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Paving smarter with Intelligent Compaction

Expanding technology exposes quality of mat and consistency level within paving operations

Paving smarter with Intelligent Compaction

The use of Intelligent Compaction is becoming more popular within the asphalt industry. As contractors utilize IC, a quality assurance tool within paving operations, the results in consistency and the quality of the asphalt mat she improvement.

Most often, the importance of setting up and performing proper rolling techniques for optimum density (when density is achieved with the least amount of effort) is overlooked within paving operations. From experience, the roller setup procedure should be recognized as one of the most important steps to meet and exceed requirements of constructing asphalt roads.

The rolling operation is where the final product and density requirements are achieved on the project. This is an important step that must be performed and maintained throughout the entirety of the project. IC assists the user in the initial roller setup process and ensures the roller operators are accomplishing the target goals intended for the project on a day to day basis. 

As contractors, the goal is to develop consistency in operations to eliminate error. IC is one technology tool that can, hands down, develop consistency and quality within paving operations. 

Not only are contractors identifying this trend with IC equipment, but regional governments and many other entities are following this movement. It is clear why states, provinces and owners would want this tool utilized on their projects and are requiring it.

When areas within an asphalt mat are not rolled properly or are missed entirely in a pattern, they become candidates for premature failure. Premature failure equates to more costs in preventive maintenance and life cycle of that road system. If there is a tool available that can eliminate these areas even by a slight percentage, the costs of using this tool on the project initially, compared to the costs of repairing these areas later, are unquestionably less. 

When users can monitor and assure that each roller in the operation is satisfying targets such as roll patterns, coverage maps, speed and temperature, the opportunity for error in the rolling procedures is decreased. 

Trust for the entire team

IC assists the entire paving team in trusting that everything behind that paver is getting rolled properly and areas within the asphalt mat are not getting missed.

As a technology consultant, one of my favourite procedures to perform with a paving crew new to IC is to have the most experienced operator on the crew plug in their IC equipment and cover the operator's screen with a piece of cardboard and duct tape. (Just a precautionary warning, this procedure can cause some upset reactions at first.) Within hours of rolling, we sit down and look at how inconsistent this operator is in the field. Of course, this part of the procedure is always a little uncomfortable.

However, the reality is that the amount of areas missed and the inconsistency in the rolling can be shocking, even when using the most experienced operator. Can you imagine the data produced by a more inexperienced operator? 

Rolling patterns and tracking the target values produced by the IC equipment is one of the easiest ways a contractor can assure consistency and quality within that asphalt mat. When the contractor is "running blind" (not utilizing IC), there is no way to identify if the unfavourable results produced in the field are developing from the plant operations, hauling operations, paving operations or rolling operations. IC helps eliminate unfavourable results that may be produced in the rolling operations as users can look at the data produced and track the patterns, locations, temperatures and speeds of these rollers during a particular day of paving. By eliminating one factor, an abundance of time and money saved by the contractor is immense.

In conclusion, if you are a contractor who performs projects with difficult specifications, such as percent within limits, or you are looking to increase profits with incentives, IC is the tool for you. Do not be afraid of technology or change: these tools are designed to assist the contractors in achieving better field results.

It is only a matter of time before technology tools such as IC are required within the specifications for the projects you are bidding; in fact, many states are already doing this within their specifications. Getting ahead of this change curve and using it as a tool for quality and consistency would be an incredible benefit for any contractor on the tipping point for investing in this technology. 

When IC is utilized correctly within the paving operations, there is no going back for that contractor. I often call this experience as "seeing the light."

This technology will pay for itself quickly and will become an essential part of your quality management plan.

I personally advise any contractor who wants to become more successful in constructing asphalt roads to make this investment in their future. Your quality management plan potential is waiting to be unlocked - and IC is the key.

Bryce Wuori is owner of Wuori Technology Consulting. 

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