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A contouring device and method for contouring three- dimensionally curved surfaces includes an elongated contouring assembly that is supported at opposite ends by a pair of fluid cylinders. The fluid cylinders are controlled to raise and lower the ends of the contouring assembly independently of each other, thereby allowing the contouring assembly to create a three-dimensionally curved surface as it passes over an area to be contoured. The control of one of the fluid cylinders is based on a comparison of the measured position of a first end of the contouring assembly with a profile of the surface to be leveled that is stored in a computer memory. The measurement of the position of the first end of the contouring assembly is achieved by a tracking device which tracks the position of a target positioned on the first end of the contouring assembly and which determines the three dimensional position of the target. A proximity sensor measures the position of the second end of the contouring assembly from a surface and outputs a control signal that adjusts the height of the second end of the contouring assembly to follow the surface. Alternatively, a second target positioned on the second contouring assembly end is tracked by a second tracking device to determine the three-dimensional position of the second end. The contouring assembly preferably has a plow, rotating auger, and a vibratory screed positioned adjacent and parallel to one another in an orientation transverse to the direction of motion of the contouring assembly. The plow, rotating auger, and vibratory screed are all pivotable about an axis parallel to their longitudinal direction. A pivot or tilting controller controls the tilting of the plow, rotating auger, and vibratory screed to follow the slope of the profile stored in computer memory.

Patent Number

US 6,227,761 B1


Delaware Capital Formation, Inc., Wilmington, DE (US)


Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI (US)

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Apparatus and method for three-dimensional contouring

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