For an asphalt paving project to be successful, you not only need paving knowledge and years of experience but also the tools of the trade.
Perhaps you’re curious about what is required for asphalt paving and whether it’s a job you can do yourself. Truth be told, you need more than some general knowledge and materials to perform the job well.
Let’s look at the different types of machines that professional paving companies use to deliver the perfect blacktop surface!
Before new asphalt can be laid, a significant amount of old asphalt may need to be removed and recycled—particularly if it is in poor condition. For this task, an asphalt contractor will typically use a reclaimer or stabilizer—a unit that is able to break down the existing pavement into small, reusable fragments.
As the old materials are pulverized, the reclaimer can apply them to the sub-base mixture and stabilize any poor soil beneath.
For jobs where most of the existing base materials remain in reasonably good condition, a milling machine can be used to grind down the deteriorating top course of the existing asphalt.
Milling machines are able to provide a smooth and uniform surface that is suitable for paving, but with enough slip-resistance so that traffic can still use the surface temporarily.
Once a surface has been milled, a sweeper is used to remove any dust and debris from the surface.
Not only does this allow the new asphalt mixture to properly bond but it also prevents small stones from being kicked about and potentially damaging other vehicles in the process.
Dump trucks are needed in order to transport large amounts of new asphalt materials from the plant to the job site. There are different trucks for different scenarios and applications.
An end dump truck, for example, is unloaded when the bed’s front end is raised. A live bottom truck, on the other hand, uses a conveyor belt for unloading. There are even Material Transfer Vehicles (MTVs), which are often used to reduce truck waiting times and to transfer mixtures faster.
When asphalt materials arrive on site, they are typically transferred from a dump truck or MTV to a paver. This is the machine that lays the new asphalt mixture and provides minor compaction.
After materials are emptied from the truck into the paver’s hopper, a conveyor belt carries the materials to a set of augers. As the materials are laid and spread out, a floating screed ensures that they are leveled.
While pavers are able to compress the asphalt mixture to a certain degree, compactors, steel wheeled rollers, and pneumatic tire rollers are often required for further compaction.
These heavy, low-speed machines apply a tremendous amount of weight and pressure to the new asphalt so that it is made strong and stable.