In 1931 Harry Barber, of Barber-Greene Company, developed the first mechanical asphalt paver in the United States. It travelled on a set of steel rails and included a combination loader and mixer to proportion and blend the components before spreading the asphalt evenly over the road surface. The rails were soon replaced by crawler tracks, and the first production paver came off the Barber-Greene line in 1934. This new machine quickly became popular with road builders because it allowed them to place asphalt more rapidly and with greater uniformity. Hydraulic drives replaced mechanical drives in pavers during the late 1950s to give the operator even smoother control. Since then it has gone through an evolution.
The modern asphalt paver machines come with features that allow for easy loading and transport, coupled with the ability to change widths quickly. The asphalt paver is foreseeing growing demand for road and highway work. The machines are being used for multiple project applications from small to large-scale projects. Manufacturers are shifting their focus to the production of user-friendly, energy-efficient, and low-emission construction equipment, and asphalt pavers are no exception. The modern paver machines are equipped with hydraulic drives for smoother control of asphalt placement. Manufacturers are exhilarating the paving machine with modified features and intelligent systems. The asphalt pavers are being enhanced with a 3D control system and multiple track layer paving systems. The focus is on the enhancement of paving pan lengths and operation control systems of these machines as per project requirements. Leading manufacturers such as Ammann, Volvo India, Wrtigen, Apollo etc. are increasingly taking efforts for developing technologically upgraded asphalt pavers machines ideal for multiple tasks such as National roads, Municipal roads, Building lots and courtyards & Land maintenance. Different types of models are being used across different kinds of projects in India.
Asphalt pavers for various infrastructure construction
Wheeled asphalt paver for large-scale projects
The latest wheeled asphalt paver can be used to place both binding courses and surface lifts. The machine models feature a standard paving width of 2.55 metres to 4.9 metres. It can work at widths up to 6.5 metres with the use of mechanical extensions. Its capacity and size make it an ideal fit for larger road projects. The newer models also feature a specialised levelling system that can be connected to the control unit. The installation plug is pre-mounted and allows for quick connection to the leveling sensors and controls. The hopper height also matches trucks of varied sizes, increasing fleet utilisation and making it easier to find outside haulers with appropriately sized vehicles. An optimised auger ensures uniform material distribution, even at wide paving widths. A small auger drive gearbox prevents segregation and cooling of material beneath the drive. Standard e-hydraulic auger height adjustment reduces the risk of segregation and ensures sufficient material beneath the gearbox.
Tracked asphalt paver for medium and large-scale projects
Modern tracked asphalt pavers are suitable for paving a wide range of materials from the wearing course right down to the base courses on different terrains. They are utilised for both medium and large-scale projects in paving widths from 2.5 m up to 13 m. The newer models feature the smart power-saving mode to give high power when it is needed and reduce fuel consumption when less power is required. The machines also have a centrally mounted EPM control panel that can be swivelled, tilted and telescopically extended.
Mini asphalt paver for small-sized projects in confined conditions
The latest mini-class asphalt pavers are designed both for repair work and for the construction of cycle paths, footpaths, parking lots and sports grounds. They fill trenches, pave surfaces in halls or underground parking decks and can be used in landscaping projects. With the AutoSet Plus Repositioning function, the paver is quickly and safely prepared for a move on the job site at the push of a button. With the PaveDock Assistant signal lights, the paver operator can give the driver of the feed vehicle unmistakable signals, indicating what needs to be done.
Mechanical asphalt paver for walkways and parking areas
The latest series of mechanical asphalt pavers comes with a hydrostatic paver finisher with a screed for handling both asphalt and wet mix. It comes with a screed of 2.5 metres which can be extended up to 4.5 Metres The hopper operations, screed lifting and vibrating/tamping arrangement are hydraulically controlled in these models. The pavers have a variable displacement motor and pump for infinitely variable paving and travel speeds. The latest models are equipped with variable displacement pumps with servo control, one each for individual track drives. The operator cabin comes with a remote-controlled solenoid with a function check LED to assist system diagnosis. The steering and transmission are hydraulically controlled in the newer models.
Different types of asphalt paver machines as per project application in the Indian market are discussed above. The asphalt paver market continues to witness lucrative opportunities against the backdrop of increasing construction activity across the country.