Robot road marker speeds-up work on highways sites

Grant Prior 2 years ago
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A robot road marker is speeding-up work and boosting safety on Highways England sites.

The machine uses precise positioning technology to mark out where white lines need to be painted on new or resurfaced roads.

It has already saved hundreds of hours of working time on Highways England projects including Britain’s biggest road upgrade, the £1.5bn A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement.

It also recently pre-marked eight miles of the M6 in Staffordshire in four hours.

This work would usually take two engineers over a week to complete.

Savings elsewhere include saving 27 hours of working time marking three miles of hard shoulder on the M4 in Berkshire, 77 hours covering five miles of the M6 in Warwickshire, and six hours working on two miles of the M1 in Leicestershire, with further work done on the M60 smart motorway at Manchester.

It also has safety benefits for roadworkers and enables them to focus on completing other essential work on each project.

Julian Lamb, construction director on the A14, said: “We’re always looking at innovative new ways of working, which can help road users, and make our projects more efficient while supporting improved engineering.

“With safety our top priority, the time savings the robot can provide, coupled with removing our operatives from a potentially hazardous situation, make it a great solution.

“We’ve also been working with a self-driving dumper truck on the project, completing trials of these new technologies to help Highways England more deliver its ambitious programme of roads improvement quickly, safely and efficiently.”

Traditionally pre-marking road markings is a time-consuming job, calculating the positioning of the markings and walking several miles to spray or chalk them on the road.

By using the robot, road workers spend far less time in the road and are at less risk of an accident.

Bending down to pre-mark roads by hand can also raise the risk of back injuries. The robot also boasts improved accuracy and can mark the road faster.

The robot has been developed by specialist contractor WJ who have now invested in a second machine.

Wayne Johnston, WJ Group Managing Director, said: “I am passionate about changing the way we work in this industry and the WJ Robotic PreMarker represents a real step change.

“However, it is just a starting point, we will continue to invest in research and development to find better, more efficient and safer ways of working.”

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