight workers, and several large vehicles like backhoes and skidders.
The technology, which was invented in the 1950s, uses stainless steel heating panels that give off infrared radiation to warm the area around a pothole. The old layer of asphalt is scrapped off, then hot asphalt is added. It bonds with the already hot asphalt, and a seamless bond is created.
"Once they make that cut, that cut is always going to be there," Filion said. With infrared, "You're not going back every two days or two weeks every time it rains to fill that hole again."
"We here at Kasi Infrared are the largest manufacturer of infrared equipment in the world right now. And hopefully we stay that way," Filion said.
Williams is the facilities manager for Coughlin Inc., which owns 18 McDonald's restaurants in four states: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York.