The TinySurveyor robot is the ideal instrument for airport operators and contractors who are looking to reduce maintenance downtime, increase the quality of runway and taxi markings and deliver a safer work environment for airport grounds staff.
New runways and taxiways require a lot of signs and markings before being taken into use, including runway and taxiway numbers, threshold markings, taxiway directions, runway location signs, ending markers, holding positions for aircrafts in taxi etc.
For newly constructed runways and taxiways, this part of the process often requires a lot of time-consuming manual surveying work because of the importance of the quality in these markings. Therefore, setting out markings like runway numbers often involves specialized sub-contractors with land surveying skills who will first set out the pre-markings for the permanent markings, after which the permanent markings will be applied. This is typically done by another contractor specialized in road construction and road marking.
Removing risk for surveyors and operators is always a top priority for anyone involved in airport maintenance, construction and infrastructure. Live traffic, heavy machinery and the scope for human error are always risks that have to be factored into construction and maintenance/refurbishment projects.
Since the robot can be controlled from a distance and work in automatic mode, these risks can now be reduced significantly. Human operators can now be removed from dangerous work environments, allowing managers to increase overall project safety and eliminate dangerous working conditions.
Setting out runway and taxiway numbers often requires a lot of time and manual labor because of the requirements in terms of size, position and quality of the markings. First, the pre-markings are applied according to specific numeral and letter templates used within airport control and management systems. Then the shapes are filled in with paint to ensure the highest possible visibility.
When using the TinySurveyor robot, the operator can use the TinySurveyor app on the accompanying tablet and select which numbers and letters to place and where to place them. The numbers and letters can be placed directly on a background map, after which the robot will start marking.
It is also possible to send CAD data to the robot and have the robot mark out existing data such as shapes, numbers and letters.
Existing templates like rectangles, arrows etc. can be customized directly from the TinySurveyor app on the accompanying tablet. This allows operators to quickly edit/move/scale specific shapes which can be very useful eg. for making temporary information signs and markings during construction or maintenance work.
For an airport, having a closed runway due to scheduled maintenance work can be very costly. Furthermore, re-routing traffic puts extra pressure on other systems of the airport. Reducing downtime is critical.
Based on customer testimonials, The TinySurveyor is able to reduce the time spent on airport markings by a factor five, essentially completing five weeks of scheduled pre-marking in one week. Completing this part of the process faster allows other trades to start working a lot sooner, thereby reducing overall project execution time and cost.
Also, since the robot is able to work at night as well, scheduling around maintenance work becomes very flexible and pre-marking work can be completed a lot faster.
Many airports have existing CAD data and maintenance plans which help ensure that all airport signs and markings are always compliant and sufficiently maintained. This existing data can be transferred to the robot using the TinySurveyor app, allowing the robot to print this data in the real world. This allows land surveyors to focus on more complex tasks such as preparing and quality-assuring the data used, and it allows the permanent markings to be applied much faster.
Experiences from existing airport customers in Europe, America and Asia have proven that this robot can shorten downtime, enhance accuracy/quality, deliver high efficiency gains and provide a safer work environment for surveyors and airport maintenance operators.
There are many ways that airports can benefit from this autonomous robot for airport signs and markings, including efficient large-scale runway and taxiway markings, airport maintenance work, marking numerals and letters etc.