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First New LeeBoy Highway-Class Paver Working in Miss.

Fri June 10, 2011 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

When the road department of Madison County, Miss., needed an upgrade to its aging asphalt paver in 2010, it became the first owners in the country of a new, cutting-edge machine that had just rolled off the assembly line.

The sleek, new LeeBoy 9000 rubber-tire paver, a 34,000-lb (15,422 kg) workhorse, was designed to give its owners high production, while at the same time being easy to operate and offering a smooth ride.

With the new LeeBoy paver, road crews in Madison County, located in west-central Mississippi, just northeast of Jackson, were better able to pave and repair the roads in the burgeoning county, one of the fastest growing in the state.

The new paver is LeeBoy’s first entry in the highway class of road pavers after having established its reputation in the smaller, commercial-class paver market, according to Brian Hall, the mid-South territory manager of VT LeeBoy Inc., based in Lincolnton, N.C.

“Typically, LeeBoy has specialized in the commercial-class paver — the under-19,000-pound machines that work well on projects such as subdivision streets, driveways and small parking lots,” Hall explained. “Highway-class pavers like the 9000 model are used primarily by state DOTs and counties for their roads and highways.”

With highway-class pavers, Hall said, customers and end users desire high production and “ride-ability” or a nice, even operation.

“In commercial-class, ride-ability is not so much of a factor,” he added. “Of course, you want the machine to run smooth, but production is what you are looking for most when you are laying driveways and roads in small subdivisions where you are traveling slowly.”

With a highway-class paver, Hall said, an operator wants that even ride while at the same time being able to pave at a full width of up to 15.5 ft (4.7 m) and he gets that with the LeeBoy 9000.

The Madison County road department worked closely with Hall, as well as the folks at Mid-South Machinery Inc., the Jackson-based dealer from whom it bought the machine, to train on the LeeBoy 9000 paver before taking it out on the road.

“The county had an older paver prior to buying this LeeBoy, but they were really in need of a new and bigger paver,” said Kenny Roberts, a veteran salesman with Mid-South. “It just ended up being a good fit for Madison County since they really liked LeeBoy equipment, having owned some other LeeBoy machines. Of course, I think they liked doing business with us, too.”

LeeBoy and Mid-South were able to give the county a demonstrator unit to train on and Hall, Roberts and a few technicians spent several days on a county road project with a road crew to make sure all of their questions about the paver were answered.

“After they got it running and were using it, of course, they had more troubleshooting questions that we were able to answer for them,” Roberts said. “We made sure they had all the resources they needed to learn everything they would need to know about the paver.”

He added that in the year Madison County has owned the LeeBoy paver, it has not had to have any major repairs made. Only minor wiring and operator-error concerns have cropped up in that time, Roberts said.

The LeeBoy 9000 paver gets its power from a 173-hp (129 kW) Cat Tier III diesel engine. The transversely mounted engine allows for better ground level access and cooling efficiency. It also features an 82-gal. (310 L) fuel tank and an 86-gal. (325 L) hydraulic oil capacity. The paver can travel at speeds up to 13 mph (21 kmh) and pave at speeds of 250 ft. (76 m) per minute.

In addition, the paver’s Legend electric screed heating system features quick-change heating elements and offers a 9-degree sloping extension.

“With this being our first entry into the larger highway-class paver market, we didn’t want to just update or make bigger one of our previous models — this is a new machine entirely,” Hall explained. “Perhaps the best feature is the Plus 1 on-board computer monitoring system that checks every function of the paver, as well as every function of the engine. It also has on-board diagnostics, which really makes it user friendly for crews that aren’t focused every day on paving. They can just jump right on this machine and go.”

After having built a rock-solid reputation among dealers and operators across the nation with its line of commercial-class track pavers, LeeBoy’s 9000 model is the company’s first rubber-tire paver, Hall added.

“Typically, with a commercial-class track paver it is all about pounds per square inch on the ground,” he continued. “You want to spread the weight of the machine over a large area because you are on a softer surface. With a rubber-tire machine, on the other hand, what you are looking for is to be able to get a little bit more speed out of the machine and your flotation isn’t such an issue because of the different sub-bases you are working on.”

With normal usage, he said that Madison County can expect to get at least a good 10 years out of its LeeBoy 9000 paver. Municipalities, though, often are able to keep and use their pavers longer than that because they generally don’t use them day after day like paving contractors do.

“A paver customer has to look at his cost per ton of asphalt and measure that against how often he has to repair the machine,” Hall explained. “What is great about the LeeBoy paver is that the up time — the amount of time it is actually working — is high and the cost per ton is very low.”

The ability to give Madison County exactly what it needed, at a price it could afford and with a high-level of support, is what LeeBoy and Mid-South Machinery have both built their reputations upon. Their partnership has been very important to both companies, Hall said.

“This is what we have that many of our competitors do not,” he explained. “The partnerships that we have with our dealers and our customers have made us successful. Mid-South worked very closely with the customer throughout the buying process to make sure that they had demonstrator units and they had mechanics there when they needed them. They made certain that they trained Madison County’s personnel on maintenance. That level of support by Mid-South is tremendous. That is what we look for in all of our dealers.” CEG

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