Breath of fresher air
First publishedin World Highways
Caterpillar claims its AP555E fume extractionsystem is one of the most efficient on themarket and improves health and safety forpaving crews
Caterpillar Paving says a new fume extraction system on its latest generation of Pavers will make working operations safer and more comfortable. The new system was recently demonstrated to customers at Caterpillar’s European paver facility at Minerbio in Italy.
Independent French research is said by Caterpillar to show that a high percentage of fumes are removed or redirected from the leading construction firm’s new pavers, benefiting not only its operators but screed operators as well.
At the demonstration in Minerbio, red smoke was used to show how the fume extraction system works. The path of the red smoke was said to show clearly as it exited the exhaust, highlighting the efficiency of the extraction system at directing fumes away from the paving crew, whether on the machine deck or working by the screed.
Caterpillar says paver and screed operators construction industry-wide are asking for systems that minimise the fumes they are exposed to while working, with equipment buyers keen to buy machines featuring these systems. Fumes are a particular problem in hot weather and pose health issues too. The legal authorities in various countries are looking at the overall health impact of fumes at present. While that debate continues, many contractors such as Caterpillar are taking steps to protect personnel by using pavers with fume extraction systems.
A recent study in France is said by Caterpillar to show a solution to the fume exposure problem is already in place. The National Institute for Research and Safety (INRS) in Paris monitored fumes from Caterpillar pavers. It found a quality fume extraction system, such as that featured on the firm’s latest models, can remove 85-92% of the fumes that paver and screed operators otherwise would face. Some manufacturers have a conventional engine cooling system fan, typically on the left side of the machine. These are designed to cool the machine more than to prevent fumes from Breath of fresher air reaching the operator. The frontmounted fan on the Caterpillar system is positioned between the operator station and the hopper, which blows fumes away from the hopper and the operator. The fan is said to offer additional benefits as blowing away fumes eliminates the need for a windshield, which can become dirty and may vibrate. The system is also said by Caterpillar to be much quieter because the fan is never directed toward the operator. Furthermore, the way the system works is crucial as it pulls fumes away from the area between the paver tractor and screed. It draws fumes from the conveyor tunnels and the auger chamber and routes these through the engine exhaust stack, where they exit.