Commercial class pavers: Smaller and lighter but more sophisticated than ever
The same holds true with compaction equipment. “It’s difficult to maintain an effective production rate with just one roller behind these pavers,” Hood says. The space and openness of the jobsite and the amount of asphalt to be put down determine the size and number of rollers. Riggi says he typically uses an 8-ton roller for the initial compaction followed by a 2.5-ton roller to remove the lines made by the larger roller.
Wheels vs. tracks
In the commercial paver category, the majority of machines come with rubber or poly pad tracks rather than tires. In the loose or soft soils typically encountered in cart path paving applications, wheels might get stuck, says Rau.
“Most of the contractors want tractive effort,” says Hutchins. “When they’re putting in driveways or parking lots they’re typically dealing with unpredictable sub-bases, where a wheeled machine can sometimes spin.”
The advantage of wheeled designs is that they have faster travel speeds when roading between jobs, and because the tires don’t scuff as much as tracks, they may be preferred on resurfacing applications on paved or improved surfaces.
Grade and slope controls
Most manufacturers offer a variety of grade and slope controls as options. In most cases you can stick with the basic contact design or spec your favorite brand of electronic non-contact controls as a plug and play option. However, some of the smaller gravity fed pavers may not be adaptable to electronic add-ons. And while the variety is there, functionality tends to dominate the market.
It’s easy to apply automation on highway jobs, because you set up once and run straight for long distances, Hood says. “In commercial applications, where you’re twisting and turning and backing up and doing short pulls sometimes you might spend as much time setting up the automation as you do paving.”
One of the most popular highway class features to migrate into the commercial class category in recent years is electric screed heating. Electric heat is popular because of its quick start up, even heating and lack of fumes.
But for large screeds it can require a fairly large engine to provide sufficient horsepower for the generator that creates the electricity, says Hood, which is why it’s less typical on the smaller pavers. Vögele, however, fits all its screeds with electric heat as standard, pairing high efficiency generators with a smaller screed foot print to generate sufficient current with the smaller engines.
Another low cost option, although more rare, is to use the engine exhaust as a way to heat the screed. “It allows the engine do all the work,” Gehl’s Rau says. You can keep it going down to the screed the entire time you are paving and it will not cost you a dime.” Propane systems still dominate the market, but require some maintenance on the seals, gaskets and torches. BR
Tom Jackson is executive editor for Equipment World magazine, a sister publication to Better Roads.
With the introduction of its newest paver the BF6615, BOMAG brought electric screed heat to its lineup. And electric heat will become an option on some of its 85-horsepower pavers by the end of the year, says BOMAG’s John Hood. The new screed heating designs use a cycling system to reduce the load on the genset and thus the engine. The BF6615 also offers fume extraction. All of BOMAG’s pavers put material feed augers on the hydraulic screed extensions (rather than the hopper). As you move the hydraulic extension out you move the auger with it, reducing the need to shovel material out to the ends of the extensions. The new BF6615 has both hopper-mounted augers and the extendable screed-mounted augers. BOMAG has fully electro-hydraulic controls with manual backups to over-ride the electronics in case of a short or electric system problem.
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