The resurgence in new home construction and subdivision building has meant increased sidewalk and curb and gutter work for contractors, and concrete paver manufacturers have answered the call with equipment well suited for the tasks.
Also, older sidewalks and curbs continue to deteriorate, just like older roads. When the sidewalks and curbs are not repaired one slab at a time, it’s time to deploy the curb and gutter machines and multi-application slipform pavers, just like in new construction.
“It’s very reassuring to see that sector of the market gaining strength,” says Kent Godbersen, VP of worldwide sales and marketing for GOMACO. “For us, it’s not just curb and gutter, it’s also sidewalk paving in new subdivisions as well as rehab work in existing neighborhoods. We have seen increased demand across the entire U.S. and Canada.”
The company’s paver line for curb and gutter applications ranges from a small ribbon curb machine weighing in at 2,700 pounds up to larger, multipurpose machines that can weigh 30,000 pounds or more. Many of the models can perform other paving jobs, as well. “These machines are not just curb and gutter machines,” Godbersen says. “They’re built for versatility and a variety of applications.
Among them is the “next generation” Commander III multi-application slipform paver introduced at Conexpo last year; one of its first contractor applications was sidewalk construction.
The Commander III is manufactured for slipforming structures such as curbs and gutters, monolithic sidewalks, barrier walls, bridge parapets, irrigation canals, and 20-foot-wide slabs.
For Conexpo, the unit was redesigned to include the company’s proprietary G+ control system, and Tier 4 engines. The frame was redesigned to accommodate the new engine and cooling packages, and the operator’s platform was outfitted with a pivoting control console that allows the operator to have hands-on control and visibility regardless of the direction of travel. An optional on-board camera can survey designated areas of the slipforming process, and it feeds live to the G+ display on the console.
Guidance from above
Godbersen says he is seeing a lot of interest in its G+ control system and 3D machine guidance. “We’ve been putting 3D systems on our equipment since 1999 and we have a close working relationship with the three major suppliers of 3D guidance, Topcon, Leica Geosystems, and Trimble,” Godbersen says. “We’re able to provide our contractors with the best system for their project, whether it’s tight radii island paving in a parking lot or a new bike path through a residential neighborhood.”
Stringless paving has been finding its way down from highway work to more curb and gutter and sidewalk applications than ever. Godbersen says all the company’s machines in the category can be equipped for stringless applications.
“The G+ control system has an entire library of sensor capabilities for controlling slope, grade, and steer with set-up configurations for any project requirement,” Godbersen says. “This includes paving with 3D guidance systems. It’s as simple as connecting with G+ Connect to the G+ control system, and it recognizes the 3D system and communicates with them.”
First, a 3D design file of the project has to be created. Contractors load the design file into their 3D system’s computer mounted on the GOMACO machine. “G+ Connect allows the two control systems, the machine’s G+ controller and 3D computer, to talk to each other,” Godbersen explains.
“The operator on the machine simply has to choose from a map on the computer where he wants to pave on the project. A display screen on the 3D control system shows the operator where he’s at on the project and lets him know that he’s positioned correctly,” Godbersen says. “Total stations or laser transmitters and a GPS base station, depending on the 3D system being used, are positioned on the site and oriented to site control points. The instruments will communicate with the paver to provide position information, which is used for guidance.”
Wirtgen (sidebar), Guntert & Zimmerman, and Power Curbers also offer models capable of stringless work.
Advice for fleet managers
To increase utilization and return on investment, it’s a good idea for managers to consider the machines that are expressly built for versatility and multiapplication paving. Also look for manufacturer and dealer partners that provide the most options.
“There are several considerations that must be dealt with to select the right machine for your company and your workload,” Godbersen says. “Factors include the size and types of the applications they’ll be slipforming; the locations of their projects and whether it’s mostly residential work in existing subdivisions with tight-clearance considerations or new developments with wide open spaces; tight radii curb and gutter; and more.
“Our machines feature All-Track Positioning so the machine can be easily configured for different applications or unique job site logistics,” Godbersen says. “All-Track Steer gives contractors the ability to steer all three tracks of their machine for accurate steering control when pouring different applications.”
Godbersen says his company also provides customized options for contractors during the outfitting of their equipment. “Do they prefer a conveyor or an auger for concrete loading into the hopper? Also, we have different curb depressors for driveway cutouts, which help eliminate concrete waste on projects, as well as vertical lifting and side-shifting trimmer heads and molds to avoid obstacles and reduce handwork,” he says.