Fulton Hogan’s new Super 1800-3 tracked paver is the latest in a series of additions to the building and transport infrastructure company’s paver fleet from Vögele’s extensive line-up. A reliable mix of performance and ease-of-use has the approval of both operators and management alike.
ASK ROY FRANCE, Fulton Hogan’s divisional manager of paving what he likes about Vögele’s tracked and wheeled pavers, and the answer comes back across the desk without hesitation: reliability and ease-of-use.
Two simple requirements that mean a heck of a lot when considering the logistics of successfully running double shifts with a team of operators across myriad different roading infrastructure projects.
“We’ve been buying Vögele pavers since 2007 and we haven’t looked back,” France tells me. “In fact I’d say the first machine we purchased – a Super 1600-3 tracked paver we originally acquired for the Northern Gateway project between Orewa and Puhoi – is probably one of the most highly utilised machines in the country.”
In addition to the 1600-3, Fulton Hogan also currently runs a Vögele Super 1603-2 wheeled and Super 1803-3 wheeled pavers, the latter fitted with a six metre screed.
It’s the latest addition to Fulton Hogan’s Vögele fleet that I’m here to see today though; the new Vögele Super 1800-3, which introduces a wide gamut of next-generation advances.
And as is to be expected with a busy operation like Fulton Hogan’s Auckland division, it has gone straight into rotation across a variety of projects. So much so that a second “Dash 3” is on the way as well, heading into action on the Motorway Alliance joint-venture project with NZTA.
As France tells me, with the Super 1800-3’s high performance compaction screed attached, the new machine has proven a very necessary addition to the fleet.
“The idea behind running the various sized pavers we now have is that we can put the appropriate paver into the appropriate scenario. We complete a lot of subdivision work, resurfacing maintenance work for Auckland Transport and we also have a project team working on specific infrastructure tasks such as the Lincoln Road and Great North Road Interchanges and the Western Causeway project.
“This means we need flexibility and the range of Vögele pavers we’re running gives us that. Not only does this mean we’ll always have a machine that’s fit-for-purpose, it also ensures our manpower is utilised as best it can be. Because we’ve streamlined the type of machines we’re using, we’ve gone from a situation where one operator specialises in using one machine, to a pool of operators who have the skills and knowledge to jump on any of our pavers and get on with the task at hand immediately,” he says.
The Vögele reputation for reliability also comes into play here. Within the space of a week, the new “Dash 3” is utilised for structural asphalt work for Auckland Transport, then moved out to the Waitakere Ranges for resurfacing work, before being transported to Ti Rakau Drive in Auckland’s ever-expanding South-Eastern suburbs for another project.
It’s everyday stuff for Fulton Hogan, but they need to know each of their pavers will work as expected, when expected. With that expectation in mind, back-up service is also a key requirement. Vögele distributor Wirtgen New Zealand offers customers such as Fulton Hogan a full technical back-up service and the ability to supply parts immediately if they are required.
The new 19-ton Super 1800-3 sits in the middle of Vögele’s extensive Super Series tracked paver range and features a raft of improved technologies and design features, effectively debuting an entirely new paver class.
From stem to stern the “Dash 3” machines boast updated and innovative functionality, with operating efficiency and that aforementioned ease-of-use in mind.
Up front the robustly sprung PaveDock push-rollers absorb jolts from the feed truck while docking onto the paver, which mitigates shockwaves in the material being placed. Working in conjunction, the PaveDock Assistant signal system eliminates guesswork for feed vehicle drivers, relaying a series of directional symbols through the side-mounted light screen that makes docking, dumping and driving out a far simpler – and safer – series of manoeuvres.
Vögele has updated both the operator console and the screed console for “Dash 3” machines as well. Called ErgoPlus 3, the operator’s main control system features a high contrast display, with graphics and symbols adhering to industry standard product design. The screed console, meanwhile, incorporates similarly well illuminated read-outs and symbols for night time work, along with the new SmartWheel, which ensures the pave width can be adjusted with absolute precision, making the machine as useful on highway projects as in confined urban environments.
As Roy France indicates, the ability for various operators to precisely manage machine controls through a “language neutral” interface such as is present on “Dash 3” machines, helps with across-the-board productivity within a large team.
With a maximum laydown rate of 700 tons/h, the grunt the new “Dash 3” provides also goes a long way to reinforcing its abilities. Sporting a robust 128kW Cummins six-cylinder diesel, the Super 1800-3 mixes power with efficiency thanks to its engine’s standard ECO mode, helping with both running and service costs.
“The power available in the “Dash 3” really benefits us,” France continues. “We do a lot of work around ports and on airport runways, so to get more compaction in the paver theoretically means less compaction on the rollers. We might have three rollers on an airport job, but you can drop it down to two if the compaction within the paver is sufficient, which works well on both a logistical and cost front.
“Naturally price comes into any plant purchase. But there is so much more to it than that. Vögele’s technology is fantastic and it’s something we value highly.”
So has Fulton Hogan’s concerted move to Vögele pavers for their fleet paid off?
“Absolutely,” France concludes. “I think a combination of the performance and simplicity of these machines shows we’ve definitely made an educated choice.”