The staff of MultiFit traveled to Nashville, TN last week to exhibit at the National Pavement Exposition. The show is focused primarily on the commercial paving and pavement maintenance segment of the industry. Attendees from all over North America visited the show, boosted by a strong economy, increased backlogs and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.
While paving automation has not been commonly marketed to commercial paving contractors in the past, we felt it was time to test the market.
"We chose to gamble and exhibit paving automation systems at the largest commercial paving conference in the country because the smaller machines, and their operators have become every bit as sophisticated as their larger highway class counterparts" stated John Hood, one of the owners of MultiFit LLC.
It appears as if the gamble paid off, as the show was well attended and the traffic at the MultiFit booth was brisk. On Thursday, the first full day of the trade show, there were several times that the entire aisle was jammed up with people attempting to get a closer look at the systems being exhibited by MultiFit. " It was AWESOME to see that level of attention and enthusiasm for our products" stated Hood. It would have been nice to get some photos of the crowds in and around our booth but everyone was so busy fielding questions and demonstrating the products, we simply did not have the time to step out and take pictures.
While we felt there was an opportunity in this market arena for automation systems, we were met some with some surprises as well. It is one thing to discuss automatic grade and slope systems but the interest in the Mat Manager system was totally unexpected from these attendees. The Mat Manager was very well received by the attending commercial paving contractors.
The Mat Manager from TF Technologies offers a multitude of useful features but it is effectively a yield control system for all types of paving machines, providing REAL Time information comparing planned material usage to actual material usage while the job is going on. The paving crew has a visual indication of how they are performing on each respective job. They see what is going on, and have the ability to address any material overages or fallacies during the job, not after it is completed. Complete job reporting is available following the completion of the job via the Mat Wiser web based system to provide validation of each respective project.
"If cost over runs due to excess material usage is a problem for your company, utilizing this system literally provides the ability to turn a money losing project into a money maker" states Hood.
Another highly sought after product displayed was the Averaging Beam System for commercial pavers.
Contractors appreciated the averaging beam designed for use with their paving machines, not a large system that they had to adapt to their smaller, commercial paving machines.
The commercial ski system is a compact, extendable and expandable averaging beam designed to be quickly assembled and installed on their paving machine when the conditions require it. Available with multiple Mini Line sonic sensors, it is the perfect addition to any paving companies that need exceptional smoothness or deal with uneven grades. The system can be added to any Mini Line grade and slope control system quickly in a "plug and play" manner. Machines can be fitted with multiple commercial ski systems when averaging lengths exceeding 24 feet are required.
These units go hand in hand with our Mini Line single grade (automatic joint matcher) or dual grade and slope systems are installed on paving machines.
Whether you are simply attempting to match joints or provide consistent surfaces to existing grade, the sonic sensors provide the ability to perform this automatically, without intervention from the screed operator by way of turning the depth control screws. The grade control systems can be fitted with optional additional slope control functions to make life simple and provide repeatable results for the paving operation.
The compaction Optimizer drew strong responses as well. The Optimizer can be fitted to nearly any vibrating roller (soil or asphalt) to provide the operator a REAL time view of how the compaction process is progressing.
A simple and quick install, the Optimizer utilizes accelerometer technology to measure the rebound of the vibrating drum and display the compaction value to the operator in Real Time. This is a fantastic tool for finding soft spots or base irregularities BEFORE you pave or while installing the base. The Optimizer allows the crew to see and address base and many surface issues during the process, not during a Callback after the job is complete.
The newest release from Multifit at the exhibition was the TruVue Monitoring Systems. Using Infra-Red sensors, the monitors can provide real time material temperatures on nearly any machine, compactors or rollers.
The bright, clear display unit installs quickly and provides an accurate overview of the material temperatures being worked with. This is a highly appreciated asset to utilize when compacting asphalt in a timely fashion.
The TruVue platform provides highly customizable opportunities for other functions such as liquid levels, percentage of slope monitoring and much more.
In a nutshell, the National Pavement Expo was a great choice for MultiFit. We were greeted with enthusiasm and got the opportunity to display and explain our products over three days. We got the opportunity to visit with a multitude of old friends as well as meeting many new ones.
Technology is coming fast to commercial paving. It is not only for the big boys any longer! The staff of Multifit LLC encourage you to Jump in, the water's fine - give us a call at 816-788-0415 or visit www.pavingsmarter.com to explore how we can integrate technology into your paving operation this season.
By the way - Highway Class contractors, you big boys can call as well - MultiFit offers automation technology for big iron and big projects, or custom projects as well.
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