Featured Article: The 2009 Top Rollouts

The 2009 Top Rollouts


Here’s our annual selection of the year’s most significant new product introductions

Throughout the year the editors of Better Roads review products new to the highway and bridge industries. We ask questions about their significance and whether they may change the way work gets done or bring new standards to an industry. Here is our list of the Top 20 Rollouts of the year.


Strong and fast

The hydraulic systems in the Bobcat M-Series models’ skid-steer and compact track loaders have been engineered for higher standard flow and pressure that give attachments more power to work more quickly. The hydraulic horsepower has been increased more than 15 percent and the standard auxiliary hydraulic flow is now 23 gallons per minute at 3,500 pounds per square inch and an optional high flow reaches 30.5 gallons per minute for maximum attachment performance. New engine mounts reduce noise by more than 60 percent — a decrease of 5 decibels — and reduced vibration.


Pave quietly, and save fuel, too

BOMAG’s BF6615 self-propelled asphalt paver weighs in at 20,500 pounds with a 99-horsepower, turbocharged, water-cooled diesel engine for consistent power at all altitudes. The paver’s engine has an ECO-mode feature that saves fuel and reduces noise by automatically lowering RPMs during stops and pauses, and a load-sensing hydraulic system that delivers power only when needed. The machine’s UNIMAT 2 full-width floating screed is electrically heated, eliminating the need to change propane bottles in the middle of a large project. Dual vibrators provide 2,500 vibrations per minute.


Melt ice, inhibit corrosion

Cargill’s ClearLane Enhanced Deicer has a pre-wetting agent that instantly adheres it to the road. Residual effects also keep it working so road crews don’t always have to go back out and re-treat the roads with consecutive storms. The enhanced decier also requires about 20 to 40 percent less usage per lane mile when compared with rock salt. The non-leaching product contains a PNS-approved corrosion inhibitor to prevent corrosion on vehicles. The new formula’s B.O.D. content is less than 300 ppm and contains less than 0.5 ppm phosphorus.




Electronic fuel injection = max fuel efficiency

Case Construction Equipment’s 650L crawler dozer retains the features of the Case crawler dozer line, such as hydrostatic drive, a comfortable operator compartment, two undercarriage options and superior maintainability. The crawler dozer delivers 74 net horsepower (55 kW) through a Tier 3-certified, four-cylinder, 4.5-liter turbocharged Case Family IV engine with electronic fuel injection for maximum fuel efficiency and easier starts in cold weather. A high-pressure common-rail injection system delivers excellent combustion. A charge air cooler reduces emissions and provides a cleaner and more efficient fuel burn.


Track-type tractor: It’s selectric!

Caterpillar’s D7E Track-Type Tractor is a progressive machine with an electric drive system. The C9.3 ACERT beltless engine is rated at 235 net horsepower and runs in a narrow speed range (1,500 rpm to 1,800 rpm). The electric drive eliminates the torque converter, powershift transmission and related drive shafts used in all-mechanical designs, which significantly lessens cooling requirements, decreases the number of moving parts and reduces the volume of fluids required. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the innovative track-type tractor in May 2009 with a Clean Air Excellence Award.


Controls at your fingertips

The Deere G-Series motor grader allows operators to choose from a console-mounted, standard control pattern or easy-to-use armrest-mounted industry standard fingertip controls. With the latter, the operator still has a choice between using lever steering or the steering wheel. A cross-slope control allows operators to select a desired slope and maintain it with just one blade lift lever. Slope control technology can assist less experienced operators. All the G-Series units also are grade-control ready and can accept Trimble or Topcon grade control systems.


Pour from the right or the left

GOMACO’s new generation GT-3200 curb-and-gutter slipform paver has right-side and left-side pour capabilities that can be used to slipform safety barrier up to 40 inches tall. With front-steer capability, the paver’s piston-style front leg uses a round inner tube and a keyway for steering control. The new front leg, with steering cylinder, provides more steering torque for tighter turning capabilities and maneuverability around the jobsite, and the paver’s rear legs were made three times stronger.


Lightweight and quick

The Zoneguard traffic barrier from Hill & Smith Inc. is made from lightweight, steel, at 61 pounds per foot. This means 750 feet can fit on one truck — 15 pieces at 50-feet each — versus 80 to 120 feet of a traditional concrete barrier. The picking and setting is also accomplished quickly, 50 feet at a time, with the company’s patented speed-joint system used as the connection method. The barrier meets the important NCHRP 350 Test Level 4 and Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) 8, Test Level 3 standards.


De-ice with less granular use

The City of West Des Moines, Iowa, along with Monroe Snow & Ice Control developed a roller mill system salt slurry spreader — the Salt Slurry Generator — with the capability to pre-wet salt rates up to 90 gallons per ton. The city is blending a liquid de-icer product that contains 80 percent salt brine, 10 percent Fusion or GeoMelt and 10 percent calcium chloride. The system is a look into the future: more liquid and reduced granular usage to lessen the overall chloride load on the environment.


Not your ordinary excavator

In mid-November, Komatsu America Corp. introduced the Hybrid PC200LC-8 excavator with green technology into the North American market. The 0.66- to 1.57-cubic-yard excavator has reduced fuel consumption 25 to 40 percent, depending on the application. The 138-horsepower machine uses an innovative hybrid system that works on the principle of swing energy regeneration and energy storage using the Komatsu Ultra Capacitor system.


FHWA tested, highway approved

The MBT-1 from Mobile Barriers are Federal Highway Administration crash tested and accepted the barrier for the nation’s highway system under both NCHRP250 and the new MASH-08 guidelines. It’s 62-feet-wide with one wall section that’s extendable to more than 100 feet with up to three additional wall sections available that are each 20 feet long and includes two bi-directional platforms, a movable rear axle assembly, wall section, and LED DOT lighting and beacons, and can be configured to protect either side of the road.


No errant vehicles here

The new ACZ-350 from Quixote Transportation Safety, Inc. is an innovative, partially reusable crash cushion for work zone protection. The system protects errant vehicles from impacting steel or concrete barrier ends and from vaulting into the work zone. It accommodates impacts up to 4,500 pounds transported and can be installed without roadway anchors and requires no foundation. The system meets NCHRP 350 TL-3 crash cushion performance as a gating, non-redirective traveling at speeds up to 62 mph.


Just for cold planers

Roadtec’s SmoothMill system, an automation system designed solely for cold planers, offers enhanced and improved grade and slope control automation for its RX-500, RX-700, and RX-900 cold planers with the system. The optional system features integrated connections and cabling, two dual control boxes for ground personnel, each capable of controlling both sides of the machine, and also provides the operator (driver) with a separate control box.




A sweet way to melt ice

Sears Ecological Applications Company LLC’s (SEACO) Ice B’Gone contains low molecular weight carbohydrates (LMWCs) so when road salt stops working at temperatures lower than 18 degrees F, the product can be combined with sugars to work at temperatures as low as -30 degrees F to make salt work longer and causes less corrosion. The de-icer is composed of organic-based, non-toxic, agricultural products and has recently received a Design for the Environment (DfE) recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the entire line of the deicer.


The third aperture is the charm

Tensar International’s TriAx Geogrid is the first geogrid made with a triangular aperture instead of the typical square shape. The aperture dissipates the stress out in three ways in a 360-degree radius as opposed to two ways, allowing it to handle stress better from heavier loads and makes the layers of pavement structure for subgrade and base stiffer. Manufactured from a punched polypropylene sheet, the geogrid is oriented in multiple, equilateral directions.



Loader efficiency, excavator capabilities

Terex Construction’s 50th anniversary TX860B Elite tractor loader backhoe is designed with mechanical controls that give operators the maneuverability and efficiency of working with a wheel loader, while the backhoe end features advanced piloted controls, giving the machine excavator capabilities. The loader backhoe is designed to allow operators to easily switch from SAE to ISO control patterns. The engine is 100-hp Tier 3-compliant engine and powershift transmission for a combination of heavy-duty power and easy operation.


A super sensor

The 3D-MC2 sensor Topcon combines cutting-edge hydraulic control software, the latest in inertial sensor technology and GNSS receivers that provide more than 100 blade position checks per second. The sensor combines a gyro, compass and inertial sensor to measure the X, Y and Z position as well as the roll, pitch, yaw and acceleration of the dozer. 






Mini-lifter, big uses

Vacuworx International in March released a new patent-pending, fully self-contained self-lifter. The mini-lifter is easily attachable to excavators, forklifts, wheel loaders, cranes, and boom trucks and lift materials such as steel plates, concrete slabs, or landscape rocks. Tubular products such as steel, concrete, plastic, or coated pipe also are easily lifted, according to the company.


Third engine, drum-cutting speed

The MT2000 milling machine from Volvo Construction Equipment is a four-track system that offers three distinct engine and drum cutting speeds — an industry first — allowing for optimal operator control to select lower speed for higher torque or higher speeds for maximum efficiency. The milling machine can run both 78.74- and 86.02-inch-wide drums. Other major features include dual-operating stations; the flexibility to control both sides of machine and front or rear from one grade and slope control panel; and a walk-in engine compartment for easier serviceability.


Controls frequency, amplitude independently

The Hamm Compaction Division of Wirtgen America, Inc. HD+ Series of tandem asphalt rollers (HD+ 120 and HD+ 140) replace the existing HD 120 and HD 130 rollers. Each size compactor is available in three models: the HD+ 120 or 140 VV, with conventional vibration in both drums; the HD+ 120 or 140 VO, with vibration in the front and exclusive oscillation compaction in the rear; and the HD+ 120 or 140 VV HF, offering high-frequency vibration to 4,020 vpm. Frequency and amplitude can now be controlled independently on either drum.

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