There were celebrations at Thermal Road Repairs’ HQ in Crewe when the patent for our innovative longitudinal joint repair system arrived in April of 2021. It had taken the team years of hard work and investment to get to this point.
“It’s fantastic to finally receive confirmation that our system is unique – and that it’s protected,” said our director, Aidan Conway, “The patent covers both the technology and the process, which is quite unusual.”
Keep reading to learn more about why this was so significant when it came to modern motorway maintenance.
Our Road Repair Process
Work on the system began all the way back in 2014. At the time, we were talking to Highways England about the problem of failing longitudinal joints. The way we lay joints in the UK is typically one lane at a time, which creates a weak point in the joint between two lanes where cracks and holes can later form.
To tackle this, we invented a machine that heats the material either side of a joint and re-uses any failed or failing materials, lifting and re-mixing these with a small quantity of new asphalt, so that the road surface is bonded homogeneously across the former joint zone.
Standard repair techniques tend to involve excavating a narrow trench and laying new material. This solves the immediate problem, but creates two new joints and potential weak spots as well as generating waste materials to be carted away.
Our system instead reflects our company’s ethos – repairing asphalt with asphalt and eliminating troublesome joints.
Just like our other technologies, the benefits of the longitudinal joint repair system are both financial and environmental. For example,
● Repairs can be carried out at a higher rate, causing less disruption to drivers;
● The joint will not fail again before the whole road surface does, reducing future maintenance intervention costs and the carbon emissions associated with them;
● And, because it recycles existing material, the carbon footprint of the repair work itself is low.
The very first machine was used on the M62 back in 2015 and worked well, although it wasn’t the most convenient, taking an hour to set up and arriving on site on a low loader.
Since that time, we have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds into research and development. The current iteration of our longitudinal joint repair system involves two neat heater units that are mounted on the side of a modified truck that is driven along the joint at a speed of between 2 and 3 metres per minute.
And now, the patent is not our only reason to celebrate. We have since had the opportunity to tackle a number of longitudinal joint repair schemes for a key government client.
Road Repair Contractors You Can Trust
Thermal Road Repairs is a green technology company that supplies systems to improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving – at a far lower environmental cost than traditional methods.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our innovative solutions can meet your needs. We guarantee high output, low emissions and a permanent solution.