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Road Construction: Maintenance Season Checklist

In most states, October is a banner month of change. Everyone is geared up for the holidays, leaves change colors, and the warm weather leaves us with the chill of fall. With the cold weather, the major road construction projects begin to slow down until the warmer weather comes back next spring.

So what is the big push during the colder winter months? Maintenance projects. Most of the off season is spent maintaining and replacing your tools, machines and other components, so that come early spring, the focus will be on ramping up and starting new projects for the high-volume season. There are several key areas to review and check to ensure that you have a strong advantage at the beginning of next season.

Where to Start?
The cutter housing in the mill sees a lot of abrasion and wear, from asphalt/concrete particles, throughout a long season of milling. The housing unit shields the road workers from the constant spray of asphalt particles as the drum mills the existing road. The broken road fragments beat against the walls of the cutter housing wearing down the material. Why not extend the cutter housing by lining it with an abrasion resistant wear steel? A chromium carbide overlay liner plate would add a protection layer to the walls, allowing the cutter housing to shield the milling particles. Yet, still tolerating the constant sliding and hitting of the milled material. The overlay liners can be removed and changed out quickly if needed, allowing for minimal downtime, especially if a spare set is kept on hand.

As the cutter housing is being dragged along the road or curb, it’s met with high amounts of friction that wears the bottom of the unit. Some projects can run 24 hours a day to meet a deadline or avoid impending winter weather constraints. The constant abrasion will deteriorate the cutter housing from the bottom via the skid shoes. The skid shoes take the beating from engaging the ground, and thus, require frequent replacement. By covering this portion of the part with this small component of chromium carbide overlaid plate, you’ll extend the life of your cutter housing and save significant costs.

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Skid shoes protecting the cutter housing from the curb.

Keep the Drum Rolling
The cutter housing is the shield to the even bigger element, the milling drum. The drum rotates and cuts the existing road down to small particles so a new one can be laid. We all know that asphalt and concrete are typically hard and abrasive, so the milling tools must withstand a large amount of wear and impact. Although replenishing your inventory of milling bits typically is done closer to the spring, in time for the milling season, it’s a key element needed on your drum.

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Construction tools on a milling drum ready to start cutting into the asphalt.

To extend the life of the drum, itself, consider adding kicker paddles made from chromium carbide overlay. The drum is hit first and is closest to the destruction. The kicker paddles will help to protect the drum, and allow it to stay intact longer.

Last, But Not Least
Trucks are essential for any jobsite to move and relocate material. In road construction projects, the pieces of fragmented asphalt are hard, sharp and abrasive to the truck beds. A running truck needs a functioning bed, if its worn through the replacement will be costly.

Truck bed liners can extend and protect the life of the beds. Replacing chromium carbide overlay liners is significantly more cost-effective than replacing a full truck bed liner. They will last longer with this material, compared to a lesser material, not to mention quicker to replace, and can be done in your shop once the liners are provided.

As the road construction companies begin to gear up for maintenance season be sure to check off the necessary parts and how you can prolong their wear life. Remember the key points can save you time, money and help to ensure you have reliable equipment for next year.