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Durable markings tend to have stringent groove depth requirements, usually 30-250 mills deep (.020”-.250”). These grooves are generally cut with diamond blades that are stacked in various arrangements. Maintaining a consistent groove depth is difficult with existing equipment due to irregularities in the paved surface. The inconsistent groove depths result in reduced life of the durable pavement markings
The PHD-15 (Pitch and Height Drum Control) system from SMITH Manufacturing greatly reduces groove depth variation through the use of independently adjustable height-control wheels along the centerline axis of the cutting drum. These wheels are mounted to the outside of the cutting machine for maximum effect. By locating the depth control wheels here, cutting depth is no longer impacted by surface height variations that occur between the front and rear axles of the grooving machine. A much more consistent depth of cut is able to be maintained without relying on constant operator adjustment.
The wheels are adjusted by turning a locking knob with 12 locator holes. Each locator hole represents an adjustment value of 10 mils (.010”), with an overall adjustment range of 1 inch.
Because the wheels can be adjusted independently, it also greatly helps when cutting grooves that are wider than the drum. When multiple passes must be made side-by-side to get the appropriate width of groove, traditional equipment proves to be challenging since one side is higher than the other. This is because one side of the machine will be on grade, while the other side will be in the previously cut groove. This yields a cut that is below the specified depth along the overlapping section of the groove. There may also be ridges along the overlapping section as well.
With the independent depth control provided by the two wheels along the drum axis, the operator simply elevates the wheel that will be in the previous groove by the same distance as the depth of the groove. The result is a seamless overlap that may be repeated for however many passes are required to achieve the specified groove width.
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