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Melbournewinters are known as some of the coldest of all state capital cities on Australia’s mainland. Despite the city’s coastal location and general lack of snow, its winters can be wet and cold, and its summers can be brutally hot. It’s no wonder the capital city of Victoria and the country’s second most populous city, has become known for its unpredictable weather patterns—Melbourne’s “four seasons in one day.” As a result, roads in the region need to be regularly maintained to ensure safety and promote longevity.

Pioneer Road Services, headquartered out of Victoria, recently took delivery of the first Cat® AP300 Asphalt Paver toAustralia. This small, but highly productive paver will be the first to play a role in maintaining the Melbourne roadways throughout the seasons. With the help of Cat dealer William Adams Pvy Ltd and the Caterpillar® commissioning team, Pioneer Road Services recently put the new paver finisher through its inaugural paces on an important shoulder reconstruction project for an 8 km stretch of highway between Pakenham and Drouin—southeast of Melbourne.

According to the paving crew on site, the project was challenging. Traffic control was critical, as the road was busy and space was at a premium. With the project’s narrow paving width, machine productivity and maneuverability were critical. Pioneer Road Services knew the powerful, yet small, Cat AP300 with electric screed (model AS3173) would fit the bill, as crews raced to resurface the shoulders of this busy highway in preparation for the approaching Australian winter.

Crews found that the AP300 incorporates many easy-to-use features and technologies that help produce quality mats time after time. Available in both LPG and electric heating systems, the hydraulic power extendable AS3173 screed offers variable frequency tamper or vibrators, and lays material to the desired depth and width—all leading to a smooth finish with initial compaction. With mechanical extensions added to both sides, its maximum paving width can reach 4000 mm.

Pioneer Road Services was pleased with the AP300’s performance and ample power, and specifically cited praise for the machine’s differential lock option. And, operators also noted that its enhanced visibility and the AP300’s “pushing power” made their job easier. Screed operators were equally impressed with the “ease of screed controls,” that allowed crews to control the screed from one side when necessary.

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Productivity and Reliability in a Durable Package
The small Cat® AP300 Asphalt Paver offers superior performance, productivity, optimum maneuverability, and enhanced operator comfort and control.

A dual operator’s station with sliding control console and two adjustable suspension seats on mechanically sliding semi-platforms allow the operator to be positioned beyond the machine’s frame for greater visibility. The sliding console is fully equipped with comprehensive controls that allow the operator to conveniently and easily monitor all machine functions.

A closed loop hydrostatic propel system provides accurate control of propulsion. Two large tread drive tyres and four front solid-rubber steering bogie wheels provide optimum ground contact and smooth operation. The long wheelbase provides enhanced tractive effort andstability on soft basematerials. Its optional lockable differential system prevents slippage in any grade condition.

And, the AP300’s Cat 3054C DINA four cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine incorporates proven technologies from medium and large bore engines providing quiet performance, high reliability and easy servicing. It delivers a gross power of 52 kW (71 hp), rated at 2200 rpm. This engine meets European EU Stage II emission regulations. Emissions are minimized and fuel efficiency maximized by its high capacity cooling system that provides cool intake air—adding up to improved operator comfort.