Speed and the paving process may not have always been associated with one another, but let there be no doubt that the ability to change on the fly is more important than ever for paving contractors. Equipment manufacturers are taking heed.
GOMACO has introduced an independent dowel bar inserter (IDBI) attachment that will insert transverse joint dowel bars in pavements from 12 feet wide at work behind the four-track Commander III, all the way up to 50 feet wide when attached to the company's largest GP-4000 slipform paver model. Representing an evolution of the bar insertion system, the self-contained IDBI attachment is powered by its own Cat C4.4 diesel engine, requiring neither power nor hydraulics from the paver itself.
"The IDBI automatic dowel bar inserter has been a great cost-effective tool for the placement of dowel bars across a concrete slab," says Kent Godbersen, vice president, worldwide sales and marketing. "The GOMACO system has been proven around the world for its consistency and accuracy in bar placement. This has eliminated the need for placing dowel baskets on the grade for the distance of the paving project, which can provide a tremendous advantage in bidding a project," he says. "The IDBI attachment now allows a paver to be converted to or from this application in one hour. That is a tremendous savings in assembly and set-up time.
"With the Commander III having the IDBI capability, contractors now have the ability to pave half-width with or without bar insertion. They also have the ability to pave shoulders, lane additions, ramps, variable-width paving, safety barrier and more. That is ultimate asset utilization. That is why you see a GOMACO Commander III on almost every road-building project you come across."
For equipment manufacturers, it's a matter of responding with equipment solutions that match changing job requirements, says Ron Meskis, sales manager with Guntert & Zimmerman (G&Z). "Over the past 20 years, the state DOTs have spent billions of dollars in the reconstruction of long stretches of the Interstate system originally constructed in the 1950s and '60s. Therefore, the projects were typically large in scope, and once a concrete paving contractor began paving on a project, they were typically on that project for a period of time. The need to quickly reconfigure the slipform paver and transportability from one jobsite to the next was minimal," says Meskis. "Today's market is evolving to smaller projects with shorter time frames for allowable road closure. This is moving equipment suppliers to innovation, which provides contractors with quicker turnaround time for changing the paver's configuration and also transport of the machine."
Among features, G&Z concrete slipform pavers feature 90-degree steering that allows, with the flick of a switch, movement from a current pour without leaving behind a large section to be poured by hand. Split guillotine side forms allow the paver to back up over previous pours to likewise cut down on handwork. Most recently, available as an option are telescopic end sections that provide the paving kit 6 feet of quick width change.
"One critical objective when G&Z undertakes a design initiative is to increase the chance for a contractor to pave every day," says Meskis. "Historically, it could take a contractor a period of days to change the pave width on a slipform paver. The new telescopic end sections streamline this change, giving the contractor the ability to change pave widths in a matter of a couple hours and with fewer personnel. This, no doubt, increases a contractor's profitability due to decreased downtime."
As part of its Power Pavers product line, Power Curbers offers the two-track SF-2700 and highway-class SF-3000 slipform paver models. Without bulky side forms, SF-2700 operators can focus their time paving rather than setting up, says Stephen Bullock, vice president, sales and marketing. Like its little brother, the 65,000-pound SF-3000 is simple to set up, and hydraulic sensors keep crews paving rather than troubleshooting electronics, he says.
"One of the biggest challenges contractors face is high-priced labor and difficulty in hiring and retaining a skilled workforce. Much of the success of the SF-2700 and SF-3000 has been because they are simple to operate and are so reliable," says Bullock. "They don't require an IT degree to run, and downtime is minimal, so expensive crews aren't standing around waiting for the slipform paver to get back up and running."
The ability to adjust has been extended to other products in the Power Curbers offering, says Bullock. From its roots as strictly a curb-and-gutter machine, the Power Curber 5700 has evolved into the 5700-C, "a-one-machine-does-it-all" slipform paver handling sidewalk, V-ditch and barrier wall. For the 25th anniversary of the 5700 Series in 2010, Power Curbers is introducing the optional Max Package, which outfits the 5700-C with larger crawlers, all-crawler steering, and a repositionable right post for pouring large variable barrier up to 8 feet high and for paving to a width of 12 feet.
"Today, curb contractors are being forced to do a little of everything — rehab, commercial parking lots, DOT, government projects. Some are venturing into barrier wall and other concrete applications for the first time," says Bullock. "Specifically, we've seen more projects requiring large profiles like variable barrier wall, wide V-ditches, and other structures involved in infrastructure. This is our response." Available immediately, the 5700-C-Max will be on display at World of Concrete 2010, being held Feb. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Among the half-dozen manufacturers traditionally serving the concrete slipform paver market in North America, Terex Roadbuilding offers four base models according to Spec-Check.com, but did not have product updates to report at this time. The aforementioned GOMACO, G&Z and Power Pavers did report, along with Heavy Equipment Manufacturing (HEM) and RexCon. At the same time, Wirtgen Group announced it will begin introducing to North America its concrete pavers long established in Europe, starting with two compact models oriented to the curb-and-gutter market (please see gallery of manufacturers at bottom of page).
With concrete contractors continuing to not only drop many hundreds of thousands of dollars for their pavers, but also eager to open their minds to new uses of that equipment, the market breeds industry optimism, according to GOMACO.
"Concrete contractors are the most innovative people in the world," says Godbersen. "They are willing to try new applications, take on new challenges, and adapt to unique jobsite conditions and requirements. They are now asking more questions about pervious and roller-compacted concrete, white-topping and bridge deck finishing. If there is an upside to a down market, it is our opportunity to investigate and invest, even more, in innovations which will allow contractors to do their job more efficiently and more cost-effectively. I think everyone who attends World of Concrete or BAUMA this year will be pleasantly surprised at all of the new paving concepts that we have in our booth.
"Have contractors' needs changed? No, not really," he says. "They want a dependable company that has traditionally provided equipment with versatility, quality, safety, and return on their investment. What we are seeing is contractors looking for new markets and new ways to keep their crews and equipment busy."
In this area, the proof is in the mix, says Godbersen. "I think that 3D or stringless paving is a good example. GOMACO was the only one working in partnership with several vendors on stringless paving for many years. As a matter of fact, this is our 10th anniversary of the first road, as well as the first curb-and-gutter in the world, paved without a stringline. Today, we are paving airports, highways, tunnels, safety barriers and other applications all around the world without stringline.
"This has been possible because of partnerships with contractors who have been willing to try stringless, and many of whom achieved results that far exceeded their expectations," he says. "Everyone anxiously awaited this technology, and today it is not only possible, but a very common option that is chosen for our paving products."
The road to economic recovery is, indeed, paved.
|Cost of Ownership|
|Machine Weight||List Price||*Hourly Rate|
|* Hourly rate is the monthly ownership costs divided by 176, plus operating costs. Unit prices used in this calculation are diesel fuel at $2.60 per gallon, mechanic's wage at $46.29 per hour, and money costs at 4.875 percent.|
|Source: EquipmentWatch.com , phone 800/669-3282|
|28,000 – 39,999 lb.||$260,000||$122.47|
|40,000 – 54,000 lb.||$286,927||$147.65|
|55,000 – 96,999 lb.||$425,383||$248.66|
|97,000 lb. and up||$578,125||$326.00|
|Concrete Slipform Paver Specifications (by paving width)|
|Model||Maximum Paving Width*||Standard Paving Width||Maximum Paving Depth||Engine Make / Model||Gross Engine Output (hp)||Max. Paving Speed (fpm)||Operating Weight (lb.)|
|* Equipped with paving extensions|
|Source: Spec-Check.com Xpanded Specs (as of November / 09)|
|HEM 8-16||16' 0"||8' 0"||16"||Cat n/a||179||n/a||33,100|
|GOMACO Commander III-4T||20' 0"||12' 0"||n/a||John Deere 6068HF285||185||37||48,500|
|GOMACO GT-6300-4T Slipform||20' 0"||16' 6"||n/a||Cummins 6BT5.9||155||28||36,900|
|Terex Roadbuilding SF2204B HVW||20' 0"||8' 4"||n/a||Cat 3126B DITA ATAAC||250||22||55,000|
|HEM 12-27||27' 0"||12' 0"||20"||Cat n/a||240||n/a||59,100|
|GOMACO GHP-2800-2T||32' 0"||24' 0"||n/a||Cat C-9||335||122||70,000|
|GOMACO GHP-2800-4T||32' 0"||24' 0"||n/a||Cat C-9||335||73||82,000|
|GOMACO GP-2600-2T||32' 0"||24' 0"||n/a||Cat C-9||275||n/a||65,000|
|GOMACO GP-2600-4T||32' 0"||24' 0"||n/a||Cat C-9||275||n/a||79,000|
|Power Pavers SF-2700||32' 0"||27' 0"||16"||Cummins QSB5.9||215||18||48,000|
|Power Pavers SF-3000||32' 0"||27' 0"||20"||Cummins 6CTAA8.3||250||30||65,000|
|RexCon T&C I||34' 0"||12' 0"||20"||Cat C9 ACERT||325||12||60,000|
|Terex Roadbuilding SF3502C||34' 0"||24' 0"||18"||Cat C9 ACERT||350||35||73,000|
|Terex Roadbuilding SF3504C||34' 0"||24' 0"||18"||Cat C9 ACERT||350||30||99,000|
|Guntert & Zimmerman S850 Quadra||34' 6"||12' 0"||18"||Cat C9 ACERT||350||16||90,200|
|HEM 14-37||37' 0"||14' 0"||20"||Cat n/a||325||n/a||82,850|
|Guntert & Zimmerman S1000||44' 0"||18' 0"||24"||Cat C9 ACERT||350||16||95,500|
|Terex Roadbuilding SF6004||44' 0"||12' 0"||18"||Cat C-15 DITA ATAAC||425||30||115,000|
|GOMACO GP-4000-2T||50' 0"||24' 0"||n/a||Cat C13||440||20||88,000|
|GOMACO GP-4000-4T||50' 0"||24' 0"||19"||Cat C13||440||20||115,000|
|Guntert & Zimmerman S1500||56' 0"||12' 0"||24"||Cat C-12||425||16||106,500|