Since completing the development and introduction of a guillotine-like concrete breaker that created a new method of rehabilitating concrete pavements, Wirtgen has continued to advance industry practice by manufacturing an extensive range of road construction machinery.
Road milling machines and a variety of hot and cold recycling equipment make up a large part of the machinery range offered by the global firm. Stuart Torpy, General Manager Road Technologies at Wirtgen Australia, says from the first road hot milling machines through to step changes in recycling philosophies, Wirtgen has always brought “first of kind” technologies to the market.
Jumpy forward to 2017 and both Wirtgen milling and recycling machines remain the industry standard, with innovative or world-leading products in areas such as application specific cutting technologies, level control, operator safety, dust containment and recycling technologies such as foamed bitumen and emulsions.
WA Profiling and WA Stabilising have been making the choice to own Wirtgen milling and stabilising equipment for over 13 years. At present, they run a fleet of more than 18 Wirtgen Group milling and stabilising machines.
“Our choice to run Wirtgen products has been founded on our company focus on safety, quality and reliability. To date, we have not seen other products that can meet Wirtgen’s level of technical capability,” says Kane Blackburn, Non-Executive Director. “Each and every time we are looking to invest in a new machine, we are very thorough in the assessment, considering not only machine performance, operability and OH&S attributes, but also local support and expertise.”
The aspects most appreciated by customers in the cold milling class are the user friendly operating environment and ergonomics, including the ‘flick of a switch’ automated machine functions (WiDrive), quick change milling drums (FCS – Flexible Cutting System), dust extraction (VCS – Vacuum Cutting System) and Wirtgen’s in-house developed LEVEL PRO and LEVEL PRO Plus levelling control systems.
Of particular note is the levelling systems on Wirtgen milling machines, which are easy to use and consistently accurate.
“Getting levels right is probably the most important aspect of milling. If you cut too deep you can compromise pavement and structural performance, such as that in a bridge deck, and if you cut too shallow you have to rework the area. Both of these cost time and potentially money for operators, road owners and the travelling public. So quality is an imperative,” says Mr. Torpy.
“Job quality is a priority for WA Profiling and WA Stabilising, and the features on the Wirtgen machinery greatly assist the team in maintaining that high standard,” says Mr. Blackburn.
What is slowly gaining some attention, according to Mr. Torpy, is a concept offered exclusively by Wirtgen, which is its Operator Comfort System. This comprises a hydraulically-driven, rotating cabin that can be adjusted to the optimum position for the operator to have full visibility at all times. Multiple cameras, precise joystick control and a powerful automatic climate control system provide a safe operator environment regardless of the weather or potential jobsite environmental hazards.
Roadworx currently own the only W210 milling machine with the Operator Comfort System option in Australia. It is using it to good effect on projects where hazardous pavements, such as those containing coal tar, need to be removed or when one-man operation makes sense.
Given the potential harm to humans from something like coal tar, keeping the operator isolated from the hazard is critical. The Operator Comfort Cabin protects the operator and also negates the need for a level hand on the ground by enabling a one-man operation.
Beyond specialist features to cater for any application Wirtgen also offer a range of over 30 different milling machine models. “No matter what the customer’s need, there’s a model to match, and that is important when considering the training, service and support benefits to be had from a consistent branded fleet,” says Mr. Torpy.
Whilst Wirtgen’s milling machines were one of its first areas of focus, stabilisers and reclaimers have been a similarly strong area of focus for over 20 years.
“When they came to market in 1995 the WR2500 introduced a distinctive lifting column design. To this day this design philosophy produces significant quality and safety advantages over alternatives,” explains Mr. Torpy.
He says this feature creates the ability to better control the mixing depth and drum position on uneven or sloping ground. “And when you’re trying to create an even and consistent pavement layer the ability to manage drum position is critical,” he adds.
The latest Wirtgen range of stabilisers also offer class-leading operator visibility, ergonomics and control systems, precise metering of water or other binders, particularly foamed bitumen or emulsion and outstanding all terrain mobility.
In recognition of the benefits of reclaiming and strengthening existing aged asphalt pavements, Wirtgen have introduce what could be described as a hybrid of the cold milling and reclaiming machines in the cold recycling or CR class of machines.
“These machines cold mill the existing asphalt pavement while introducing and mixing a binding additive whether that be a water-cement slurry, bitumen emulsion or foamed bitumen,” says Mr. Torpy. Depending on the model of CR machine, this rehabilitated material is either paved at the rear of the machine (CR 2200) or fed into a road paver (CR 3800) for single pass pavement rehabilitation.
Given the ongoing constraints of limited road funding, decreasing reserves of virgin pavement materials, increasing traffic and the subsequent need to minimise the amount of disruption to traffic in undertaking works, this technology is getting increasing interest from road owners and contractors in Australia.
“Wirtgen is using its road pavement machinery to address an indisputable challenge facing the industry,” says Mr. Torpy. “That’s how Wirtgen got its first win and that’s how Wirtgen stay at the cutting edge of the industry at all times.”