"But high-volume or low-volume production can be very misleading," says Godbersen. "True machine productivity should be measured by bottom line productivity." Productivity can be dependent on several aspects, including the age of the machine.
Of course, the point at which you decide to upsize a machine isn't always a matter of production declining, says Godbersen. "Upsizing can be more about new technology that offers better performance," he notes. "Contractors are always pushing us and coming to us for answers to their latest challenges. It's new and exciting technology for them and us - new bar insertion systems, a new concept paving mold, powerful control systems, variable-width paving, stringless paving applications and more."
Stephen Bullock, Power Curbers, agrees. "Equipment enhancements can be the impetus for contractors to upgrade," he states. "For example, we have made moves that allow you to change molds on our curb and gutter machines quickly, cutting downtime from 45 to 10 minutes. Moving from a belt conveyor to an auger conveyor offers time and quality benefits, including better and faster mixing of the concrete and less maintenance to the machine. We have also moved to hydraulics that provide more jobsite flexibility in how you set up the machine."
Influence of concrete delivery
Factors other than the machine itself can also contribute to how much you can finish in a day, says Allen. "If you are large enough to have your own plant, you can control the volume," he says. "Normally, a modern paver can handle 600 to 700 yds. per hour. But if you're relying on someone else to deliver product, getting 100 yds. can be hard to do. It varies so much."
"A lot depends on concrete delivery and transportation, i.e., how well ancillary support systems work together," adds Cunningham. "If you have a plant that produces 400 yds. per hour, but paving equipment that only allows you to use 100 yds. of that, your paver is undersized for what production could be."
As you grow your business you may also find your paver can't do everything you want it to do.
"Contractors sometimes enter the market spending as little investment as possible," says Bullock. "As they begin to do larger profiles, they may find they don't have enough machine. They can't get jobs done efficiently, or they can't do them at all because they don't have enough weight or horsepower. It's usually demand for work and new opportunities that motivate contractors to upsize their machines."
KEEP PAVERS CLEANED AND SERVICED
Productivity of the existing pavers in your fleet can be linked to how well each machine is cleaned and maintained. It's important to clean pavers thoroughly by washing them after each pour. For preventive maintenance, follow manufacturer recommendations to identify what tasks need to be performed as the paver accumulates production hours.
Downtime with concrete paving equipment can be extremely expensive, says Stephen Bullock, Power Curbers. "But it's not so much the cost of the replacement parts," he observes. "Rather, it's the lost revenue and lost productivity from a machine being down. You typically have a sidelined crew of six to seven people, plus the loss of the concrete itself. A sidelined machine can quickly add up to a large loss."
"Concrete is an extremely unforgivable product," adds GOMACO's Kent Godbersen. "Large amounts of money are at risk on each day's pour. The contractor needs to have a reliable paver in excellent operating condition, which is ready to handle the rigors of the paving season. If the contractor takes care of his machine, follows the recommended schedule of maintenance and properly cleans the paver after each pour, the machine is going to last a long time."