What is an Asphalt Paver
Asphalt as we know it today is produced by mixing aggregates [sand and stone] and bitumen, a petroleum base product and heat forming a hot mix.
When the asphalt mixture was developed around the 1920’s, it was used mainly for road surfaces; today asphalt is used in all sorts of construction projects.
The asphalt mixture was first dumped on the roadway surface; there was no paving machine to spread the material, so all the asphalt was graded and leveled by workers with rakes, all spreading was done by hand.
The first asphalt paver was invented around 1935, they were mounted on steel rails or steel forms, the material was mixed and spread on the road as the machine was pulled forward.
Later the asphalt paver was mounted on tracks and floating screed was developed, this was a leveling arm in the back of the paver that leveled high spots as the paver was pulled forward and the asphalt surface was laid.
By the late 1940’s and early 1950’s the self-propelled asphalt paver was being used on large road paving jobs, the floating screed has remained in use with many improvements.
As improvements to the asphalt paver were developed, one was the hydraulic widening screeds, this ended the need for the operator to manually move the widener, and the operator could now change the width of the asphalt surface, with hydraulic controls as the paver moved forward.
Asphalt pavers are constructed almost all of steel, the largest part is the steel hopper, at the front of the machine, where a dump truck dumps hot mix asphalt into the hopper, augers and a conveyor system move the material to the back of the paver where it is placed on the roadway and leveled with the heated screed that also compacts the asphalt as the paver moves forward.
New asphalt pavers have their own power unit or motor and hydraulic system. Some pavers are mounted on tracks this helps the paver when increased traction is needed when placing asphalt on the prepared surface. Many pavers are mounted on rubber tires, they are used generally when paving on a hard surface and the machine will be moving at a faster pace when paving. The pull-type paver works on the same principle but needs to be pulled forward as it spreads the asphalt material.
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