Equipment

Maintaining Pavement and Asphalt Equipment

Proper maintenance, training, and planned service intervals are necessary to ensure proper care for pavement and asphalt equipment.

January 2011, Government Fleet - Feature

by Stephen Bennett

 

Keep it clean. That's the first and last rule in maintaining pavers, manufacturers say, though there are a few other principles that should be followed, too. (See sidebar, "Common Mistakes When Maintaining Asphalt Pavers.")

"If you keep the machine clean, the rest of it's pretty easy," said Bryce Davis Jr., general sales manager, North America for paver manufacturer LeeBoy. However, like many things, keeping a paver clean is often easier said than done.

"It's the biggest hurdle to master," Davis said. Crews should take time at the end of the day to scrape asphalt from the machine, he advised. A convenient time is while waiting for a truck to pick up the paver, Davis said. Being conscientious about the end-of-day cleaning pays off. "If asphalt gets hard, it's five times harder to get it off the machine -- it gets like the road surface."

Attentively following the basic maintenance principles is smart for many reasons, especially financial. "If you're not maintaining the machine," Davis said, "it's probably costing you triple to operate. You'll probably be replacing it in a shorter time -- at a faster rate -- for a worse return on investment."

Keeping Paving Equipment Clean & Maintained

Typically, a paving machine will require only minor maintenance work up to the 3,000-hour mark, Davis said. At 3,000 hours, it will usually be due for a major overhaul, including new pumps, motors, etc.

Fleets keep LeeBoy pavers in service for different durations, Davis said. "Some customers keep them till there are 7,000, 8,000, or 9,000 hours on them. Some customers trade them in at 3,000 hours."

Users of LeeBoy pavers, including government fleets, tend to purchase rather than lease the machines, because they usually are used steadily for patching as well as putting down new paving, Davis noted.

Mark Bolick, parts and service manager for LeeBoy, stressed the importance of lubricating the machine for two reasons. It makes cleaning off asphalt easier and it eases the play of the machines' many moving parts.

"We have a material that sets up when it gets cold," Bolick said of asphalt. "When it's hot, it doesn't stick at all. But when it gets cold, we have to use some form of a release agent to keep the asphalt from sticking to the metal when it gets cold. Our manual cites [the need for] a cleaning solution or release agent." That makes the job of scraping off asphalt easier, Bolick said. And the machine should be lubricated after the end-of-day cleaning and again in the morning, before use, for good measure. "It's just like coating a cooking pan with oil," Bolick said.

Service intervals are based on hours of operation. Every 10 hours or daily, Bolick said, augers should be greased, because they're in asphalt all the time. Flat screws should be greased weekly. "They'll tell you when they need to be greased," Bolick said of the flat screws, "because they'll get hard to turn."

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