21/04/2009

Fenix rises from the drawing board



by Corporate Communication

Volvo CE’s designers have examined their crystal balls and created Fenix - an asphalt paver concept that is a radically futuristic blend of form and function.


Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has once again given its designers free rein to explore how machines might look in the future. The result is Fenix, an environmentally and operator friendly asphalt paver that simplifies and cleans up the messy business of laying a road. Named after the mythical fire bird, Fenix represents a rebirth and renewal of the paving process.

Currently, paving involves the coordinated interaction of lots of people and machines. There are workers controlling the depth, width and density of the asphalt. Not to mention the trucks, milling machines, pavers and roller-compactors. Fenix is a single unit that performs both the paving and the compacting in a carefully choreographed fashion. It replaces the need for a team of pavers as all of its controls can be governed by a single operator. This reduction in the close interaction of men and machines will result in more consistently high quality roads, a safer work and traffic environment, as well as significant cost reductions.

Paving perfection
Fenix uses the revolutionary idea of transporting the asphalt in ‘thermopods’. If you imagine the mechanics of an espresso coffee machine, the pods work in a similar way. Just as you put coffee into a holder, connect it to the machine and pass hot water through it - the same is true of the asphalt, water and pods.

The thermopods are filled at a mix plant up to 50 km away from the job site and transported to the paving site where they are positioned in front of the paver-compactor at 50 m intervals. Three thermopods are loaded on the machine platform and unloaded after the material is laid down, which means that there is a continuous paving at a speed of 25 m per minute.

Each pod can hold 17 tonnes of mix at 135◦C for up to three hours. The thermopods are coordinated from the mix plant to the job site by a superintendent. Each pod is fitted with GPS technology that keeps all people aware of each pod’s exact location and estimated time of arrival to the paving site. There are even pod warning lights to create a ‘virtual fence’ around the job site.

The asphalt mix is unloaded from the pod and moved by conveyors to Fenix’s auger chamber from where it is laid on the paving area. The pods are unloaded at a rate that is matched to the paver speed and depth requirements. They extend automatically when loaded and retract when unloaded.

Meanwhile, the operator sits in a state-of-the art, noise reducing cab, with the benefit of air conditioning and excellent all-round visibility using video cameras.

Fenix – less stress on the system
Fenix’s hydraulics use distilled and de-ionized water instead of oil. Not only is this less expensive and more environmentally friendly but it also means that any leakages do not cause a problem. Using distilled water also has the technical advantage of making the machine more energy efficient, due to the water’s low viscosity. 

Designed to handle bio material and other environmentally friendly paving mixes, Fenix is designed with efficiency, safety and productivity in mind.

Fenix best demonstrates that paving need not be a hot, high pressure job. It represents a vision of a clean, safe and comfortable process.


For further information, please contact:

Bill Law
Director, External Communications
Volvo Construction Equipment
Avenue du Hunderenveld 10
1082
Brussels, Belgium
Phone: + 32 478 92 43 26
E-mail:
bill.law@volvo.com  

Brian O’Sullivan
SE10
Phone: +44 77 333 50307
E-mail:
osullivan@se10.com

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