How telematics is paving the way for the future of road building

Being able to monitor bitumen temperature in real-time will help save time and money in the long run.
Being able to monitor bitumen temperature in real-time will help save time and money in the long run.

Advancements in telematics technology are paving the way for safer road construction, while increasing operational efficiency, as James (Jim) French, Solutions Specialist at Teletrac Navman, explains.

With more than 800,000 kilometres of public roads across the country, Australia has the ninth largest road network in the world. A great road network doesn’t just help people stay connected with one another, but also plays a crucial role in economic growth.

However, like all great things, our nation’s roads need consistent maintenance and attention.

Creating a new road, or repaving an existing road, is a time-consuming process that creates traffic congestion and diversions in surrounding areas. Thankfully, advancements in technology are paving the way for a smooth and efficient way to maintain our roads.

Not too hot, not too cold

When it comes to paving or repaving roads, one of the most important factors to consider is the temperature of the bitumen. Extreme heat prevents bitumen from properly curing, but if the mixture is too cold, the road will become chipped and cracked in no time at all.

Integrating telematics and temperature sensors into fleet is one way to ensure bitumen is always at the ideal temperature for road paving, as well as being able to monitor it from anywhere. These sensors will pick up on changes to the bitumen temperature and send automated alerts and warnings if it becomes too cool or too hot, so operators can adjust accordingly and ensure bitumen is usable.

According to Jim French, Solutions Specialist at Teletrac Navman, being able to monitor bitumen temperature in real-time will help save time and money in the long run, while also ensuring a high-quality work.

“The last thing you want when you’re about to start paving the road is discovering your bitumen is unusable. This puts a pause on operations as your team races to deliver another fresh batch,” he says. “By being able to monitor your bitumen temperature in real-time, you’ll be able to ensure a smooth operation.”

Even flow

A well-planned and efficient road paving workflow looks a lot like a carefully choreographed ballet, as French observes. It requires several parties to work in unison to help each other achieve their goals.

“First, you have the machines going along the old road, tearing up all the previous bitumen. You’ve got trucks collecting all the torn-up road and dirt, as well as the paving machines, laying down the fresh asphalt. Then you’ve also got the workers around the worksite, controlling the flow of cars, and making sure the operations don’t lead to a bottleneck in traffic,” he says.

“For things to run smoothly, each section needs to work in tandem with the other to keep operations moving. If the truck collecting dirt and waste is full, the site manager needs to have another truck on hand to take the lead – otherwise, it could lead to a halt in operations.”

Considering that a lot of road paving is set around strict time restrictions, like working at night, any stoppage can be detrimental.

“By using smart fleet management solutions, you’ll be able to instantly see where every asset is. With total visibility over the entire fleet, you can use the real-time data to ensure a constant flow of trucks make their way to and from the site without disrupting others. Waste is managed more efficiently, with a new truck ready to take over when the previous one is full,” he explains.

“If you’ve already had to close two out of three lanes, the last thing you want is to block the one free lane with your machinery. Using telematics in road paving fleets prevents traffic from building up, while also enabling managers to direct drivers on the fly to where they’re needed most.”

Road paving is a complicated and time-intensive process, requiring many working parts to come together.

“But with the right technology in your fleet, you’ll be able to ensure smooth and consistent operations and pave roads without hitting any bumps,” says French.

 

This article was originally published in the November edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.


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