The Paving Cavemen



Are you the paving caveman? Or are you paving the way as the modern-day operator?


Gone are the days of checking the levels with a nut and some string, or so you would think...


It is 2016 and many operators still like to use the old method of a nut and some string, yet this method is very outdated and the approach is much more likely to cause problems due to the high probability of human error. Whilst reliable to a point, it only takes a momentary loss of concentration or a small distraction for the nuts level to change considerably. This is the epitome of caveman technology!



During the 1960s and 1970s the "string and nut" method evolved into 'valve' operated joint matches, at the time this was considered a revolutionary idea however there were major flaws in the design as they were cumbersome and very fragile so never became popular for everyday use.


Further evolution came in the way of the "Grad-Line" type sensor, which was considered to be a major step forward to automate the process of joint matching or controlling the crossfall level. Compact and robust, this 'little yellow box with a ski' did become popular, however it became apparent over a period of time that there were other significant problems with this method - the ski would become sticky from the contact with the tarmac; in turn this would cause large amounts of friction. Inaccurate signals due to the sticking of the ski would cause screed adjustments when not necessary and consequently left an uneven mat. Again the popularity decreased.


The latest development has seen a major breakthrough in the accuracy of grade and slope control. The Sonic-Ski sensor detects the distance from the ground surface through a pulse that is transmitted; this is then reflected and received back to determine the distance. There is no wear and tear, as there is no contact between the device and the sticky surface, and the accuracy level is greatly improved from previous models. Obviously, extreme weather conditions are unsuitable for the sensor, such as strong winds or heavy rainfall; but overall this method is the most precise whilst being flexible and easy to use.



The VOGELE machines that we at AP PAVERS use run the NIVELTRONIC Plus+ system. This is the automated grade & slope control system supplied directly by VOGELE. The machine technology and grade & slope control are perfectly matched, thus ensuring an equally perfect pavement result.


Based on many years of experience the NIVELTRONIC Plus+ is a user-friendly, simple device. The large variety of sensors available means it can be matched to any job quickly; a key requirement when paving as it means there is less down time and better cost-efficiency as well as the expected high quality. NIVELTRONIC Plus+ instantly recognizes every sensor connected, therefore allowing a quick and easy set up of the system.


The top quality finish is achieved through the system being fully integrated into the machines. All of the wiring and connections are integrated into the tractor unit and screed; this eliminates cables accidentally getting mixed up and lowers the chance of damage.


Controls and keys are clearly arranged to allow for ease of use, helping the screed operator to safely control all major functions without delay. No extra training is required, and no extra instructions are necessary - it is that easy! This is why AP PAVERS are leading the movement to eradicate the possibility of any human error, and introduce this system to all of our operators for future use.


It is hard to see why you would choose the decades-old tradition of a nut and some string over a modern, technologically advanced Sonic-Ski sensor. There are so many vast differences between them that it is hard to see why any operator would choose to stay in the dark ages. We are in a time now where a high quality product or service is expected, with the old methods just not being reliable enough, is it not a sure sign we should all be using the best technology available?