Asphalt pavers are expensive investments requiring a high-quality level to get top-dollar value. Choosing the right one helps ensure a successful project and minimizes downtime between jobs. Seemingly small mistakes by an operator can dramatically impact mat quality, which is why manufacturers offer technologies like speed limiters, auto vibration, and slope and grade control.
The size of an asphalt paver should be a significant consideration for contractors, as it will affect how much the machine can accomplish in a day. Contractors who can finish a paving job quickly and accurately win more contracts and earn higher premiums for quick service.
Track or wheel asphalt pavers are two primary choices for contractors. Track machines provide more traction and flotation and handle inclines better than wheels. However, they are more expensive up front and require more maintenance and repair costs than wheels.
Paving contractors must also consider whether they want to use a new or used asphalt paver. Buying new equipment typically comes with warranties and advanced technology that boosts efficiency, accuracy, and productivity.
However, some contractors may find a cheaper used model with similar performance features that reduces upfront expenses and overall ownership and maintenance costs. A reputable dealer can help buyers determine which equipment is right for them.
Before choosing an asphalt paver for sale, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the unit for poor wiring and non-functioning components, leaks, rust, and other safety issues.
Asphalt pavers vary in size and weight, but their overall specifications can help contractors determine the best model for a job. These factors include paving width and thickness range, engine power and fuel efficiency, material handling, distribution capabilities, operator comfort, and convenience features.
Evaluating the paving equipment’s long-term maintenance and service requirements ensures seamless operations and minimizes costly downtime. Assessing financing options like equipment leasing and loans is another critical consideration.
Contractors must also examine a paver’s components, noting any clues of abuse, such as tears or excessive rust, that can indicate rough treatment. They can also inspect the machine’s oil and coolant for signs of a blown head gasket. Pavers can be operated on either tracks or tires, each offering pros and cons depending on a contractor’s primary applications and environments.
Track models are great for confined areas because they can turn within their footprint, but wheel pavers offer better mobility, agility, and speed traits that simplify intra-job site transportation. Safety features such as a ventilation system that extracts fumes from the conveyor tunnel and auger chamber, directing them away from the operator, can also enhance productivity.
Many pavement maintenance contractors start small, offering seal coating, crack sealing, striping, and pothole repair. However, once they build a steady customer base, they may add paving to their service offerings. Paving is a different beast than pavement maintenance, and it requires equipment with high-performance features to get jobs done faster and deliver quality asphalt surfaces.
Whether to choose a track or wheel asphalt paver depends on the primary applications and environments you work in, as well as your budget. Track models offer more excellent traction and flotation, especially on inclines.
They also handle heavier applications and harsher work environments better than wheel models, which can be used for asphalt overlays on existing roads and smaller projects. When purchasing a paver, look at the equipment’s history and ensure it has a good track record of uptime.
Ask about the machine’s current maintenance and operating costs and the cost to repair any damage or wear and tear. A reputable dealer should provide all this information to help you make an informed decision.
A good asphalt paver will perform well in the conditions and environments that contractors work in. For example, a tracked paver with rubber tracks will offer superior traction and maneuverability over uneven surfaces or inclines.
This machine version is also better equipped to handle softer surfaces than wheeled pavers. Contractors should consider other features that affect performance. These include a grade and slope system that ensures the equipment follows a specified path while paving, a heating and mixing system to ensure proper blend and temperature, and an auger and conveyor system with automatic tensioning.
In addition, it is critical to assess the long-term costs of owning a paver. This includes looking at financing options and evaluating lease vs. purchase considerations. It is also essential to consider the support and maintenance options manufacturers offer. This can reduce downtime and repair costs and ensure the paver operates at peak performance for extended periods. In addition, a warranty covering labor and parts can benefit the contractor and provide peace of mind.
Anyone who has spent time on a paving crew knows it is dirty and demanding. Manufacturers are constantly trying to help ease some of the challenges by creating quieter and more intuitive paver operator environments featuring adjustable air-suspension seating, fume and heat management systems, and technologies that heat the screed quickly while operating the engine at a lower rpm.
Maintenance requirements are also being addressed. Manufacturers have tried to cut down on regular greasing and have designed features like a built-in cleaning assist system that runs augers and conveyors at slow speeds for easier cleaning and a maintenance “race track” chart that helps users identify parts that need to be cleaned or serviced.
It takes a team of three to examine an asphalt paver for purchase – the operator, the mechanic, and the one with the checkbook. A thorough walk-around should include a close look at the instrument panel, seats, and other components for clues of abuse, such as rust or dents.