Strengthening the weak link in the chain for asphalt pavers

Paul Boughton

Resurfacing an asphalt road is one of those tasks that once started really should not be stopped part way through, especially not for a breakdown that may take several hours to repair.

However, problems with the reliability and availability of OEM components can lead to unnecessary delays and mounting costs. Several companies in Holland have chosen to install higher specification chains and drive sprockets in order to improve reliability and reduce overall costs.

In the process of road resurfacing, the Material Transfer Device (MTD) is positioned between the paver and the truck carrying the fresh, hot asphalt. It has two roles to perform. First it acts as a buffer, capable of storing enough asphalt to keep the paver supplied with the constant stream asphalt it demands until the next truck arrives.

The second role is to remix the asphalt as it is transferred from the truck, where the fine sands and the larger aggregate can become segregated. This ensures that the aggregate mix is correct when the paver lays the asphalt and reduces the risks of premature road failure. As such, the MTD is a vital link in the road paving process and one that is expected to operate reliably - despite the adverse working environment.

In Holland, several companies that operate these machines were finding that the OEM chain and drive sprockets did not have sufficient service life. The cost of the replacement parts were not reflected in the reduced service life that they offered. Furthermore, the lead time for delivery of new components was beginning to cause significant delays in the maintenance of the machines.

This led to Tsubaki suggesting a high quality alternative chain and sprocket set that had been specifically designed for MTDs and was available from stock. 

Each chain section is manufactured from special alloy steel components that have received selected heat treatment processes to ensure durable service in the most arduous of conditions. The precision design and assembly of all these components delivers increased performance and a substantial increase in service life compared to the OEM components.

Within the MTD there are three conveyor sections; the first transfers the asphalt from the receiver to the mixing chamber, while the second takes the asphalt out of the chamber and onto the third conveyor which loads the paver. 

Tsubaki has specifically designed complete chain and sprocket sets for each of these three conveyors to ensure that there are no weak links in the road paving chain. The ultimate benefit of the MTD is to reduce the number of trucks required during a road paving project as well as providing a final mixing process that ensures optimum road surface quality. Tsubaki aims to keep this important piece of equipment more productive and more efficient by reducing the downtime attributed to maintenance of the conveyors.

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