Total Patcher Repairs US Roads With Help From VMAC Air Compressors

April 11, 2016

Originally published April 11, 2016. Last updated May 8, 2024.

Total PatcherPaved roads keep America moving, helping people across the nation easily reach their destinations.  But roads need frequent repairs, making regular road maintenance critical to this movement and sustaining a healthy infrastructure.

Most road damage occurs in the winter, and crews are usually required to wait until spring to make repairs. Aaron Warren and his brother Doug of Total Patcher were set on developing something robust enough to work all year round and easy enough to use that anyone could quickly become safely trained on it.

The Total Patcher business has been built on pushing road construction innovation. Aaron and Doug design and manufacture road patching equipment that makes patching potholes, alligator cracks, shoulder failures and other damage efficient and easy.

When the brothers design their products, they constantly look for ways to deliver more value to their end-users. That motivation inspired the brothers to come up with the Vortex Pothole Patcher and the Total Patcher Road Patchers series, including the Vortex.

The systems are pulled behind a dump truck and produce a spray injection made from the aggregate in the dump truck that creates a permanent road repair for almost any damage and doesn’t require a pavement roller to follow. The worker uses a “wand” hanging from an arm above the worker’s head, making it easy to direct the aggregate and fill the repair. It’s mess-free and easy on the worker’s body.

An air compressor pushes the fluid through the system. Doug and Aaron Warren realized that although their air compressor had adequate performance, it was a potential weakness in an otherwise strong system. They needed something that could handle cold weather or hot weather, run at 100% duty cycle, and had a reputation for longevity—just like the rest of the Vortex.

The Warrens figured out that if they started manufacturing the Vortex with an air compressor that provided more CFM than it needed, they could eliminate another piece of equipment crews use all the time.

Vortex Rotary Air Compressor“All we needed was an air compressor with more capacity,” says Aaron Warren. “However, we didn’t want to add a lot of extra weight and take up more space on the Vortex.”

That’s when the Warrens researched and discovered VMAC air compressor solutions. VMAC had a proven track record working with other OEMs, which met the Warren’s requirements: compact, lightweight, and powerful.

Shortly thereafter, VMAC’s engineers devised a perfect solution for the Vortex: a stand-alone, engine-driven compressor with 60 CFM at 100 psi, providing the extra CFM for road crews require to run their air tools as well.

“The compressor provides extra air, which crews can always use, but it also decreases maintenance requirements,” Aaron points outs. “It’s one less piece of machinery to keep in working order because it eliminates what most crews have: a stand-alone diesel drive air compressor. That makes a difference, saving time, money, and downtime.”

He says crews have come up with more ways to use the extra CFM than he ever thought possible. Lots of workers have also used it to streamline their practices, getting jobs done faster than they did before.

“We have heard of applications where one guy walks in front of the dump truck with a jack hammer running off the air compressor on the Vortex. He breaks up the road, and the guy behind comes along with the Vortex and fixes it,” Aaron explains.

Since no roller is required, the job is done.

He says VMAC was also great to work with throughout the project.

“It was a good experience. Nice people, easy to work with, willing to do what it took to get the job done,” says Aaron. “The engineers we worked with know their stuff.”

In fact, the system took some redesigning. Initially, it was built with a Kubota engine, but after about a year of selling the Vortex with this engine, the Warrens decided they needed to change the engine.

“The Kubota engine vibrated too much for our use in this application,” Aaron says. “So, the team worked with us to develop the same application but using a John Deere 4045 engine and the system has been great ever since. This newly designed equipment has proven to be far more reliable, which resulted in far less field visits to repair the equipment.”

Aaron was impressed by VMAC’s willingness to go back to the drawing board. “They worked with us until it was perfect.”

Total Patcher and VMAC have a lot in common, which made the project a natural fit. Both manufacture powerful, application-driven equipment. Both started as family businesses. Both are run and staffed by people who have a deep love of all things with engines.

“We were born gearheads,” says Aaron.

But, above all that, both have a passion for challenging the status quo.