"Conveyor-fed machines offer a higher-quality job in part because they don't have to stop to have the hopper refilled as gravity-fed machines are forced to do, and they are usually equipped with heavier screed assemblies that offer a better finished product. When making a purchase decisions, contractors need to consider both production and quality issues."
Bomag offers one gravity-fed paver, the 50-hp model 3313 with 8-ft. to 13-ft. paving widths, one mid-sized conveyor paver, the 60-hp model 4413, with 8-ft. to 13- ft. paving widths, as well, and two 85-hp conveyor-fed units, models 814-2 and 815-2 with 8-ft. to 14-ft. and 8-ft. to 15-ft. paving widths.
Fitting features & benefits
"Contractors looking to buy their first self-propelled paver should weigh the cost of special features versus their benefits," says Dallas Reeves, Ingersoll Rand product market manager for commercial pavers and specialty equipment. "To deliver a top-quality job, they need to have a paver with a top-quality, adjustable screed for laying a uniform mat. A nice-to-have feature is one that allows the screed operator to run the main screed functions from the ground, too. A great, but not necessary feature allows for automatic adjustment of toe points, which can be used for automatic grade control, and can potentially eliminate one person from the paving crew."
He continues, "Before buying a paver, also look at the average operating costs of the machine, maintenance intervals, operator comfort and controls, and how many people it will take to operate it and the support equipment." His recommendation for new paving contractors would be the Ingersoll Rand model 3020 or 3120, with 73- and 83-hp engines, respectively. "Both of these conveyor-fed pavers weigh just under 17,000 lbs and they are ideal for small and mid-size commercial jobs," Reeves adds.
When asked what LeeBoy models he would recommend for new paving contractors, Bolick says the conveyor-fed model 8500 would be a good starting point because it, too, allows them to do smaller jobs and the opportunity to do larger, more profitable jobs where production is essential. It features an 8- to 15-ft. screed system, 16,000 lb. weight, and the power to push a dump truck uphill.
"For contractors paving driveways, the 8500 may be bigger than needed initially, but it will pay dividends in the long run with more capabilities, durability, productivity and the always important resale value," Bolick says. "Among other important features are sonic augers to automatically control asphalt fed to the extensions, and a screed heat system that can be either propane or electric. Contractors can choose between a high-deck and low-deck model. A low-deck paver would be the choice for smaller, more detailed jobs; high-deck units would be the choice for work with long pulls."
For the contractor using a gravity feed asphalt paver, he recommends the LeeBoy 1000F that offers an 8- to 13-ft. Legend Screed system. It weighs 10,000 lbs and is powered by a 37-hp diesel engine.
Calder recommends either one of two of his company's models for new paving contractors: the model 690-F gravity-fed paver or model 1550-C conveyor-fed paver. Both, he says, feature a screed system that provides both depth and texture matching between the extension and main screed, without secondary adjustment to the extensions.
"Overlooking the significant benefits of the rubber tire paver is probably the biggest mistake many first-time paver buyers make," Calder says. "The assumption that rubber tire pavers are strictly for overlaying applications is false."
He notes that a rubber-tire paver doesn't disrupt the stone base material as much as a track paver, and it goes over concrete sidewalks and curb and gutter smoothly, without damaging the concrete. Rubber tire pavers also have higher travel speeds and encounter less bouncing and jarring to both the operator and the machine than their track counterparts, which translates into more comfort for the operator and better machine longevity.