THE latest members of Caterpillar’s F-series paving machines family – the AP1000F and AP1055F pavers – bring with them performance improvements and technology with a customer-friendly interface.
They incorporate several features that help improve fuel economy while maintaining high performance levels. Engine performance is aided by the 225 hp Cat C7.1 Acert engine, which meets European Stage IV and US EPA Tier 4 Final emissions regulations without sacrificing power.
On some F-Series models, a Cat C7.1 engine is also available that meets emissions equivalent to US EPA Tier 3 and EU Stage IIIA. It provides power of 249 hp.
“Eco-mode is standard on the F-Series pavers. When used with automatic engine speed control, the mode efficiently manages engine RPMs (revolutions per minute) to optimise fuel economy, reduce sound levels and keep the paver running smoothly,” says a spokesman for Caterpillar. “The control automatically adjusts RPMs when the engine reaches a high load threshold or needs additional cooling.”
An integrated generator, another fuel-saving enhancement, is connected to the paver engine, and operates as a core part of the machine. The SE60-Series screeds’ refined heat distribution combine with the generator to bring the screed to the proper temperature in approximately 15 minutes, compared with the previous 30 to 45 minutes, he says. Exclusive to Caterpillar, the F-Series generator was developed by the same team that designed and engineered the highly innovative Cat D7E track-type tractor.
“The F-Series pavers run at about 1,300 RPMs while heating, compared with the more common 2,200 RPMs of some competitive machines. The lower RPM requirement lessens sound levels and can lead to earlier start times in residential areas,” says the spokesman.
Touchscreen displays provide increased flexibility for operating and adjusting the machine. The colour display offers high visibility and more user-friendly options. New feature controls are accessed through the touchscreen. However, the most frequently used functions are still controlled by switches. The new single-switch auto-fill feeder system simplifies set-up and helps provide consistency for operators of varied experience and skill levels.
The spokesman says that ratio control for the conveyors can now be controlled from the screed – which could previously only be controlled by the tractor operator. Likewise, the tractor operator can now adjust mix height for increased flexibility. A pendant control that enables the screed operator to stand alongside the machine is now available.
Controls on the new pavers are as simple as the contractor needs and as flexible as they want them to be. Exclusive propel and feeder system settings transfer between stations with the touch of a single switch. Speed, as well as operation and travel modes, are automatically adjusted at both stations.
Paver operators can make various screed adjustments without leaving their seats. Cat Grade Control now can be operated from the tractor consoles if desired.
A single-button autofeeder system does the work of four switches. An auto-fill button alternates between running the augers and conveyors, helping operators build a proper head of material from the start. If a crew doesn’t want to utilise all controls and the associated technology, “lockouts” are provided on the screed to prevent accidental access.
The F-Series pavers feature innovative undercarriages. Fully-bogied support rollers maintain contact with the surface regardless of irregularities. The oscillating bogies minimise deviations and tow-point movement, leading to smoother mats.
The Mobil-Trac System (MTS) features oscillating bogies and a rubber belt instead of the standard steel track. The rubber belt is friction-driven, and is available with treaded or smooth tracks. “MTS enables travel speeds that match the pace of wheeled pavers. The system essentially combines the traction of track pavers with the speed and mobility of wheeled pavers. Enhanced manoeuvrability is another key benefit,” the spokesman explains.
Wheeled F-Series pavers offer six-wheel drive as an option. “Six-wheel drive utilises enhanced hydraulics to optimise traction and provide 200 per cent more front pull force over previous models. A front wheel assist or four-wheel drive option increases front-wheel pull-force by 50 per cent over previous models. A new radial tyre offers increased traction. When tested on compacted gravel base and asphalt, the tyre provided 20 per cent more pull force over existing radial sand-rib tyres,” he adds.
Three screed options are available: SE60 V, SE60 V XW and the SE60 VT XW. The XW models share common frame structures, with the V XW providing vibratory only and the VT XW offering vibratory and tamper bars. Screed plate life is extended with the utilisation of abrasion-resistant steel that is proprietary to Caterpillar. The same steel is used in motor grader cutting edges as well as the AS3301C, AS3251C and AS4252C screeds.
“The SE60 V screed delivers excellent ride and mat qualities, while providing versatility in urban areas, thanks to its smaller footprint and lighter weight. This screed replaces the current AS3301C vibratory screed,” says the spokesman.
The SE60 XW-Series screeds, meanwhile, deliver extremely tight mat textures, with higher densities. The XW-Series also features full hydraulic control of crown, extension slope and extension height at the full width of 10 m. This is particularly important in wide-width paving applications to ensure optimal mat texture and density, he notes.