One year ago, a Construction Equipment magazine headline asked rhetorically if “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was the mantra for contractors looking to curb-and-gutter pavers. Not so, we concluded in that Construction Equipment article, given the attention paving equipment manufacturers serving the curb-and-gutter market had been affording their newest product offerings. With added capabilities and options, curb-and-gutter pavers had matured into more versatile, smarter and less labor-intensive pieces of equipment adding value to any paving contractor's fleet.
Good thing, too, given what's happened to the economy since.
“The technological advances of the past several years have created a total package for the curb-and-gutter contractor,” says Kent Godbersen, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing with industry stalwart GOMACO. “Everything that we have been working toward in curb-and-gutter paving is more important today than ever before.”
Those sentiments are echoed at competitive equipment manufacturer Power Curbers.
“With the slowdown in residential development, contractors are looking for flexibility,” says Stephen Bullock, Power Curbers vice president, sales and marketing. “The easy jobs - subdivisions - are gone. Contractors are using their machines more than ever to do tight-radius work in parking lots, street-rehab projects and barrier wall. They need a versatile machine more than ever before.”
The large curb-and-gutter market, specifically those machines over 10,000 pounds in operating weight and almost exclusively tracked, continues to be served by four companies - GOMACO, Power Curbers, Miller Formless and Huron. The latter company offers both tired and tracked versions of its 118-horsepower, 8-feet-paving-width 880 model.
But changes have occurred in the curb-and-gutter landscape, even within the past 12 months: Plans for Terex Roadbuilding to enter the market appear to have been delayed; Miller Spreader is focusing on its core smaller machines; the LeeBoy offering is now a product of VT LeeBoy Inc.; and the Curb Fox brand is now also the corporate name for the former Messinger compact product line.
“While others seem to be focusing on reducing operations, at GOMACO we have redirected our resources to focus on innovation and to prepare our product line for what the customer is going to want and need when the projects break loose,” says Godbersen. “We continually energize our engineering departments, and we will have some major introductions at World of Concrete.”
Following up on the 15,000-pound, three-track New Generation GT-3200 model displayed at Conexpo-Con/Agg last March and the new GT-3400 unveiled a year earlier, GOMACO will display the New Generation GT-3600 at World of Concrete this February in Las Vegas. The 25,670-pound, three-track GT-3600 will be shown with the exclusive G22 operating system, featuring a graphical display with newly designed icons and screens with pictograms designed for ease of use and understanding. Advanced system diagnostics automatically pinpoint and identify electrical circuit opens, shorts and fault codes to aid in troubleshooting. Faults are identified and a full explanation of recommended actions provided.
The G22 operating system's selective steering dial provides five different modes of controlling the three tracks, and the GT-3600 can be reverse-steered on-line to a tolerance of one-eighth of an inch, says GOMACO. High-production performance through radii is accomplished with the control system's tight-radius software and the ability to toggle steering control from the lead sensor, eliminating continued manual sensor adjustments.
Smart hydraulic steering cylinders, interfaced with the G22 system, allow push-button steering set-up. The programmable cylinders also allow steering parameters of the tracks to be set with the touch of a button.
Software for the slope transition system provides automatic grade elevation correction and automatic steering correction to eliminate string-line adjustment.
“The GOMACO control system is the biggest difference between us and our competitors,” says Godbersen. “Our control system is what has allowed us to make strides in string-less paving, monitoring of machine functions, and controlling one machine in various applications.
“But it is the entire package a manufacturer has to offer that is important in today's market to help ensure a contractor's prof-itability.”
The latest generation in the 5700 Series of curb machines first launched in 1985 by Power Curbers, the 23,600-pound 5700-C was introduced two years ago at World of Concrete with a new 130-horsepower Cummins engine and the new Smart Amp control system. Since then, a post-hole digger attachment has been added for use in wire rope barrier applications.
“Technological advances in our equipment are a result of a partnership with our customers. Some of our best ideas come from our customers at our service schools,” says Bullock. “Many of our machine enhancements over the years, like the quick-connect mold mount, hydraulically adjustable mold offset and mold misting kit, came from customer suggestions.
“Obviously, the development of 3D systems for curb-and-gutter machines has been a result of multiple interests working together.”
With a single 5700-C machine, says Bullock, contractors have the ability to pour curb at a radius as tight as 2 feet, barrier walls up to 50 inches, and a range of jobs in between ranging from sidewalks and v-ditches to stadium risers. Furthermore, due to the repositioning of the auger, the unit can work with a concrete truck within a single lane of traffic, “a huge benefit not only to our customers but to their customers,” says Bullock. “Now, on many pours, the DOT is able to keep an additional lane of traffic open while doing a rehab project.”
The Smart Amp control system, he says, provides the Power Curber operator with the advanced features of a networked digital system with the ease of an analog system. “In the always tight labor market, it's critical to make equipment operator-friendly.”
With eight models serving the curb-and-gutter market, GOMACO offers a full range incorporating such features as all-track steering, “smart” steering cylinders, all-track positioning, a side-shifting trimmerhead, and the Hook-and-Go mold mount.
“We continually take our new developments and implement them across our product line to enhance both our road-building equipment and our curb-and-gutter line,” says Godbersen. “Our Commander III started as a curb-and-gutter machine, and you will see at World of Concrete why it is the choice today for half-width paving. Most road builders in the United States have a Commander III in their fleet to do a variety of smaller jobs and unique applications. The Commander can pave curb and gutter, safety barrier, side-mounted zero clearance, variable width with the V2 mold, and shoulders, lane additions and ramps.”
It appears, again, there is no need for paving contractors to “curb their enthusiasm,” given how the major players serving the curb-and-gutter market have maintained their focus.
“Power Curbers's growth over the past decade has been a result of focus on the customer,” says Bullock. “This comes not only from providing quality machinery, but more importantly from our support. Many manufacturers can build a machine that pours concrete, but our ability to provide technical expertise, troubleshooting, and readily available parts and molds sets us apart.”
|The Cost of Ownership|
|Operating Weight (lb.)||List Price||*Hourly Rate|
|* Hourly rate is the monthly ownership costs divided by 176, plus operating costs. Unit prices used are diesel at $3.09 per gallon, mechanic's wage at $45.39 per hour, and money costs at 5.125 percent.|
|Source: EquipmentWatch.com, phone 800/669-3282|
|Up to 12,500||$65,814||$36.99|
|12,501 - 23,999||$152,297||$76.67|
|24,000 and up||$231,868||$121.36|
|Curb-and-Gutter Pavers (1,000 pounds and up)|
|Model||Operating Weight (lb.)||Drive Type (No. of Units)||Max. Mold Height (in.)||Max. Paving Width||Turn Radius||Gross Power (hp)|
|* Manufacturer has indicated this product will be discontinued.|
|Source: Spec-Check.com Xpanded Specs (as of November / 08)|
|Power Curber 440-XL||1,170||Wheel (4)||12||1'6”||4'0”||25|
|Curb Fox CF2000||2,000||Tire (3)||14||1'6”||1'6”||18|
|MBW C101||2,590||Tire (3)||18||1'0”||1'6”||26.5|
|GOMACO Curb Cadet||2,650||Track + Wheel (1 + 8)||14||1'0”||2'0”||24|
|MBW C101-18||2,725||Tire (3)||18||1'6”||1'6”||26.5|
|MBW CG200||3,395||Tire (4)||18||4'0”||2'0”||26.5|
|Curb Fox CF3000||3,400||Tire (3)||24||2'10”||2'0”||28|
|Miller Spreader MC1050 Curbilder*||4,800||Tire (6)||18||4'0”||n/a||35|
|Curb Fox CF5000||5,000||Tire (3)||24||5'0”||2'0”||28|
|LeeBoy LBC-24W||7,500||Tire (n/a)||24||4'0”||2'0”||44|
|Huron 650B||9,900||Tire (3)||48||n/a||n/a||80|
|GOMACO GT-6000-78||11,700||Track (2)||18||4'0”||n/a||92|
|GOMACO GT-6000-90||12,500||Track (2)||18||5'0”||n/a||92|
|GOMACO GT-3200||15,000||Track (3)||36||5'0”||2'0”||92|
|Miller Formless M-1000||18,800||Track (4)||32||5'0”||2'0”||115|
|GOMACO Commander II||20,000||Track (2)||32||5'0”||n/a||92|
|Huron 880 Tire||21,900||Tire (4)||42||8'0”||9'0”||118|
|Power Curber 5700-C||23,600||Track (3)||50||10'0”||1'8”||130|
|Huron 880 Track||24,000||Track (4)||42||8'0”||9'0”||118|
|GOMACO GT-6300||24,400||Track (3)||n/a||12'0”||n/a||155|
|Miller Formless M-8100||25,000||Track (4)||84||16'0”||18'0”||173|
|GOMACO GT-3600||25,670||Track (3)||24||2'0”||2'0”||99|
|GOMACO GT-3400||27,500||Track (3)||n/a||6'0”||2'0”||127|
|GOMACO Commander III-3T||29,300||Track (3)||n/a||3'0”||n/a||185|
|Huron 1000||31,000||Track (4)||84||16'6”||15'0”||185|
|Miller Formless M-8800||36,000||Track (4)||96||20'0”||30'0”||173|