Construction of the new Caterpillar plant in Athens, Ga., is well under way and Allied Paving Contractors Inc., Pendergrass, Ga., is on site for paving work. Allied is the same company that did the paving for the Caterpillar skidder plant expansion in LaGrange, Ga., approximately five years ago.
A package of three new Cat paving products were purchased by Allied specifically for this project: A Cat AP1000E tier IVi paver; a Cat CB54B joystick control dual drum asphalt compactor; and a Cat CB434D dual drum compactor.
John McLean, of Allied Paving Contractors Inc. stated that Plateau Grading, Austell, Ga., installed the base and subcontracted the curb work and Allied is putting the final grade on it and placing the asphalt.
“We started on the job at the end of October and when we are finished, we will have laid 16,000 tons of asphalt pavement on approximately 100,000 square yards. We’re utilizing two specs, with the heavier being three inches of binder and two inches of topping and the lighter being the employee parking area to be two inches of binder and one inch of topping,” McLean stated.
Allied will be placing the binder this fall and the topping in the spring — late February/early March.
“It’s typical construction practice to do it this way so as not to damage the final surface with ongoing construction operations. This gives them a paved surface to work on and then we’ll come back and put the final layer on at the completion of construction.
When finished, they’ll have a brand-new looking parking lot” said McLean.
Allied has been in business for nine years and had traditionally used a different brand of paver. McLean stated that they’ve primarily used Caterpillar machines for their grading operations — motorgraders, wheel loaders, base rollers, etc.
“We are new to buying Cat paving products and this is our first Cat paver and Cat asphalt roller purchase, although we have rented Cat products in the past.”
This job required all Caterpillar products be used on the project.
“The Cat AP1000E that we chose to purchase seemed to be a very versatile machine and exactly what we needed. It has the Caterpillar name behind it and the product support of Yancey Bros., who have done well in partnering with us to get the machine on the job. We’ve achieved a great working relationship with them and feel like we’ll get the support we need.” said McLean.
Allied Paving is owned and operated by McLean and Kenneth House. House primarily works the operations side of the business and McLean works more with the estimating business. Both oversee the various projects the company carries, which is traditionally six or seven at any given time. An average-sized job for Allied is usually in the 3,000 to 5,000 tons (2,721 to 4,535 t) of laid asphalt range.
“We do state highway work and are a certified GDOT contractor. Our forte in the public market would be county road work through the GDOT and city and county work. We also do a lot of big box retail parking lot paving and residential-subdivision road paving, as well as a lot of industrial jobs like here at the Caterpillar plant. Our traditional markets have changed over the last couple years and we’ve had to change with them and segued a lot of our business towards pavement maintenance and parking lot repair and overlay,” said McLean.
McLean stated that they had used Cat base rollers for many years, such as the CS533 models in the company’s fleet, and have been quite pleased with the operation of them.
“We’ve gotten such great service out of them and other Cat products that we just decided to expand to the Cat asphalt rollers and the new tier IVi technology of the 2012 Cat AP1000E paver.
“The operator and the guys on the screed really like the new paver. They were used to a previous brand and were a bit hesitant at first with this machine. But in a short time, everything operates quite well for them, and everyone really likes the mat it lays. This seems to be a high quality paver,” McLean said.
Allied crews had to get used to several differences, according to McLean.
“The other pavers had flow gates, this one does not. This one has a lot more technology on it which is going to be advantageous for us, but it just takes a bit of getting used to. Our previous pavers were 2006/2007 models and technologically, a lot has changed since then.”
Allied Paving’s Yancey Bros. Co. Sales Representative, Buck Buchanan, who is in the company’s Gwinnett County, Ga., branch stated, “This is the first tier 4i paver we’ve sold. We have tier III D model pavers in our rental fleet, but now we are exclusively selling tier IVi models. The fuel efficiency and low emissions of this machine should really help Allied in obtaining future bids, as some projects are now including utilization of tier IV equipment in the bid specs. There’s quite a story behind the tier IV technology but the real story is fuel efficiency with cleaner emissions. When we got into selling the tier IV interim equipment, we heard that our customers were seeing noticeably lower fuel consumption. From our track hoes to our pavers, our machines seem to be doing more while burning less fuel. We, and our customers, are seeing a three to eight percent increase in fuel efficiency.
“Service was a big part of the sale and our paving specialist, Danny McCain will spend quite a bit of time on this job site. We’re going to make sure the customer is absolutely comfortable and proficient with each of the new machines. With Allied owning an all-Cat fleet of earthmoving machines, they know what to expect from us from a service standpoint.” stated Buchanan
Danny McCain, Yancey Bros. Co. Paving Specialist also works to train contractors on the use of their new machines. After training operators for a customer that bought a package of 10 Cat CB54B compactors — the ones without the steering wheel and the new joystick controls — McCain came to the Allied job site and trained the operators on the new rollers and the new paver. He said that everyone seemed excited and quite pleased with the operation and the ability of these new machines. McCain had trained this same staff on the D series Cat paver and they took to the Cat E series very easily as well.
The plant will manufacture mini-hydraulic excavators and small track-type tractors. In addition to finished products, Caterpillar plans to export partially assembled mini-excavator units to Europe for final assembly, improving delivery times on that continent.