Leica’s PaveSmart 3D Machine Control System is Helping Highway Contractors Save Time, Money and Earn Smoothness Bonuses

(Norcross, Ga., 1 February 2013) – As the United States grapples with long-overdue infrastructure repairs – 2009 estimates totaled $2.2 trillion according to the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure by the American Society of Civil Engineers – Leica Geosystems in enabling highway contractors win contracts, earn bonuses and save time and money with its Leica PaveSmart 3D machine control system.

As the industry leader in St. Louis, Mo., Fred Weber Inc. is earning up to the maximum five percent smoothness bonuses while paving two sections of Highway 364 near St. Charles, Mo., due in large part to the Leica PaveSmart 3D machine control system, which is saving time and money as it eliminates all of the detailed survey labor normally spent for a runway, staking of hubs, setting of blue-tops, and the labor to set up stringlines.

Under older systems, a concrete paver is controlled by two stringlines set at precise locations on each side of the lane. “When we would pave with a stringline, we were just happy to get 100 percent of our pay,” said Nick Hilton, Manager of Concrete Operations for Fred Weber Inc. “Now, with the Leica PaveSmart 3D stringless system, we’re not happy unless we’re getting a bonus for smoothness.”

Integrating seamlessly with any GOMACO paver or trimmer, the Leica Geosystems system regulates the steering and grade of the machine with no need to retrofit complex hydraulics. The system guides the trimmer in relation to a digitized 3D model of the highway that runs on a Leica computer on-board the machine.

“We trim with the Leica Geosystems stringless system [and] we’ll trim all the way out into the trackline,” said Hilton. “Basically your paver track is running on a smooth ride. And then you take the human error out of it. There’s human error in setting stringline and eyeballing it, and we don’t have that anymore.”

Saving money is essential at a time when there’s so little of it to update the U.S. infrastructure, which largely dates back 60 – even 80 – years. “It’s an outrage. Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower,” said President Barack Obama, in his speech on jobs before a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8. 2011. “There are private construction companies, all across America, just waiting to get to work.”

This year, Weber is building a new 10-mile section of Interstate 69 near Newberry, Ind. It’s a four-lane divided highway and the contractor is laying 11 inches of new pavement. Early profilograph readings indicate that they earned an average of three percent bonuses on 25 sections of the northbound passing lane. 

The pavement base consists of six inches of one-inch minus base stone topped by three inches of clean crushed stone. To place and trim the three-inch layer, the contractor is using a GOMACO PS-2600 with an optional “blade kit,” controlled by a Leica PaveSmart 3D machine control system. The GOMACO PS-2600 works 30 feet wide and Hilton attributes a share of his smoothness results to the Leica Geosystems 3D control system on the PS-2600.

“We love it,” said Hilton of his Leica PaveSmart 3D stringless control system. “We like the mobility, and ease of access to the project. You don’t have a stringline up in the way anymore. Nobody can trip over the stringline or bump it to throw it off line. Plus, it frees up manpower to do something else. And our profilograph numbers have come way down since we’ve been running the Leica Geosystems Solution.”

Leica Geosystems – When it’s got to be Right 
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information. Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. LeicaGeosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.