Astec Industries’ RP-170ex rubber tyred paver has given Centre Line Paving the key to unlocking a higher volume of works across Sydney. Astec’s Jorge Boil and Centre Line Paving Owner David Gardner explain what sets the RP-170ex apart from the rest.
2022 was a significant year for Centre Line Paving. The team celebrated the company’s 25th anniversary, a well-earned milestone for the third-generation local paving company based in Penrith, Western Sydney.
The year also marked the beginning of what owner David Gardner considers to be an excellent professional partnership between Centre Line Paving and Astec Industries.
As Gardner recalls, the desire to upgrade from an older piece of machinery led to the company’s purchase of its first-ever Astec machine.
“I’d developed a plan to replace our frontline machinery every few years,” he says. “Reliability was probably the biggest thing for us when we were first looking for a new paver.”
He says that commitment to reliability has helped the company make its mark in the New South Wales road construction industry.
Working on commercial, residential and council projects, the company predominantly utilises its own paving and roller fleet, while also occasionally hiring machinery.
Centre Line Paving has been responsible for the completion of a range of projects across metropolitan Sydney, including mill and fill, deep-lifting, footpaths and commercial and residential car parks.
Now, with Astec’s Roadtec RP-170ex rubber tyred asphalt paver, the company has access to a machine capable of undertaking not only residential works, but highway works as well.
Class all round
One of three rubber tyred pavers in Astec’s RP range, the RP-170ex’s innovative design replaces conventional tracks with high flotation sand rib drive tyres.
Jorge Boil, Astec Business Line Manager – Infrastructure, says the design change increases the traction, manoeuvrability and rideability of the paver.
“Operators can achieve greater traction by partly filling the flotation tyres with water which increases the contact area on the ground. And that’s very useful where the ground is covered in loose material,” he says.
“With these tyres the machine also has a great turning cycle, which is ideal for industrial applications.”
Adding further to the increased rideability of the machine, the two operator stations can hydraulically swing out, enabling the user to maintain visibility while completing passes. Seats on the operating platform are also adjustable and have their own suspension.
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“The operator can jump between the two seats on the operating platform. That gives a lot of extra vision to the edge and the front of the paver,” Boil says.
Gardner says the RP-170ex’s hydraulic swing system is a far cry from other machinery he’s used previously.
“The older paver in our fleet had the hydraulic swing, but this system is much simpler to operate. The other machine had quite a lot of mechanisms involved in that swing,” he says. “With the RP-170ex, all you have to do is press a button and both platforms swing out.”
Visibility is also enhanced by Astec’s fume extraction system which helps maintain a clear view to both augers and the front of the machine. As part of the system, two fans redirect potentially hazardous fumes through the front engine hood.
Fitted with a powerful Cummins Tier III QSB6.7 – 174 horsepower engine, the RP-170ex boasts a paving speed of 91 metres per hour.
And with a front hopper capacity of 11.5 tonnes and maximum paving width of 6.7 metres, the RP-170ex is suitable for both residential and highway paving jobs.
Boil believes this versatility, as well as the after-sales support offered by Astec, were defining factors in Centre Line Paving’s decision to go with the RP-170ex.
“Our Roadtec pavers are built to last,” Boil says. “There are examples of units 15 years or older still running as front-line pavers. Plus all our equipment comes with outstanding after-sales support. Centre Line Paving demoed a number of our machines and were really impressed, especially with the RP-170ex.”
The RP-170ex has also been designed with maintenance in mind. Ease of access to essential components can take the stress out of repairs, as Boil explains.
“We have a push-button electric over hydraulic lift for the engine hood. Once the operator lifts that, they have easy access to all the pumps, motor and engine. It’s very friendly when it comes to serviceability,” he says.
“And our local warehouse is stocked with an ample supply of major components such as motors and pumps, so spare parts are on hand and reasonably priced.”
Keeping options open
Each paver in the RP range – including the RP-170ex – supports three different screed options, all of which are heated electrically via thermostat control.
These screeds can be operated in a single or dual grade control and slope control, or via manual control.
The S-8, EZIV-8 and Eagle 8 screeds all come in varying width options, as do the pavers themselves. Astec also offers a hydraulic screed boost package that pressurises the screed lift cylinders when the paver is in neutral. This feature supports an adjustable time for pressure release when the attachment is in a forward motion.
“The CarlsonEZIV-8 screed is renowned for quality, and it’s become the preferred screed in the marketplace. That could be due to its front-mounted screed extensions or because it’s a vibration-only screed,” Boil says. “But operators love the EZIV.”
Gardner says Centre Line Paving has benefitted from the flexibility provided by Astec’s screed range.
“The ease of maintaining a consistent depth and making adjustments to the screed has been great,” he says.
Astec in mind
Gardner says both the level of service and support Astec has provided, and the performance of the RP-170ex, have been “really impressive”.
“We could definitely be going back to Astec,” he says. “We’re looking at buying a smaller machine not too far down the track.”
“And if we were to replace the RP-170ex in a few years, it’d be with a similar sized unit.”
According to Gardner, Centre Line Paving has an “exciting” pipeline of projects coming up in 2023.
“One of our first jobs with the new paver was a section at Boundary Road,” he says. “And it performed beautifully. I’m not sure how much of 2023 I can discuss, but I can say we have plenty more work coming up for the RP-170ex.”
This article was originally published in the April edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.