Motor Graders for Efficient Construction and Road Maintenance
A motor grader or road grader as it is known is one of the most extensively used heavy duty machine in the process of road construction and maintenance in addition to having applications in the mining industry. While motor graders are available in various shapes and sizes the basic configuration and specifications remain similar. Motor graders are generally categorised by the long blade attached between the front and back tires. It is this blade and its application that gives the machine its name “grader”. The blade can be operated either mechanically of hydraulically. The motor grader has under gone many changes in terms of the technology it uses and its design since it was first invented.
Some of the modifications made to the motor grader are having options to extend or shorten the blade side to side in addition to its regular movements. The blade can be lowered or raised depending on the job at hand. Another modification is the option of having additional attachments like ripper and wiser to increase the machine’s application versatility in road construction and mining applications.
For road construction the job of motor graders is to perform fine grading procedures for road construction and maintenance. the long blade is generally used to create a smooth surface with the required slope for construction of paved roads on which asphalt can be laid on later. Motor graders come in handy whilst maintaining unpaved and gravel roads. Unpaved roads in particular are very susceptible to withering due to harsh weather conditions and hence require regular maintenance foe the roads to remain in good usable condition. Motor graders are also used to remove blocks form roads when used for road construction.
Motor graders are perfect machines for fine grading tasks that are required for construction of quality roads. Asphalt roads require fine grading and smoothening of the top layer to prepare it for laying the asphalt. Motor graders can additionally be used for rough grading and creating shallow holes around at and around road construction sites. While rough grading is usually a task for heavy duty machines like bulldozers and scrapers, motor graders are also up for the task.
At the end of the day, the human element at road construction sites play an integral role in the quality and finish of the roads. A good machine and an experienced operator are both a must. A sophisticated machine in the hands of a an inadequately experienced operator and a mediocre machine in the hands of an adequately experienced operator both make for an average road construction job. For operators to be able to make the most of this sophisticated machine, they need to have in-depth knowledge of how road construction works and the design elements that are crucial for the final finish of the road. Drainage in particular has always been an issue with road construction since the people involved in the actual construction of the road are lack fundamental understanding of road construction.
Motor graders in themselves are rather sophisticated machines that require in depth understanding of the functions and applications of the machine as compared to other machines like the loser. Blade angles of a motor grader require to be changed depending on the task at hand. Present day motor graders are much more sophisticated and rugged than its predecessors. The machine car created to be able to handle increasingly difficult and delicate tasks with increased efficiency. The final finish and quality of the road in question will eventually depend on how good both the motor grader and the operator at the controls are together.
Using all available features of the motor grader is essential to quality construction and maintenance of roads. Drainage is an important aspect of road maintenance barring which the roads turn out to be flat with pot holes that flood easily. Good drainage requires straight sections of the road crown and super elevation in the curves. Depending on the type of road being constructed or maintained the slope should be adequate measured from the shoulder to the centre of the road for proper draining depending on the expected annual rain fall.
One of the major issues when it comes to motor graders is that the operators are not aware of all the features of the machine. It is understandably difficult to have some one not familiar with all the features of the machine to make the most of it and use it to its full potential. Motor graders can be used for different tasks at different speeds, for example delicate or pioneering jobs require the motor grader to be used at lower gears like the second and the third. Other tasks like clearing snow, knocking rocks and washboard off a gravel road on the other hand can be done at fast at higher speeds and gears. Time and efforts need to be invested in training motor grader operators to ensure that they understand all the features of the machine properly so they can utilise it to its maximum potential. Additionally training for understand the difference between similar machines, their functions and fundamentals of road construction and maintenance is a huge advantage for both the contractors and operators.
Most grading tasks for road construction and maintenance are done at a mouldboard angle between 10 and 45 degrees. Too many operator do not use adequate blade angle to get the job done and end up using the grader like a dozer. When using a motor grader, grading is most efficient when the material is rolling off smoothly from the toe i.e. the leading edge to the heel i.e. the trailing edge. Blade angle should be increased of the flow of material dies or stops.
Motor graders are exceptional machines when it comes to construction and maintenance of roads. Not only do they save on the time taken to complete the task at hand, but they save onto expenses and uncertainty that comes form being dependent on manual labour. It is a lot easier to train one person operating the motor grader about the nuances of road construction instead of leaving the fate of the road at the hands of the untrained labourers. Using motor graders provides for a good finish, quality roads that last longer, save on the time required for individual projects and are cost effective when suitable graders are used for the roads in question.
In India particularly, motor graders are used extensively but only for construction and maintenance of only 5% of the roads across the country. The remaining 95% roads are heavily dependent on labour intensive methods and misfit machines due to a mismatch between the size of the roads and the graders available in the Indian market. Large bulky graders are both unsuitable and too expensive for the relatively much smaller roads that form a very large chunk of the total length of roads in India. This mismatch is also causing a shortage of good operators that are suited for using motor graders for road construction and maintenance.
A good well suited motor grader in the hand of a trained experienced operator is a very efficient, cost and time effective method for construction and maintenance of roads.