Major innovations are coming to market in concrete slipforming
First publishedin World Highways
GOMACO's new Commander IIIx variant offers tighter turning circles
Tough competition is being seen in the specialised market for concrete slipforming machines, with new partnerships and new technology coming to market - Mike Woof writes
GOMACO is boosting the versatility of its Commander slipformer further with the development of the new Three-Track Commander IIIx variant. This has been configured to cope with much tighter radii than previous versions of the Commander III, allowing it to slipform a radius of just 610mm. This suits the machine to applications such as slipforming kerbing for parking lots or housing developments.
To achieve the very tight turning capability, the machine is equipped with the specially-developed Extreme Package for multi-application pavers. This includes rotary-sensored slew drives for steering, sensored leg positioning, independent travel circuits to each track, radius software, GOMACO’s three-sensor radius system, and repeatable mold offset.
The rotary-sensored slew drives are fitted to all three tracks, while GOMACO’s software engineers have developed the special tight radius software for the G+ control system. This allows the operator to programme the size of the radius into the controller. The values have to be dialled in before the Commander IIIx is tracked into position for slipforming the radius so that the operator can then activate the radius program, allowing the kerb and gutter to be laid out as required.
The G+ unit controls all functions when moving around the radius, including track angles and variable track speeds. When paving with stringline, the Commander IIIx uses the GOMACO three sensor steer system for the tight radius. The proper speed of each of the tracks is maintained by G+ with independent hydraulic circuits to each track, so that each travels at the correct speed to maintain the smooth radius, which also minimises pad scrubbing and increases wear life. The Commander IIIx’s three tracks, equipped with rotary-sensored slew drives, also make slipforming kerbs and gutters easier in tight clearance conditions.
New control features are fitted to GOMACO's upgraded remote unit
The sophisticated track positioning package also includes a smart hydraulic cylinder on all three legs. This gives the G+ precise position data for all three tracks. Meanwhile the intelligent offset system uses a smart hydraulic cylinder to telescope the mold mounting system. This allows the repeatable mold offset, while the trimmerhead and mold also feature independent vertical adjustments for raising and lowering.
GOMACO claims that the Commander IIIx is also one of the quietest pavers on the market and can be powered by the latest generation Tier 4 engines as well as the necessary cooling packages. The Commander IIIx has a pivoting operator console so that the operator can have a clear view of all slipforming work, no matter which direction of travel. The machine has an optimised cooling package as the hydraulic fan is controlled to adapt cooling needs to the working conditions. Improved fuel efficiency is also claimed due to the power-optimised engine as well as advanced load-sensed hydraulics. Fuel capacity has also been increased so that the machine can run for a full working shift without need for refilling.
An optional extra is an onboard camera that can be mounted anywhere on the machine so as to monitor key areas of the slipforming job and this feeds live images to the G+ display on the operator’s console.
The Commander IIIx’s G+ control system interfaces with conventional stringlines as well as the latest 3D guidance system for curb and gutter, tight radius applications. The machine is also offered with the GOMACO remote diagnostics (GRD) package, which provides capabilities for troubleshooting, diagnostic checks and software updates.
In addition the firm is also upgrading its G+ control system with the addition of new features. The latest development is the G+ remote control for hands-on machine control and which can be used with any GOMACO three-track kerb and gutter machine currently equipped with the G+ operating system.
Power Curbers has seen healthy demand for new machines in 2016 with the factory having a full order book
The new remote control features a 109mm graphic display screen showing the machine’s run functions, information normally viewed at the operator’s console on top of the paver. Most paver functions are included on the remote and it also gives the operator individual control of each leg of the paver with automatic/manual adjustments for elevation and steering.
The lightweight remote control unit allows the operator to work either on the operator’s platform or standing close at hand, wherever the view of the working areas is best. The G+ remote control allows hands-on safety at all times and features an emergency stop button and an alert horn. The remote control is equipped with two lithium-ion batteries and a 12V charger, while an optional AC adaptor is also available.
At the same time, GOMACO is also offering upgrades for its G+ control system, with simple machine operation, fast machine response, pinpointed troubleshooting and a fault history. Its 6.5in (165mm) anti-glare display screen provides a full colour display to illustrate the various aspects of the paver for set up and operation. G+ expresses itself in easy to understand international icons and full script explanations. It operates in all the major languages of the world and in the imperial or metric system. It has a lightning-fast processing speed with two-way communication between paver accessories and G+. Its instant digital feedback and closed-loop electronic and hydraulic control create a smooth, efficient and accurate concrete paving experience. GOMACO’s G+ control system has been proven on projects all around the world.
A notable business development in the market is the new partnership between Guntert & Zimmerman (G&Z) and Miller Formless Company (MFS). This alliance covers their sales, marketing, and service divisions and the two firms will now share industry knowledge, establish a common dealer network, and market each other’s products and services. The arrangement will allow the two companies to provide a full range of concrete construction machinery and related equipment to the industry. In addition, the firms also intend to collaborate on advancements in technology and machine design. The deal is significant as it allows the two to offer a more comprehensive spread of solutions to the customer. And for Miller Formless, it will also allow the firm to compete outside of the US market. Guntert’s marketing manager, Ben Hoover, said, “Their machines are more in kerb and gutter than ours but with both together we can give customers more solutions.”
G&Z has seen strong demand for its S400 during 2016, although the company has also had a steady run of orders for its larger S600 and S850 models
G&Z has seen strong sales during 2016, with demand for its machines both in the US and overseas, including customers as far away as India. To meet the needs of the developing markets, machines destined for countries such as India where low sulphur fuel is not currently available are fitted with Tier 3 compliant engines. Customers have been keen on the firm’s latest model and Hoover said, “This has been a big year for the S400 for us.” He added that sales have also been healthy for the S600 model, with a recent unit having been supplied to a client in Louisiana. Hoover said that that demand has been steady too for the next machine up in the range, the S850. The firm has also seen several of its S1500 pavers carrying out major projects such as in Nebraska and in Australia, with its TC1500 texture cure units also working on the Australian job as well as on the Detroit Airport runway rebuild.
Looking ahead, the company expects another major job to be carried out in Europe using an S1500 as well as further orders for its MP550 material placer, with the second unit having already been delivered to a customer in New York.
The MP550 features a 3.8m3 hopper and a 10.7m-long conveyor that can be swung through 170°. The machine runs on four tyres and has four steering modes as standard, with an automatic steering option also available. Power comes from a diesel delivering 193kW and the machine tips the scales at 20.55tonnes as standard or 25.1tonnes if the optional jacking columns (which give 685mm of hydraulic height adjustment) are fitted.
Power Curbers has seen strong demand for its machines during 2016, with the factory busy building new units to order. The firm says that a steady development of the US market and a resurgence in housing starts meant that many contractors were keen to buy new slipformers. These have been used for handling kerbing in housing developments as well as for new parking areas, with the firm selling both its 5700-C variants and the compact 150 Extruder for kerbing work. Sales have also been good outside of the US, with the firm’s exports proving steady throughout the year.
Of note is that the company is also seeing an increasing number of its clients adopting machine control technologies. Even the smaller contractors now typically use these more sophisticated systems, which can offer major gains in efficiency. And Power Curbers has carried out several sessions giving training in the use of machine control technology. A successful customer training package was carried out in late 2016 in partnership with Topcon, using the demonstration area at the rear of the plant for a live onsite demonstration of Topcon’s Millimeter GPS stringless machine controls on the firm’s 5700-C. This event also included, as well as factory tours and information sessions with Power Curbers and Topcon experts in classroom and workshop sessions. And further training programmes will be carried out during 2017, again with a strong focus on the machine control technology. New from Wirtgen for the concrete paving market is its latest texture cure machine as well as upgrades to the SP 60 Series pavers. The self-propelled TCM 180i texture cure unit features a modular design and offers working widths of up to 18m, with additional capabilities being made available.
Wirtgen's TCM 180i texture cure machine is now being offered with additional capabilities
ccording to the firm, the TCM 180i offers intuitive operation and features similar controls to those used on the SP 60 and SP 90 Series pavers. The machine can be used for a range of surface textures and can offer transverse brooming and spraying functions, while it can be fitted with mounts for a burlap or synthetic turf. However customers can now benefit from a wider range of surface textures too and in addition, longitudinal brooming and spraying and the application of a diagonal finish are being made available.
Wirtgen is also fitting its latest SP 60 Series concrete pavers with engines that meet the Tier 4 Final/Stage IV emissions requirements. The firm has selected a 180kW Deutz diesel to power the SP 61/SP 61i, SP 62/SP 62i and SP 64/SP 64i models. This engine offers around 40% more power than the unit-fitted in the earlier generation SP 500, while also offering fuel savings due to the improved Eco Mode system. Performance is said to be further optimised due to a new and more efficient hydraulic system. The SP 60 Series models are also now offered with a range of additional equipment options including trimmers, a large delivery screw for offset applications, or four swivel arms that help to speed the change for the machine from its transport mode to working use.