With the growing demand for more sustainable road construction and maintenance solution, road base reclamation and soil stabilisation are becoming a common sight.
Stabilising sub-grade for road base or reclaiming existing road base with the right dry or liquid additives will allow new or existing road to be built and upgraded with less virgin material.
On top of that, it has been proven that stabilised road bases are more resilient to flood damage than conventional road base. With the growing demand, Caterpillar recently announced the release of RM400.
RM400 is powered by Cat C9.3B powerplant delivering up to 19 per cent more power than its predecessor RM300. The RM400 design is focused around three key principles, namely ease of operation, productivity/mix homogeneity and ease of maintenance with minimal downtime.
The operator angle
In the current operational climate, finding a skilled operator for any machine can be a challenge. Be it the expansion of machine fleet or intake of new operators, it can be time-consuming and costly to train a new operator. With that in mind, the RM400 is designed to shorten the operators’ learning curve.
The operator station is equipped with simple and intuitive controls that are easy to learn. Controls are ergonomically grouped by functions for easy access. Once the setup is done, the operator can steer the machine with his left hand and control depth, drive and key operation functions with his right hand on the multi- function joystick.
Automatic features to exit and return to cutting depth save time and help ensure consistent depth for every cut. With Caterpillar’s full left and right sliding cab capability, the operator will have a good all-round view of the machine with very few blind spots. To further improve on visibility, the new high definition (HD) onboard display allows up to six cameras mounted around the machine to eliminate blind spots.
Productivity in reclamation and soil stabilisation revolve around two main components, which are speed of operation and quality of mix. For power and speed, the RM400’s new electronically managed four-pump, four-motor drive system provides excellent traction and rim pull.
To achieve good mix quality, the amount of time the material remains in the chamber with rotor running directly affects the mix quality. A good operator will always work on an optimal machine and rotor speed to achieve the best mix in terms of gradation and homogeneity to achieve optimal productivity.
Unlike most machines in the market, Caterpillar not only offers different rotor speeds, but also offers a choice of three different rotors which complement different sites and material. This promotes production of high-quality mix even at higher operating speeds. For asphalt road base reclamation and light granular soil stabilisation, the ‘Universal’ rotor is a popular choice because of its exclusive mix and gradation capabilities. This rotor has 200 tungsten bits with a kicker paddle in front of every stand-off.
These paddles help toss the material in the chamber allowing it to actively engage itself with liquid and dry additive applied. This rotor option also comes with a ‘breaker-bar’ attached in the rotor chamber to help pulverise any loose chunks of asphalt in the chamber leaving behind a well graded mix.
When working on more cohesive soil or clay, a ‘Combination’ rotor can be used. Equipped with only 144 pieces of 22-millimetre tungsten bits, this rotor generates less resistance allowing it to perform well in cohesive material. It is also capable of working in light asphalt road base reclamation sites. A dedicated soil rotor used primarily on granular and sandy soil is also available.
To keep the machine running with minimal down-time, the RM400 has features to reduce maintenance time and intervals. One unique function is the auto engine cooling package cleanout system. After every 30 minutes of work, the cooling fan will run on reverse to clean the cooling package.
Serviceable components are all easily accessible by simply opening the hydraulically driven engine hood and few side panels. Whether it is scheduled maintenance, repairs or daily check points, it can all be easily accessed from ground level.
The machine also comes with extended service intervals like 500-hours for engine oil and 3000-hours hydraulic oil. An optional air compressor and variety of removal tools help you replace bits and toolholders quickly.
With Caterpillar’s strong dealer distribution network in Australia, parts and support is just a phone call away. Cat dealers are ready to help customers with service options for both the engine and the machine.
Please contact your local Cat dealer or visit www.cat.com for more information.
This article was originally published in the July edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.