Volvo Construction Equipment turned its designers loose to imagine how to clean up the messy business of laying asphalt in the future, and the Fenix concept emerged. Fenix takes tamper-bar screeds to the extreme, and the machine not only lays mat, but also achieves final compaction. The team of paver and screed operators is no longer necessary, as instrumentation and video cameras put a single operator in command of all machine functions.
Volvo's designers envision asphalt transported to the site in what they call "thermopods" designed to hold 19 tons of mix at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three hours. Thermopods are filled at a mix plant up to 30 miles away, coordinated to the jobsite by a superintendent and positioned in front of the paver at intervals appropriate to the depth and width of paving.
A conveyor on the front of the Fenix loads each pod and positions it over the paver's auger chamber. Another conveyor on the rear discharges empties. The system can sustain a steady paving rate of more than 80 feet per minute. Each pod is fitted with GPS technology to keep everyone aware of each pod's exact location and condition.