Wirtgen says that its AutoPilot Field Rover makes it possible to have fully automatic, stringline-free concrete paving for the first time, saving contractors time and money.
The judges at the Bauma Innovation Awards earlier this year clearly agreed, naming it their winner in the machinery component category.
When monolithic profiles such as concrete safety barriers or kerbs are paved today, digital terrain models are created and so-called stringlines are secured in the ground along the profile. During paving, these are used by the machine for orientation purposes – a very time-consuming method.
The Wirtgen AutoPilot 3D control system comprises a computer that is integrated in the machine and an intuitive control panel. Two GPS receivers mounted on the machine communicate with a GPS reference station on the job site. A digital terrain model is not required, as surveying and programming is carried out on the spot.
Conventional stringline-free 3D-systems currently available on the market can only be operated by personnel trained in surveying but the AutoPilot Field Rover is so simple it needs no special training, according to Wirtgen.
The software calculates the optimum course around any obstacles on the basis of the measured points, creating a virtual stringline. Data are saved on a USB stick that is then slotted into the machine. The operator does not need to enter any additional data by hand. The Wirtgen slipform paver then automatically moves to the starting point calculated during the survey, and from there moves along the defined course.
Wirtgen says that as the Field Rover bases its calculations on measurements taken on site it does not rely on construction drawings, so it achieves a higher degree of paving accuracy and quality. In addition, the slipform paver automatically negotiates obstacles, rather than relying on the traditional way of driving over them and then repairing everything later