2010 Top Rollouts
The year 2010 will be remembered, fondly we anticipate, as a year of transition for the road building industry. This is represented in the range of new equipment that rolled into the marketplace and across the pages of Better Roads and www.betterroads.com over the past year – gear that will both serve contractors and agencies well in the immediate future and position them for an onslaught of expanded product introductions and job opportunities to come in the next few years.
Upon reflection of the year that was, of the hundreds of product introductions reviewed and processed by executive editor Tina Grady Barbaccia and others on the Better Roads editorial staff, 15 caught our eye for their industry significance, their ingenuity, their filling of a market need and/or their just plain ol’ coolness. Keeping the list to 15 – and a unique 15 – is admittedly difficult. It means, for instance, removing tremendous new products that, while key to the construction industry overall, may not necessarily be germane to the road sector.
While today we proudly toast these products and the deserving companies that create, design, manufacture and market them, moving forward we’d like to know how you have been, are or will be, able to use this equipment to complete jobs safer, quicker and more cost-efficiently. Any and all feedback is not only welcome, but encouraged. Please drop us an e-mail at email@example.com or give us a shout at (205) 248-1310.
We likewise are trying to look ahead to an exciting time to come (see American Iron, page 38). In the meantime, let’s celebrate some of the great product developments that are leading us there.
In the pages to follow, we respectfully present our 2010 Top Rollouts.
In the words of Steve Moore, there’s “a sweet spot” for production-class motor graders. And, by increasing engine output and weight, Komatsu is hitting that spot with the newest edition of the GD655 model, says the Komatsu America product manager. “In short, we have made it a much more competitive motor grader in the most popular motor grader class in North America.” Compared to the predecessor Dash-3 model, the new GD655-5 offers 18 additional net maximum horsepower to a total of 218 and, when in standard configuration, about 3,000 more pounds to an operating weight of 35,351. The result of those 9- and 8-percent increases, respectively, is the GD655-5 has “improved its class position” against machines up to 230 horsepower, from previously having to compete from a position at the lower end of the “production class,” the starting line for which Moore defines as being 200 horsepower. “You can blade a lot of roads with 160 horsepower and 32,000 pounds,” he says, “but if you want to go more into production, you’ve got to get to this level. What we’re saying is that this motor grader is now capable of producing at the higher end of the class.” For more information, visit www.komatsuamerica.com/graders-GD655-5.
Once again, as road agencies and contractors balance project safety touch-up needs with the ability to squeeze the most out of available funds, catching attention is an ancillary product positioned for quick, thorough job completion. The new “Jersey” barrier and guardrail paint striping system from EZ-Liner Industries, Ultra Guard, provides a continuous reflective stripe applied directly to existing barriers or guard rails for increased safety on dangerous curves, at entrance and exit ramps, in low-light areas and at work zones. Used in conjunction with Diamond Vogel’s formulated horizontally applied paint and beads, the system is designed to dramatically reduce nighttime accidents, says EZ-Liner. Features include adjustable line widths, a smooth roller system, and parts common to other traffic paint stripers. The system is reversible for bi-directional painting. The paint and bead guns are fed by any of the high-volume, walk-behind, self-propelled, pallet-mounted or truck-mounted striper systems offered by EZ-Liner. For more information, visit www.ezliner.com/ultraguard/ultragurad-main.html.
With the World of Asphalt 2010 introduction of the 8-foot-class AP500E wheeled and AP555E tracked asphalt pavers, Caterpillar has brought larger-paver technology and features to the commercial paving market. The material-handling system on the new Caterpillar pavers uses four individual pumps that enable each conveyor and auger to deliver the exact amount of mix to the screed. The left and right conveyors and left and right augers are controlled independently, ensuring mix demand is met when shifting paving widths. The ability to control these four components separately eliminates the need for feeder gates. The Advisor Monitoring System display provides access to a start-up checklist, operator preferences, and engine and machine operating parameters, as well as the Paving Calculator and the Paving by the Numbers programs. When equipped with the AS2252C screed, the Caterpillar AP500E and AP555E asphalt pavers operate at 33,715 and 35,290 pounds, respectively. For more information, visit www.cat.com/equipment/paving-equipment.
Capable of grinding shoulder and centerline rumble strips, Thomas Grinding’s towable TR-2000-SC can be a versatile, cost-effective addition to the equipment fleet of any road building contractor aiming to keep a lid on project finish tasks, according to the manufacturer. The TR-2000-SC “high-production” rumble strip machine allows road-builders to complete increasingly popular rumble strip requirements, instead of contracting out the work. The ability to churn at up to 130 feet per minute or 1.5 miles per hour (production rate is affected by the hardness of the surface) suits the new Thomas Grinding rumble strip machine for larger projects. A skip option is available, and the machine easily detaches from the tow vehicle. For more information, visit www.thomasgrinding.com/tr2000/.
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