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Power Curbers’ Network Control System Thinks on the Fly

Wed February 16, 2000 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Power Curbers’ Network Control System makes its 5700-B curb machine even easier to operate, particularly when changing the curb-and-gutter cross-slope on the fly. Manual functions are now automatic, and the machine operator can react quickly.

The Network Control System is not offered as a retrofit on existing machinery. This option is only available on new machines.

One of the biggest advantages is the slope compensation. This feature is unique to the 5700-B in the slipform industry.

When the machine is pouring curb where the road is banked, the crew no longer has to manually lower steering sensor jacks or raise the stringline height in order to keep the curb from being off from 2.5 to 5 centimeters (1 to 2 in.) because of movement of the machine. The 5700-B machine automatically makes the correction for elevation.

Transitioning from a “wet” curb (which catches water) to a “dry” curb (which spills water away from the curb) within a predetermined distance is not new to microprocessor control systems. What is new with the Power Curber system is the machine’s ability to automatically adjust grade elevation and steering alignment to keep curb height and distance true to stringline during slope transitions.

Without the slope compensation feature, any changes made to the cross-slope will affect the actual placement of the curb-and-gutter because of the required distance between the stringline sensors and the top back-of-curb reference point on the mold.

Typically, the top-of-curb elevation can change 2.5 to 5 centimeters (1 to 2 in.) and back-of-curb alignment can change a .64 to 1.3 centimeters (.25 to .5 in.), when transitioning from dry to wet curb, and vice versa. In the past, compensation for these changes had to be done by manually adjusting the grade and steering sensor jacks during the transition, or by calculating this amount of change in elevation and alignment, and then incorporating this amount into the set-up of the stringline.

With the slope compensation feature, the machine automatically makes the correction for elevation and alignment. Operators can maintain true top-of-curb and back-of-curb reference to the stringline without manual adjustments, saving time and trouble during pours.

There are many advantages to utilizing the Network Control System.

The system offers an automatic coordination system of steering sensors for tight radius work. Positioning of the secondary steering sensor on its mount, in order to match its true null (center) position to that of the primary steering sensor (required for tight radius steering and back-up steering), is not the tedious task it once was. Now, the network control monitors the position of the secondary steering sensor, as it relates to the primary steering sensor, and reassigns its null position automatically. The machine automatically switches to the second sensor (the tight radius sensor) on the stringline, necessary for steering through a radius. Previously, this was a manual switch.

On board nulling of potentiometers is another option with the system. When servicing or replacing control potentiometers, such as those used for steering and slope, manual fine tuning is no longer necessary. An operator can now electrically center all controls with the Network Control System.

Another feature of the Network Control System is the adjustable radius authority. For quicker reaction in a radius, the sensitivity of the tight radius steering sensor can be adjusted up to five times the amount of normal sensitivity.

The panel display is in English and metric.

The auxiliary loops automatically control optional features, such as the hydraulically adjustable front-grade mount assembly that keeps the front-grade sensor automatically under the stringline during radius work.

The speed and distance indicator tracks the distance traveled by the machine, allowing the operator to monitor pouring speed (real time), or the distance traveled by the machine. This is a key in determining production and yield.

The system also offers a knob steer. This steering choice is particularly effective in tight situations. By using the knob steer, the operator has a better indication of the steering angle of the front crawler.

The controls voltage check/monitoring is a diagnostic help in determining control problems such as a faulty sensor, feedback pot and curly cord.

The user defined fault alarms indicate problems, such as when a stringline sensor is off line or out of range. Sudden movement of the sensor’s control wand (such as would occur if the wand came off line) will freeze machine control functions, minimizing damage to the product.

Also included with the Network Control System is the adjustable dual sensitivity control. This allows a lot more flexibility in setting up your machine. The sensor can to pass over small obstacles, such as a stringline knot or holder, without causing machine movement but it increases valve drive to improve response when bigger changes are required, such as a grade problem.

Updates are also available for the system. If the operator decides to add an option to the machine, such as the hydraulically adjustable front-grade mount assembly, one can also add auxiliary control loops to the network control system. Software upgrades can be downloaded with a laptop computer.

For more information, call 704/636-5871 or visit

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