The first Volvo Pipelayers (Volvo PL) have arrived in North America. The Volvo PL4611, one of five models in the new product class of pipelaying machines developed by Volvo Construction Equipment, is in full production and available now for the North America market. The second model in this innovative class of heavy-duty, purpose-built equipment, the Volvo PL4608, will go into production in November with first delivery dates set for December 2008.
Volvo began the development of a new product class of pipelaying machines in 2007, and the new Volvo PL4611 and its fellow-machines represent a revolutionary advancement over traditional pipelaying dozers with a side-based boom. The new patented-design Volvo PL class was given the BP Special Award for Innovation of Significant Merit in 2008 for its major contribution to innovation related to cross-country onshore pipeline construction.
Based on the Volvo excavator design, configuration and engineering, the new Pipelayer provides a 360-degree swing with full lifting performance and functionality at all radius positions a function unattainable with conventional side-boom pipelayers. The Volvo PL has a wide gauge, lower center of gravity, and a lifting platform where the boom is mounted inboard of the track frame and closer to the machine™s centerline for extraordinary stability and much higher lift capacities up to 29% higher than conventional equipment. Lift capacities range from 20 metric tons to 150 metric tons, originating from a patented adaptation of Volvo excavator-machines combined with modern lifting technology. (The largest Volvo PL model, the Volvo PL7015 that will be on the market early in 2009, has a 150 metric ton maximum lift capacity, a capacity 41% higher than the largest pipelaying side-based dozer.)
Volvo Pipelayers also have significantly longer booms that offer higher hook height for better work positioning or in working further away from the trench to avoid caving in side walls. Boom lengths range from 30 feet to 38 feet, depending on model size.
The Volvo PL4611
The new Volvo PL4611 Pipelayer is powered by a Volvo D12D 329 hp EPA Tier 3 compliant engine engineered with the Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT) system to produce low emissions, superior performance and productivity, and industry-leading fuel efficiency. This machine has a maximum tipping capacity of 242,500 lbs, a boom length of 30 feet, an operating weight of 150,220 lbs, and a lift capacity through 360 – degree rotation of 155,000 lbs.
Safety and Load Management
The Volvo Pipelayers are fitted with an on-board Load Management System (LMS) designed to enable the operator to determine what he can safely pick up depending upon the angle of the boom, the cab™s position relative to the tracks, and the incline on which the machine is operating.
Load charts are continuously undated for 360-degree rotation and infinite machine geometries up to a 35-degree slope. The system matches and coordinates these factors to current operating conditions via a graphic display on a monitor in the cab, including a wide variety of warning and operational aids. Load-indicating light bars, located on the boom tips, provide visible warning to the operator and ground personnel to optimize safety and site management. (By contrast, traditional side-based booms are rated only for flat, level ground operation and are not generally available with on-board monitoring.)
The undercarriage of the new pipelayers provide a nearly square working platform, optimizing stability through the full 360-degree swing. The heavy weight of the lower frame and heavily reinforced track frames lowers the machine center of gravity, increasing stability.
The Volvo Care Cab
The Volvo Pipelayer is equipped with the newly-designed Volvo Care Cab, an operator environment well-known for its best-in-class safety, spaciousness, excellent visibility, ergonomic controls and climate control systems. The features of the Volvo Care Cab increase operator comfort and efficiency and are especially welcome on demanding pipeline projects where site conditions can be extremely harsh.
Transportability¦a unique system
The Volvo PL4611 has a unique design that allows removal of the track frames from the base machine to reduce weight and width for transport. The machine can self-disassemble in less than 60 minutes and reassemble in the same time frame. Disassembly begins when the outriggers are deployed and the machine is raised off the ground. The machine loads its side frames onto a flatbed truck, the counterweight is hydraulically removed and loaded, and the machine is then raised to full outrigger height to allow a low-boy truck to back in underneath. The outriggers are then retracted to set the base machine onto the lowboy.
One of the key benefits of the new Volvo PL4511 and the entire class of Volvo Pipelayer machines is the cost-saving versatility of its design. Built on the Volvo excavator platform, the new pipelayers can be quickly converted into a high-production excavator or used in applications where their heavy-lift capability can be brought into play.
Visit the Volvo Construction website here: http://www.volvo.com/constructionequipment/na/en-us/