According to Wirtgen, the W 210 Fi is the most capable of the new technologically advanced “F series” of large milling machines.
Right out of the gate, the first W 210 Fi mills in North America won big as they cold-planed the famous Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Ala.
There, in summer 2019, Mill It Up LLC, Warrior, Ala., — as milling subcontractor for Granite Construction Co. — was using its two brand-new W 210 Fi mills to remove aged asphalt from the race track with 7-ft.,3-in. drums and a HT22 cutting tool holder system with 8 mm spacing from Wirtgen.
According to Wirtgen, the W 210 Fi is the most capable of the new technologically advanced "F series" of large milling machines, which also includes the W 200 Fi and W 207 Fi. They're now available in North America.
Their flexible milling widths range from 4.9 to 8.2 ft. (1.5 to 2.5 m), cut up to depths of 13 in. (33 cm), and handle a wide range of applications, from surface course rehabilitation to complete removal to fine milling. The largest power plant of the series is rated at up to 755 hp (563 kW), depending on the model.
In automatic mode, the Mill Assist operating system always selects the most favorable ratio between milling performance and operating costs. The machine responds intelligently and dynamically to changing conditions. This makes the operator's job a great deal easier, while vastly improving machine performance and reducing diesel, water and tool consumption, as well as carbon dioxide and noise emissions, according to the manufacturer.
With the optional Multiple Cutting System (MCS) — available on the W 207 Fi and W 210 Fi — milling drums of the same milling width but with different tool spacing can now be swapped out, without using any additional tools, in just 15 minutes or less.
W 210 Fi Mills in Echelon
The Barber Motorsports Park is an 880-acre, multi-purpose racing facility located just east of Birmingham, Ala. The park, which opened in 2003, has a 17-turn, 2.38-mile (3.83-km) road course, viewable from several naturally wooded or grass-covered banks. The track is designed to be run clockwise. The layout is compact, with a number of elevation changes.
In preparation for racing in fall 2019, the owners planned to remove the existing asphalt and replace with a new course.
For this work, Mill It Up removed 45,683 sq. yds. of track to a depth of 4 in., and where required, cut an additional 17,253 sq. yds. of hot mix asphalt lift and aggregate base, to a depth of 7 in.
Some 6,000 sq. yds. of pit-in, pit road and pit-out pavement was milled to a depth of 1.5 in. Lastly, 2,239 sq. yds. of existing asphalt in the crossovers were cut to a depth of 0.5 in.
The new mills operated from dawn to dusk in advance of paving with virgin HMA, with specifications and quality assurance by Advanced Materials Services LLC, Auburn, Ala. Usually the mills were spaced out at varying lengths, but on the main straightaway milled in echelon, one after the other.
In September, following the Championship of Alabama motorcycle race, the newly resurfaced track with its "billiard-table smooth surface" was the main talking point of the racers, according to one report.
"It's so smooth, it's like butter and I really didn't know how much grip I had," said competitor Cameron Beaubier, according to a report from race organizer MotoAmerica. "It's pretty amazing, going around the track without crossing any seams. I think they did a really good job."
A smooth overlay is only as good as the milled surface underneath, and the high-performance W 210 Fi mills made it possible.
When combined with the Mill Assist function, the new Level Pro Active leveling system provides powerful new automated functions, as it's fully integrated into mill control. Key machine functions are directly linked with one another and precise milling results have been pre-programmed.
Level Pro Active also features many automatic and added features. This new leveling system also provides active and precise support when the machine is positioned at the start of a second milling track, greatly improving the quality of milled surfaces. The new F series also has features such as active lift. This allows for the raising of the machine to pass over a manhole cover speeds up production.
Fast Drum Change
Mill It Up is impressed with the W 210 Fi's Multiple Cutting System, available exclusively from Wirtgen, which enables replacement of application-specific drums in a matter of minutes, saving time and money.
"It's awesome," said Kim Butler, president of Mill It Up. "We can change drums in eight minutes, and that amazes me. Some people take two hours to change a drum, and we had it down to where we could change one in an hour. Now it takes even less."
Now, Mill It Up can swap its conventional 8 mm spacing drum with a micro drum with 298 teeth with 15 mm spacing quickly and efficiently.
"We have nine 15 mm drums of different sizes used among 13 machines," Butler said. "We're pretty good at it because we are swapping them in and out all the time. We might be on an 8 mm job, and when that job finishes, and he's going on a micro job, we will swap drums on the same day. And then the next day it's on another job doing 8 mm milling."
The broader swing of the loading conveyor — a full 65 degrees to either left or right is another plus.
"That's really good for loading trucks in tight spaces," Butler said.
She also appreciates that her two Tier 4f W 210 Fi mills don't require DEF additive. And access to internal components like filter banks and pulleys is very easy for mechanics.
"Our guys love it, they're blown away," she said.
The firm also has a W 120 CFi midsize mill with 4 ft. drum.
"We just acquired it for small parking lots that we do for our customers. It's more versatile for getting in and out of work areas," Butler said.
In addition, the company has 10 W 200i mills, and now the two W 210 Fi cold mills.
From Paving to Milling
"Mill It Up started in June of 2009," Butler stated. "I was in the paving business but was bought out of the paving business by my late husband. At that time, I started the milling business. Milling was something that I was just learning about, but I knew that if I can pave, I can mill. Most of my employees already had worked for paving contractors, so we had the experience."
It came at a good time, as that's when asphalt milling ramped up from coast-to-coast.
"That was when milling was really taking off across the country, and as there were not a lot of milling contractors here, Mill It Up was started," Butler said. "Ten years later we've bought 17 mills and sold four, so now we are working 13 mills with 10 to 11 crews." Mill It Up does most of its own servicing.
"We've grown quite a bit since then," she said. "We do all of our service inside, with four mechanics and three big service trucks, so that if a mill breaks down, we can go straight to the job same day for the repair. If you have down time with your customers, the customer's not going to be happy. That's been a big part of our success too, being able to be on time, so we can be where the customers need us, and ensure the quality of our work."
While Mill It Up can get replacement parts next day from Wirtgen America in Tennessee, the firm keeps a large line of parts in stock to minimize downtime and optimize productivity.
"Our shop has everything in stock; all wear parts, skis, cutting bits."
Not only does Mill It Up do most of its field servicing, it undertakes preventive maintenance throughout the season, and overhauls the mills as needed during winter as work slows.
"We go through and pretty much overhaul all the machines in the wintertime, so we're ready for the next milling season. If they need new belts, or the belt has a hole, we replace the upper or lower belts. We look at the skis and the tracks. If they're worn, we replace the tracks. We go through the whole machine, and whatever needs to be replaced to get ready for the next milling season gets replaced. That way when we get started, we should have minimal breakdowns, unless it's something unforeseen."
All that is possible because Mill It Up sends its technicians to Wirtgen Group training classes in the off-season at the Wirtgen Center for Training and Technology (CTT) on the Nashville headquarters campus.
"My mechanics go to the training classes and we anticipate the first classes for the W 210 Fi mills," Butler said. "It's absolutely a good value, and during the winter we also will have a trainer come to our shop and teach our technicians, operators and foremen. He walks through every element of the cold mills to make sure they understand everything and ask questions."
The acquisition of the W 210 F mills came as Mill It Up was seeking newer machines with advanced capabilities. "I was looking at competitive mills, but when I learned about the F-series I was blown away by the technology of these new machines," Butler explained.
Tractor & Equipment Co. in Birmingham is Mill It Up's equipment distributor.
"They're a great dealer," Butler said. "I've been dealing with them since I was in the paving business and I know them well." CEG
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