Macanga focuses on commercial paving, including airports and parking lots near his home in Westchester, PA. He upgrades to new machines about every five to eight years, depending on associated maintenance costs. With his recent purchases, he's positioned to take advantage of increased speed, as well as electronics and lasers for grading and paving.
Lay asphalt faster
Several features of the newest models boost productivity to allow operators to lay more asphalt faster.
For instance, LeeBoy introduced a 12-in. auger (vs. a 9 in.) to move material to the end of the gates more quickly. "Some of these changes give contractors the ability to use mid-size pavers for bigger jobs — ones that only larger pavers could do previously," says Bolick. "These smaller machines are also handier for getting around intersections and cul-de-sacs.
ontractors used to go in with large pavers, then do a lot of hand work. But these commercial-class pavers eliminate a lot of that hand work, so you're able to lay more asphalt in a day."
Rubber tracks can also improve maneuverability. "Rubber tracks don't harm the sidewalks and existing streets when you cross them," says Bolick. "Contractors are able to unload on a street and walk across a concrete sidewalk or apron and not do any physical damage."
Godfrey appreciates the rubber tracks on his new 8515 paver. Although this is his seventh tracked machine, it's the first one to ride on rubber. "They don't mark the parking lots or damage the asphalt if I have to walk across it to do repairs," he says. "And they have better traction with safer loading and unloading onto and off of the trailers."
The decision between tires or tracks really depends on the type of work you do. "For new road construction and development, you might want tracks because they have better tractive effort and do less damage to the surface area," notes Wiley. "If you do more overlay work, you may want tires because, for the most part, they will have a little less operating cost to maintain the undercarriage, and you don't have to worry about a loose base. Where you have a good, solid, milled surface to operate on, a tired machine will work well. But there has been a big move to rubber tracks because of their benefits of traction and flotation."
Smoother mats at a faster pace
Overall, manufacturers indicate the ability to lay down increasingly smoother mats at a faster pace is the real benefit of today's modern pavers.
"The goal is to lay down as smooth a mat as possible with minimal or no defects so a road lasts longer," says Moriarty.
"Older machines simply don't have the precision controls of the newer models. More automated systems with grade and slope control give contractors the ability to achieve that smooth mat, which in some cases can garner bonuses. Smoothness in the end not only gives drivers a smoother ride, but helps minimize defects that can lead to premature failure in the road. It's all about the life of the road. The smoother it is, the longer it will last."
"With newer technology, contractors can also lay asphalt a lot quicker with a machine that is more efficient and maneuverable," adds Wiley. "It boils down to getting more asphalt laid in a day. Plus, with the added density of some of the newer screeds, contractors can, in some cases, reduce the effort required from an asphalt compactor because they might be able to achieve the required compaction with fewer passes. This cuts down the time on the job."