Paving equipment for curb and gutters has come a long way from when they were first introduced. There are two ways to form curbs and gutters: using traditional forms or using the slipform method. The slipform method is used more often for high-production jobs.
Advantages of using slipform pavers include time consumption, cost-effectiveness, radii as small as 24 inches, and the ability to cover thousands of feet a day.
With technology today, there are many options of slipforming available. Users can operate the machines as stand-alone equipment, or as accessories to another machine, using remote controls, hydraulic power systems, and laser-controlled legs.
In 1970, the Curb King 6500 from Power Curbers was the first four-crawler slipform curb-and-gutter paver manufactured. They have advanced significantly since then.
“One feature that buyers of our machines really like is our auger conveyor. It is hydraulically adjustable so that it can be positioned where you need it for varying applications,” says Steve Milam, regional sales manager, Power Curbers, Salisbury, N.C. Milam went on to say, “The auger's heavy-duty design gives it plenty of torque to move the material required for big jobs and gives it extra longevity. We've eliminated the problems associated with a belt, the inability of the belt to move material when at an extreme angle, a belt's tendency to separate the aggregate from the fines, and a torn belt in the middle of a pour.”
Gomaco Corp., Ida Grove, Iowa, is another manufacturer of curb-and-gutter paving machines and was instrumental in the development and marketing of the concrete slipforming concept. The GT-6000 was introduced in the 1970s when contractors were forming curbs and gutters by hand with daily production at 200 feet. As the years went on and demands increased, Gomaco made advancements and the capabilities of the GT-6000 were expanded to include barrier and monolithic sidewalk curb and gutter. Today, Gomaco's pavers are equipped with onboard computers that can be programmed to control grade transition, elevation, and steering of the machine while constantly monitoring the hydraulic and electronic systems for malfunctions.
Demands for newer technology continue to play a role in how these machines are manufactured. According to Milam, “Stringless technology is an area that we're very involved. Without a doubt, 3-D will eventually become a labor-saving device as it will eliminate the need for setting string-line. We're working to overcome the challenges that 3-D is facing. This type of labor-saving technology is a focus for Power Curbers as labor concerns within the construction industry continue to be an issue.”
There are other factors besides labor that determine the direction of technology in slipform curb-and-gutter paving machines. Buyers are looking for simplicity, speed, and flexibility. Versatile pavers are being designed for ease in loading and transport.
Gomaco's Commander III slip-form paver is equipped with multi-paving capabilities that include curb and gutter, monolithic sidewalk and curb and gutter, recreational trail, barrier wall, bridge safety parapet, and 20-foot-wide paving or irrigation canal. Equipped with a 42-inch-wide sectionalized trimmerhead, it ensures maximum concrete yield. In addition, it has a hydraulically powered and reversible conveyor, All-Track Positioning, and Gomaco's exclusive G21 system. The G21 digital operating system is an easy-to-understand red LED display and has advanced system diagnostics that automatically pinpoint and identify problems.
Power Curbers have introduced the newest generation of the 5700 series of slipform curb-and-gutter machines, the 5700-C. The machine's compact size and versatility allow contractors to achieve high levels of productivity. It features a Smart AMP Control System that offers simplicity of analog and the features of digital controls. The operator's panel displays cord, sensor, or amplifier problems and adjusts accordingly.
There are many different types and widths of curbs and gutters, with a demand for fast, simple, and cost-effective machines to form them. A few different companies manufacture the machines for various jobs, however, one common trait is the need for constant advancement.