The forerunner of large scale curbing and gutter machines was built in the 1950’s by John S. Henderson, an engineer, and E. L. Hardin of Power Curbers, to extruded curbs for city streets, and for developing land into sub divisions. It was described as extruding asphalt in a long curb much like squeezed toothpaste. This was called the 55- A Automatic Extruder, which streamlined the tedious time consuming process of laying out highway turnarounds and median islands.
Today these machines can do so much more.
After many reiterations of this machine, Power Curbers 5700-C can now handle a variety of specialized actions such as the following described on their website.
Curb and Gutter- used in residential neighborhoods.
Tight Radius pours- used for making narrow parking lot islands.
Sidewalks- can pour a standard sidewalk or a monolithic sidewalk with curb.
Barrier or Parapet- with a variability of up to 24 inches which allows for the area between lanes not to be even width on both sides.
Cable Barrier or No Mow Strips- used to reduce weed growth.
Slot Drain- used to help drain water from roadways. An inflated polymer based tube is fed into the front of a slot drain mold then when the cement is cured the tube is deflated and pulled from the concrete, leaving a hidden drainage channel.
Center Pour- can be used as a center- pour paver for golf cart or bicycle paths.
Ditches- Concrete lined ditches either V or U shaped used for water control.
Canals- can make large multi- pass canal projects. Massive molds and long conveyors can be specifically designed to meet the requirements of the most complex nature.
Stadiums- can be used to pour concrete stadium risers.
Agriculture- can make feed troughs, and flush lanes in cattle barns.
Tunnels- for rail beds, walls, and walkways.
These Machines are used for roads and new developments, and list for about 200,000 depending what options you add. They target a small audience, of Developers and Municipalities. However, the Landscaping models target a much larger audience of Landscape contractors and to a lesser extent homeowners.
The landscaping model opened up many new opportunities for Landscape business operators. They can now offer customers designs that would have been out of reach for most people’s ability to pay with the use of curbing machines that in 2016 cost anywhere from 1000 to 7000.
Richard Eggleton of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia while working on jobs for his concrete construction company found that making curbing/garden edging out of metre straight sections from a landscape supplier was very limiting in landscape design as well as very time consuming and expensive. He decided in 1973 to design a machine that could give a better way to produce landscape curbing. In 1978 he had his first machine ready to launch onto the marketplace under the name of Kerbmate Industries Pty Ltd. He was fortunate to be invited to appear with his invention on a TV show called “What’ll They Think Of Next” on channel 9 in Sydney, Australia, and became a big hit which helped sell his machines all over Australia and then to several other countries.
This first machine had to be “spoon fed” as the concrete mix would be pushed by a plunger that would catch only part of the mix with the rest forming a buildup over the plunger which then one would have to break the arch of cement with the back of a shovel. Spoon feeding the hopper a little at a time did not produce a buildup, but your progress was limited by the small feeding pace. Another problem, was cement that missed getting pushed by the plunger would build up on the wrong side of the machine till it eventually overflowed the side of the hopper and dropped to ground on the side of the curb causing about 20% wasted material. A third problem, was the poor compaction in the top half of the curb due to the machine moving forward before compaction of the upper curb was finished.
In the years since 1978, most manufacturers of the curb machines solved the buildup over the plunger by using a bigger hopper, and the waste was captured by a higher 2nd stroke of the plunger catching the excess that it missed the first time- this also took care of the compaction problem as the machine no longer moved forward precipitously.