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Motorway Maintenance Done Right: Investing to Innovate

Just over five years ago, Thermal Road Repairs set out to solve the problem of failing longitudinal joints on motorways. We did just that and more, developing technology to also tackle potholes and failed utility reinstatements with the subsequent aim to help contractors get joints right the first time.

Keep reading to see an overview of how we did this and the positive impact the technology we’ve developed has had in the industry.

Thermal road repair

Motorway Repairs: The Key Issues

In the UK, we tend to lay one lane at a time when creating motorways, using various sealants on the joints to keep them together. However, this often comes with its failures and leads to joint repairs frequently being needed.

Here at Thermal Road Repairs, we came up with the solution to tackle this issue. Our idea was to create a unit that reheats the asphalt on either side of a failing joint, allowing the two to mix and create a strong bond.

Whilst our first attempt at this was effective at heating failing joints along the M62, we soon realised that the original machine we had created was far too big and bulky, having to arrive by low loader and taking an hour to set up. Thankfully, we were able to tinker with our original design and create a solution with two neater heater units mounted on the side of a van, which is driven along the road joint at a speed of between 2 and 3 metres per second.

Pothole discovery

Whilst we were working through the necessary approvals our technology needed, our team discovered a second application that quickly overtook the original one in volume: pothole repairs.

We collaborated with key clients and partners to design and build a vehicle to carry the heater, materials and equipment needed to maximise outputs in this type of repairs.

Our resulting system uses a thermal infrared heater to heat up failed and failing material in a pothole and the surrounding asphalt. The existing material is then mixed with a small quantity of new asphalt and compacted into place, creating a strong bond between the infill and existing material that prevents the pothole from re-forming.

Getting it Right First Time

The success of our technological developments has also had the added benefit of birthing a new process for trench reinstatements ensuring that they don’t fail, which we’ve optimised with the help of two utility company partners we’ve teamed up with.

Although there are no official statistics, approximately 20% of all trench reinstatements done in the UK fail. To drive this number down, we’ve worked with our partners to develop our ‘Right First Time’ protocol, which sees that the joints of road trenches are heated at the right time and temperature so that the replacement and existing materials become one strong layer.

At Thermal Road Repairs, we recognise the importance and appetite for low carbon solutions. That’s why, although our system produces zero waste and already reduces carbon emissions by over 80% compared to traditional methods, we are continuing to work on our ‘green technology’ in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint of its applications even further.

Are you a contractor looking for systems that improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving? Reach out to us here at Thermal Road Repairs. We are always investing time and money into creating new technologies and to continuously improve our existing solutions.

Get in touch today to learn more about the applications of our systems and how they can help you.

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