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Guide to Asphalt Pavers

By: Cleveland Brothers
June 22, 2021

The most important part of any paving job is an asphalt paver. This equipment is responsible for distributing and leveling asphalt no matter what your project requires. Because this piece of equipment can determine the success of your job, it is an investment you want to learn about before purchasing or renting. With the right Cat® asphalt paving equipment on your job sites, you can optimize job efficiency to support your daily productivity and bottom line.

Cleveland Brothers has an inventory of new, used and rental asphalt paving equipment. We’re here to help you learn more about these heavy-duty pieces of machinery that can support your operations.

How Is an Asphalt Paver Made?

Asphalt pavers are made of steel and the mainframe of the tractor is made from heavy-gauge steel. The feeder conveyor consists of a heavy-duty chain with sections made of forged steel and the distribution augers are fabricated from Ni-Hard steel. The screeds consist of channel, steel tubing and plate, and the engine cover is made from steel sheets.

Wheeled asphalt pavers feature two large rubber tires under the tractor and four or more smaller ones at the front for steering. Tracked machines have tracks that are molded from synthetic rubber with flexible steel cables inside the track layers for extra reinforcement. A friction drive wheel drives the tracks on the rear section of the paving machine, and bogie wheels help distribute the load.

How Does an Asphalt Paver Work?

The purpose of an asphalt paver is to distribute and compact layers of asphalt over surfaces to pave roadways, parking lots, walkways and other areas. Most machines are self-propelled via tracks or tires, but some are towed by a dump truck.

Wheeled and tracked asphalt pavers have two major components—the tractor and screed. Parts that make up the tractor component include hydraulic drives, the receiving hopper, distribution augers, feeder conveyors, the engine and more. The tractor tows the screed, which is what levels and shapes the asphalt. The screed includes components such as the moldboard, vibrators, endplates, slope sensors and more.

An asphalt paver operates via a dump truck filling the paver’s hopper with asphalt. As you begin to operate the equipment and move forward, the feeder conveyors transfer the material to the back of the paver where the distribution augers move the asphalt out. You can adjust the width of the augers to match your application. For example, a pathway will require a narrower feed compared to a wide road.

As the asphalt gets pushed out, the screed will level each layer of material and compact it. Asphalt screeds have heated screed plates and the option to hydraulically adjust the width. The screed’s purpose is to minimize or completely eliminate handwork. They are also available in rear and front-extender models.

Types of Asphalt Pavers

There are two types of Cat asphalt pavers, and depending on the project you’re working on, a wheeled or tracked machine may be the better option. Two considerations when deciding between a wheeled and tracked paver are the types of conditions you work in and how much ground you need to cover each day.

Wheeled Pavers

A wheeled asphalt paving machine has two large wheels under the cab and either two, four or more smaller wheels in the front. The wheels deliver excellent mobility around the job site, especially if you have a lot of ground to cover and you require a lot of relocation. Projects that have long stretches of asphalt are well-suited for wheeled equipment because the machine can cover longer distances at a faster rate and more efficiently compared to tracked solutions.

Wheeled pavers are also ideal for projects on existing asphalt surfaces because the environment is flatter and more even. Wheeled asphalt equipment applications often include milling, overlaying and filling.

Tracked Pavers

Tracked pavers have a set of rubber tracks on each side of the equipment for superior traction, even on your toughest job sites. If your job requires wide pulls and you’re operating in challenging environments, this version may be your best bet. Tracked paving equipment can handle softer surfaces like sand, clay and mud and even performs well on steep grades and hillsides.

Tracks offer more stability and traction compared to wheeled options, helping you maneuver through more challenging environments. If you’re operating with a full load, this also can give you more traction. Tracked options can support various surface applications with greater stability and maneuverability.

Sizes of Asphalt Pavers

Cat asphalt pavers are available in various sizes to accommodate your specific applications. For example, a smaller paver that requires towing has an average engine horsepower (hp) between 3 hp and 20 hp, while a larger, self-propelled engine is between the 100 hp and 250 hp range. Large asphalt pavers are about 19-23 feet long, 10 feet wide and 10 feet high and weigh between 20,000-40,000 pounds depending on the engine size, hopper capacity, drive system and other components.

A standard paving width is between 8 and 12 feet, although a maximum width can reach up to 40 feet wide if you use screed extensions for your biggest projects. An 8-foot paver can work on smaller applications such as sidewalks and golf cart paths. But if you’re working on wider job sites, pavers of more than 10 feet can support highway applications and larger projects like parking lots. The max thickness of asphalt paving in one pass ranges between 8 and 12 feet. Find the Right Equipment From Cleveland Brothers

Find the Right Equipment at Cleveland Brothers

Cleveland Brothers has a range of tough and dependable Cat asphalt pavers, rollers, cold planers and more. Our team of experts is here to help you invest in the best solutions for your business. With an inventory of new and used equipment and a complete rental fleet, Cleveland Brothers can work with you to complete any paving job. For a limited time, Cleveland Brothers is offering select rollers at a discounted price. For more details, click here to view pricing and equipment details.


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