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First D-Series Volvo Pavers at Work in GB

First published in the January 2021 issue of Quarry Management 

Lancashire County Council takes delivery of first Volvo P6870D paving machine in Great Britain, whilst Excel Surfacing take the first Volvo P2870D compact paver

Lancashire County Council (LCC) undertakes the maintenance of more than 4,000 miles of A and B roads running through the county. Consisting of main arterial routes and country lanes, along with residential streets, a large amount of road maintenance is required on a regular basis. To this end, the highways team at LCC run two highly experienced surfacing and repair teams covering the whole region, complete with a pair of Volvo pavers.

John Banks, operations engineer at the Council, explained the reasoning behind LCC’s use of in-house resurfacing operations: ‘We find that running our own teams gives us massive amounts of flexibility when it comes to undertaking work. We can put both gangs together for larger jobs, just as any sub-contractor can, but we believe we can respond far quicker to emergency works than any external operation could.’

The latest in a line of Volvo paving technology to join the LCC fleet is the first P6870D machine to enter service in Great Britain, and follows on from three earlier models ranging back to an ABG6870 delivered in 2012.

Whilst LCC is no stranger to the Volvo paver range, the latest D-Series has been greatly improved and updated from previous models. From a health and safety point of view, the days of carrying diesel and AdBlue up to the top of the machine to replenish the tanks is long gone, with Volvo moving all fluid filling points to the safety of ground level.

Forward vision has also been improved thanks to the revised bonnet design. Totally flat, the operator now has a clear and unobstructed view into the hopper at the front of the machine, even with the hoppers raised. The centralized greasing system has also been relocated up to the top deck of the machine, making it easier to monitor its levels and easier to refill when necessary.

Outwardly, the design of the paver is similar to the outgoing model, but changes have been made underneath the skin. Thanks to a Volvo six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 175hp, the P6870D meets the latest Stage V emissions regulations, making it ideal for working in residential locations.

The P6870D is the first model to be fitted with Volvo’s new EPM3 management system, which provides ergonomic control of all machine functions for both the driver and all other operators. The information is now shown on an all-new dashboard for the driver, and similar control panels mounted to both ends of the screed. This new system means that any operator in the gang can now take full control of all of the machine’s functions, including the material feed, which leaves the driver to steer the machine in the required direction.

The EPM3 system also allows the operators to monitor service intervals, productivity alerts and gives a warning to the driver when these parameters require attention, whilst CareTrack allows for remote vehicle monitoring along with geolocation of the paver at all times.

The new P6870D, which has the potential capacity to lay up to 700 tonnes/h, has been supplied with a standard VB 78 screed that offers a potential paving width of up to 9m. This is seen as an ideal screed unit for LCC’s requirements, and is easily handled by the traction from the tractor’s 6x6 driveline.

‘I’ve been operating the pavers at LCC for more than 10 years and find the Volvo machines so easy to set up and operate,’ commented foreman Alan Jones, one of the regular machine drivers. ‘This new version is even easier. Everything is well laid out; the controls are easy to use and the operator station is very comfortable too.’

Additional working and warning lighting have been fitted to the LCC paver, along with the optional balloon lighting system for the night-time projects the teams occasionally undertake.

The machine’s first job, on a residential street in the seaside town of Lytham St Annes, went without a hitch, with the LCC gang quickly laying around 100m of basecourse. The 13-tonne capacity hopper with its maximum opening width of 3.17m allowed ample room for reversing trucks to tip into, with its two heavy-duty conveyors feeding the two augers at up to 40m per minute, ensuring a regulated flow of material.

Mark Smith, who looks after procurement for the Council’s highways division, said: ‘Renowned for their build quality and reliability, the new P6870D model, launched in April 2020, is achieving improved fuel efficiencies, reducing our operational costs and our carbon footprint, all of which further enhances the machine’s appeal.

‘The next-generation EPM system provides multiple features to assist operational and management control. The EPM3 redundancy concept is an invaluable characteristic of the machine. Procured complete with the CareTrack telematics system, an excellent service maintenance package and comprehensive warranty and after-sales technical support from SMT gives both operator and management teams peace of mind.’

Excel Surfacing take first P2870D

Meanwhile, Bradford-based Excel Surfacing Ltd have taken delivery of the first Volvo P2870D compact wheeled paver to be sold in Great Britain, and according to co-director Steve O’Keefe, ‘It’s been worth waiting for’. ‘We’ve been very pleased with the performance and reliability of our two P6870C pavers and consider the Volvo ABG machines to be high-quality products,’ he said. ‘More importantly, we are extremely impressed with the consistently excellent level of support, care and attention we receive from SMT GB, which is why we opted for the new P2870D.’

Covering projects spread throughout the length and breadth of the country, Excel Surfacing have carried out a wide variety of contracts, ranging from private driveways up to large road resurfacing projects, during their first 10 years of operation.

‘About 40% of our work is with blue-chip Tier 1 house builders, carrying out finishing work on driveways, cul-de-sacs and access roads, so having a compact paver to carry out this work is extremely important,’ said Mr O’Keefe. ‘We have been waiting quite a long time for Volvo to launch this machine and, so far, we think it’s been worth the wait. The overall build quality and low noise emissions are impressive, and it also lays an exceptionally high-quality mat. The machine is also very manoeuvrable, with a base screed width of just 1.75m (extendable up to 4.5m), which means we can get almost anywhere with it.’

Thanks to the high efficiency of the machine’s Stage V engine, which has an output of 55kW, it generates exceptionally low noise and CO2 emissions, making it particularly suitable for work on inner-city projects. The after-treatment system consists solely of a DPF, which means there are no SCR or AdBlue requirements. As a result, uptime is maximized and the machine’s running costs are minimized.

Capable of travel speeds up to 16km/h, the compact P2870D paver is said to offer unrivalled comfort during and between jobs, thanks to its permanent 6x4-wheel drive and machine ride levellers, which are unique features for this class of paver. Another new feature found on Volvo ABG pavers is Rear Frame Lift, which allows the rear wheels to be lifted from the ground by pushing down on the screed. This is particularly beneficial if the wheels become stuck in soft ground and need to be released, or if tyre repairs need to be performed quickly.

Another unique feature specific to the P2870D ABG is the inclusion of power steering, which allows the paver to offer a tight (2m) turning radius. Moreover, despite its compact size, the paver is strong enough to push a feed truck, as well as capable of being fed by other machinery, such as a wheel loader or site dumper.

To ensure maximum machine control is maintained throughout operations, Volvo’s intuitive Electronic Paver Management (EPM3) system gives operators easy access to the full range of working functions. With its convenient layout and jog-wheel, the EPM3 system can simplify even the toughest small-to-medium paving applications. Integrated within EPM3 is the Settings Manager, which can save and recall customized parameters from previous projects.

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