Pavement is typically designed to bear traffic demands for at least 20 years with regularly scheduled maintenance. When pavement begins to crack and crumble prematurely, one of the potential causes could be that the pavement and base layer were not compacted properly, or there is not a uniform thickness.
Intelligent compaction (IC) rollers greatly improve the quality, uniformity and long-lasting performance of pavements today. Using vibration and a system to collect, process, and analyze the measurements in real time, IC rollers are able to compact greater amounts of pavement with fewer passes than the traditional static rollers sometimes in a much shorter time. IC efficiencies produce time, cost and fuel savings. With more efficient paving processes, production can increase and State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) can construct greater amounts of roadway daily.
Utilizing a Global Positioning System (GPS) based mapping, an onboard computer reporting system, IC roller operators can monitor in real-time and provide corrections to the compaction process. A continuous record of color-coded plots records the number of roller passes, compaction measurement values and the precise location of the roller. The system analyzes the data and compares the results of previous passes to determine whether adjustments are needed.
The use of intelligent technology to measure an intelligent compaction measurement value (IC-MV) reduces the possibilities of under and over rolling of the pavement. IC-MV readings help identify a problem area on the pavement. This helps the project personnel determine later what actions to take for corrective action.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Minnesota DOT co-sponsored the development of the Veda software with the assistance of The Transtec Group. The Veda software allows project personnel to view and analyze geospatial data from various IC machines. Veda displays the compaction information in easy-to-read formats, including graphs and maps.
IC training for roller operators is straightforward. IC rollers are not significantly different from conventional rollers. Training generally lasts a couple of hours. Of course, additional practice will further improve operations.
Compaction is one of the most important processes in roadway construction. IC use in nationwide projects proves to be a cost-effective method for accelerating highway pavement construction. Cost-benefit analyses indicate that investment in IC will break even within 1 to 2 years. Continued use and improvement of IC technology will only produce better quality roadways that help keep motorists safe and allow DOTs to operate more efficiently.