With the pandemic affecting everything from the way we move around our cities to the way we transport goods, it is gratifying to see road and infrastructure building return to its normally high levels of productivity. But the journey to get to this point hasn’t been easy. Paul Johnson, Head of Product Management Road – Region EU/INT, at Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) says: “Like any industry, road construction has been affected in ways we never anticipated during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has also proved incredibly resilient.”
This is because in many countries around the world, infrastructure has been identified as one of the key industries that must remain open. In the short-term this has meant the priority has been on finding safer ways of working for contractors and their teams to complete existing projects and keep infrastructure maintained so that transport networks and supplies are able to keep running smoothly. On the one hand, this has resulted in less traffic on the roads, presenting fewer risks and even faster project completion. But on the other hand, working practices have had to change to be Covid safe, not only on the jobsite but in the supply and maintenance of the equipment being used out on the jobsite, which has caused some delays.
“In the medium term, we are positive about the outlook, thanks in part to the number of projects that have been agreed and funded well in advance,” says Johnson. “Covid-19 has meant many contractors are taking a closer look at the technology available to them to allow workers to stay away from the jobsite wherever possible and let the machines and software do the work.”
Volvo Co-Pilot, for example, and in particular Pave Assist continues to be a really helpful tool to record distance, width and tonnage laid by the paver without operators having to physically work this out themselves. Volvo Co-Pilot is an integral part of the company’s growing connectivity software that allows for greater digitalization of the jobsite. In the coming years, the manufacturer’s machine to machine connectivity is set to grow even more intelligent and contribute to even smarter jobsites, as sensor networks become more integrated and the processing of larger flows of data become even more manageable.
“For the future, we believe we will see a trend for smaller machines to carry out city work and maintenance – thanks to a likely increase in car-free mobility accelerated by Covid-19,” says Johnson. “More and more people are now seeing the advantage of walking, scooting or cycling for short trips, rather than using their own cars, and transport routes are likely to be repurposed for safer and easier access. We remain optimistic in our outlook as infrastructure remains a top priority for many countries, especially those whose road networks are in need of maintenance and repair which cannot be put off indefinitely. In addition, infrastructure improvement is a great way to re-start economies by investing in something that provides benefits for many years to come.”
Precision makes perfect
Building for the future requires the right tools for the job. And thanks to Pave Assist, operators can make light of heavy-duty work with its revolutionary on-board computer and display. With full access to a powerful set of work enhancing tools Pave Assist, powered by Volvo Co-Pilot, not only saves time and money but also give operators the key to unlock first-class paving results.
Developed in-house, the factory-installed computer and display is designed for use on Volvo machines ranging from excavators to pavers, delivering a new generation of smart services and solutions to optimize efficiency across any application and produce higher quality outcomes in less time and less effort.
Operators can also say goodbye to hours of measurements and manual documentation with live, on-board information and automated reports through Material Manager. It offers useful calculations such as distance and tonnage paved, paved area and CO2 emissions. By recording the volume of delivered asphalt and the amount of road paved, operators can even identify the machine's throughput efficiency and build a record for future projects.
With Thermal Profiling monitors, it’s possible to deliver a high-quality mat surface that ensures high compact-ability and durability for the long road ahead. It works by monitoring paved asphalt and detects temperature variations, helping to ensure laid material is consistent throughout. By proactively evaluating the asphalt thermal quality, anyone on site can swiftly identify and correct process issues.
Operators can also be better prepared for changes in the weather thanks to Weather View, a state-of-the-art application which creates a timeline showing current and upcoming weather conditions, connecting them to high quality forecasting services. With the most up-to-date information at their fingertips, operators can better plan and adapt more effectively – rain or shine.
With Pave Assist, Volvo CE has developed a user-friendly solution that greatly facilitates paving, making it more profitable, providing real-time insight into the operation, so anyone can monitor the progress and output of their work independently and confidently. Additionally, the data can be stored on the Cloud and accessed remotely, allowing complete paving management.
Designed for versatility
While weathering changes in the industry’s outlook over the last few months has proved a challenge, the machines out on site need to provide the reliability and flexibility required to adapt to the changing conditions of any road building job.
Made for the city, the P2820D ABG and the P2870D ABG are the most compact pavers in the Volvo line-up – and are the perfect partner for small-to-medium paving applications, offering low operating cost, safety and operator comfort. Equipped with features usually only found on larger pavers, these machines promise paving quality and improvements in safety, efficiency and operator comfort.
Not unlike the rest of Volvo’s paver range, the P2820D ABG and P2870D ABG generate low levels of noise, making them suited to inner-city projects, such as cycle tracks, parking lots and pedestrian areas. Highly efficient, the machines also promise low fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions. With their 55kW Volvo engines and perfectly matched hydraulics, the compact pavers feature the same best-in-class drive system fitted to larger models.
Thanks to their compact design, the P2820D ABG and P2870D ABG make a very flexible solution. Strong enough to push a feed truck, they can also be easily fed by other machinery, such as wheel loader or excavator. Customers can choose between the more common dual conveyor or Volvo’s single conveyor – the latter a feature that is unique to Volvo in this size-class and results in higher output per hour. Specific to the P2870D ABG, this paver offers a tight (2 m) turning radius thanks to the inclusion of power steering.
Adding to their versatility are a host of optional configurations that make it possible for both the wheeled and tracked models to take on a broader range of jobs. These include individually operated hopper wings, enabling to pave closer to obstacles, and an electro-hydraulic foldable roof that helps these pavers sneak in when there is minimal height clearance.
As if that wasn’t convenient enough, the P2820D ABG and P2870D ABG are small enough that they can be transported along with a compactor on the same transport vehicle.
The P2820D ABG also comes fitted with a variomatic VB30 tamping and vibrating screed, which feature the robust screed guide system and hydraulic screed crown. It can extend to double the basic width (1.5 m to 3.0 m). Screed extensions can be fitted to increase the paving width even further, up to a maximum of 4.0 m. Complete with the new VB40 screed, the P2870D ABG can ensure exceptional quality paving at even larger widths of up to 4.5 m. The screed comes with two possible extensions: 525mm and 275mm, with the latter allowing machine transportation without disassembling extensions and end-gates.
VB30 and VB40 screeds both heat up to 3°C per minute and feature mechanical or hydraulic screed crown and zero-daily maintenance, with lifetime lubricated tamper and vibration bearings. The VB40 screed is also fitted with a tiltable walkway.
And because uptime is paramount in these changing times, the pavers allow for faster routine maintenance and minimal downtime thanks to drain hoses for fluids, easy battery access with an external panel for jump starting and just three lubricating points. The conveyor also has lifetime lubricated, maintenance-free bearings.
The after-treatment system consists of only a Diesel Particulate Filter. This means there are no SCR and Adblue requirements, and therefore no need to replace diesel exhaust fluid or carry out SCR maintenance. As a result, uptime is maximized and machine running costs minimized.
Volvo CE will continue to develop solutions that significantly reduce power consumption, emissions and of course noise, particularly important for small urban pavers. Customers can expect new innovations to come to the market in the very near future.
Sponsored content produced in association with Volvo Construction Equipment