Machine designs will continue to change linked to better efficiency, cleaner operation, and much lower owner/operator cost, says Wiley. “They will be quieter, safer, easier to operate and more ergonomically logical. The new modern designs will provide better visibility for the crew, be easier to transport, and have the operational flexibility to allow the contractor to have an all-in-one package to address the different milling applications he will encounter every day.”
The silica dust issue (see box, “Silica Dust Reduction Technologies” on page 36) will also bring about some design changes. “With the completion of the silica dust trials (last summer), machine designs will change to reduce the amount of dust generated by the milling process,” says Phillips. “Look for more vacuum systems to be offered on future machine designs.”
What else is on the horizon? More processing of material, improvements in gradation of RAP and weighing of material, says Baker.
“At Roadtec, we have already started installing weigh bridges on some machines to ensure proper truck loading, if we can ensure that the RAP is properly sized then we can improve the cycle time for the RAP to go back into the mix and lower the cost of recycling.”
Humphrey with Caterpillar sees 3D coming to milling machines in the near future.
“These machines will be under three-dimensional control,” he explains. “All aspects of pavement removal — depth, profile, elevation — will be regulated by integrated satellite control. Operators will be technicians and the cold planers will be more autonomous. The entire jobsite will be connected. The cold planing operation will feed data into the paving operation that will feed data in the compaction train. There will be no communication gaps.
“Roads will last longer and ride quality will improve due to the contribution of ultra-modern cold planers.”