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EU research project ASPHALT successfully completed

Better road quality through trouble-free processes at construction sites

August 8, 2012  By MOBA

August 8, 2012 – As few construction sites as
possible, which are finished as quickly as possible – that's what everyone who
uses the roads wants.

August 8, 2012 – As few construction sites as
possible, which are finished as quickly as possible – that's what everyone who
uses the roads wants.  Only if all
operations at a construction site proceed without trouble can this be attained.
If processes are reciprocally coordinated with precision, this enables the work
to be completed more quickly and with optimum results. And, with optimum
results, that means top-quality road surfaces that much less frequently require
repair work. Thus, the number of construction sites is reduced – saving the
money and time expended for premature improvement or repair work. This
principle was tested by the EU-initiated project ASPHALT (Advanced Galileo
Navigation System for Asphalt Fleet Machines) for satellite navigation and
fleet management.



Within the scope of the
ASPHALT research project, MOBA Mobile Automation AG – together with Fraunhofer
IIS, DKE Aerospace, Dynapac, Teleconsult Austria and inPosition – developed a
way of optimizing the process flows at the construction site using GNSS
technology, from the paving of the asphalt to compaction and, at the same time,
networking the machines with one another. In doing so, the scalable,
high-precision and cost-effective system interlinks the satellite-based
positioning and the steering and control systems of the deployed machines.
Initial field tests took place late 2011 on Germany's A111 highway outside of
Berlin – ASPHALT impressed not only the machine operators but also construction
companies and state, national and EU decision makers.


Trouble-free processes based on satellite positioning


The project results are
groundbreaking. While GNSS technology is being applied with increasing
frequency in the area of earthwork and for monitoring tasks, satellite-based
position data have very seldom been used for asphalt work up to now.


ASPHALT utilizes this
technology to position the machinery. Trucks, paver and rollers deployed at the
construction site were equipped with receivers specially developed for the
project. Currently, these work with GPS signals and, once available, will work
with Galileo. Furthermore, with RTK (Real Time Kinematik), the position signal
can be improved right down to centimeter precision in order to fulfill asphalt
construction requirements. By combining GNSS and inertial sensor technology,
even short distances – under bridges, for example – can be circumvented without
satellite reception.


"With the compiled
data, the entire asphalting process can be optimized and the deployment of the
machines reciprocally coordinated,” explains project manager Marcus Watermann
(MOBA Mobile Automation AG).


Networking of the machinery – for better road quality


The networking of the
machinery is a very promising aspect for improving the quality in road
construction, while at the same time, saving time and money through quick
completion of work at construction sites. In addition to the material
properties, the quality of the pavement is also particularly dependent upon the
material provision, the process handling during the asphalting and upon the
controlling of the paver and the screed. The application and compacting
temperature, and the compaction itself, are further parameters that are
decisive for the properties of the road.

With ASPHALT, material
movements are monitored from the applying of the asphalt up to the paver. The
system can be used to coordinate the transport of the asphalt to construction
site and make it easier for the driver to dock the truck to the paver. This
way, no disruption of the flow of material can occur and the asphalt is applied
in the optimum temperature range. Furthermore, with the MOBA-matic leveling
system and Sonic-Ski®, the layer thickness is regulated in such a
way that a smooth, even road surface is provided for and unevenness is
prevented. During the asphalting, the temperature of the applied material is
monitored by MOBA Pave-IR™. This offers substantiating documentation that the
material is being applied at the correct temperature. The MOBA MCA-2000 roller
system supports roller drivers when compacting by measuring the asphalt
temperature and monitoring the number of the repeated passes over the pavement.
Incorrect compaction is prevented in this manner. Networking of the machines
with their positional data ensures that the rollers compact the material at
locations with the appropriate temperature range.


Potential savings combined with higher quality


With ASPHALT, time and money
can be saved because a time buffer is no longer necessary, unnecessary
transport trips are avoided and no redundant material is delivered or used.
Also, all data can be automatically recorded and documented. ASPHALT also
offers large potential for saving to communities, urban and rural areas. Thanks
to the high quality of the roads, the maintenance costs sink, repairs become
more seldom or are only necessary at greater time intervals. If the service
life of roads is increased by just 10%, this already means an annual savings
volume of €4.5 billion in Europe. This also means that fewer resources are
consumed. The number of traffic jams on highways – 15% of which are caused by
construction sites in Germany[1],
thus making them the second most frequent cause of traffic jams (after traffic
overload) – is reduced. CO2 emissions, and hence environmental
pollution, are reduced. Since unevenness of the road surface – which causes
aquaplaning – is prevented, road traffic safety is improved.

Roads in Europe – the current

·   5.27
million kilometers of roadways

·   90%
of all roads are paved with asphalt

·   Repair
costs (surface):

€100,000 – 200,000/km

·   Average
service life (surface): 10 years

results in an annual requirement of about 500,000 km per year


 Potential for saving:

·   Extending
the service life to 11 years

·   This
reduces the need for renewal by 45,455 km per year

Potential savings per year
€4.5 billion

Source: Porsche Consulting/Kirchhoff 2009

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