Due for release to the southern African market from the fourth quarter of 2015, Caterpillar’s latest generation Cat AP600F wheeled paver, and its track derivative, the Cat AP655F, lead the way with a host of new technologies designed to deliver world class mat finishes, with a maximum paving depth of 30 cm.
The AP600F and AP655F are medium to high production pavers, excelling in demanding applications such as national roads, highways, and other large-scale projects. For the local market, power is delivered by a Cat C7.1 ACERT™ engine, which meets EU Stage IIIA emission requirements. Eco-mode and Automatic Engine Speed Control reduce fuel consumption and sound levels. In addition, new automated material delivery features simplify set-up, greatly contributing to more efficient operations.
As on the D-Series, the AP600F and AP655F retain the dual left and right side swing-out operating stations. This feature enables effective communication for smooth truck exchanges, as well as providing good views into the hopper and auger chamber.
Caterpillar’s AP600F is a wheeled unit, whilst the AP655F is a rubber track paver equipped with the exclusive Mobil-Trac™ undercarriage. As an option, the AP655F can also be configured with a steel track undercarriage, which is well-suited to applications like runway construction.
The Mobil-Trac System (MTS) features oscillating bogies and a rubber belt. The oscillating bogies minimise deviations and tow-point movement, leading to smoother mats.
“MTS essentially combines the traction of track pavers with the speed and mobility of wheeled pavers,” explains Barloworld Equipment paving industry manager, Johan Hartman. “Enhanced manoeuvrability is another key benefit.” (Barloworld Equipment is the Cat dealer for southern Africa.)
Six-wheel drive is available as an option on the AP600F. Six-wheel drive utilises enhanced hydraulics to optimise traction and provide 200% more front pull-force over previous models. A front-wheel assist or four-wheel drive option can also be specified, which increases front-wheel pull-force by 50% over previous models.
On the AP600F and AP655F units, an integrated 70 kW generator brings the screed heating system up to its optimum temperature within around 15 minutes. This is now the best screed plate heat-up time in the industry for this product class. Reduced heat-up times also translate into lower diesel burn, estimated at around 50% less than the previous D-Series.
During paving production, there is a temperature sensor for each zone. Bolt on screed extensions also have a dedicated sensor. If a sensor fails, it automatically defaults to using the symmetric sensor. The screed can function with only one sensor working, which means that paving operations can continue uninterrupted.
Machines sold into the southern African market are fitted with either SE50 VT or SE60 VT XW vibratory and tamper screeds, depending on the application requirements. Caterpillar’s exclusive tow-point design optimises screed flotation.
The maximum paving range for the SE50 VT and SE60 VT XW is 8 and 10 m respectively.
Screed plate life is extended with the utilisation of abrasion-resistant steel, which is proprietary to Caterpillar. Screed extensions are equipped with exclusive two-speed proportional control for enhanced responsiveness near obstacles and more precise control on highway applications. A pendant control adjusts the height of the optional hydraulic end-gates, as well as extender width and tow-point height.
Ratio control for the conveyors can now be controlled from the screed: previously, only the operator could perform this function. Likewise, the tractor operator can now adjust mix height for increased flexibility.
Exclusive propel and feeder system settings transfer between stations with the touch of a single switch; and speed, as well as operation and travel modes, are automatically adjusted at both stations. On the control panel there are one touch buttons for ‘auto material feed’, and ‘auto material fill’.
The auto-fill feeder system alternates between running the augers and conveyors, helping operators build a proper head of material from the start.