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Chenaults ... impressed with the fully automatic 3D control.

Chenaults ... impressed with the fully automatic 3D control.

Wirtgen unveils 3D control system for concrete works


Germany-based Wirtgen has launched its new AutoPilot model, a pioneering 3D control system for use with the SP 15i and SP 25i slipform pavers, which is helping companies in construction of poured in-place concrete profiles such as curbs or safety barriers.

A major developer of machinery for road construction and maintenance, Wirtgen said thanks to its user-friendly, cost-effective system for the construction of poured in-place concrete profiles, the model is becoming a hot favourite among the US construction firms for setting up of curbs or safety barriers, in offset application.

A concrete slipforming contractor based in Kentucky, US, has moved in a big way into curb, gutter and parapet construction by utilising this advanced technology.

Fox Enterprises now constructs offset curb, gutter and parking lot “island” placements using an on-site guidance system.

The Wirtgen AutoPilot is a pioneering 3D control system for use with the Wirtgen SP 15i and SP 25i slipform pavers.
The GPS based system guarantees high precision and maximum efficiency, regardless of whether straight profiles, highly complex curved profile paths, or even closed profile configurations need to be paved.

The AutoPilot enables fully automatic, high quality paving at extremely small radii of merely 2 ft. (600 mm) with great ease and without the use of string-lines. This entirely dispenses not only with the time-consuming work of surveying but also with the installation and removal of string-lines.

The Wirtgen AutoPilot also automatically negotiates any obstacles on the job site, such as manhole covers. The proprietary Wirtgen 3D control system gives construction companies a distinct competitive edge, for it pays off quickly and opens up new fields of application.

The system permits automated placement of those items, including tight radii. Its fleet recently expanded to include a larger slipform paver that can do offset curb-and-gutter paving, but also inset pavement slab paving.

“We want to be the best there is, and for that we need to buy the best technology available,” remarked Ed Chenault, the president, Fox Enterprises, Richmond, Kentucky.

"Automated control of the paver is the future. My daughter someday will take over the reins of the company, and I want to have the next generation of paving technology available to the next generation of management," remarked Chenault.

"I didn’t buy the new slipform pavers for a five-year plan, I bought them for the long haul, the future of the company,” he stated.

To this end Fox bought two Wirtgen SP 15i slipform pavers with exclusive AutoPilot control technology in 2012 and 2014, and followed up with the next-sized model, the SP 25i in late 2016.

“The bottom line is that with this technology, on many projects we can install curb at a lower cost than before,” stated Chenault.

“We’ve overcome the challenges that you get with any kind of new technology. Now that we know the machines’ capabilities, we are getting more efficient in their use. We’re developing more and more opportunities to put them to work, and are pursuing other contractors that are using similar technologies, because they understand the advantage of competitive pricing with higher technology,” he added.

“The Wirtgen AutoPilot technology is really cool, and I use GPS daily,” said Samantha Chenault, VP, Fox Enterprises.

“If we can advance the technology with the kind of work that we are doing and keep up with the times, this is the best way to do it,” she stated.

Quite often Fox will serve as a subcontractor, which was the case when it was placing curbs, gutters and islands in a reconstructed parking lot for a major manufacturer outside Lexington, Kentucky.

Chenault was working on a stormwater improvement and parking lot expansion there. “Using AutoPilot, we installed a large number of trench drains, and were placing curb and gutter to tie into the trench drains,” he said.

“We have more success with the tight radius for curbs using AutoPilot than we do with stringline.” To use AutoPilot, Fox has to select the right project and mate the AutoPilot to the project, Chenault added.-TradeArabia News Service

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