Road building with a strong foundation

As one of the most important road construction processes, road profiling machines are essential to achieving a smooth surface for asphalt. Hastings Deering explains why technology, precision and service support are key to creating a quality road profile.

Similar to icebergs, there is so much more to a road pavement than what the driver sees on top.

Laying out a strong foundation for a road pavement is critical to ensure the pavement is smooth and level, giving drivers a safe surface to move upon.

As each road comes to the end of its life, its replacement with a new stronger pavement begins by getting rid of the old one.

The industry has used road profiling machines to remove pavements for decades. As technology enables increased precision and productivity and the ability to recycle pavement materials becomes more attractive, road profilers have grown in popularity.

Greg Ellis from Ellis Profiling in Queensland entered the road industry about 30 years ago. While working for an original equipment manager (supplier OEM) he saw an opportunity to start an operational business and began Ellis Profiling in 1997.

“Profiling is the core of our business, most of our customers rely on contractors to do road profiling works because it’s a specialised area of road construction,” Mr. Ellis says.

“It’s expensive equipment and the technology changes frequently so contracting in experts for profiling jobs can be more efficient.”

In total, Ellis Profiling has 18 different road profiling machines of varying sizes. Two years ago, Mr. Ellis was looking for a new machine and after extensive research decided to purchase a Cat profiling machine from Hastings Deering.

One of the deciding factors for Mr. Ellis was the level of service Hastings Deering offered alongside the profiler.

“The machine was mechanically sound, the technology is up to date, the warranty was impressive and as we will have the machine working in rural Queensland, we thought the availability of Cat service people across the state was important,” Mr. Ellis says.

“The machine is working regularly, and we need to know that we can get the machine back up and running when and if we need it.”

As he was happy with the first machine, Mr. Ellis recently purchased a second road profiling machine from Hastings Deering, the Cat PM620.

“We are able to cut a profile surface from zero to 330 millimetres deep with the PM620. We are also able to mix or pulverise material and leave it on site,” he says.

“The technology on the Cat machine allows us to mill out humps in the road with a levelling system called Sonic-Ski, which levels out about eight metres.”

The Cat PM620 also has the ability to use GPS levelling systems to cut automatically, based on the pavement design inputs.

“Productivity is a big positive with this machine as the technology allows works to progress quickly. The ability to recycle was a big factor for us and the precise levelling measurements are also very important,” Mr. Ellis says.

Ryan Van Den Broek, Sales Manager at Hastings Deering says the big draw card for the PM620 is its production capability.

“It features a powerful C18 Cat engine. Because the engine and machine are both designed by Caterpillar, the engines are modified to get the best output for each different type of machine,” Mr. Van Den Broek says.

For operator comfort the canopy on these machines has been designed to provide quality sun protection but also to fold up and down during operation, which ensures it does not impact on visibility.

The grade control interface featured on the PM620 is one technology Mr. Van Den Broek says is particularly impressive.

“The levelling system runs on the side plate near the drum, or you can have front and rear sensors, which will give you an average level by taking out all of lumps and bumps on a surface,” he says.

“The smoothest possible base will produce the best possible road on top. Road projects are judged on smoothness and rideability, so it’s important to get the levelling right.”

The machine also features other technology such as a grading slope system, ramp in/out and obstacle jump capabilities.

“If you want to cut down 100 millimetres over a length of 10 metres, the grading slope system will program this and do it automatically,” Mr. Van Den Broek says.

“Then if there is an obstacle such as a manhole, the operator will lift the machine over the hole and once it is passed everything will return to where it was ready to continue cutting. All with a single button push”

For Hastings Deering, the company’s support capabilities have proven to be one of the most important features to accompany the machinery.

“We are really just starting to work with Hastings Deering, and its going really well,” Mr. Ellis says. “That is why we bought the second machine. If there are any technical issues, I can call the representatives at any time.”

“The biggest thing we understand is that we have to provide a point of difference,” Mr. Van Den Broek says.

“So we leverage our service footprint and dealership footprint, ensuring we have lots of people on the ground.”

He says that with all Cat machines, Hastings Deering provides comprehensive training either with experts from Australia or by flying in representatives from America.

“After machine set up, we have technical representatives for each and every product. If there are ever any issues contractors can get in touch with the representative and we will help them out as quickly as possible,” Mr. Van Den Broek says.

“This is especially important with companies that service jobs across the state. In Queensland we have got the hub with all of the main technical information but can provide service anywhere with our technicians.”

Ellis Profiling bought its very first Cat PM620 two years ago and since then Hastings Deering has sold more models in Queensland and even have one in operation in Papua New Guinea.

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