Industry News, Latest News

Compact material placement with Road Widener

Road Widener's FH-R material placement attachment
Road Widener's FH-R material placement attachment
The FH-R material placement attachment can reduce costs for fuel, maintenance and new machinery.

Road Widener’s patented FH-R material placement attachment is providing a compact alternative to heavy-duty machinery for road widening and remediation. Road Widener Business Development Manager Todd Dohnal explains.

For state road departments and infrastructure contractors, road construction and repairs have always been essential services.

Traditionally, road wideners have been self-propelled machinery, often expensive and difficult to transport.

The FH-R material placement attachment from Road Widener is aiming to deliver a flexible option for road widening and repair works.

From its initial development in the early 2000s by a small contractor in Wisconsin, USA, the FH-R material placement attachment has grown into one of Road Widener’s most popular products.

The FH-R is an attachment-based unit, which can be connected to a loader, skid steer, compact track loader, wheel loader or road grader. The unit supports a range of road works, including road shoulder repairs, remediation, road widening, trench backfilling and even asphalt and aggregate placement.

Todd Dohnal, Road Widener Business Development Manager, says the FH-R provides a much-needed substitute to conventional machinery for the road construction industry.

“Up until the creation of the FH-R, many road shouldering machines were very big. Operators would need to section off a larger section of the road, wasting time and disrupting traffic,” he says.

“Costs for fuel, manufacturing and new machines were also increasing. There weren’t many options on the market.”

Road Widener's FH-R material placement attachment
The material flow of Road Widener’s FH-R material placement attachment can be controlled remotely.

Following the success of the initial design, a remote-controlled version of the attachment was released in 2016, allowing the operator to regulate the flow of asphalt or aggregate from the safety and comfort of the host machine’s cab.

As Dohnal recalls, the launch of the remote-controlled model helped to widen the use of the attachment throughout the road construction industry.

“For some council projects, operators are required to have a spotter. This spotter controls the aggregate flow. If you need to speed or slow down the material flow, you can do this without needing to stop the machine. It’s a risk mitigation feature, as operators no longer need to be right next to the attachment to make adjustments,” he says.

With an overall length of 249 centimetres, the FH-R also comes in single and dual discharge models and has a heat-treated belt to lay down a wide variety of materials, including hot mixes. The attachment streamlines a variety of tasks including backfilling, road widening, road shoulder repairs, remediation and aggregate placement.

“With dual discharge, it allows the operator to do either left-hand or right-hand works on major highways, whether they are wanting to use aggregate or asphalt,” Dohnal says.

The material is poured into the hopper at the top of the FH-R and then precisely dispensed via remote control in adjustable laydown widths from 0.3 to 1.8 meters. The attachment dispenses up to 20 tons of material in under 10 minutes.

“As such, this unit is also suited for councils that do their own road works, as it creates road shoulders in an easy and safe way,” Dohnal says.

Road Widener's FH-R material placement attachment
Road Widener’s patented FH-R material placement attachment is compatible with a range of machinery, including track and wheel loaders, as well as skid steers.

Saving costs

The FH-R also presents potential savings in maintenance and operation costs.

According to Road Widener, the FH-R requires 90 per cent less maintenance, while costing up to 80 per cent less than large, self-propelled machines.

Dohnal says the significant savings are thanks to the FH-R’s power unit design.

“The attachment itself does not have an onboard engine, it uses power and hydraulics from the host machine. It’s a very simple design, but very effective,” he says.

“The attachment requires greasing on all of the pivot points and tightening of the discharge belt, but overall, maintenance is very minimal for the FH-R.”

The FH-R can be attached to any brand or make of compatible machinery, meaning operators can use their existing fleet, rather than purchasing a new material placement machine. Its push roller is adjustable to accommodate different truck axles, further increasing its adaptability.

“We’ve started seeing more councils use small wheel loaders because they provide greater visibility to the shoulder, which is why we’ve been promoting wheel loaders as a preferred host machine with this attachment,” Dohnal says.

Road Widener’s FH-R material placement attachment also supports customisation.

“As it is a material placement unit, we do have the ability to extend the width of the attachment depending on the requirements of a project,” Dohnal says. “You can also remove the outflow shoot and attach a curb backfiller.”

The optional kerb backfilling attachment allows operators to backfill parallel to the curb rather than working against the curb. Therefore, reducing the risk of damaging the curb surface.

The compact design of the FH-R allows it to be towed on a common-width trailer by a standard truck along with the host machine.

Road Widener has the FH-R in stock, in New South Wales. Dohnal says there are also plans for a wider rollout in Australia and Europe, following its success in the United States and Canada.

“The FH-R allows contractors to get the job done more quickly and efficiently. Due to the weather and deterioration of road shoulders, there’s massive potential for infrastructure companies to use the FH-R throughout Australia,” he says.

This article was originally published in the July edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.



Related stories:

Send this to a friend