Prevent Material Segregation at the Hopper
BY John Ball
Material segregation can begin clear back at the plant in the way mix is dropped into the silo or in the way it’s loaded into the truck. Let’s assume the plant personnel and truck drivers have that system under control (see the articles on loadout at theasphaltpro.com). And let’s assume the dump man and truck drivers are working together like a well-oiled machine on the job site (see the articles about backing the truck and charging the hopper at theasphaltpro.com).
Now let’s look at the way your paver operator manages the pile in the hopper.
The first thing to consider is whether or not you have your screed balanced. I know that’s not anywhere near the hopper, but it matters to the flow of material. In the picture on this page, the crew is laying more mix on the right side. You want to avoid that if you can. You want to have the screed extensions equal. If you’re paving 10 feet wide with an 8-foot screed, that means you have 2 feet of extensions. That means you want 1 foot of extension of each side of the machine. By balancing the screed, you balance the mix in the hopper.
The next part of managing the hopper is maintaining the flow. You don’t want to run out of material in the hopper. Don’t starve the endgates behind the head of material. You will manage your paving speed to keep from running low, and will fold the hopper wings to move material to the center conveyor(s) strategically.
While the paver operator is folding the hopper wings, where is the truck? The truck has discharged its material and moved away. That means no new material is incoming; the hopper is merely running out its mix. If you are moving forward and paving, you have limited time to complete the maneuver before you will need a new load. Remember that your hopper is 6.5 feet long. This means you can only travel 6.5 feet forward when folding the hopper wings before you have expended the hopper’s material.
John Ball is the proprietor of Top Quality Paving & Training, Manchester, New Hampshire. He provides personal, on-site paving consulting services around the United States and into Canada. For more information, contact him at (603) 493-1458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.