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   xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 01:44 AM

Nov 18. 2010: Paving Daytona

The advent of super speedways like Daytona, brought the advent of super steep embankments, to keep the cars on the track at speeds around 200 mph. I remember when they started testing the, then new, Talladega track, the drivers were complaining of severe headaches. They brought in some NASA engineers who discovered the texture of the track surface was setting up vibrations at speeds north of 180mph, that would kill brain cells. So not just the bumps that could launch a race car are critical, but the smoothness of the surface too.

My brother sent me a dozen pictures of the repaving of the Daytona track.



1 - You see the tri-axle dump truck delivering the blacktop.
2 - I don't know what that machine is called, but it's taking the blacktop and probably pulverizing it to a uniform consistency, and heating it to a uniform temperature, then dumping it in the next machine.
3 - This mobile crane is carrying the conveyor which delivers the blacktop to the paver.
4 - The paver actually lays the blacktop down smooth and of uniform thickness.



Steep, ain't it? The bulldozer looking thingy in the upper left corner is a side-boom cat. It's like a bulldozer but has that mini-crane boom out the side and are used primarily for laying pipe in a ditch. Here it's being used to keep the paver from sliding down the embankment. In the background is another side-boom helping the roller.



Keep in mind, the tri-axle, the heater, the mobile crane, the paver, and the side-boom cat, all have to move together like the Radio City Rockettes.

I'm sure Daytona is paying handsomely.



Gravdigr  Thursday Nov 18 01:57 AM

This is weird.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 02:00 AM

Weird?



SPUCK  Thursday Nov 18 05:53 AM

Cool! No. HOT!!



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 09:08 AM

I forgot, in the second picture, back in front of the roller, there's a long blue boom with an beach umbrella at the end. There's also a lady out under that umbrella, checking the angle with an inclinometer, to make sure it's right and consistent.



classicman  Thursday Nov 18 09:09 AM

Verrrrry interesting.



newtimer  Thursday Nov 18 10:38 AM

I wonder how much the union pays those guys whose job it is to stand around and watch the others work. You always see them at road construction sites, and you can see a few of them in these photos, too.



classicman  Thursday Nov 18 11:13 AM

The same as the one that is actually working. They're in the union!



glatt  Thursday Nov 18 11:15 AM

I never realized how steep that track is.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 11:33 AM

@ newtimer... With any construction project, there are always times when you have to wait for someone else to do their thing, before you can do yours. The guys standing around are either bosses/engineers/QC people, or waiting for the aforementioned to make a decision. Then there are always a few on the job that are like doctors and firemen, you don't need them all the time, but when you do, you need them badly and right now.

I'd assume from your snide reference to unions, you don't have a clue how things get built, or how unions operate. Are there bad things about unions? Sure, as with any organizations that are run by people, especially elected people. But the good far outweighs the bad, and the reduction of union representation over the last 30 years is one of the prime reasons our standard of living, and the middle class, has been eroded.



glatt  Thursday Nov 18 11:51 AM

I'm generally very pro union, but I've heard a few stories about when we have trials in NYC. What a pain in the ass it's been because of the unions.

Normally, when we go to trial somewhere, it's a big trial, and we set up a room or suite of rooms in a hotel with all the equipment and supplies we need. It's an all hands kind of thing where you just do what needs to be done to get the place set up. Rolling copiers off the truck and onto a freight elevator to move them into place. Running extension cords around and taping them down. Etc. Etc. In NYC, we can't do any of that. We have to get official local union people, and they have a "that's not my job"and a "that's not your job either" attitude. Like it takes an electrician to plug a heavy duty extension cord into an outlet and stretch it across the room to the printer. You have to have the appropriate person for each job. We can't do anything ourselves. Try to pick up a box of paper and move it across the room, and a union guy yells at you for doing union work.

First time we had a trial in NYC, it was infuriating. Now we leave for trial a day or so earlier to allow time for the unions to take their pound of flesh at their own slow pace.

Not sure if it's all of NYC that's union, or just the hotel near the courthouse that we usually use.

But having said that, I really do support the unions and what they have done for the middle class. I like my weekends off and overtime when I work long hours and benefits.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 12:04 PM

There are always people who will take advantage. I've seen some horrendous misuse of contract protections, for personal gain, and what my grandmother would call down right cussedness. Also cases of members bullshitting people who were not up on the rules. Electricians are the royalty of the trade unions, because they've got the fire/safety officials behind them. But like everywhere, most are just guys trying to make a living, and they do know their shit.



Diaphone Jim  Thursday Nov 18 12:27 PM

Bruce: How very unlike you.
Is it "The(y) do know they're shiit" (they are shit)?
Or "They do know their shit?" (are competent)
Some tender toes on, but interesting pics.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 12:31 PM

I have no idea what you are talking about.



Undertoad  Thursday Nov 18 12:34 PM

My opinion on unions has changed because of A) xoB's statements in the past and B) I realized that I have been pretty much beat up, seriously taken advantage of, and even outright fired for no cause by shitty managers my entire life in IT, and so has pretty much everyone else in IT. We get ass-reamed for 20 years until we're middle age, and either we become the shitty managers, or we're fucked.

IT is relentlessly anti-union as a principle, but when I step back, it really hasn't worked out like they said it would.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 12:38 PM

Recent increases in unions have been all in white collar, for that very reason.



BigV  Thursday Nov 18 01:44 PM

Unions make things more expensive (kiss of death for businesses).

But there is such a gigantic imbalance of power between me as an individual with labor (regardless of my collar color) to offer and the business, that unions are a necessary counterbalance. If I'm out of work, or if I need/suggest a change in the operation of the business, I'm without any power to *make* stuff happen. This is not as true for the business side. Especially in my state, Washington, which is an "at will" employment state. It works like no fault divorce. If one party wants to end the relationship, it's ended. No reason required.

What always works best is for both business and labor to work for our common cause, since we both need each other. But often shorter term or more individual goals take precedence and the whole suffers. MY welfare as an individual employee is not the business's highest priority--maximizing profit is. Often the short term gain (of profit) comes at the direct expense of my WHOLE operation--"you're fired". This is a blip to the business, but a calamity to me. Granted, this is a high stakes example, but the same thing happens in tiny ways too--on both sides.

Costs of benefits go up, how will it be shared? Profits rise, how will they be shared? (often not at all; wages are an expense). Risk is involved, how will that be shared? We (business and labor) are both in this together, but not always equally. Unions help equalize much of the power differential.



HungLikeJesus  Thursday Nov 18 02:35 PM

Bruce, I found the pictures to be interesting, but your descriptions made it better.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 02:45 PM

They didn't come with any explanation, I had to figure out what was going on from experience. The only machine I'm not sure of is #2, between the truck and the conveyor, I think I got it right. The Daytona Race Track website has pictures, but they are tiny and no explanation. If you want to see the other nine, PM me your email and I'll forward them.



Gravdigr  Thursday Nov 18 03:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravdigr View Post
This is weird.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Weird?
When I posted that, there were two (2) seperate but identical I'sOTD. I posted that same statement on both threads, one in standard font, one in italic, to see which would go away.

BTW, the italic one disappeared.

I entertain myself like that sometimes.

It was weird.




xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Nov 18 05:56 PM

Ah yes, UT was screwing around with something or other.



lupin..the..3rd  Thursday Nov 18 06:41 PM

NASCAR makes me LOL. Driving in circles? Only turning left? How dull.

Unions are responsible for the modern "amenities" that all workers enjoy today. Things you take for granted, like Five-day work weeks (Saturdays off), were originally Union ideas, as are many of the current worker protection laws.

That said, Unions are obsolete now, what with all the labor laws to protect employees these days. Workers comp, OSHA, Minimum wage, Non-discrimination laws, etc. 100 years ago, we didn't have any of these laws, and people depended on the Unions to provide these worker protections. But that's just not the case any more. IMO Unions don't serve any purpose but to (drastically) inflate the cost of labor. As an example, look at auto workers. The workers at non-union factories, (like the BMW and Mercedes factories here in the US) make more money and have better benefits than their Big-3 Union counterparts. The automakers who employ non-union workers also enjoy lower operating expenses. Lower costs and better employee compensation = a win-win situation. I'll never work for a union - I like the freedom to negotiate my own salary and benefits package, and like the freedom of "at will" employment.



Lamplighter  Thursday Nov 18 07:14 PM

Does that include police unions ?



tulzscha  Thursday Nov 18 10:41 PM

Item number 2 is called, innovatively enough, a "transfer vehicle." It holds material so that if the next truck gets delayed, the paver can still keep going. Stopping means seams, and seams mean badness.This article has a good summation of the problems and the process, and an annotated photograph (towards the bottom).



HungLikeJesus  Thursday Nov 18 11:05 PM

The project cost $20 million? That's more than I paid to get my driveway paved this summer.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 19 01:59 AM

@ lupin..the..3rd, I agree NASCAR is too boring for me to watch anymore, since they have gotten so fast they can't race each other, and the main strategy is attrition. However, I do appreciate the engineering it takes to put those cars on the track at those speeds, and the huge balls of the drivers.

You say all these laws to protect workers eliminate the need for unions, but those laws are violated, or misinterpreted every day. Without a union rep to handle it, you have to hire a lawyer to tell you if your complaint is valid, then send letters to the companies HR dept, then go to court, at your expense. Multiply this by millions of suspected violations, and the courts are jammed. As often as not, the employee is wrong, and his/her shop steward will tell them so, putting a stop to it then and there.

I've seen cases where the first or second line management, are trying to circumvent the wishes of the owner/director of the company, and cases where the employee is trying to pull a fast one. Having the union on the spot to settle it quickly, acting like a traffic cop, is to everyone's advantage. 99% of the time the need for union representation is not about money, it's about safety and fairness.

The UAW and the big three, are a whole other world, not representative of most unions. The companies were making vast sums of money and anything they offered the union, the competition was going to agree to anyway so it didn't matter. The nature of the automobile business is uneven which meant frequent layoffs, so the union would accept anything offered to smooth the cycle, but those solutions became ridiculous in practice because the company's low level management didn't know how to implement them.
The foreign manufacturers have implemented better plans, that involve the workers rather than dictating to them. But there are still cases where workers are getting screwed because of personal grievances, with no recourse.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 19 02:05 AM

Thanks tulzscha, excellent link.
I can see why it cost $20 million, they had to dismantle everything but the grandstands to do it.

Quote:
Starting with Turn 3, Musco Sports Lighting will take down light poles, Smith Fence will take down the catch fences from the turns and Cheaha Construction will take down the exterior SAFER barriers around track. At this point there could be up to 100 workers around the Speedway, dropping to about 30 when paving begins.
Lane Construction will construct a dirt wall on the rim road outside all four turns so a bulldozer can climb to the top of the track wall and -- with a specially designed arm -- stabilize paving equipment on the steep-angled banks. Longer skid pad



Pete Zicato  Friday Nov 19 10:41 AM

Different, but still cool, road laying. I suppose this wouldn't work for Daytona, though.




BigV  Friday Nov 19 10:51 AM

A reliable generalization is that a business will operate in its own best interest. And given that remaining a going concern and steady profits (the overage from revenue minus expenses) are the most compelling best interests of the business, things that interfere with the progress toward those goals are viewed with a skeptical eye. Things that increase expenses by definition decrease profits. It *may* be the case that some things a business expends money for increase profits MORE than the cost of the expense--employees, for example. But when that equation doesn't resolve in the business' favor, the expense will go--has to go--for the business to survive.

It is true in many case of the example you give that employers who use non union labor enjoy lower costs. It is also true that lower costs and better employee compensation is a win-win, as you put it. But lower costs to not imply better employee compensation. In my long experience, the greatest share of the increase in profitability from the reduction of expenses accrued to the employer, not to me. Just because a business has lower expenses, there's no guarantee that I'll get some of that win in my paycheck.

In fact, why would an employer ever pay more than the barest minimum for labor?



HungLikeJesus  Friday Nov 19 11:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Zicato View Post
Different, but still cool, road laying. I suppose this wouldn't work for Daytona, though.

That must be Indianapolis.


Lamplighter  Friday Nov 19 12:05 PM

That's the most labor-saving devise I've seen in a very long time.



classicman  Friday Nov 19 12:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
That's the most labor-saving devise I've seen in a very long time.
as proven by the eight guys doing nothing but watching the one guy "work"



HungLikeJesus  Friday Nov 19 12:53 PM

There are two guys in the machine that you can't see and they rotate out.

Actually, I think all but the guys in orange vests are gawkers.



classicman  Friday Nov 19 01:14 PM

I'm sure .. .. ..
mouse over the smilie up there "rolls eyes (sarcastic)



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 19 01:47 PM

Might want to turn the muzak down.




Lamplighter  Friday Nov 19 02:26 PM

Oh! I take back what I said above.

I thought the machine automatically took pavers from the hopper
and placed them in the herring-bone patter and laid them down.

If it takes 2 men to do the loading and set the pattern, it ain't all that great...
a sheet of plywood tied to the tailgate of a pickup truck would do just about the same thing.



classicman  Friday Nov 19 02:31 PM

that is the coolest thing. I know a few people who do the overlay, both concrete and asphalt ... That post by Bruce is WAY cooler than their stuff.



Gravdigr  Friday Nov 19 02:32 PM

Do you enjoy driving that new car 100,000 miles before the first scheduled tune up? Do you enjoy spark plugs that last 100's of thousands of miles without needing replacing every few thousand miles? Do you enjoy brake shoes that last forty, fifty thousand miles and longer? Do you enjoy tires that last 50,000 miles and longer? Do you enjoy shocks and struts that seemingly last forever?

If you do, thank the research and trickle-down technology that comes directly from auto racing. Like NASCAR.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Nov 19 02:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
Oh! I take back what I said above.

I thought the machine automatically took pavers from the hopper
and placed them in the herring-bone patter and laid them down.

If it takes 2 men to do the loading and set the pattern, it ain't all that great...
a sheet of plywood tied to the tailgate of a pickup truck would do just about the same thing.
Are you kidding me? laying those pavers is intense manual labor, it would take a hundred men to keep up with that machine, and they wouldn't get spacing or level as uniform.


Lamplighter  Saturday Nov 20 01:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lupin..the..3rd View Post
NASCAR makes me LOL. Driving in circles? Only turning left? How dull.

Unions are responsible for the modern "amenities" that all workers enjoy today. Things you take for granted, like Five-day work weeks (Saturdays off), were originally Union ideas, as are many of the current worker protection laws.

That said, Unions are obsolete now, what with all the labor laws to protect employees these days. Workers comp, OSHA, Minimum wage, Non-discrimination laws, etc. 100 years ago, we didn't have any of these laws, and people depended on the Unions to provide these worker protections. But that's just not the case any more. IMO Unions don't serve any purpose but to (drastically) inflate the cost of labor. As an example, look at auto workers. The workers at non-union factories, (like the BMW and Mercedes factories here in the US) make more money and have better benefits than their Big-3 Union counterparts. The automakers who employ non-union workers also enjoy lower operating expenses. Lower costs and better employee compensation = a win-win situation. I'll never work for a union - I like the freedom to negotiate my own salary and benefits package, and like the freedom of "at will" employment.
So everything is right in lupin's world, and won't change.
Management is beneficent and will never take advantage of it's labor force,
and certainly would never coerce or threaten it's work force.

And even if the overpaid automobile workers have to take cuts,
it will never affect other industries, and won't affect me.
I'll never work for a union.
My boss loves me !

Lupin's world-view has now been confirmed by the NYTimes

Unions Yield on Wage Scales to Preserve Jobs
By LOUIS UCHITELLE
Published: November 19, 2010

Quote:
Organized labor appears to be losing an important battle in the Great Recession.
Even at manufacturing companies that are profitable,
union workers are reluctantly agreeing to tiered contracts that create two levels of pay.
Quote:
The arrangement was a fairly common means of shrinking labor costs in the recession of the early 1980s.
At the end of the contracts, however, wages generally snapped back up to a single tier.
At G.M., Chrysler, Delphi and Caterpillar, the wages will not be snapping back.

Nor will that happen for workers at three big manufacturers here in southeastern Wisconsin
— where 15 percent of the work force is in manufacturing, a bigger proportion than any other state.
These employers — Harley-Davidson, Mercury Marine and Kohler — have all but succeeded
in the last year or so in erecting two-tier systems that could last well into a recovery.

His [Harley-Davidson] union recently accepted a new contract that freezes wages for existing workers
for most of its seven years, lowers pay for new hires, dilutes benefits
and brings temporary workers to the assembly line at even lower pay and no benefits
whenever there is a rise in demand for Harley’s roaring bikes
.

Increasing the pressure, Harley-Davidson and Mercury Marine, a unit of the Brunswick Corporation,
publicly declared that they would move factory operations to lower-cost American cities
— Stillwater, Okla., for example, or Kansas City, Mo. —
if the unions failed to accept the concessions set forth in remarkably similar contracts.



footfootfoot  Saturday Nov 20 03:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
I'm generally very pro union, but I've heard a few stories about when we have trials in NYC. What a pain in the ass it's been because of the unions.

Normally, when we go to trial somewhere, it's a big trial, and we set up a room or suite of rooms in a hotel with all the equipment and supplies we need. It's an all hands kind of thing where you just do what needs to be done to get the place set up. Rolling copiers off the truck and onto a freight elevator to move them into place. Running extension cords around and taping them down. Etc. Etc. In NYC, we can't do any of that. We have to get official local union people, and they have a "that's not my job"and a "that's not your job either" attitude. Like it takes an electrician to plug a heavy duty extension cord into an outlet and stretch it across the room to the printer. You have to have the appropriate person for each job. We can't do anything ourselves. Try to pick up a box of paper and move it across the room, and a union guy yells at you for doing union work.

First time we had a trial in NYC, it was infuriating. Now we leave for trial a day or so earlier to allow time for the unions to take their pound of flesh at their own slow pace.

Not sure if it's all of NYC that's union, or just the hotel near the courthouse that we usually use.

But having said that, I really do support the unions and what they have done for the middle class. I like my weekends off and overtime when I work long hours and benefits.
Very typical of Film Crews and the unions. We had an old joke: "How many Grips does it take to change a lightbulb?" "Grips don't change lightbulbs, that's a gaffer's job."

The one time I saw the unions willingly break one of their rules was when frustrated director and assistant producer wanted to get some plywood moved in off the truck and on to the set. The union guys saw them coming into the building with it and they freaked. The Director and the AP held their hands up and SSHHH-ed them saying "Keep it down, we just stole this forma jobsite down the street." The Union guys then dropped what they were doing and helped them move the plywood quickly onto the set.

Unions are a two edged sword.


footfootfoot  Saturday Nov 20 03:26 PM

here is a cool video of a machine replacing railroad ties.



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