Challengers in the market

In the past it was common for some segments of the road equipment market to be dominated by one brand. This is still the case with Wirtgen’s domination of the profiler market and Roadtec’s healthy share of the asphalt paver market. Many years ago the paver market was dominated by Blaw Know, and in more recent times Roadtec has had a strong presence, but the market at present is potentially at its most competitive.Caterpillar has had paving products for some time, although it is not a dominant force in this market. Volvo purchased the Ingersoll-Rand road products (pavers and rollers) a little while ago, and these now carry Volvo colours and are starting to appear in Australia. To date there has been no strong indication of which direction these products will take.Australia tends to follow the United States model for pavers that are simple to operate and maintain, and lay relatively thin lifts quickly. European machines reflect a preference for deeper lifts, laid more slowly using tamping screeds. As a result, European pavers have not made a great impact in Australia.Wirtgen is looking to change this with the new Vision series Vögele pavers, which look to combine the best of European and US machines. They are available with Carlson screeds, which seem to be the screed of choice for the Australian market.When Clark Equipment lost the agency for Ingersoll-Rand road building equipment after Volvo bought this division, that did not spell the end for the company in this market – if anything, it has come back stronger than ever.It has built this business sector up not only with the agency for Terex roadbuilding equipment, but also with LeeBoy compact road equipment, Dynapac compaction equipment and Champion compact graders.Clark Equipment’s agency for Terex roadbuilding equipment gives it access to an impressive range of equipment for both asphalt and concrete roads. Much of this comes via Terex’s acquisition of CMI, which was at one time a major supplier to the Australian market – many of the major fleets still contain a major CMI presence.Terex’s acquisition of Cedarapids also gave it access to an asphalt paving line that is not so well known in Australia. Clark is bringing these to Australia with Carlson screeds.The comprehensive Terex range covers slipform pavers, material transfer/placers, fine grade trimmers and texture/curing machines for concrete contractors; profilers and reclaimer stabilisers (all well known in Australia under the CMI brand), asphalt pavers and materials transfer vehicles developed from the Cedarapids brand, and concrete and asphalt plants.The asphalt pavers are in the North American mould of being simple and easy to maintain, but have some features that distinguish them from their competitors. The rubber-tyred pavers have front wheel assist, a significant benefit when paving uphill.A patented three-point suspension system allows independent vertical movement of the rear wheels, allowing the screed to remain level when there are irregularities in the surface. A consistent material feed height relative to the screed is maintained, producing a uniform mat and a smooth surface. This system can also be used to raise the frame for ease in loading and unloading the paver.The fume recovery system also differs from the norm in that vents capture the fumes from the screed and duct them to an insulated muffler, where the high temperature removes the bulk of the hazard.An option for these machines is an anti-segregation remix system in the hopper, using counter-rotating augers in the hopper to blend the asphalt to produce a uniform mix. This system suits applications where there are long haul distances from the asphalt plant but where the volume does not warrant a materials transfer vehicle.

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