BOMAG concepts envision electric, LPG BW 120 rollers; fully autonomous ROBOMAG compactor

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Updated May 22, 2020
The ROBOMAG fully autonomous tandem vibratory rollerThe ROBOMAG fully autonomous tandem vibratory roller

At ConExpo 2020, BOMAG gave a glimpse of the company’s vision for the future of asphalt compaction, with concept rollers that run on battery, liquified petroleum gas or with no operator on the machine.

The company displayed its concept alternative-drive BW 120 AD-5 tandem rollers, one with an  electric engine and another that runs on LPG, for working in areas with strict environmental requirements. The booth was also occupied by the ROBOMAG fully autonomous tandem vibratory roller, which the company unveiled at last year’s Bauma show in Germany.

Electric and gas rollers

BW 120 AD-5 LPGBW 120 AD-5 LPG

BOMAG rolled out its concept electric and LPG drive systems on its BW 120 AD-5 tandem compactor.

The traditional diesel model runs on a 33-horsepower Kubota engine and has a 47-inch compaction width. The alternative models are geared toward indoor, tunnel, inner-city or other projects where low emissions are needed.

Tim Eisfeld, BOMAG director or marketing and product management, says the electric version has been requested more in Europe, while the LPG version is expected to attract more interest in North America.

LPG engineLPG engine

The tank on the BOMAG BW 120 AD-5 LPG can be changed in 5 minutes, and an operator can get 5 hours of compaction on one tank, the company says. Compared to the diesel version, the gas model significantly reduces emissions –  95 percent less nitrogen-oxide and 15 percent less carbon-dioxide and fine dust, according to BOMAG.

Along with greater emissions reduction, the gas version delivers 7 more horsepower than the diesel model, and BOMAG notes that LPG typically costs about 40 percent less than diesel.

The electric BW 120 AD-5 E reduces emissions even further, down to zero. It is also much quieter than diesel rollers.

The electric-drive engine delivers 24.8 horsepower, or 18.5 kilowatts. At this point, battery life is only 2.5 to 3 hours, which the company is working to improve, Eisfeld says. He adds, though, that in many rental applications for repair work, a roller is used for only 1.5 hours.

BW 120 AD EBW 120 AD E

The electric roller’s cost would be double that of the diesel model, so it’s not for everyone. But the company notes that maintenance is much simpler and leads to savings of about 40 percent.

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The company used ConExpo to gain input from booth visitors on any changes to be made to the concept models before they hit the market.


Autonomous future


The electric and LPG compactors are expected to hit the market much sooner than the ROBOMAG, although BOMAG’s press release hints that it represents the company’s vision for the “not-so-distant future.”

Eisfeld says the concept tandem vibratory roller is currently fully operational but still years away from launch.

“As a manufacturer, we would be ready faster than the market is ready for taking it,” he says.

Despite the longer time frame, BOMAG continues to improve the autonomous roller.

At ConExpo, the futuristic machine was equipped with Asphalt Manager, BOMAG’s new automated intelligent compaction control, monitoring and documentation system. The system, also available on some of the company’s newest rollers, automatically adjusts drum vibration for consistent mat quality, preventing bow waves and scuffing, the company says.

ROBOMAG can be operated fully autonomously in a defined work area. It uses GPS, LIDAR lasers and positioning sensors to guide its path. It detects objects to avoid collisions. It can also be operated autonomously by manually entering movement patterns, and it can be operated manually by remote control.