Smart paving technologies

A homogeneous paving temperature is fundamental to ensure the high-quality compaction of asphalt roads. Over the last years, thermo-scanners able to continuously measure the surface temperature of the material immediately after the paver or before the compaction have been developed. These non-contacting measuring systems ensure simple, convenient and reliable data, allowing paving crews to readjust the operability in real time and select the most suitable solution in case that the need for intervention arises. Such sensors, in combination with GPS technology, allows the instant mapping of surface temperatures, which is normally displayed for the operator in different colours on an onboard console. In addition, these temperature maps can not only be used in real time by operators but also after the completion of the project, either by the client to identify reasons for a premature failure in a given crossed section or by the contractors to give evidence that the work was undertaken in the right way.

Besides thermal mapping, smart pavers, which automate many of the paving parameters that traditionally had to be recorded manually in order to meet stringent road authority reporting requirements, are getting significantly more common nowadays. These machines also provide a powerful set of tools to improve productivity, quality, site safety and remotely-accessible information about key operational parameters (e.g. km paved per litre of fuel).

They also provide weather forecast for the shift ahead, better health and safety conditions through 365 degree bird’s eye view of the machine and area around and allow optimum material management, by displaying tonnage, m2 and/or distance paved and dosage in kg/m2.

Finally, they also incorporate solutions to improve work conditions, such as ventilation systems, which take in the vapours arising from the hot asphalt at the discharge point of the conveyor and route them away from the vicinity of the operating team, mixed with fresh air. These systems, commonly used in USA for the last 15 years, have recently become very used in Europe with the aim of minimising operators’ exposure to fumes and aerosols.

Representation of temperature control by smart paver