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24 April 2008

The requirement to fit stage IIIA/Tier 3 compliant engines to off-highway equipment in the 130 to 560 kW powerband after 1 January this year has resulted in a plethora of new or updated road construction equipment being launched. Near the top of this powerband is Caterpillar's 403 kW, 27,6 tonne RM-500 Rotary Mixer, which replaces the RM-350B.

Roland Guillermond, marketing consultant compaction and paving products, told CE that,“The RM-500 is a road reclaimer and a soil stabiliser. The former is a popular use of the machine in the US, while the latter is more popular in Africa and Europe.”

While contractors may welcome the increase in power - the RM-500 uses Cat's six cylinder Stage IIIA compliant C15 ACERT engine to generate its 403 kW, while the 373 kW RM-350B used the 3406C DITA - there is a drawback on working and roading speed, which is down from 9,4 and 16,8 km/hour to 4,3 and 9,7 km/hour respectively.

Hamid Lavassani, manager, road construction division, Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME) marketing at Caterpillar, told CE, “Recycling is fast becoming a stronger, more significant market for everybody, both construction equipment manufacturers and contractors.”

No surprises then that there are also new road reclamation/soil stabilisation machines from Bomag, Wirtgen, Rabaud and Panien.

Rabaud's 22,6 tonne Rotostab 525, which has a working width of 2,5 m, also uses Cat's C15 engine. During the working cycle the engine is electronically regulated depending on the cutting depth, 50 to 530 mm, and the soil hardness. According to marketing manager Cyril Brémaud, the rotor speed always takes priority over the machine speed (20 km/hour maximum), which gives a better mix.

Of Panien's three soil stabilisers/recyclers only the Challenger 360 is new. Like the Rotostab 525 it is equipped with an “intelligent performance manager”. Rota Speed Control gives homogeneous mixing, stable grain size distribution and maintains a continuous transfer speed.

Cold Recycling

A Stage IIIA engine, this time Duetz's eight-cylinder, water-cooled 440 kW, TCD2015V08, is also the power behind Bomag's new MPH 125 (24 tonne) stabiliser/recycler. According to the company, the MPH 125 is designed to handle just about any soil stabilisation job by incorporating lime, fly ash or cement, and for use as a recycler for cold recycling of damaged road structures.

The MPH 125 - working depth 550 mm, working width 2,33 m - is, like the Rotostab 525 and the Challenger 360, equipped with an electronic management system. According to Bomag, this optimises output so it can operate continuously at maximum performance without overloading.

Also new for cold recycling applications is Wirtgen's WR 2400 (420 kW, 26,5 tonne) soil stabiliser/cold recycler. It includes some interesting developments for both areas of operation. For stabilisation the all-wheel drive machine features a high ground clearance thanks to its four-fold full- floating lifting column system.

This enables the chassis to “glide” smoothly over rough terrain. All four lifting columns adapt to the terrain dynamically, giving a constant working depth and precise operation.

During cold recycling the microprocessor- controlled injection system for water, emulsion, cement slurry or foamed bitumen meters the quantities added ensuring the “best quality” mix, according to the company. Another feature of interest is the WR 2400's HT11 quick-change toolholder, which improves productivity by reducing down time. Maximum working width is 2,4 m, maximum working depth is 0,5 m.

Wirtgen has also launched new belt scales for large milling machines and surface miners. The scales can be networked with the machine's controls allowing them to exchange data. Available on its W 2000, 2100, 2200 and surface miners, the system measures the sped of the belt and the inclination angle, displaying the information on an easy to use multifunction display.

New Pavers

As well as new engine emission laws a high degree of automation and operator comfort have also impacted on new equipment designs in the paver sector. VöBgele has new versions of two of its most popular pavers, the Super 1900-2 and Super 2100-2, and while both are fitted with Stage IIIA Deutz engines (142 and 182 kW, respectively), they also come with its ‘ErgoPlus' workstation.

According to marketing manager Roland Schug, “ErgoPlus encompasses five innovations allowing our pavers to be operated as intuitively as possible: the operator platform, the operator's control desk and the screwman's lateral console on the screed, the new Niveltronic Plus for automated grade and slope control and a well-thought-out service concept.

“The operator platform is designed with everything arranged according to functionality. The control desk can be displaced over the full width of the platform, swivelled out to the sides and tilted. It can also be swivelled out together with the operator's seat.

“The operator has direct access to all major paver and paving functions, they are operated by push-buttons, arranged logically and clustered in groups according to job site requirements,” said Mr Schug.

Designed for large paving contracts such as trunk roads, racing circuits and motorways both can lay a mat up to 300 mm thick at 25 m/min. The 1900's maximum working width is 11 m, while the 2100 can do 13 m wide stretches.

Ingersoll Rand's new paver, the Titan 7820, is 17,5 tonne machine that can cover widths up to 10 m. Power comes from a Stage IIIA compliant 170 kW Deutz engine. It also features the latest version of Ingersoll Rand's Electronic Paver Management (EPM) II control system.

According to an IR spokesman the clear, logical and intuitive layout of the EPM II control panel, and straightforward menu structure, combines to make controlling and steering the paver simpler than ever. This helps the operator concentrate on maximising the quality of the paving job.

Besides these larger machines there have also been plenty of new, smaller pavers launched this year. Dynapac's two new tracked paver models in its Svedala Demag range - the DF 45 CS and DF 65 CS - have maximum working widths of 3,1 and 4,4 m respectively, making them ideal for use on cycle or footpaths, road widening projects and car parks.

The DF 45 CS has a 5 tonne capacity hopper and is available with two types of screed - a vibrating EB 27-E screed or a tamping EB 28-E screed. The larger DF 65 CS, designed to fill the gap between the new DF 45 CS and the existing DF 85 CS, has a 10 tonne capacity hopper and can be specified with either a EB 34V gas heated vibrating screed or a EB 34TV tamping screed.

Both offer basic widths of up to 1,7 m. Mechanical attachments can be used with the TV screeds to reach a 4,4 m maximum working width.

Elsewhere, Cat has launched two new pavers, the AP-600 (wheeled) and the AP-755 (tracked). The 17,8 tonne, 129 kW AP-600 replaces the Bitelli BB 760, while the larger 29 tonne, 149 kW AP-755 replaces Bitelli's 781.

While both machines use six-cylinder Cat engines, the 3056E ATAAC and 3126B ATAAC respectively, only the AP-755 uses the company's Electronic Control Module (ECM). This provides the operator with a constant stream of information regarding engine performance during the working cycle via an LCD display on the operator's control console.

Paving widths for the AP-755 vary from the standard 2,5 to 3 m, with hydraulic extensions available up to 5,7 m and mechanical extensions up to 9,1 m. The AP-600 has a maximum paving width of 2,55 m. Hydraulic extension up to 5 m and mechanical extensions up to 7,84m are also available.

Urban Environments

Also launching smaller pavers for work in urban environments is Italy-based Antec. Its 6,3 kW, 1,5 tonne PW 1500, uses two rear wheels for traction, while the front wheel is used for steering.

Capable of paving to depths from 5 to 100 mm the PW 1500 uses Antec's R1500 electric, extendable screed, 800 to 1500 mm. According to Sales Manager Aldo Rampi, the company chose electric power because gas is more polluting.

A proportional electro servo-control, mounted on the variable flow pump, allows progressive stop/start, while an electrical plate switch on the conveyor controls the flow of materials.

Mr Rampi also told CE that the PW 1500 is suitable for urban environments, particularly repairs to existing roads, pavements and cycleways. “We've enjoyed considerable success with our smaller machines, particularly in the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal where the level of road reparation work in urban environments is very high at the moment,” added Mr Rampi.

Italian companies appear to have cornered the market in small pavers for urban environments. Also new at the smaller end of the paving sector is Marini's new track mounted MF 223 C. With a working width of 1,4 m to 4 m using extensions, it has been designed for use on small urban projects, housing estates and narrow streets.

Similar to the MF 221, but featuring an electric screed instead of a gas-heated screed, the MF 223 C has a 35,7 kW engine and is capable of laying up to 200 tonnes/hour.

Rental Drivers

While the number of new soil stabilisation/road recyclers and pavers launched in the last few months is impressive, the number of new rollers and compactors is quite staggering. One of the main drivers behind the volume of new, small machines is their popularity in the rental sector.

Leading the way is Hamm, which has expanding its HD series of articulated tandem rollers. At the lower end of the scale, are its HD 8 (1,5 tonnes) and HD 10C (1,7 tonnes).

Both machines suspend the 50 mm offset drums on one side to allow compaction next to vertical surfaces, and the 10C (compact) machine has a drum width of 1 m. Also new is the HD 14 (4 tonne) roller, which has a 1,38 m roller and a 30 kW, water-cooled Hatz diesel engine.

New from Dynapac is the CA134, its smallest self-propelled soil compactor to date. Featuring a high torque, low emission engine, the 5,5 tonne machine is highly manoeuvrable, which, according to Björn Andersson, president international sales, makes it ideal for tight trench applications and popular with rental companies.

Dynapac has also added to its range of small asphalt rollers with the 1,6 tonne CC900S. Described as a ‘single arm model' the right hand side of the drum is clear, allowing it to operate close to a wall or other site obstructions. A drum width of 0,9 m is complemented by a front/rear drum offset of 60 mm.

Dynapac has also launched two new 8 tonne class CG tandem rollers. Featuring a frame without central articulation, but with steering on the drums, the CG223HF is fitted with ordinary High Frequency(HF) drums. The CG233HF is equipped with split HF drums both front and rear.

Extended Range

Bomag, part of the Fayat group since early last year, has extended its Series 4 range of light to medium duty tandem rollers with the 3,2 tonne BW 125 AD-4. It uses a 25,2 kW engine and has a 40-litre diesel tank and 220-litre water tank. This allows it to operate non-stop for up to 10 hours. It also has a two-stage compaction system allowing the frequency to be switched between 50 and 60 Hz.

Moving up the powerbands is Bomag's latest soil compactor, the 35 tonne BC 772 EB. It has the same dimensions as the existing 29 tonne BC 672 EB, but offers more compaction performance due to its greater weight.

Bomag is not the only compaction equipment manufacturer to be acquired recently. Amman bought Czech manufacturer Stavostroj around the same time and has recently launched the AP 240 H. The 24 tonne machine has a 2,04 m compacting width, pneumatic-tyre roller with hydrostatic drive and removable, 3 m3,14 tonne ballast.

Also new is the 12,4 tonne, 2,2 m ASC 130 single drum compactor, which vibrates at frequencies of 30 or 36 Hz and amplitudes of 1 or 1,9 mm.

Expanding Ammann's offering of tandem, articulated rollers are two 10,3 tonne machines, the AV 110 X and 130 X. Two independent hydrostatic pumps drive the vibrating rollers of these 1.7 m working width machines.

New Models

Also offering a new range of machines is UK-based JCB. Following its acquisition of Vibromax in September 2004 the company now offers more than 60 soil and asphalt compactors.

New products include its multi-purpose vibratory compactors, the VM1500 M and the VM1500 F, both of which have an 800 mm working width. The VM 1500 M is manually controlled, while the VM 1500 F is remote controlled.

These are joined by new vibratory tandem rollers (VMT 120 to VMT 950S, 11,5 to 60 KW, 1,9 to 9,6 tonnes), vibratory single drum compactors (VM46D to VM200D, 45 to 129 kW, 4,6 to 19,7 tonnes), towtype vibratory compactors (VM501 and VM651, 27,5 and 35,5 kW, 3,9 and 6,3 tonnes, 1,83 and 2,1 m working width), a rubber tyred roller (VM2400, 78 kW, 24 tonnes, 1,98 m working width) and an asphalt cutter, the TCC 6, which has a working depth of 150 mm.

Also expanding its line-up is Cat. It has launched the second generation three model CB-300 E-Series of asphalt compactors (CB-334E, CB-334E XW and the CB-335E.) With operating weights of 3,94, 4,2 and 3,77 tonnes, respectively, the three machines are capable of compacting working widths from 1,3 to 1,4 m.

All models feature a dual vibration frequency. In addition, operating sounds are reduced in low vibratory frequency, while its standard “auto-vibe” function stops drum vibration when the machine is not in motion.

Also common throughout the E Series is a tapered-bevel drum edge, which avoids marks when working on deep lifts. Service and maintenance, as well as the operator's cab have also been upgraded.

Other new tandem vibratory rollers include Ingersoll-Rand's Alexander DD 95-1 and DD 85-1. While both machines have a working width of 1,68 m and are powered by the same 60 kW engine the DD 95-1 weighs 9,65 tonnes, while the DD 85-1 weighs 8,75 tonnes.

Key to successful operation of both however, according to Richard Owen, marketing manager international, is their easy operation.

“The controls allow the operator to master the rollers very quickly. The symbols and clear layout of the multifunction graphic display make operation simple,” said Mr Owens.

The display is connected by a CAN bus directly to a central control unit - similar to the Electronic Paver Management (EPM) control system on the company's Titan pavers.

“The system helps the operator or service technician to diagnose and correct a fault if one occurs, but in normal operation, the real interest for the operator lies in the electronic roller controls provided by the system,”

In practice, this means precise forward travel, uniform negotiation of bends and controlled offset drum steering.

Ingersoll Rand's EPM is also at the heart of its new MW 500 milling machine. The MW 500 offers milling widths from 300 to 500 mm, a mechanically driven milling drum and Anti-Slip-Control (ASC) as standard.

The company have also launched a new soil compactor, the SD-25. The 2,6 tonne machine, which has a drum width of 1,07 m, is ideal for compacting course and mixed granular soils in lifts of 100 to 200 mm.

This can be increased by fitting the bolt-on padfoot drum, for compacting cohesive soils in lifts of 100 to 150 mm. The SD-25 also comes with a special traction control system: Poclain's fully automatic “Twin-Lock” traction management system. If wheel-spin occurs on one of the drive

Outlook

Expanding rental opportunities and the continued development of Europe's road networks, alongside remediation and rehabilitation are sure to bolster sales of road building equipment. While higher levels of automation and faster, and easier to use compaction analysers will continue to influence future equipment development.

Another key driver will be further engine emissions legislation. As the current Stage IIIA legislation moves down the weight classes before the introduction of Stage IIIB (2011), many smaller machines, especially pavers and compactors, will be updated and modified.

There will therefore be plenty to see at next year's Bauma (Germany) and SAIE (Italy) in 2008.            ce

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