If the winters are getting longer that may not be a good sign for the concrete paving market.
Warmer temperatures during the cold months the last couple of years have allowed contractors to keep the wheels in motion. Continuous work could be preventing the industry from really taking off, at least from a manufacturers perspective.
"Although we are near capacity for the industry, because we have had two open winters in a major portion of North America, a lot of the work was done that was not normally attackable on a seasonal basis," Chapin Sipherd, product manager for concrete paving products at CMI Corp., told ROADS & BRIDGES. "The weather pattern has extended the season, so the backlog of work is not great even though contractors are working at capacity.
"Of course, thats only one of the factors why the market isnt reaching the levels we kinda expected with TEA-21. Another reason is, even though funds are available, I think many of the state DOTs have found themselves in the position where they dont have the engineering staff to get the work out. I also think some of the contractors are hesitating to expand because they cant find qualified people and theyre having trouble holding on to qualified people."
Sipherd has trouble holding back some excitement when the topic of new technology is brought up. Variable width paving, which allows the operator to change the configuration of the machinery within a given range in a short period of time, could be the next innovation catching fire.
"There is some excitement to it," said Sipherd. "Right now its useful in the construction of ramps, accelerations lanes and urban scene work where you have a lot of width change requirements on a project. Its labor-saving, though."
Heads held high
The motto at Gomaco, Ida Grove, Iowa, is "Pave with Pride." Helping the company make that statement are four pavers: Commander III, GHP-2800, GP-4000 and GP-2600.
The Commander III has a redesigned hydraulic system and is equipped with user-friendly controls, according to Gomaco. All circuits in the machine are electronic-over-hydraulic.
Commander III also features the companys Network Controller, which has more memory, increased software and programming capacity, improved computing power, enhanced processing speed and more input and output capability.
Steering control has been simplified with "smart" cylinders, eliminating the sprocket, chain and potentiometer at the top of each leg.
Track circuits provide up to 44 ft per minute (fpm) operating speed and 97 fpm for jobsite mobility.
The GHP-2800 produces a paving width range of 12 to 25 ft and has a telescoping frame that extends 61/2 ft on both sides for a total of 13 ft of telescoping capability. The paver also paves widths to 32 ft with additional frame inserts, and is available with two or four tracks.
The travel speed of the GHP-2800 two-track paver is 123.5 fpm, while the four-track machine runs at 70 fpm.
The Sauer-Sundstrand hydrostatic track drive system on the model includes a over-pressure protection pump system that prevents pressurized loss and heat build-up.
The paver comes with a choice of three different engines and horsepower ranges of 250, 300 and 325.
The GP-4000 two-track and four-track slipform paver is known for its versatility in paving widths. The two-track paver is equipped with 13 ft, 9 in. tracks for paving widths up to 32 ft. Optional 16- and 18-ft track lengths also are available. The four-track paver comes with 10-ft-long tracks.
The GP-2600 two- and four-track slipform pavers offer paving widths from 12 ft to 18 ft, 6 in. A telescoping frame extends 6 ft, 6 in. on the left side. The machine can ultimately pave widths up to 32 ft with additional frame inserts.
A low-profile engine shroud provides enhanced rear visibility, allowing the operator to remain at the controls and see the entire paving operation, according to the manufacturer.
Gomacos Network Controller System on the GP-2600 features self-diagnostics and electronic-over-hydraulic control of grade and steering. The system has a counter-rotation feature that allows the paver to turn 180 degrees within its own dimensions.
The new 2000 series from CMI Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla., can take seconds off your time. Heck, maybe even minutes. The group of Hydraulic Variable-Width slipform pavers are built with international patents and telescoping attachments that make changing paving widths fast, easy and automatic, according to the manufacturer. Paving width is fully adjustable from one-half to full width using hydraulic frame widening and dual-element paving systems.
Hydrostatic ground drives deliver steady motive power, and telescopic tubular weldments form the basis of the variable-width design of the pavers.
CMIs Hydra-Mation sensors give the operator sharp grade control, and the operators station provides optimum visibility of concrete delivery and paving operations.
Metric three-track configuration models pave up to 3-m-wide inset, 2.5-m-wide offset. The four-track configuration is designed to place flat paving up to 6 m wide. Imperial three-track configured models pave up to 10-ft-wide inset and 8-ft-wide offset, while the four-track configuration provides flat paving capabilities up to 20 ft wide.
CMIs new Autograde 3000 series of slipform paversthe SF-3002 and SF-3004are designed to meet the needs for ramp paving, lane additions, city streets, subdivisions and highway intersections.
The pavers feature a dual-telescoping, tubular steel mainframe which is hydraulically adjustable up to 10 ft. The basic paving width ranges from 10 to 20 ft, and a 6-ft bolt-in extension is furnished as standard equipment to increase the paving width to 26 ft.
The SF-3002, with its two-track design, offers dual path hydrostatic drive with "Posi-Trac" control, a two-speed working range and counter-rotation maneuverability. The SF-3004, a four-track paver, offers hydrostatic drive with "Posi-Trac" control, a two-speed working range and multi-position legs which swing 110 degrees.
The companys Hydra-Mation Control System, which provides fully proportional hydraulic elevation control, is standard on the 3000 Series.
It gets around
Bid-Well, Canton, S.D., is calling the 6500 its most mobile heavy-duty paver.
The 6500, an automatic roller paver, is equipped with super flex-filled tires, automatic skid steer for paving and automobile steering for on-the-job travel. The machine can travel to a jobsite without being towed.
Automatic string line sensing control for elevation is included, as well as an automatic dual internal vibrator system.
The boom truss on the 6500 basic machine length is 30 ft and can be extended to 60 ft with a truss depth of 48 in.
Two 58-hp diesel engines power the paver, which also has adjustable 10-in.-diam. augers.
Bid-Well has added a single spud vibrator to the 2450 bridge paver, which now has the capability of paving approaches and slabs.
The basic unit has a 30-ft crownable span, and variable insert lengths can be added to extend the paving width to 60 ft.
Equipped with extensions, the paving carriage has dual strike-off augers with double fighting dual Rota-Vibe and dual paving rollers.
Perfecting the pan
The two-track slipform pavers from Allen Engineering are all about cutting labor . . . in a sense.
A Hydraulic Belt Finisher with oscillating motion, which comes standard on the 8-20, 12-27 and 14-36, helps eliminate any imperfections that may exist behind the paving pan, thus decreasing any extra work needed behind the machines.
Ideal for streets, parking lots, shoulders, ramps, approaches and whitetoppings, Allen pavers have a wraparound console that allows for easy operation of the 16-in. direct drive split reversible augers, hydraulic vibrators and power "on-the-go crowning."
Paving widths from 8 to 36 ft can be achieved, and with only 27 in. between the edge of the pavement and the outside of the track frame paving can be performed in "hard-to-get" places.
Heart of chips
Carrying the beat of the evolutionary rhythm on the S850 slipform paver, manufactured by Guntert & Zimmerman, Ripon, Calif., is the Networked Microcontroller System. The system is the "heart of the most accurate and reliable elevation and steering control system available today," according to the manufacturer. It has self-diagnostic capabilities, including the ability to warn the operator of a sensor off the wire, a sticking jacking column, an electrical short or a malfunctioning sensor.
The machine also has a narrow profile design, allowing the contractor to pave closer to utility poles, barrier walls and other obstructions.
Terminal sections of the paving kit are provided with removable shim packs so the paving width can be fine tuned for minor width adjustments. The terminal pan sections are provided with edge overbuild adjustment to help compensate for edge slump.
The companys Quadra system gives the paver telescopic capability in all four directions, and the JC Extender allows dual telescopic tractor frame to telescope without the need to unbolt a bolster or disconnect a hose.
Power it up
Power Curbers Inc., Salisbury, N.C., carries a team of four to handle flat paving up to 16 ft wide and highway safety barrier up to 6 ft tall.
The 5700-B can be used for slip-forming curb and gutter and comes with a hydraulic trimmer adjustment; the 8700 is a multi-purpose paver which features hydraulically adjustable side plates for paving depth variations up to 16 in. on-the-go; and the 150 and 440XL are used for extruding concrete curb.