Cat AP655D Asphalt Paver working around the clock to meet the needs of road construction contractors across Europe
- 07 February 2011
- Company & Industry News
The Caterpillar manufactured high performance AP655D tracked paver is proving the ideal machine for contractors involved in projects across Europe, from Portugal, France and Spain to Germany and Norway. The possibility to equip the machine with a choice of conventional steel tracks, or the flexible rubber Mobil-tracTM System (MTS), offers customers a paver with exceptional manoeuvrability, high traction capabilities, rapid travel speeds and good flotation.
The machine provides three steering modes: one for paving, one for travel and a manoeuvring mode that permits the tracks to counter rotate, allowing the paver to turn within its own footprint. This Caterpillar designed system permits operators to rapidly reposition the machine when moving to a new start point. It also enables the machine to access restricted job sites, including narrow mountain roads.
Portuguese contractor Jose de Sousa Barra opted to purchase the machine on steel tracks. The company operates a number of CatÃ’ machines, from excavators to compaction models so they were familiar with the high quality of build and confident in the support offered by local dealer STET.
The AP655D was put to work in the town of Vilamoura, repairing the Avenida Cupertino de Miranda, the main street in this busy town in the heart of the Algarve. The company had to complete 1.3km of paving work in a single day of operations.
That meant laying 1,200 tonnes of asphalt, with the AP655D working alongside a Bitelli BB651C, within a single eight-hour shift. The access to the jobsite was restricted due to the importance of keeping the street open for traffic through the town.
The operators were particularly impressed with the power of the AP655D and its ride over the ground.
"The oscillating bogie design provides good traction and a smooth ride," said operator Alexandre Brito. "The level of production, without having to stop working, was also very impressive," said Barra's Joao Feijao.
An AP655D was used by French contractor Braja on a narrow roadway in the Rhone-Alpes region of France. Working on a 7.1km section between Villepredix and Leoux, where the elevation of the road rises from 450-750m, the machine was able to lay 250 tonnes of bituminous concrete mixture in just 45 minutes.
The next day the same machine was utilised to pave an 8km stretch of road from Verclaus to Lemps, again covering a change in altitude of more than 200m.
Braja's road crews said that the AP655D, fitted with the MTS rubber track system, handled the jobs in one third of the time that it would have taken with a conventional steel track paver. The operators also claimed that the Mobil-trac system provided additional stability and security on the mountainous roads.
On the Braja contracts in France, the rubber track system was not only perfect for the actual paving work, it also proved an ideal solution to support transport difficulties as well. Due to the sharp mountainous turns and confined space available, it was not possible to transport the machine to the job site on a truck. However, with the excellent mobility provided by the MTS track design, the machine was able to make swift progress up the mountain roads without damage to existing paving.
"The AP655D was easily able to ascend the mountain road on its own, thanks to its high travel speeds and Mobil-trac System undercarriage," said supplying dealer Bergerat Monnoyeur's Paving Product Specialist, Pierre Boully.
"It easily covered the required distance of 5km in one hour. This demonstrates the versatility of the rubber track undercarriage and as a result the AP655D is able to match the high transfer speeds and manoeuvrability of most wheeled pavers."
In western Spain, contractor Oviga has had similar experience with the manoeuvrable AP655D. On its first contract for the company, the paver was used to repair a worn-out stretch of village road near Palais de Rei. Cat dealer Finanzauto, with help from Cat Commissioning Engineer, Davide Dalla, commissioned the machine on the site, allowing Oviga to get straight to work with the new AP655D. Thanks to the machine's intuitive operations and the start-up training held by Dalla, Oviga crew quickly became proficient in the paver's operation. With no prior experience with the paver, they completed the project to specification, on time and with complete satisfaction.
In Germany, road construction firm Steffes-Mies, a subsidiary of KH Gaul from Sprendlingen, has been putting its first AP655D to good use too. The company saw the machine at the bauma exhibition in Munich, and was immediately impressed with the build quality and specifications of the paver, resulting in an order for the Cat machine.
In Norway, the arrival of the first AP655D has been the cause of much interest among road building companies. Traditionally, Norwegian contractors have opted for wheeled machines due to the greater mobility of the rubber-tyred models.
However, the rubber tracks of the MTS-equipped AP655D have contractor Velde Aggregates keen to try this new technology.
Velde's pioneering AP655D was put to work first on a site close to Stavanger, laying 1km of roadway with widths of 4m to 8m. Norwegian Cat dealer, PON Norway, was on hand to ensure that the work progressed smoothly.
Velde reports that the machine has a good transport speed, as high as a wheeled paver at 16km/h. The company was also impressed by the low noise output, both from the rubber tracks and from the engine that was running at just 1,280rpm. A secondary benefit of this lower operating speed was impressively low fuel consumption. The machine's superior stability was also noted, resulting in a smooth finished surface.
The AP655D is one of a range of crawler and wheeled asphalt pavers available from Caterpillar. In addition to machines, the local Cat dealer and Caterpillar can offer project consulting services, technical and application training, and full machine support.
Working around the clock to meet the needs of road construction contractors throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Caterpillar offers an unbeatable range of options to tailor the machine to contractors' individual requirements. In the AP655D, Caterpillar offers a highly manoeuvrable paver that delivers exceptional mat quality, excellent mobility and precise control on confined job sites, wherever they may be.
The AP655D is powered by a Cat C6.6 diesel engine with ACERT Technology. This electronically-controlled 6.6 litre motor offers a strong 129.5kW (176hp), with derating not required up to an altitude of 3,000m, making it an ideal machine for use on mountainous roads.
The standard high capacity cooling system provides efficient operation in warmer climates, while the airflow drawn across the engine is vented towards the hopper, rather than back towards the operator station. A hydraulically-driven cooling fan provides cooling on demand, reducing fuel consumption and sound levels, both of which are important considerations for the customer, particularly in urban sites.
Dual operator stations incorporate fully equipped control consoles, with ground speed indicators, adjustable suspension seats and retractable seat belts for operator security. Each station can be positioned in one of four locations, to provide maximum visibility of the working area. In addition the control consoles can be tilted to improve operator comfort wherever the seat is located.
The left hand console includes a display for the Advisor Monitoring System (AMS). This provides the operator with a start-up check list, where they can set operational preferences along with engine and machine operating parameters, such as automatic engine speed control and friction steering tension.
As mentioned, the AP655D can be equipped with the Mobil-trac undercarriage. Designed to provide the flotation and traction of a crawler machine with the mobility and ride-quality of a wheeled paver, the MTS track can be supplied with either a tread-bar style belt or a smooth belt. While both belts provide similar levels of performance, the smooth belt provides reduced disturbance on soft base materials.
At the front end of the machine, the AP655D offers a gateless handling system that allows hands-free operation with independent control of each auger and conveyor. This provides precise mix delivery with minimal operator monitoring required. The ratio of the conveyor speed to the maximum auger speed is automatically maintained when changing paving speed by the controller. This is particularly useful when the paving is wider or thicker on one side of the machine.
A high capacity single-phase AC generator provides 25kW of power for the electric screed heaters and the auxiliary power panel. The generator can be belt or hydraulically-driven, with the hydraulic generator providing a fixed 60Hz frequency when the engine is above 1,275rpm, while the belt-driven generator has a variable frequency as the revs rise above 1,275rpm.
The auxiliary power panel provides additional electrical power for lighting and work tools, and comes with either two 120V or two 240V connections.
The AP655D is fitted with the AS4251C double width power extending screed. Customers can choose from either electric or LPG heating system with variable frequency tamper and vibrators, to suit their job site requirements. The AS4251C screed features heavy duty supports that provide stability for high quality results on highways and streets, as well as in urban applications.
The standard paving range is 2.55m-5.00m, while maximum paving widths of 8.00m can be achieved with bolt-on mechanical extensions.
Operating weight (with AS4251C): 19,165kg
Maximum paving width: 8.00m
Basic screed width: 2.55m
Engine output: 129.5kW (176hp)
Hopper capacity: 14.1 tonnes (6.5m3)
Track options: Tread-bar or smooth belt Mobil-trac System, or steel track undercarriage options
Travel speed (Mobil-trac): 25m/min paving, 14.8km/h travel
Travel speed (steel track): 25m/min paving, 5.3km/h travel
Fuel tank capacity: 290 litres