Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Caterpillar's AP655D Tracked Paver Builds Roads Throughout Europe

Caterpillar's AP655D tracked paver is proving the ideal machine for contractors involved in projects across Europe, from France, Spain and Portugal 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.

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.


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