Wirtgen turning 60 – a driver of innovation with a rich history


Dawn of a new era in road construction – Wirtgen’s cold milling process

In the early 1970s, Wirtgen developed hot milling, a new process that for the first time made it possible to remove asphalt over large areas. The next milestone followed in 1979, when Wirtgen once again revolutionised road construction with the development of the cold milling machine. The first cold milling machine was a rear loader with a hydraulic milling drum drive. The SF 3800 C was capable of milling up concrete, asphalt and gravel of varying depths without having to significantly heat the sub-base. This not only increased the milling depth and allowed the machine to work faster, but also saved energy. Over time, the company has continued to use its expertise in cold milling technology to set new standards.

The era of cold milling began in 1979 when the Wirtgen SF 3800 C completed its first milling operation on the A3 carriageway between Frankfurt and Cologne.

The F series of large milling machines – how cold milling is done today

The current milestone in cold milling technology is the company’s F series of large milling machines. With this range of high-performance machinery, Wirtgen is setting new standards in terms of efficiency and resource friendliness, as well as in the digital documentation and evaluation of milling construction sites. As was the case when Wirtgen made the revolutionary switch from hot milling to cold milling in the 1970s, the company is once again taking a major evolutionary step in road construction.

Mill Assist: Lower consumption, more power, superior quality

In the new F series, Wirtgen has implemented the first intelligent machine concept that is capable of autonomously meeting the operator’s performance and quality requirements in the best possible way. In automatic mode, Mill Assist selects the operating strategy with the ideal balance between milling performance and operating costs and responds intelligently and dynamically to changing conditions. This significantly reduces diesel, water and pick consumption as well as carbon and noise emissions. The F series with Mill Assist is the groundbreaking answer to the questions of the future, since sustainability and environmental protection are becoming increasingly important parts of construction tenders.

Increasing machine efficiency with WPT (Wirtgen Performance Tracker)

Another of the company’s innovations is the digital documentation and evaluation of milling construction sites. This was only made possible thanks to the development of the Wirtgen Performance Tracker, which precisely measures the area milled, the milling volume and all of the consumption data. These parameters are displayed in real time to the milling machine operator on the operator’s platform. Immediately after completion of the milling job, all of this data is documented in an automatically generated report and sent by email to the machine owner. The efficiency assessment is also a valuable tool for the operator in order to help them use the machine even more efficiently and further reduce diesel consumption and pick wear during the next job, for example.

Specialised and groundbreaking – key Wirtgen technologies

In order for the cold milling machine to remove pavement with precision and efficiency, it is essential that the drum, pick holder and pick work together perfectly. This is the company from Windhagen’s specialty, and cutting technology is one of its key technologies. As the market leader, Wirtgen continuously makes advancements to these cutting technology components. When doing so, the company particularly incorporates practical experience and feedback from its customers into the process. The company’s internally developed and perfectly compatible high-performance cutting systems play a decisive role in Wirtgen cold milling machines’ outstanding machine productivity.

Construction machinery from Windhagen is in use all over the world today. In addition to Wirtgen cold milling machines, which are found on virtually every road rehabilitation construction site, the machine manufacturer also produces technologically leading recyclers, soil stabilisers, slipform pavers and surface miners. Wirtgen’s innovative products and technologies have been shaping road construction for 60 years and today are synonymous with efficient and cost-effective construction methods.


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