The history of Ammann is one of innovation. The dozens of patents the company has secured in its 150 years of existence prove this point.
The pursuit of innovation was already underway in 1908, when Ammann was granted a patent for a macadam machine – essentially a combination of an asphalt-mixing plant and a paver. The machine used what was a revolutionary technology at the time to eliminate an emerging health hazard – dust kicked up by automobiles.
Today’s progress rests solidly on that foundation, established decades ago. Technology is developed and continually improved to produce the machines, plants and services that help customers find solutions to daily challenges.
In today’s world, those solutions increasingly involve sustainability to safeguard our planet and its resources for future generations. Compaction equipment is built to reach targets in the fewest passes, thereby minimising fuel burn and machine wear. Pavers feature automation to optimise material usage. Ammann asphalt-and concrete-mixing plants utilise technology to enable production with extremely high percentages of recycled materials.
What path will Ammann follow in the next 150 years? For that answer, you need only look at our history of creating innovative products that help customers while protecting the world around us.
The paving industry often focuses on the biggest jobs. Airports and super highways – and the wide lifts they require – seem to get all the attention.
But what about the smaller jobs, such as paving bicycle paths and filling in trenches where electrical lines have been placed?
The traditional approach on these jobsites has been to place the asphalt mix by hand. This is time-consuming, difficult work – and the quality of the final product can’t compare with the smooth, pre-compacted surfaces a paver can provide.
Ammann conquered this challenge with the introduction of the AFW 150-2 Mini Paver. The machine hit the market in 2009 and was reintroduced last year – maintaining the design and concept, but incorporating new technologies.
The AFW 150-2 is a truly unique machine in the market, with an ability to pave as narrow as 250 mm. The machine is ideal in applications such as utility work, bike lanes, sidewalks and garden walkways. It can pave as wide as 1650 mm when wider lifts are needed.
The AFW 150-2 is a three-wheeled paver: two in the rear to enable traction and one in the front for steering. It can be run by a single operator and leaves behind a level, pre-compacted surface that could never be achieved by hand.
What about productivity? Crews that use the paver say it is more than twice as fast as completing the work by hand.
There will always be a need for pavers that are able to work at extended widths. But the AFW 150-2 helps crews succeed – and turn a profit – while working on the smaller jobs, too.
The Ammann team gathered at bauma 2007 in Munich with a new product that stunned the roadbuilding industry: the RAH100 dryer.
The RAH100 wasn’t a simple upgrade of an existing product. It was much bigger than that. The dryer offered the ability to create mix consisting of 100 per cent recycled asphalt, a benefit no competitor could match.
The Ammann team developed the dryer through a combination of creative thinking and technological excellence.
Temperature is always a key consideration when using RAP, because it must be heated to between 120º and 130º C. The heating is where complications arise. RAP must reach its target temperature, yet it can’t become too hot when heated.
Eventually, the team came upon a solution to create a counterflow drying process that forces the RAP to make an “early exit.” The RAH100 consists of two connected sections. One is a static heat chamber that contains a burner and forces air toward the second section, which is a counterflow dryer.
The RAP enters at the far end of the counterflow dryer section and moves toward the heat chamber. Yet it drops out of the dryer before it enters that heat chamber, so it never becomes so hot that the bitumen is damaged.
“That 100 per cent utilisation rate was a milestone, and Ammann was the first in the industry to achieve it,” said Peter Maurer, Global Manager for Asphalt Plants at Ammann. “It set us apart then and has continued to ever since. Competitors try to catch up with us, but we continue to make improvements to what we created back then. We remain confident of our leading position in the marketplace.”
The requirements for compacting soil are substantially different from those for compacting asphalt. Those varied needs typically meant that equipment specified for both applications needed to be brought to many jobsites. Then along came the Ammann ARW 65 Walk-Behind Roller with features that enabled a single machine to handle both applications.
The key was creating a machine that offered two amplitudes – one for soil and one for asphalt. Previously, rollers had only a single setting. Contractors needed to choose two machines, each with a different amplitude, to achieve proper compaction on the varied surfaces. With the ARW 65, the machine has two settings, so the desired amplitude for soil or asphalt can be accessed with the flip of a switch.
Asphalt compaction requires additional measures, including the use of water systems to prevent sticking. The ARW 65 also includes a water tank and a pre-mounted sprinkler. The system is accessible when needed, but does not interfere when working on non-asphalt materials.
Contractors quickly realised the efficiency an ARW 65 provides. Today, the machines are routinely on jobsites, ready to quickly go to work – regardless of the application.
Ammann was already established as a pioneer in asphalt-mixing plant control systems by the time bauma Munich was held in 1989. But at the construction industry trade show, the company took yet another leap forward with the launch of the first fully computerised control system.
The system, the AS2000, was revolutionary. It brought an end to the large control panels that ruled the day. Instead, operators used a light-sensitive pen to provide input on a CRT monitor. The AS2000 also had dedicated hardware with a real-time operating system that could track the entire process on the monitor – again, unique in 1989.
In subsequent development, the as2000plus was introduced in 1995. With this introduction, standard hardware could be used – a first. It utilised a Unix-based operating system, and also marked the first time a standard mouse and keyboard were used to operate a plant. This control system offered a modern user interface and great customisation features.
By bauma Munich in 2004, an entirely new system was introduced: the as1 Control System, which used Microsoft Windows operating system.
The use of Windows was significant because it was able to merge data from office/administration with production. Data transfer was expedited through the use of a network, leading to improved efficiency and better-informed business decisions.
The as1 has continued to evolve. Modules that focus on specific processes – such as energy monitoring and recycling, among many others – have added even more value to the system.
The very latest efforts include interface improvements and movement toward more intelligent production. For example, an Ethernet-based fieldbus system was launched in 2016. It recognizes that sensors and actuators will become increasingly intelligent and therefore will need to exchange more information. The system also greatly enhances remote diagnostic capabilities.
More changes will continue, including further adjustment of the user interface and modules. If history has proven anything, it is that the plant control system team at Ammann is always looking for ways to improve its offerings.
Managing light compaction equipment in your machine fleet has its challenges.
Many businesses own a large number of the machines. That volume can make it difficult to monitor service needs and battery status. Yet not staying current in these areas can hurt machine life – and, in the case of batteries that are not adequately charged, lead to costly unplanned downtime.
Ammann recognised a need for a comprehensive light compaction fleet management system. The result is Ammann ServiceLink, a digital solution launched in 2016.
Ammann ServiceLink offers immediate access to key information, including battery status and maintenance schedules for handheld compaction tools such as vibratory plate compactors. It is compatible with all machines with battery power up to 30 volts, no matter the brand of the machine. This enables fleet tracking without a separate tool for each brand.
Ammann ServiceLink features a hardware relay that can be mounted on any machine with a battery up to 30 volts. The relay stores and sends machine details, such as battery voltage, working hours and machine starts. Additional information – for example, warranty or maintenance schedules – can be stored via the ServiceLink system. The data can be accessed through a desktop computer or an intuitive app.
The fleet management system has proven to be a great tool for rental houses. It can monitor machine utilisation 24 hours per day, seven days per week – enabling rental fleets to accurately track and charge for off-hours use, such as weekends. The fleet management system has proven to be an ideal tool for rental houses as they often own a great deal of light compaction equipment.
Ammann ServiceLink is constantly being improved and its markets broadened. Large compactors and pavers are being added to the system. But it’s not just for new machines. ServiceLink is available as a retrofit for older Ammann machines – and for equipment built by other manufacturers, too.
Look for even more from Ammann ServiceLink in the future. The system’s capabilities will be expanded to include larger equipment and CAN bus communication regarding location, fuel usage, potential error codes – and more.