Intelligent compaction is growing in popularity as roadbuilding companies discover the benefits and the technology is being driven by state DOTs. Minnesota, for example, now requires intelligent compaction on all jobs more than four lane miles.
Because asphalt is a time-sensitive material, inconsistency in machine operation, from pass counts to temperature, can result in poor finish quality. Intelligent compaction systems, like the Topcon C-53 intelligent compaction system, deliver real-time feedback of important aspects including temperature and stiffness, and maps pass counts of all rollers on a jobsite. This instant information allows quick adjustment, if needed, to solve five common challenges of asphalt paving.
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Problem: Under-compaction results in an asphalt layer with too many voids that will crack.
Solution: Intelligent compaction systems provide real-time data on key factors like temperature, speed, and pass count, allowing operators to maintain for layer uniformity or instantly adjust operation, if needed.
Problem: Just as under-compaction is a problem, over-compaction can actually lower the density. Pavement that’s over-compacted becomes more rigid and more susceptible to cracking.
Solution: Again, this is where the intelligent compaction system’s ability to monitor important factors and map pass counts can lead to desired density for longer-lasting pavement. The operator can see real-time data to maintain optimum operation or make a necessary adjustment quickly.
3. Temperature Sensitivity
Problem: Looking at primary compaction factors, temperature is one of the most important in achieving consistency. In fact, every paving job comes with a specific temperature needed for compaction. Not knowing and ensuring temperature consistency can cause major problems in the finish quality.
Solution: With multiple integrated temperature sensors, Topcon’s C-53 intelligent compaction system monitors and shows temperature in real-time. This gives operators the ability to adjust instantly, as-needed, to ensure consistent temperature, and the proper balance of stiffness and density to achieve quality compaction.
4. Multiple Rollers
Problem: It’s difficult to keep temperature, speed, and everything else consistent with one roller without intelligent compaction. With multiple machines on the jobsite, that difficulty scales up.
Solution: With intelligent compaction equipped on all machines, each can achieve consistent results across the board through the integrated and ongoing feedback.
5. Inefficient Operation
Problem: Unnecessary passes or missed coverage affect efficiency and finish quality. Excessive passes waste time, fuel, and money, while extra passes and missing areas altogether will hurt mat quality.
Solution: Not only can proper compaction be achieved, often with fewer passes, intelligent compaction takes away any guesswork or operators having to count passes.
The data also shows machine patterns, a bonus for new employees and inexperienced operators. If an operator is consistently missing areas, the simple awareness can help, or added training can be scheduled to improve the operator’s skill. For those new to a company or the machines, intelligent compaction is an effective way to ease the learning curve.
Unless temperature, density, and pass counts are being monitored, there’s no way to truly know if you’re rolling the asphalt properly. Intelligent compaction takes the guesswork out of paving and leads to consistent mats, more efficient operation, and, ultimately, a better end-result with a pavement that will hold up for years. Even for states that don’t yet require it, the data and reporting offers proof of compliance and ensure regulations are met.
About the Author
Blair Scheibel has been working in the paving and construction industries for nearly 25 years. He and his team specialize in GPS machine control technology, helping customers successfully integrate technology into heavy machinery to control material, increase profitability, and complete jobs faster and with greater accuracy.