Now firmly established as road-building technologies, cold milling and the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement have placed the providers of milling machines in a good position at this time.
"There's pent-up demand out there," says Eric Baker, marketing manager with construction equipment manufacturer Roadtec. "The stimulus package has helped a little bit, especially in the mills, because a lot of that work that has been 'shovel-ready' as they call it, and that they can get up and going quickly, is mill-and-fill-type work. So, there's been a good demand especially for the larger machines – the half-lane and above. Basically, even with the down economy, we're holding steady with what we've seen in the past."
Roadtec, an Astec company that also manufactures pavers, material transfer vehicles and stabilizers, offers tracked milling machine models in four sizes. From smallest up, the product line starts in the 4-foot-cutting-width market with the utility/commercial RX-400 and works up through the half- and full-lane markets with the RX-500, RX-700 and RX-900 models each available in three or four-track configurations. "We do best with large contractors," says Baker, "and they tend to be doing a lot of this work."
At the large end of the spectrum in terms of model size, Roadtec competes with Wirtgen and Terex Roadbuilding. Moving down in model size to the largest single market segment, consisting of half-lane milling machines, the roster of players expands to include Bomag, Caterpillar, Dynapac and Volvo.
With upwards of 20 model sizes and configurations, Wirtgen America runs the gamut in terms of offering milling machines, or cold planers as some marketers call them, ranging from the 14-inch-cutting-width wheeled W 35 up to the full-lane tracked behemoth W 2200 / 12.
"You still have custom milling guys today who will have anywhere from 10 to 20 machines, some of them more than that, who will have a range of machines all the way from the ones that cut around manholes that cut 12 or 14 inches wide right through to the big 12-foot- and 14-foot-wide milling machines," says Jeff Wiley, senior vice president, responsible for sales and marketing over the Wirtgen product line. "The reason why is so they become a complete supplier. If you have a prime contractor who wants somebody to bid milling work, they want to be able to offer the whole supply of different widths, different cuts, different applications to one milling source."
An advantage to having a wide number of cold planers, says Wiley, is being able to ask customers up front exactly what they intend to do with the machines – and where and why – and then being able to match those customers to the correct model. "If you have a guy who's going to be cutting on I-80 that goes across North America and he's going to be doing 8 or 10 inches deep of solid asphalt all day long, we tend to shift him into a 700- to a 900-horsepower machine," he says. "If he's going to be doing an inch-and-a-half on city streets, we tend to shift him into a 500- to a 600-horsepower machine." And, adds Wiley, with four models with assorted configurations covering the half-lane class alone, each at different weights, particular jurisdictional transportation issues can be addressed right at the selling point.
Above all, says Baker, milling-machine customers demand responsive equipment. "Reliability is always number one," he says. "Someone once told me, 'You can be the fastest guy in the race, but if you don't finish, it doesn't matter.' So, they definitely look for the reliability. A lot of these jobs now are mill-and-fills, so you're only as good as your weakest link. If your mill stops, then the whole road-building operation stops."
Roadtec strives, says Baker, to keep the road between the factory and the jobsite . . . well . . . as straight and simple as possible. Ease of machine maintenance is key. "If something does go wrong, you can troubleshoot it easily out on the jobsite. We don't use a lot of CAN-bus-type setups because, while they are reliable, if something does go wrong, it can be hard to troubleshoot," he says. "For the most part, all the main functions that you need to operate the machine are directly wired. With analog voltages, you can easily get a multimeter out, test the voltages right then and start troubleshooting, if you did have a problem."
Within a market considered specialized with a limited number of players, a new name has emerged.
The models may have familiar nomenclature, but the branding of Volvo's first two milling machines is significant, says Patrick Wakefield, Volvo Construction Equipment's segment manager for milling. The MW500 is a utility-sized wheeled milling machine; and the MT2000 is a half-lane tracked unit. "Volvo wanted these products to be true Volvo products," says Wakefield. "We took some time and made sure they met all of Volvo's criteria for launching a product: Very rigorous field testing; all kinds of preparation as far as being able to support the product; service manuals for the machines, which is something Ingersoll Rand did not do at the time. Those sorts of things that Volvo has as criteria prior to putting a machine into the market, we were able to accomplish in that time."
The most notable enhancement is the offering of three distinct engine and drum cutting speeds on the MT2000.
"The feedback has been positive, not only on the performance and reliability of the machine and what it brings to the marketplace, but also the fact that the Volvo brand and the Volvo dealer network is there to stand behind this class of machine. That is one thing that this acquisition brought – the powerful brand and the powerful dealer network to our products."
For Volvo, the offering of cold milling machines fits into a road-building product family. "What that does is allow us to be more of a total solutions provider, now offering milling along with the paving, compaction and grading equipment," says Wakefield. "It's been some time in the coming to get that product developed, but now it lets Volvo round out that product line. That's important for meeting the needs of our contractors, many of whom are involved in all of those different businesses."
Two models – one utility, one mainstream; one wheeled, one tracked – does build anticipation in the marketplace for more Volvo milling machine models. "I believe they can expect that," says Wakefield. "I can't say at this time when, and where, and which models, but we do have plans for a well-rounded product line to meet the needs of the different kinds of contractors. The 500 is more of a utility-size machine for cleaning up city streets and a lot of utility and trenching work, where the 2000 is a very versatile machine for your larger projects. There are some other classes that we do plan to participate in."
From the perspective of a company already established in all size classes, there are challenges ahead regardless, says Wirtgen's Wiley. "In my opinion, where does the industry go from here is basically 'Think Green' technology, having an energy-saving machine," he says. "Looking to the future with at least the same horsepower, if not more, but conserving energy, so you have a machine that is going to be giving you the productivity but is going to be more energy-efficient."
With the few models of milling machines over 750 horsepower lagging behind their Tier-3-compliant smaller brothers, due to a lack of product from the engine makers, it is possible those large machines may end up jumping from Tier 2 to Tier 4, Wiley says.
Milling machines are, indeed, becoming more productive, says Baker. "The automation on the mills has greatly improved," he says, pointing out that at one time many millers were focused solely on re-establishing grade. "Now they're looking at it as more of a smoothness opportunity. They can average and take out any bumps with the mill and achieve a much smoother surface and then even further build on that when you go to do the paving."
A good position to be in, indeed.
|The Cost of Ownership|
|Cutting Width||List Price||*Hourly Rate|
|* Hourly rate is the monthly ownership costs dived by 176, plus operating costs. Unit prices used in this calculation are diesel fuel at $2.20 per gallon, mechanic's wage at $46.29 per hour, and money costs at 5.625 percent.|
|Source: EquipmentWatch.com, phone 800/669-3282|
|Wheel-Mounted Pavement Millers|
|Up to 25.9"||$168,280||$112.08|
|26.0 – 49.9"||$324,848||$209.73|
|50.0 – 71.9"||$369,548||$255.97|
|Crawler-Mounted Pavement Millers|
|26.0 – 49.9"||$351,174||$223.56|
|50.0 – 71.9"||$476,603||$320.59|
|72.0 – 87.9"||$599,999||$431.30|
|88.0" and up||$760,200||$591.56|
|Milling Machine Specifications|
|*Model||Max. Cut Width (in.)||Max. Cut Depth (in.)||Undercarriage Type||Engine Model||Gross Engine Output (hp)||Working Speed (fpm)||Operating Weight (lb.)|
|* Listed by maximum cutting width, from smallest to largest|
|Source: Spec-Check.com Xpanded Specs (as of May/09)|
|Carlson CP1220||12||6||Wheel||Perkins 1004-40T||108||95||15,900|
|Dynapac PL 350T||13.8||3.9||Wheel||Cummins B3.3||60||82||6,172|
|Wirtgen W 35||14||2||Wheel||Deutz F3M2011||42.2||82||5,842|
|Wirtgen W 35 DC||14||4||Wheel||Deutz F4M2011||57||82||9,899|
|Dynapac PF 500/16S||19||6||Wheel||Cummins 4BT4.5||99||85||16,755|
|Dynapac PL 500/20S||19.7||8.3||Wheel||Cummins QSB4.5||110||98||18,519|
|Volvo MW500||19.7||8.3||Wheel||Deutz TCD 2012 L04 2V||127||115||20,062|
|Wirtgen W 50||20||6||Wheel||Deutz BF4M2011||80||82||12,787|
|Wirtgen W 50 DC||20||8||Wheel||Deutz BF4M2012C||123||86||17,196|
|Dynapac PL 600/30S||23.6||11.8||Wheel||Cummins QSB5.9-30-TAA||173||98.4||30,203|
|Terex Roadbuilding PR165||24||12||Wheel||Cummins QSB4.5||165||360||25,500|
|Wirtgen W 60||24||12||Wheel||Deutz TCD 2012 L06 2V||208||99||29,211|
|Terex Roadbuilding PR220||30||12||Wheel||Cummins QSB6.7||225||360||26,300|
|Wirtgen W 100||39||12||Wheel||Deutz TCD 2012 L06 2V||208||99||31,416|
|Dynapac PL 1000 RS||39.4||9.8||Wheel||Cummins QSB5.9-30-TAA||173||98||30,644|
|Wirtgen W 100 F Wheel||39.4||13||Wheel||Cummins QSC8.3||304||105||42,770|
|Wirtgen W 100 F Track||39.4||13||Crawler||Cummins QSC8.3||304||105||45,856|
|Bomag BM1000/30||39.6||12.6||Crawler||Cat C7 ACERT||275||92||40,675|
|Huron 175||40||10||Wheel||Deere 6081A||250||273||33,960|
|Caterpillar PM102 Wheel||40||12||Wheel||Cat 3126B ATAAC||225||151||37,705|
|Caterpillar PM102 Track||40||12||Crawler||Cat 3126B ATAAC||225||89||38,810|
|Wirtgen W 120 F Wheel||47||13||Wheel||Cummins QSC8.3||304||105||44,754|
|Wirtgen W 120 F Track||47||13||Crawler||Cummins QSC8.3||304||105||47,840|
|Bomag BM1200/30||47.2||12.6||Crawler||Cat C7 ACERT||275||92||41,337|
|Wirtgen W 150||47.25||13||Crawler||Cummins QSL9||370||105||47,752|
|Terex Roadbuilding PR330T||48||12||Crawler||Cummins QSL||330||105||41,500|
|Wirtgen W 1900 Combo||48||12||Crawler||Mercedes OM502LA||435||102||56,000|
|Roadtec RX-400||48||12.5||Crawler||Cat C9 ACERT||325||172||48,600|
|Wirtgen W 2000 Combo||48||13||Crawler||Cat C-15 ATAAC||580||180||70,989|
|Bomag BM1300/30||51.2||12.6||Crawler||Cat C7 ACERT||275||92||41,667|
|Wirtgen W 130 F Wheel||51.2||13||Wheel||Cummins QSC8.3||304||105||45,636|
|Wirtgen W 130 F Track||51.2||13||Crawler||Cummins QSC8.3||304||105||48,722|
|Maddock VT325 VersaTool||60||n/a||Wheel||Deere 6081H||325||n/a||33,455|
|Bomag BM2000/50||78.7||12.6||Crawler||Deutz TCD 2015 V8||469||112||61,509|
|Bomag BM2000/60||78.7||12.6||Crawler||Deutz TCD 2015 V8||590||98||66,800|
|Volvo MT2000||78.75||14||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||610||188||80,930|
|Wirtgen W 1900||79||12.5||Crawler||Mercedes OM502LA||455||97||58,819|
|Caterpillar PM200||79||12.6||Crawler||Cat C18 ACERT||575||125||68,135|
|Wirtgen W 2000||79||13||Crawler||Cat C-15 ATAAC||581||180||66,139|
|Dynapac PL 2000 LS||79||13||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||600||131||68,000|
|Dynapac PL 2000 S||79||13||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||600||131||74,000|
|Wirtgen W 2100||79||13||Crawler||Cat C18 ACERT||700||n/a||80,028|
|Dynapac PL 2100 S||83||12||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||600||131||75,000|
|Caterpillar PM201||83||12||Crawler||Cat C18 ACERT||650||132||86,360|
|Roadtec RX-500 3 Track||86||13||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||600||127||56,700|
|Roadtec RX-500 4 Track||86||13||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||600||150||58,000|
|Roadtec RX-700 3 Track||86||14||Crawler||Cat C18 ACERT||700||165||76,600|
|Roadtec RX-700 4 Track||86||14||Crawler||CatC18 ACERT||700||165||80,800|
|Terex Roadbuilding PR600||86||14||Crawler||Cummins QSX15||600||158||91,200|
|Terex Roadbuilding PR950 3 Track||86||15||Crawler||Cummins QSK23||950||175||90,620|
|Terex Roadbuilding PR950 4 Track||86||15||Crawler||Cummins QSK23||950||170||98,620|
|Wirtgen W 2200||87||14||Crawler||Cat 3412E||900||n/a||96,342|
|Roadtec RX-900 3 Track||150||14||Crawler||Cat C27 ACERT||950||156||90,200|
|Roadtec RX-900 4 Track||150||14||Crawler||Cat C27 ACERT||950||128||95,800|
|Wirtgen W 2200 / 12||150||14||Crawler||Cat 3412E||900||n/a||114,640|
Large Family's New Member Has Options
Among its close to 20 total models and assorted configurations, Wirtgen America runs the gamut of milling machines. As "a large but compact" unit, the newest W 150 offers the best of both, optionally fitted with drums of 48, 51 or 60 inches in width for various applications. The W 150 has a maximum cutting depth of 13 inches and accepts Level Pro, Flexible Cutter System (FCS) and FCS Light. Also available for the W 1900 and W 2000 units, FCS Light allows quick, less-expensive changes of a standard-tooth drum to a same-width, fine-textured drum. Programmed specifically for milling machines, the Level Pro automatic leveling system allows intuitive operation parameters such as slope values, and target and actual milling depth values on the left and right side.
Machines Tackle Tight Curves
Ranging 39.6 to 78.7 inches – 1 to 2 meters – in cutting width, five models of crawler milling machines are available with efficiency-driven Bomag features. Drum side plates measure height using cable sensors, for milling at two heights. With use of the "Intelplaner" display, a cross-slope sensor allows milling to height and angle. An automatic coordinated front-rear steering mode provides tracking on tight curves without skewing the milling housing or damaging curbs. Transversely mounted engines drive the cutting drum directly via power belts, and auxiliary control panels allow steering and milling height to be controlled from ground level in difficult or critical conditions. For ease of transport, mechanically or hydraulically folding conveyors are standard.
Model Trio Covers Market Range
With three model sizes, Caterpillar offers fully hydrostatic cold planers to match the breadth of compact, urban and mainline milling applications. The compact PM102 model, available with a tracked or wheeled undercarriage, has a rotor width of 40 inches. The high-productivity PM200 and PM201 tracked cold planers have rotor widths of 79 and 83 inches, respectively. To increase tractive effort in slippery conditions, a positive traction control valve provides equal traction to all four motors on each model. With standard automatic rotor load control, an on-board microprocessor constantly evaluates engine and propel speed as required for peak performance. Propel speed is matched to the engine load so that the engine speed does not dip below a specified level.
Product Line Churns Out Upgrades
Of six Terex Roadbuilding models, four have undergone recent updates. Among them are the 48-inch-cutting-width PR330 models, available in both the wheeled configuration synonymous with smaller units and a tracked version reflective of its larger brethren. Other updated models include one from each of those groups – the 30-inch PR220 wheeled model and the family's largest PR950 tracked machine. Product-line upgrades include an expanded control system offering and tooth-life enhancements. The half-lane PR600C and full-lane PR950 come in either a three- or four-track configuration, with a large track in the rear for stability. At the utility end, the 24-inch PR165 is offered both with and without a discharge conveyor that is said to offer "the best discharge height in the industry."
Two Model Sizes, Styles Available
Redesigned to meet Volvo standards, the utility-class, wheeled MW500 and the half-lane, four-track MT2000 milling machines have claimed enhancements in cutting and diagnostics for improved performance, and in comfort and safety for the operator and crew alike. On the MT2000, which can run 78.25- and 86-inch cutting drums, most notable is the offering of three distinct engine and drum cutting speeds. This allows the operator to select lower speeds for higher torque or higher speeds for efficiency. The MT2000 has dual operating stations with intuitive panels, and independently controlled gathering and discharge systems. The MW500 features the patented Line Manager system for constant speed and direction, all-wheel drive for traction, and automatic precision depth control.
Four Units Boast Bi-Directional Milling
Competing at the larger end of the milling-machine market, with four models from the 48-inch-cut-width RX-400 to the 150-inch RX-900, Roadtec cold planers feature a bi-directional milling capability for pulverizing applications and leveraging emulsions packages available for each model. Improvements to the cutter drum area include redesigning the drum lacing for improved pattern on the milled surface and a more balanced tooth impact, and redesigning the end ring configuration to improve match cutting and increase tool life. Design improvements are aimed at a goal of achieving 3,000 hours on the base block with proper upkeep of the bit and holder. Roadtec's cutter-housing design allows the mixing of material in cold-in-place recycling applications.
Single Model Offers Jobsite Versatility
Equipped with a cold planer, the VT325 VersaTool from Maddock falls into the milling-machine classification. A long wheelbase provides a stable platform for fine grade control, and low-range hydrostatic drive allows for infinite adjustment of ground speed to match job conditions. The VersaTool can work with cutter drums ranging 48 to 78 inches in width. The cutter drum itself can be shifted outside the tires on both the right and left sides, allowing the VT325 to mill a complete lane width and yet remain traveling completely within the particular work lane. Powered by a 325-horsepower John Deere engine, the VT325 can move independently between jobs at up to 22 miles per hour. Sonic grade and slope control features are available as options.