Black Diamond Asphalt is realising its operational potential with the addition of a brand new CAT AP600F Asphalt Paver fleet from Hastings Deering to its existing fleet. Managing Director Jason Orr explains.
Operating on small to medium sized pavement projects throughout Queensland, Black Diamond Asphalt has always aspired to contribute to bigger works.
Founded by Managing Director Jason Orr around three years ago, Black Diamond Asphalt has so far been completing jobs such as carparks, driveways, drainage solutions and resurfacing works, building the brand’s reputation from grounds up.
With over 25 years’ experience in the civil construction industry, Orr says the ability to attract larger projects is the next evolutionary step in the business’ continued growth.
One pre-requisite, however, was to acquire the machinery to do so. With the inclusion of Caterpillar’s AP600F asphalt paver, which he recently acquired through Hastings Deering, Orr says that the existing services of Black Diamond Asphalt are likely to expand.
“After adding the paver to our existing fleet, we can now tender on larger projects for the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and be more competitive, as we are using the latest technology the industry has to offer,” he says.
“We have just got our TMR pre-qualification, so we need to satisfy aspects such as grade control, level control and more to tender for larger projects. The AP600F can satisfy these requirements quite easily.”
Ryan Van Den Broek, Industry Manager for Road Construction at Hastings Deering explains how the AP600F paver helps reduce downtime to ensure that contractors such as Orr can optimise their own time and output.
“Not only does the size of the AP600F give Black Diamond Asphalt an opportunity to bid on larger scale projects, features like the fast-heating screed technology on the machine also leads to greater production levels,” Van Den Broek says.
“The quick-heating screed system reduces waiting time for the heating of the paver’s screed plates. While similar products on the market can heat their plates in around 35 minutes, the AP600F paver can heat the screed in only 15 minutes.”
The faster heating times, Van Den Broek says, ensure that operators can start production on a project quicker, eliminating the need to let the vehicle heat while idle.
Reduced downtime and more fuel efficiency is also supported by the AP600F paver’s eco-mode engine, which allows the engine’s RPM (revolutions per minute) to be adjusted based on the load, all without sacrificing torque.
“In at least 90 per cent of projects, we would be able to run the engine on eco-mode. It is very rare that an operator would need to use the machine at full RPM,” Van Den Broek says.
“Cat engines are purpose-built for every machine application. The eco-mode engine on the AP600F means operators can lower their RPM, but still maintain the same torque and pump flow; leading to fuel economy and reduced noise levels.”
The AP600F paver’s engine operates at 1650 RPM while paving. When the engine load threshold of the paver is exceeded, the engine will automatically increase to 2200 RPM to satisfy the requirements of the application.
Efficiency and operator comfort is also incorporated into the paver’s cooling and fumes extraction design, as Van Den Broek explains.
“Caterpillar’s exclusive air flow design reduces both noise and heat from the cooling assembly. The variable speed fan is placed on the top deck pointing angled outwards. So, it can draw air through the machine, instead of having the air blown out.”
This reduces the noise of the fan and heat exposure for operators working in proximity of the paver.
Orr says he has seen operational costs diminish since Black Diamond Asphalt purchased its AP600F paver.
“The machine’s ability to join and match the kerbs is great, it removes the need for additional personnel to follow the machine for raking and touching up. The machine does the majority of the work for you,” Orr says.
“The weight of the machine grants more versatility as well; we are able to transport the machine on our smaller tag float. This means we no longer need to look for a sub-contractor to move the machine around between jobs.”
The paver can also send performance and GPS data through its ‘VisionLink’ feature, which can be assessed by operators. Van Den Broek says the feature can provide a new perspective to operators.
“VisionLink is included on the majority of Cat machines, be it a roller, a wheel loader or an asphalt paver. It connects all of the computer and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) information in the machine and transfers information relating to aspects such as fuel burn, fault codes, idle times, GPS location and more,” he says.
“This is transferred via cellular system to our server software. This enables the customer to view the whereabouts of a machine and other important data about the machine including when the machine is due for a service.”
And for servicing, customers such as Black Diamond Asphalt are backed by Hastings Deering’s 24/7 support service.
“We have rarely had to contact Hastings Deering for maintenance on the machine, but when we do, their support is great,” Orr says. “It is the same with the rest of our fleet. We have more Cat machinery in our fleet and if we ever have an issue anywhere, Hastings Deering’s service is instantaneous.”
This article was originally published in the November edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.