Heavy Equipment Guide Logo

This ad will close in 15 seconds

Volvo paves the way for revolutionary asphalt alternative

U.S.-based contractor Conewago Enterprises Inc. is using Volvo ABG7820C pavers when laying down its roller-compacted concrete

The Volvo ABG7820C paver ensures a smooth, high quality surface at the Liberty Trust distribution centre in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.

The Volvo ABG7820C paver ensures a smooth, high quality surface at the Liberty Trust distribution centre in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.


Along the Appalachian Mountains from the Canadian–U.S. border to Tennessee runs Interstate 81 (I-81). Stretching for 1,376 km (855 miles), the route carries over 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, and has subsequently been named the ‘trucker’s highway’. In recent years, hundreds of distribution warehouses have sprouted along this heavily trafficked corridor as Americans shift to online buying and demand shorter delivery times.

Don Smith, president of Hanover, Pennsylvania-based contractor Conewago Enterprises Inc, observed this construction trend more than a decade ago and introduced an attractive paving option to the regional market: roller-compacted concrete (RCC).

“About fifteen years ago, we started experimenting with roller-compacted concrete as an alternative to asphalt paving,” Smith explains. “At the time, oil prices were on the rise, so we were looking for other material options and found RCC to be a very suitable substitute for the types of projects we were completing.”

Little did he know that this innovative and value-engineered product would go on to support the millions of pounds of freight hauled daily in and out of these logistic centres.

The three main advantages of RCC are its cost effectiveness, durability and capability to span over the poor soil conditions often encountered in the mid-Atlantic region. It is made from a mix of Portland cement, aggregate and water that is classified as zero slump due to a very low water content. The roller compacted concrete produces a rigid pavement versus asphalt, with customers seeing lifespans of more than 20 years. Because the application is similar to asphalt paving, it is applied with a conventional or high-density paver and the mix is tamped with vibratory steel or rubber-tire rollers after it is placed.

The best result requires the best machine

When Conewago first starting placing RCC, a standard asphalt paver was used with standard asphalt compactors. However, it didn’t take long for Smith and his team to realize they weren’t up to scratch. “We quickly figured out that the European-style high-density pavers (such as the ABG models) with dual tamper bar compaction were the only way to put down RCC,” he says.

Conewago looked to Volvo Construction Equipment and found that its high-density Volvo ABG7820C paver was more than up to the task. The machine offers a variable width screed that extends up to 9.1 metres (30 feet), which, when coupled with vibratory double tamping bar, means Conewago can place material faster while achieving compaction normally completed by large rollers. The added paving width also eliminates the number of joints, which reduces long-term maintenance needs.

RCC quality essentially comes down to density. The industry standard is 98 percent, and the Volvo ABG7820C has the ability to hit 90-95 percent right out of the paver, which reduces the amount of rolling needed to reach the 98 percent target. The double tamper bar on the screed then strikes off the RCC material and gives it a smooth surface, and allows for additional compaction effort.

A smooth operator

A renowned drawback of RCC over asphalt is its reputation for a rougher ride at higher speeds (over 40 mph). However, the Volvo ABG7820C works in conjunction with a Topcon Millimeter GPS grading control system to optimize smoothness.

“When we were looking for a larger paver we compared Volvo and its competition,” Smith continues. “Our crew was more than familiar with ABGs, and definitely noticed the difference in smoothness when operating the Volvo. That combined with the high quality finish and durability meant the Volvo was the natural choice.”

Strong support

Conewago was supported in this decision by local Volvo Construction Equipment dealer, Highway Equipment & Supply Company, located in nearby Harrisburg. “As far back as I can remember, we have dealt with Highway Equipment; they are always there when we need them, offering fantastic customer support. It was great to have them involved with this paver purchase as well,” says Smith.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)

Conewago is participating in a PennDOT pilot program to test RCC and traditional asphalt for a section of residential roadway in Adams County. While asphalt indexes are dropping in tandem with oil prices, Smith foresees that RCC will continue growing. “We expect the demand for RCC to grow exponentially as more distribution customers see its total value, especially as oil prices start to rise again,” he says. “Volvo Construction Equipment has undoubtedly helped us in our mission in establishing RCC as an innovative method for the placement of concrete and we look forward to working with them for many more years.”

Proven success

Despite still being a relatively new product on the market compared to asphalt, RCC has already proved a hit in various industries, such as rail, and manufacturing and distribution. In 2014, Conewago was approached by Liberty, an $8.2 billion (€7.4 billion) real estate investment trust, to help build a new 158,000-square-metre (1.7-million-square-foot), $93 million (€84 million) distribution centre. Situated along the I-81 in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, the project involved placing RCC on a 16.6-hectare (40-acre) parking area. Using the Volvo ABG7820C paver, the project was completed on time and to the high standard Liberty demanded.

Over a four-month period, Conewago placed more than 82,000 metric tonnes (45,000 cubic yards) of RCC on the site. The building now stands as one of the largest commercial warehouses in the United States and one of the largest tilt-up concrete structures in the world.

Utilizing the variable width screed and vibratory double tamping bar, the Volvo ABG7820C paver places the RCC concrete pavement quickly and efficiently.

Conewago Enterprises relies on the durably-designed ABG7820C paver, combing several advanced features to deliver a consistent finish.

More from Roadbuilding

Efficient fleet management with WITOS FleetView from Wirtgen Group

"A penny saved is a penny earned." WITOS FleetView is a must-have for anyone who takes this old proverb to heart, because with the fleet and service management solution from the WIRTGEN GROUP, users and machine operators have diverse advantages that are worth their weight in gold. An example from the field confirms it: GSI-Asphalt, a medium-sized enterprise in Eging am See, near Passau, Germany, has been using WITOS FleetView for years in conjunction with the SmartService service agreement. While SmartService provides for regular inspections in accordance with the instruction manual, the telematics solution WITOS FleetView additionally supports proactive maintenance planning and a rapid response in the event of faults. Both services guarantee maximum machine availability - enhancing the cost-efficiency and value retention of the machinery.

World premiere of Bell Equipment's B45E 4x4

With the launch of the new Bell B45E 4x4 at bauma, Bell Equipment will add a new model to its range of articulated 4x4 two-axle ADTs. Similar to the sixty-tonner B60E and the smaller Bell B30E 4x4, the new truck is configured to provide a highly efficient and cost-effective transport solution for niche applications in the mining and construction industry.

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Bridgestone brings portfolio of OTR tire solutions to AGG1

Bridgestone Americas, Inc. will exhibit its integrated portfolio of off-the-road (OTR) products, technologies and services at the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association Aggregates Academy and Expo (AGG1) and World of Asphalt 2019 Show and Conference, Feb. 12-14 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Located at booth 31089, Bridgestone will showcase the benefits of using products backed by integrated technologies to drive increased productivity for customers.

Komatsu America and Bomag distribution partnership paves way to new market opportunities

Bomag Americas, Inc. and Komatsu America Corp. are pleased to announce that Komatsu's six company owned dealerships (Edward Ehrbar, Komatsu Equipment Company, Komatsu Northeast, Komatsu Southwest, Midlantic Machinery and Pine Bush Equipment) have entered into an arrangement for the sale and support of Bomag compaction, milling, paving and reclaiming/stabilizing equipment for roadbuilding and other construction markets. 

Bomag's new paving training programs help operators and companies get the most from their equipment

For asphalt contractors to be successful in today's competitive paving market, paver and roller operators must acquire a deep knowledge of the equipment's features and put this knowledge into practice at the jobsite. With long-time equipment operators retiring at a high rate, the next generation of operators must receive extensive in-depth training on the equipment in order to meet project specifications without costly rework so companies can maximize equipment return on investment.

Asphalt Drum Mixers offers crane-set and self-erect asphalt storage silos

Asphalt Drum Mixers, Inc. offers crane-set and self-erect asphalt storage silos, which are compatible with both the company's own and similar competitive models of asphalt plants. ADM silos are available in many configurations from single self-erecting silo to multiple crane-set silos and several drive-through configurations. Capacities are available between 30 and 300 tons. Custom designs and capacities are also available to accommodate any producer.

Road Dryer RD-1200 safely dries pavement in one pass for paving, surface treatments

The RD-1200XT pavement-drying unit from Greenville, South Carolina-based Road Dryer, LLC, quickly dries asphalt and concrete pavement, allowing crews to pave or apply surface treatments or striping after just one pass. The unit, which blows heated air up to 300° F directly downward through multiple nozzles, eliminates the risk of "flying objects," and allows traffic to flow in nearby lanes — reducing congestion caused by traffic restrictions. Available as a simple-to-operate trailer- or truck-mounted unit, the RD-1200XT can be adjusted for 8-ft to 12-ft (2.4m to 3.7m) drying widths. Because it dries pavement on demand, it provides flexibility for contractors and government agencies to meet timetables by minimizing delays from weather- and project-related wet conditions.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

In-depth report: asphalt pavers

Trends in asphalt paving centre around making it easier and faster to lay down the highest quality pavement. In our latest in-depth report, our panel of experts from five manufacturers take a look at advances and technologies that are available in asphalt pavers, their current level of adoption, the advantages they offer, plus considerations when looking at the purchase of a new machine. 

NC Equipment purchases DYNAPAC’S NEWEST MOBILE Feeder in North America

Segregation - the separation of asphalt mats that can cause headaches for road maintenance crews - is a hot topic in the paving industry as more contracts include clauses regarding this challenging condition. 
As a long-time dealer and rental house serving northern Alberta's asphalt contractors, NC Equipment keeps track of the trends in the industry. As a full-time Dynapac dealer since 2017, it has taken the lead for its customers by bringing in a North American first to help reduce segregation problems on roadbuilding jobs.

​A-1 Sandrock paves the way with recycled asphalt shingles and Terex equipment

With 12 million tons of tear-off roofing material being generated each year in the United States, and increased regulations, the industry demands efficient recyclers. Efficiency is second nature to A-1 Sandrock. The company has rose to the challenge over the last few years, growing their shingle disposal program into a massive operation that's convenient for roofers, communities, North Carolina, and the surrounding states.

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Cat pneumatic compactor in nine- and eleven-wheel models is ideal for all types of asphalt mix

Designed for use on granular materials and all types of asphalt-mix designs, the new Cat CW16 pneumatic (rubber-tire) roller is available as a standard nine-wheel model with a 69-inch (1,754-mm) compaction width or as an optional 11-wheel model with an 84-inch (2,132-mm) compaction width. The CW16 is designed for efficient performance on highways, city streets, county roads, lane additions, industrial sites, overlays, or other mid-size jobs.

Asphalt road preservation package from Neal Manufacturing offers efficiency and quality results

Neal Manufacturing, a Division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC, and a leader in asphalt pavement preservation equipment, offers its Asphalt Road Preservation Package for optimal efficiency and high-quality results on both detail and high-volume sealcoating applications. The package includes Neal Manufacturing's drivable DA 350 dual applicator for quick prep work and sealcoating around curbs and gutters, and its High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle that delivers high material output for efficiency on large projects. 

New lightweight Bomag single-direction plate compactor designed to avoid asphalt material pushing, shoving and scuffing

An indispensable tool for repair, maintenance and paving applications, the new Bomag BVP 12/50 A single-direction vibratory plate compactor is specifically designed and equipped for asphalt compaction, expanding the machine's use beyond traditional soil compaction. This asphalt specialist features a base plate specifically designed to avoid asphalt material pushing, shoving and scuffing to deliver a superior finish. The highly wear-resistant cast iron base plate delivers exceptional service life.

Wirtgen Group technologies impress at Intermat

The Wirtgen Group showed of a number of its latest innovations at Intermat this year, all 5 brands were strongly represented: Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm, Kleemann and Benninghoven.  Visitors had the chance to talk with experienced applications experts from the Group and got up to speed on the latest technologies for the entire road construction cycle while learning more about the Wirtgen Group's extensive range of service offerings. Here is an overview of some of the highlights: 

W 150 CFi with 1800-mm milling drum assembly leads the Wirtgen line-up.

Rubble Master acquires compact screen and crusher manufacturer Maximus

Rubble Master (RM) has acquired Northern Ireland-based screen manufacturer Maximus. Founded in 2004 and employing 120 people, Maximus will complement Rubble Master's existing range of products, helping to satisfy customers and support future growth. According to Rubble Master, for customers and dealers, this acquisition means a full line of crushing, recycling and screening products are now available with the same reliable, lifetime support and complete parts and service support customers have come to expect from their company.

Asphalt Drum Mixers portable and stationary recycle systems boost asphalt plants' cost efficiency

Asphalt Drum Mixers offers four models of portable and stationary recycle systems to enhance asphalt plants' cost efficiency. Recycle systems allow plants to use milled material in hot mix asphalt (HMA). Since recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) is much cheaper than virgin aggregate, the result is a less expensive finished product that maintains the high quality of a pure virgin aggregate mix.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more