Night Shift at the Airport

Asphalt paving after midnight

Once the last aircraft had landed, the VÖGELE pavers set off: SUPER pavers worked hand-in-hand with WIRTGEN milling machines and HAMM rollers to rehabilitate the runway at Brussels Charleroi Airport in Belgium. The VÖGELE machines played a central role in this context, as the new surface course had to be paved without any fault. The first aircraft started to come in again as soon as the eight-hour shift ended. So, the pressure of time was enormous, and the quality demands tough.

The spectacle began every day at the stroke of 10 p.m., once the last plane had landed at Brussels Charleroi Airport and Site Manager Eric Przybylski had received clearance from the tower. The 4 VÖGELE pavers and numerous low-bed trailers transporting construction machinery instantly appeared on the airport grounds. Each night, the team rehabilitated a section of the 2.5km long runway at Brussels Charleroi South. The 20-year-old asphalt pavement was successively repaired over a period of several nights. In this way, flight operations were hardly affected at all during the rehabilitation work. The surface course of the 48m wide runway was renewed over a length of 460m during each of 6 overnight closures – between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. precisely. Stiff penalties were stipulated in the event of the runway not being available for air traffic at 6 o’clock in the morning.

Asphalt paving after midnight

The damaged layer first had to be milled off before the VÖGELE pavers could start their work. A large WIRTGEN W 2100 and two W 2200 heavy-duty milling machines were on the job for rapid removal of the asphalt. The work in the outermost edge areas was handled by a small W 35 DC milling machine. At about midnight, when the milling machines had completed roughly two thirds of their work, the pavers moved into position with screeds set up to pave widths of 6m. They placed the new, 6cm asphalt wearing course hot-to-hot. As a material, Béton Bitumineux Aéronautique (BBA) was used, a type of stone mastic asphalt specially created for runways. DV 90 and DV 70 tandem rollers from HAMM were also included in the team to handle the compaction work.

Perfect logistics

Pavers from VÖGELE were selected for the job, since maximum precision, a constant pave speed and absolute reliability were crucial criteria. And the machinery lived up to the expectations: the SUPER 1800-1 with an AB 500 TV screed, two SUPER 2100 with AB 590 TV screeds and a SUPER 2100-2 combined with an AB 600 TV screed steadily worked their way forwards. The road pavers came from the 4 construction companies Wanty, JMV, Wegebo and TRBA involved in the rehabilitation project. The SUPER pavers’ large mix storage capacities allowed continuous paving even during lorry changes. The perfect logistics also contributed to avoiding breaks in the pavers’ supply with mix: each of the 4 pavers bore a number, and each of the 52 feed vehicles was assigned to one of these pavers. “In this way,” says Project Manager Eric Przybylski from contractor Colas Belgium, “we ensured that all the pavers were supplied with sufficient quantities of mix. Neither the feed vehicles nor the pavers had to wait, and the asphalt could be placed non-stop. As a result, we were able to produce the required quality and work extremely economically at the same time.” A total of four mixing plants were occupied with preparing the roughly 3,000 tonnes of stone mastic asphalt that were required every night.

Super easy grade and slope control with NIVELTRONIC® Plus

To ensure exact compliance with the specifications, all the VÖGELE pavers came with NIVELTRONIC®, the System for Automated Grade and Slope Control. However, the crew of the SUPER 2100-2 had a particularly easy job. As a member of the latest “dash 2” paver generation, it could be equipped with the new NIVELTRONIC® Plus system. With NIVELTRONIC® Plus, all the cabling and connections are integrated in the tractor unit and the screed. The system is controlled via the screwman’s ErgoPlus console. Unmistakeable, self-explanatory symbols make NIVELTRONIC® Plus easy to learn. And setting up the machine for paving is equally easy: the sensors are fitted in next to no time, and the system automatically recognizes the type of sensor connected, showing it on the display. After setting the screed tow point rams to the specified layer thickness, a push of the Quick Set-Up buttons is all it takes – and paving can begin.

Typically VÖGELE: everything OK

Once the SUPER pavers had completed their first 460m long strips across the runway’s half width, they reversed for surfacing the second half. The surfacing work was finished by about 4 o’clock each morning. The asphalt then had to cool before the new markings were applied. Any machine breakdown could have led to delays and thus to substantial costs. But the reliable VÖGELE pavers, WIRTGEN milling machines and HAMM rollers lived up to their reputation and worked without any complaints. “I was at the construction site for 3 nights, but none of the WIRTGEN Group machines had any trouble,” says a happy Christophe Verheyden, one of the service technicians from WIRTGEN Belgium. His colleague, Dave Weyn, was on site for another 3 nights and all he had to do was perform regular maintenance services. Thorough planning, reliable machines and a competent, professional team ensured that the work could be completed according to schedule, night after night. And so, the first cockpit crew got punctual clearance for take-off at 6 o’clock each morning.

For further Informationen please contact:

Roland Schug / Martin Hilken
Neckarauer Str. 168 - 228
68146 Mannheim

Telephone: +49 (0) 621 8105 232
Fax: +49 (0) 621 8105 469