Yellow for success
Roads connect. Bopparder Maschinenbaugesellschaft (Bomag) paves the way there. The heavy equipment technology of the worldwide leading manufacturer of asphalt and earth compactors has already helped create 3,728,219 miles (6 million kilometers) of roads. Unmistakable: the yellow protective skin of Wörwag coating. This is our Case Study.
Milling, crushing, vibrating, tamping, rolling: Bomag heavy machinery for compacting asphalt and earth flatten everything in their path. After all, that is what they were built for. They mill the asphalt surface, crush it on-site, then it is either disposed of or re-used. These giants move tons of earth in any weather conditions, entire swathes of terrain are given a facelift. It gets very rough and tumble. But only at first glance. The unbridled power masks the precision, workmanship and sixty years of experience of a world market leader in the field of compaction technology behind it.
Bomag has been building earth, asphalt and refuse compactors, soil stabilizers, recyclers, milling machines and pavers since 1957. Karl Heinz Schwamborn founded the company in a two-car garage opposite the freight depot in the German town of Boppard, pop 16,000, about 56 mi (80 km) down the Rhine river from Mainz, Germany. That same year he revolutionized compaction technology by designing the world’s first double vibratory roller with an all-drum drive. By 1970 Bomag was the leading manufacturer in the vibratory rollers sector. The machinery has been displaying its characteristic bright yellow color since the early 90s. The coating is still made by Wörwag. Bomag Yellow makes road construction engineers jump for joy because the reliable machines make their work easier.
Expertise and innovation have been the trademark of this “hidden champion” from Day 1. One example is the Economizer. The measuring instrument for compactors, such as tampers, vibratory plates or rollers, continuously determines the degree of compaction during the work. A scale with 10 yellow LEDs tells the operator when the optimum compaction has been reached. After all, it is a main contributing factor in the road’s life expectancy.
In 2001 Bomag introduced Asphalt Manager, the world’s first system for automated control and optimization of asphalt density. It was a milestone in measurement technology. Even today Bomag, which became a part of the French Fayat Group in 2005, is seen as an innovator in the industry. The Boppard company is committed to basic research, and operates the largest development center for compaction technology in the world.
The cooperation with Wörwag began in 1987. Werner Böh, a sales rep at the time, and Richard Wörwag introduced a 2K polyurethane primer that was far superior to the coating system previously in use. The product convinced management. “A producing company like us is dependent on reliable suppliers and a dependable supply chain. We have both,” emphasizes Volker Laux, General Manager Purchasing at Bomag. “Wörwag is one of our oldest suppliers. We are looking forward to continuing our cooperation.”
Coating solutions made to measure
In 1989 Wörwag first presented powder coatings at Bomag. “At first there was a lot of skepticism. It disappeared pretty quickly when we reduced the pre-set coating time from 45 minutes to twelve in a test,” Böh remembers. As it is a one-coat system, the transparent finishing coat is not required. Bomag built a powder coating facility that started operating in 1990. The components coated here can be subsequently coated with special colors – without any surface roughening. Sven Pechwitz, Vice President Business Unit Industrial Coatings on the subject: “Besides the leaner process, this marked a breakthrough in the collaboration with Bomag.”
Today many Bomag components are coated with powder coatings from Wörwag. Liquid coatings are now only applied to heat-sensitive parts, components from external suppliers and small series with special colors. A pillar of Bomag’s work is the UV coating on the inside of the roller drum casings. About 250 to 300 tons of highly weather-resistant powder and liquid coatings in Bomag Yellow and RAL color 7021 (black gray) are used annually. The heavy equipment manufacturer has obtained its coatings exclusively from Wörwag for years. “Many joint projects, for example in China and Brazil, have cemented our relationship,” says Pechwitz.
In view of the extreme demands on the construction machinery, high surface resistances and corrosion protection are the most important criteria that the coating systems must fulfill. “Feedback from the users and long-term observation of the utilized machinery result in frequent new coating requirements,” explains Matthias Knapp, International Business Development Manager. “A lively dialog with Bomag and their suppliers often leads to new collaborative developments.” Only those who stay innovative are ready for the future.
Sixty percent gradeability
The same applies to Bomag machinery—starting with 132-lb (60 kg) tampers to the tandem drums to the 56-ton refuse compactor. That is also evidenced by two new products: a drum with a gradeability of 60 percent (31 degrees) and an asphalt milling machine with a working width of 7.2 ft (2.2 meters). Thanks to the distinctive color made by Wörwag, you can recognize them from quite a distance. The yellow machines are on the road.
(This article first appeared in the Wörwag customer magazine finish in 2016.)