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Concrete pavers encompass a range of types, including form-riding paving machines, curb-and-gutter machines, and slipform machines.
Form-riding pavers ride on metal forms that set the boundaries of the paved surface; a typical application for these machines is bridge-deck paving, and the machine typically employs rollers that move transversely over the surface to finish the concrete.
The most widely used machine for paving concrete roadways is the mainline slipform paver, which extrudes a paved surface without the use of forms. Curb-and-gutter machines are a type of slipform paver that can use variously shaped molds to place other than flat surfaces, such as curbs, roadway median barriers, and bridge parapets
The slipform process for mainline machines involves first placing fluid concrete in front of the machine, which, as it advances, uses augers to spread the concrete uniformly across the surface to be paved. A strike-off plate levels the concrete and removes excess material, and multiple, hydraulically driven vibrator tubes (and sometimes mechanical tamper bars) consolidate the concrete. Mainline slipform pavers often also have a dowel-bar inserter, a mechanism that automatically vibrates dowel bars into position to serve as load-transfer devices across pavement joints. Profiling molds (or pans) at the rear of the paver then set the finished grade and elevation of the consolidated concrete, and a finishing mechanism creates an initial texture for the surface.
Many mainline pavers automatically change paving widths without stopping the paving process, eliminating the time-consuming task of mechanically adding or deleting sections of the various paving elements.