Pavers with a heart
Road paving equipment is seeing a surge in demand mainly due to the increase in infrastructure projects. BY KAVITA JOSHI
In a bid to showcase the country’s highways sector as a golden opportunity for international investors, the government has recently rolled out highway projects worth $93 billion, including the $45 billion flagship road building program under the National Highways Building Project (NHDP). Similarly, the government has set a target of awarding highway projects worth Rs 1,00,000 crore this year itself and Rs 5,00,000 crore in the next four years. This spells good news for the road building and road paving equipment manufacturers.
The last couple of years, the pace of building roads were not what they should have been. Most of the time authorities attribute the delays to slack policies, lack of financing, land acquisition issues, environment clearance issues, etc.
However, in all this, the road building exercise has been welcomed with shouts of joy by the industry. Analysts forecast that the equipment market in India for road and construction to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21% over the period 2013-2017. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing investment in infrastructure development.
Roads and highways construction basically consists of three phases, rough grading (or earthmoving), fine grading (which includes sub-grade preparation), and surfacing, which can include gravel, concrete, asphalt, or a combination of the three. Another important element is compaction of all road and highway construction. When the compaction is complete, it will ensure a better life of the road. It is up to the operators to do their work well in a manner that will provide for maximum compaction. Then there is the fine grading operations that must be executed well so that surfaces have been graded to fine tolerances. All this requires skill.
Atlas Copco Road Construction Equipment offers Dynapac SD2550CS paver equipped with the new Dynapac R300TVE rigid screed. “This is a machine offering big paving capacity with lowest cost per ton. Together, the Dynapac SD2550CS paver and the Dynapac MF2500CS material feeder make a great paving team, meeting the needs of contractors, communities and rental companies around the world. The superior screed system and the new version of the intelligent Pave Manager 2.0 control system contribute to highest mat quality,” says Hiten Kapadia, business line manager, road construction equipment, Atlas Copco India.
Similarly, Wirtgen India has sensor pavers in its Vogele Dash-3 generation. The SUPER 2100-3 is the most powerful paver in the new “Dash 3” generation of machines from VÖGELE. The machine is powered by an ultramodern liquid-cooled Cummins 6-cylinder diesel engine. The start-up and operating characteristics in the thin high-altitude air are extremely reliable thanks to the splitter gearbox of the VÖGELE EcoPlus package. The full performance capacity of this workhorse is ensured by the perfect cooling of the engine coolant, hydraulic oil and charge air via a large cooler assembly with innovative air routing. Powerful electro-hydraulically controlled separate drives installed directly in the sprockets of the crawler tracks translate the drive power into pave speed without loss. The 3.06m-long undercarriage provides for maximum traction and constant operating speed, even over difficult terrain.
Surprisingly, although road sector project developments are next to nothing, there has been a drastic increase in construction equipment for the road sector. This pertains to more of earthwork and repair work of roads which definitely affects the supply of major equipment like pavers. But again, there should be some rays of light in Q4 of 2014 and Q1 2015. The major areas which need government intervention are land acquisition and faster redressal of contractor grievances.
In terms of equipment, most Indian companies are looking at reducing total cost of operation, mainly through fuel efficiency and higher productivity. Considering the competition awaiting them, companies are also keenly eyeing to maintain their positions in the market in various segments. When sales happen, it’s possible that most manufacturers will look at volumes based on the range of offerings to suit the emerging demand requirements. But there’s another movement in the background. Brand retention is as important. This will largely depend on addressing the emerging complexities of the road construction projects in India, through the equipment offerings and product support.
Wirtgen’s innovative VÖGELE EcoPlus low-emissions package of the SUPER 2100-3 has a number of features that ensure low noise emissions and a substantial reduction in fuel consumption. In this context, all the hydraulic pumps needed for “traction”, “conveyors and augers” and “compaction” are automatically disengaged if the paver is idle for more than one minute. The combination of an energy-optimised tamper drive, engine speed-dependent variable-speed fan and controlled hydraulic oil temperature circuit allows fuel costs to be reduced by roughly 25%.
Concrete roads are exceptionally durable: they have an expected life of 30 to 40 years. Their tremendous compressive strength prevents the formation of wheel ruts or similar irregularities even when exposed to a high proportion of heavy traffic. Concrete is a highly economical pavement material in particular for highways or airport runways that are subject to extreme loads.
Slipform pavers produce high-quality concrete pavements in single-layer or dual-layer application. Inset slipform pavers are the ideal candidates for an economically efficient production of concrete pavements on a large scale. These mobile concrete plants are capable of paving concrete slabs at paving widths of up to 18m between their crawler tracks. Different, highly effective curing methods are additionally available to give the completed pavement surface the desired properties.
The right paving mould for any given profile is high utilisation enabled by a wide range of applications; two layers of concrete in one single pass; environmentally friendly machine technology; and operational safety.
The Dynapac SD2550CS is suitable for highway paving up to 14m, with a theoretical production capacity of 1,100 t/h. The heating system with a 60kW generator and the screed heating system ensure faster heating up to the full working width. The big hopper (2.6m deep and with 15t capacity), a 1.3m wide material tunnel and a 500mm diameter auger system provides the smooth material flow required while paving wide sections. The paver is also available with a big material hopper and, when used together with the new Dynapac MF2500CS material feeder, the paving performance can be 30% higher.