Wirtgen AutoPilot: fully automatic 3D control for small slipform pavers

Wirtgen launches a pioneering 3D control system for use with the SP 15 and SP 25 slipform pavers. The Wirtgen AutoPilot is a user-friendly, cost-effective machine control system for the construction of poured-in-place concrete profiles, such as curbs or safety barriers, in offset application. The GPS based system guarantees highest precision and maximum efficiency, regardless of whether straight profiles, highly complex curved profile paths, or even closed profile configurations need to be paved. The AutoPilot enables fully automatic, high-quality paving at extremely small radii of merely 600 mm or 2 ft. The proprietary Wirtgen 3D control system gives construction companies a distinct competitive edge, for it pays off quickly and opens up new fields of application. Establishing a digital terrain model is not required as programming of the profile path or profile configuration is completed on site.

Save time and reduce costs in many applications

The production of poured-in-place concrete profiles is often part of major projects, such as the construction of new housing areas, shopping centers or parks. The new AutoPilot from Wirtgen assists the rapid completion of most diverse profile shapes, such as curbs, curb and gutter profiles, canals, safety barriers or narrow paths. The system is capable of producing extremely small radii of no more than 600 mm with great ease and without the use of stringlines. This entirely dispenses not only with the time-consuming and labor-intensive work of surveying but also with the installation and removal of stringlines, thus enabling the contracting companies to save significant amounts of money and time. The Wirtgen AutoPilot also automatically negotiates any obstacles on the construction site, such as manhole covers.

Ease of operation: ready to go in no time at all

The system comprises a computer integrated in the machine as well as a control panel that allows intuitive operation. Two GPS receivers, which are mounted on masts on the machine, communicate with an additional GPS reference station positioned on site. The machine control software is a proprietary Wirtgen development.

The new control system is handled skillfully even by inexperienced personnel after only a short period of time. After positioning the total station and laser on the construction site, the slipform paver is taken to the specified starting position and heading. Parameters are directly entered into the system via the rotary push-button and function keys at the clearly structured control screen. Menu navigation is self-explanatory, and graphics visualize the various profiles and profile configurations.

Fully automatic paving in just six steps

Programming the Wirtgen AutoPilot is a matter of mere minutes. In a first step, the machine operator selects a profile configuration at the control panel. Next he enters length, width and radius of the configuration to establish the steering path of the slipform paver. The starting point is determined in a third step, followed by machine level and elevation profile. In a final step, the machine operator determines the cross slope. A laser sensor or ultrasonic sensor mounted on the slipform paver scans the ground surface to ensure precise level control. The fully automatic paving operation commences.

Previously programmed profile configurations can be saved and retrieved as required. The operator is in full control during the entire process. He can intervene in the automatic paving operation at any time if necessary, for example, to modify the machine’s level and angle of incline.