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Volvo Begins Production, Delivery of New Pipelayers

Sun August 24, 2008 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Volvo began the development of a new product class of pipelaying machines in 2007, and the new Volvo PL4611 and its fellow-machines represent an advancement over pipelaying dozers with a side-based boom. The Volvo PL class was given the BP Special Award for Innovation of Significant Merit in 2008 for its major contribution to innovation related to cross-country onshore pipeline construction.

Based on the Volvo excavator design, configuration and engineering, the new Pipelayer provides a 360-degree swing with full lifting performance and functionality at all radius positions — a function unattainable with conventional side-boom pipelayers.

The Volvo PL has a wide gauge, lower center of gravity, and a lifting platform where the boom is mounted inboard of the track frame and closer to the machine’s centerline for increased stability and higher lift capacities — up to 29 percent higher — than other equipment.

Lift capacities range from 22 to 165 tons (20 to 150 t), originating from an adaptation of Volvo excavator-machines combined with modern lifting technology.

The largest Volvo PL model, the Volvo PL7015, which will be on the market early in 2009, has a 165-ton (150 t) maximum lift capacity, a capacity 41 percent higher than the largest pipelaying side-based dozer.

Volvo Pipelayers also have significantly longer booms that offer higher hook height for better work positioning or in working further away from the trench to avoid caving in side walls. Boom lengths range from 30 to 38 ft. (9 to 11.6 m), depending on model size.

The Volvo PL4611 Pipelayer is powered by a Volvo D12D 329-hp EPA Tier III compliant engine engineered with the Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT) system to produce low emissions, superior performance and productivity, and enhanced fuel efficiency. This machine has a maximum tipping capacity of 242,500 lbs. (110,000 kg), a boom length of 30 ft. (9 m), an operating weight of 150,220 lbs. (68,139 m), and a lift capacity through 360-degree rotation of 155,000 lbs. (70,307 kg).

Safety and Load Management

The Volvo Pipelayers are fitted with an onboard Load Management System (LMS) designed to enable the operator to determine what he can safely pick up depending upon the angle of the boom, the cab’s position relative to the tracks, and the incline on which the machine is operating.

Load charts are continuously undated for 360-degree rotation and infinite machine geometries up to a 35-degree slope. The system matches and coordinates these factors to current operating conditions via a graphic display on a monitor in the cab, including a wide variety of warning and operational aids.

Load-indicating light bars, located on the boom tips, provide visible warning to the operator and ground personnel to optimize safety and site management. By contrast, traditional side-based booms are rated only for flat, level ground operation and are not generally available with onboard monitoring, according to the manufacturer.

The undercarriage of the new pipelayers provide a nearly square working platform, optimizing stability through the full-360-degree swing. The heavy weight of the lower frame and heavily reinforced track frames lowers the machine’s center of gravity, increasing stability.

The Volvo Care Cab

The Volvo Pipelayer is equipped with the newly-designed Volvo Care Cab, an operator environment known for its safety, spaciousness, visibility, ergonomic controls and climate control systems.

The Volvo PL4611’s design allows removal of the track frames from the base machine to reduce weight and width for transport. The machine can self-disassemble in less than 60 minutes and reassemble in the same time frame. Disassembly begins when the outriggers are deployed and the machine is raised off the ground. The machine loads its side frames onto a flatbed truck, the counterweight is hydraulically removed and loaded, and the machine is then raised to full outrigger height to allow a lowboy truck to back in underneath. The outriggers are then retracted to set the base machine onto the lowboy.

Built on the Volvo excavator platform, the new pipelayers can be converted into high-production excavators or used in applications where their heavy-lift capability can be brought into play.

For more information, call 828/650-2000 or visit

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