Modern technology is a marvel. Especially when innovative paving solutions are leveraged to elevate efficiency and workmanship on crucial infrastructure initiatives.

One prime example is the 2022 Street Reconstruction Program in Woodstock, Illinois. Nearly two dozen streets are slated for improvements this year, part of a multiyear initiative to fix steadily deteriorating roadways and enhance quality of life and economic development in the historic Chicagoland community.

Family-owned Plote Construction Inc. is spearheading the construction efforts, which include city street reconstruction, parking lot resurfacing, sidewalk repairs and utility upgrades. To increase productivity throughout the project, paving crews are using a state-of-the-art M-1000 concrete slipform paver to install 29,500 linear feet of barrier curbs (B6.12).

The M-1000 is one of the most popular machines manufactured by Miller Formless, a McHenry, Illinois-based firm in operation for more than half a century. The company’s versatile, high-performing slipform paving solutions are used worldwide on projects of all scope and scale. Applications range from city streets, highways, bridges and airport runways to parking lots, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, barrier walls and more.

After seeing the M-1000 featured at World of Concrete 2022, Plote Construction’s leadership decided to add it to the company’s equipment fleet. With on-site help from Miller Formless’ team of product specialists, the brand-new machine was set up in time to debut on the Woodstock street reconstruction project.

The crew’s initial response to this heavy-duty modular concrete slipform paver was phenomenal.

“My equipment operator said the M-1000 rides like a Cadillac!” shares Steven Childers, a civil engineer and the GPS manager at Plote Construction, where he has worked for nearly a decade . “He’s got 30 years of experience with curb machines, and he’s never had a curb machine that rode that smoothly.”

Who Needs Stakes or Stringlines?

The M-1000 from Miller Formless is compatible with various technologies that support 3D stringless paving operations, as part of the manufacturer’s MFSmart Control Stringless package. Plote Construction’s curb and gutter paver is equipped with two Topcon systems—mmGPS and LPS—which are cutting-edge solutions that augment grading activities by utilizing GNSS for horizontal accuracy and a rotating laser for vertical accuracy. This technology combo eliminates the need for stakes and stringlines—saving valuable time and labor—and instead guides the machine along a “virtual stringline” with millimeter precision.

Topcon has offered specialty positioning systems for the last 25 years, says Topcon Director of Sales for Paving Solutions Jerry Bickner. His organization works hand-in-hand with leading manufacturers such as Miller Formless to develop technologies that help contractors work smarter and faster. Machines equipped with mmGPS are proven to double or even triple their production speeds, enabling crews to perform jobs in a fraction of the time compared to conventional methods of construction.

Sophisticated Paving Tech That’s Wired for Success

Plote Construction is no stranger to stringless paving, having used this advanced construction approach for many years on various dirt, asphalt, stone and concrete projects. The 2022 Street Reconstruction Program in Woodstock, however, is the contractor’s first experience pairing GPS machine control with a slipform concrete curb and gutter paver.

Perfectly installed curbs are essential on this particular job, since the curbs are being constructed first, followed by asphalt pavement placement. Topcon’s mmGPS system gives crews the ability to grade to tighter tolerances, a major advantage on projects with complex radius work, such as parking lots.

“Honestly, I was very surprised at how easily the M-1000 held a grade and what a tight tolerance it held it in, too,” Childers adds. Plote Construction improved the versatility of its curbing machine by having the Topcon system wired for both millimeter GPS and local position system (LPS) functionality. The latter technology—ideal in locations where satellite signals may be obstructed, such as tunnels or densely-built areas—uses a robotic total station for guidance to ensure accurate blade and screed positions.

Childers also expresses appreciation for the user-friendly functionality of Topcon’s technologies. “It’s very easy to train somebody who isn’t used to it,” he explains. With labor shortages still a major challenge across the construction industry, anything that reduces the learning curve for equipment operators is considered advantageous. “I know personally that survey can get very complicated—and sometimes it needs to be complicated,” Childers continues. “But Topcon does an excellent job of simplifying [the surveying process] rather than keeping it complicated.”

Final touches on a curb and gutter job is another important consideration. According to Childers, Plote Construction’s finishing crews were “extremely happy” with how the Miller Formless M-1000 performed.

“Using the M-1000 gives us the versatility to run on stringline or skip the layout and run stringless,” Childers adds. “Having the option to do either makes us much more efficient as a company and helps us to reduce cost.”

Miller Formless offers a variety of concrete slipform paving machines, both new and certified pre-owned. Connect with a product specialist today to learn more.