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Profilograph Systems

Overview / Profilograph Equipment / Specifications / Toughbook Computer


CS8500 Profilograph CS8500 Upgrade Kit
ProScan Trace Scanning System CS8550 Bridge Profilograph


The SSI CS8500 Profilograph is perhaps the most widely used surface profiling device in the world.  The CS8500 is the updated model of the James Cox & Sons CS8200 profilograph.  SSI also acquired the McCracken profilograph operation from the Besser Company, so SSI is the only supplier of California style profilographs.  Some of the key features of the CS8500 are:

Hand-built, lightweight aluminum frame refined over 40 years of production.  Powder coated wheel chassis with adjustable steering system at each end.  Bi-directional hardware allows data collection in reverse direction without frame turn-around.  Designed for one-person assembly in minutes.

Operator control housing contains all profiling system electronics, on-board printer with power assisted paper take-up and Toughbook computer.  AC/DC power supplies for use in field or office. 

SSI’s patented Windows data collection and analysis software has been refined through ongoing development and user input since 1995.  The CS8500 profilograph software is stable and feature rich.

The user-friendly Windows software makes training and daily operation easy. Rugged Panasonic Toughbook 19 operator computer with touchscreen controls.

Bi-directional data collection (English or Metric Units) and dual wheel path reporting on a single report.  Below is a sample of the dual track output:

Real time display of past segment profile index and must grind bumps & dips during data collection.

Adjustable filtering parameters, blanking band, and localized roughness (must grind bump/dip) templates).

Reports test results for dual wheel tracks with PRI results averaged.  Also reports IRI (International Roughness Index) values.  A sample screen showing dual track IRI results is below:

Re-writeable raw data and export routines to convert profile data to PDF, ERD/PPF for ProVal and Excel.

Guaranteed compliance with all commonly used DOT profilograph specifications and test methods.

Software and electronic copy of user’s manual facilitates operational training on desktop computers.

GPS subsystem with profile stations and localized roughness correlated with GPS coordinates.

On-site training and operator certification offered worldwide.

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Profilograph Equipment Configurations

•The CS8500 Profilograph is specified under transportation agency specifications worldwide.

•Complies with ASTM E1274, DOT, FAA and USACE specifications. 

•The original California profilograph under California Department of Transportation Test Method 526. 

•Detachable field housing supplied with a choice of a Toughbook 19 or Toughbook 31 computer.

•More information:
Overview • Photo Gallery
Specifications • Operator Computer

CS8500 California Profilograph

CS8500 Pictures (click to enlarge)

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•The CS8500 Profilograph Upgrade installs the CS8500 operating system onto existing profilograph frame hardware. 

•Completely replaces all electronics and software.

•Complies with ASTM E1274, DOT, FAA and USACE specifications. 

•Detachable field housing supplied with a choice of a Toughbook 19 or Toughbook 31 computer.

•More information:
Overview • Specifications • Operator Computer

CS8500 Upgrade Kit

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•The CS8550 Bridge Profilograph is specifically designed for surface ride quality testing of bridge structures.

•Complies California Department of Transportation Test Method 547. 

•Detachable field housing supplied with a choice of a Toughbook 19 or Toughbook 31 computer.

•More information:
Overview • Specifications • Operator Computer

CS8550 Bridge Profilograph

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•The ProScan Automated Profilograph Trace Scanning System scans manual profilograph traces and creates a digitized file that can be post-processed with SSI’s Profiler data analysis software. 

•100% self-contained collection system. Hook up, calibrate, and collect data within minutes.

•Adjustable air suspension. 

•Internal storage.

•System operated by Toughbook in tow vehicle.

•Works as a lightweight or high speed profiling system depending on tow vehicle.

•Wide-footprint lasers for improved testing of concrete or diamond ground pavements.

•More information (see below):


ProScan Product Information

The ProScan is an automated profilogram scanning and software system. It is a widely accepted system as an alternative method of automatically reducing manual Profilograph traces to determine profile indices and defect stations on paving projects.  There are numerous systems already in place in many state DOT's and construction companies, and many states have certified this system for use on highway construction products.

How it works:

  1. The computer controlled paper transport unit automatically advances the profilogram trace to the scanner.
  2. The ProScan system scans the trace, divides it into 1/10-mile (or any length) segments, and saves it on the computer hard drive.  System can combine scans of left and right wheel path data on a single report (displays two traces, PRIs per wheel path and average).
  3. The results are printed out on the accepted PRI form for each state using English or metric units.

Top view of ProScan in action

Side view of Connections (PS/2, Power, Serial)

The ProScan system includes:

  • Logitech ScanMan Model 32 hand scanner to capture data
  • Software to track profilogram trace - ignores stray marks, smoothes jagged signals, and fills small gaps in trace
  • Enhanced program that calculates PRI values, records a collection of segments on disk, and generates a standard DOT smoothness report.
  • Computer controlled paper transport unit to automate and speed the scanning process
  • Optional Panasonic Toughbook rugged computer with touchscreen controls

Advantages of the ProScan over manual operation:

  • Faster (15 mph vs 1-1.5 mph)
  • Easier (less skill required)
  • Accurate (provably correct results)
  • Digitize data capture disk record
  • Instant reanalysis (using different specifications)
  • Automatic report generation
  • Data Integrity (encrypted data file)

Advantages of the ProScan over other systems:

  • Lower cost
  • Existing profilograph equipment used
  • Original paper profilogram exists (before being massaged by a program)
  • More complete reports generated
  • Data may be reanalyzed in seconds
  • Computer not subjected to weather extremes
  • Never runs out of gas!

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Surface Profile Measurement System:

•Meets or exceeds agency specifications, including ASTM E1274, USACE, FAA, FHWA T504, California Department of Transportation Test Method 526 (road profilograph), and CalTrans Test Method 547 (bridge profilograph) and other common DOT profilograph specifications.

•Optical encoder-based horizontal and longitudinal profile measurement system.

•SSI proprietary micro-controller based data collection electronics for data collection.  Internal electronics manufactured by SSI (serial RS232 interface).

•Embedded GPS receiver supplied with SSI data collection electronics (with GPS position integrated with profile stationing).

•Bidirectional data collection (reversible steering).

•Patented dual track data collection enables dual wheel path profile traces on a single report.

Data Collection and Analysis Software:

•Microsoft Windows user interface software programs (platform neutral--XP/7).

•SSI Custom Surface Profile Data Collection and Reporting Software:

•Computer instructed profilograph calibration and data collection programs.

•Real time must-grind bump/dip audible (alarm sounds throughout defects).

•Moving Average or Butterworth data filtering with adjustable parameters.

•Outputs Profile Ride Index (PRI) and International Roughness Index (IRI) 

•On-screen viewing of profile traces PRI results, and defect locations. 

•Raw data files can be reanalyzed with different data analysis parameters.

•Menu-driven calibration routines for distance and height measurement systems.

•Variable blanking band (adjustable after data collection; e.g. 0.0 or .2”)

•Adjustable "must-grind" bump or/and dip locator; length of grind estimates provided.

•Data analysis parameters adaptable to all common agency specifications.

•Patented dual profile trace data acquisition and reporting.

•Collect and analyze data in English or metric.

•Guaranteed to meet or exceed agency specifications and certification requirements


•Length:  25' (7.62m) frame for road profilograph.  12' (3.66m) for bridge profilograph

•Width (approximate):  1 foot, 6 inches (frame), 3 feet (wheels)

•Overall height (approximate):  3 feet.

•Weight:  25’ frame:  300lbs pounds (approximate).

•Weight:  12' bridge profilograph frame, 8 wheels:  175 pounds (approximate).

Operating Speed:

•3 mph (walking speed); not to exceed 5-7 mph if towed or propelled.  CS8500 has no suspension, so excessive speed can damage hardware and introduce measurement errors.

Operator Computer:

•Panasonic Toughbook notebook PC operator interface computer with Touchscreen controls.  Microsoft -Windows 7 operating system and compatible software applications.  See below for additional specifications.

•Equipped for easy storage and electronic transfer of data files for viewing on desktop computers. 

•Licenses for SSI profiling system software supplied for notebook and desktop computer usage.

Operator Control Housing:

•Customized weather-resistant, portable housing for on-board computer, printer and data collection system components.

•Field of office use for viewing/printing profile traces and reports.

•On-Board custom thermal printer (4" paper width; continuous feed).

•Power assisted paper take-up automatically spools lengthy strip traces.

•Power supply by battery or gasoline engine generator; AC power source for office use available.

Profilograph Frame/Steering Design:

•All frame components professionally designed according to structural engineering standards for maximum rigidity, stability and cross-wind passage; aluminum frame sections assemble heel-to-toe in minutes with quick-release, locking clamps.

•Center section:  8' x 1'-3" x 2'-1" with centered measurement wheel for profile measurement recorded by angular displacement (height) and longitudinal encoder sensors.

•2-end sections (25' machine only):  8.5' x 1'-3" x 2'-1.”

•12 wheel profilograph: 6 offset-mounted 6" caster wheels per end, staggered 4 and 2, wheel chassis width:  2'- 8.5."

•4 or 8 wheel profilograph:  frame mounted 6 or 10" wheels; wheel chassis width: 2'- 8.5".

•Bi-directional; duplicate steering system at each end of profilograph; lockable quick-release tie-rod assemblies independently adjustable to multiple wheels.

Patented Technology

•The CS8500 system includes functionality and features that are protected by patent claims allowed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on SSI technology for road surface smoothness testing.  Please contact SSI for further patent or other technical information.   

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SSI is a Panasonic Toughbook TP3 distributor for the construction and transportation industries. A military specification fully rugged Toughbook computer is supplied standard with all SSI lightweight profiling systems.  The touch-screen controls allow for safer one-person operation of the profiling system.  The user can choose between the Toughbook 19 or Toughbook 31 models, configured as follows:

Toughbook 31 Toughbook 19

Typical Configuration:

Intel Core i5-540M 2.53GHz processor with vPro

13.1" XGA Touch Screen

250GB Shock Mounted Removable Hard Drive

2GB RAM (expandable to 8GB)

Intel WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth

Multiple Ports (DB-9, USB, Ethernet, (SD Memory Card)

Windows 7 Professional

Toughbook Preferred Warranty

Typical Configuration:

Intel Core i5-2520M 2.50GHz processor  with vPro

10.1" TF+XGA Dual Touch Screen with Tilt/Swivel

320GB Shock Mounted Removable Hard Drive

4GB RAM (expandable to 8GB)

Intel WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth

Multiple Ports (DB-9, USB, Ethernet, SD Memory Card)

Windows 7 Professional

Toughbook Preferred

Numerous additions and accessories are available for the Toughbook, including wide area wireless broadband (ATT, Sprint, Verizon, etc.), embedded GPS, backlit keyboards, desktop port replicators and more. Detailed Toughbook computer specifications can be viewed on SSI's Toughbook Computer web page. 

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For Additional Information Use This Form or Call (800) 662-5656

Downloads: Brochures:

CS8500 Profilograph
CS8500 Profilograph Upgrade
CS8550 Bridge Profilograph



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All rights reserved.

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307 Plymate  Manhattan, KS  66502

Phone: 800.662.5656

Outside USA: 415.383.0570