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Robotic pre-marking

Large-scale highways project in the UK using robotic pre-marking

In short

A large-scale highway project in the UK worth more than £600m aims to increase capacity and reduce congestion on the M6. The robotic pre-marker TinyPreMarker was used for 8km of setting out for surface works on the M6 by WJ Group, a UK contractor specialized in temporary and permanent road markings. Their customer Balfour Beatty was selected for the M6 project by Highways England to deliver a Smart Motorways Package.

Highways upgrade project

Launched in 2015, the aim of this £607.4million project is to reduce congestion, increase capacity and ultimately improve journey times for travelers. This is done by upgrading the 22 km stretch (13.6 mile) of the M6 between junction 2 at Coventry and junction 4 near Coleshill by to a Smart Motorway.

When you really think about it, the amount of work that the robot can get through in a couple of hours is absolutely incredible.
TinyPreMarker robotic pre-marking able to pre-mark 30 km per shift.

Increased productivity, accuracy and safety

After road construction and before permanent markings, the TinyPreMarker robot was used for 8km of setting out for surface works on the M6 junctions 2-4. The temporary pre-markings were completed using the built-in GNSS technology and control tablet.

Among the benefits highlighted by the crew and engineers were increased productivity, greater accuracy of the road markings, a reduced margin for human error and increased safety on the job. The operators were able to control and supervise the pre-marking works from a safe distance which allowed for a minimal people/plant interface and fewer disruptions to traffic during the construction phase.

1,5 days work completed in 2 hours

During similar construction projects in the UK on the M1, M4 and M60, the pre-marking robot has proven its efficiency by completing in 2 hours what would normally take an engineer approximately a day and a half. Customers of WJ, including Colas, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try have all experienced the high efficiency of the TinyPreMarker and how it improves project execution and productivity in large-scale road construction projects.

This increase in productivity is of great significance for road construction companies who are typically working with very strict deadlines between the different stages of a construction project, not least due to shifting conditions such as the weather. Therefore, completing pre-markings quickly and accurately in order to progress to permanent markings and provision of traffic engineering facilities is of great importance to construction companies.

M6

J2, Mosgrave On Sowe

Engineers on the job

Engineers, site agents and road operatives were all involved in the pre-marking stage of the project where Balfour Beatty and WJ collaborated to set out 8 km for surface works on the M6 J4-J2.

Site agent Maciej Kozlowski commented: “My engineers were absolutely astonished with the robot, setting that out would have taken both of them a week.”

Robotic pre-marker marking temporary lines on new concrete during highways construction project

Added value of robotic pre-marking

WJ Group offer pre-markings as a service to road construction companies such as Balfour Beatty. As a service-provider, they see the pre-marking robot working in many different situations and projects. Their experience is very clear when evaluating the added value of the robot:

“It really is quite something to witness the robot carrying out the task at hand. The efficiency of the whole operation is absolutely incredible and to see this innovation come to life and perform was brilliant”, says David Bayley, WJ Group.

The time savings combined with high accuracy and precision are an essential part of why the robotic pre-marker makes such a big difference for WJ and their customers.

“When you really think about it, the amount of work that the robot can get through in a couple of hours is absolutely incredible. The amount of time this will save us out on the network is huge and enables us to boost the speed of our job, carrying out marking and/or stud installation much quicker,” says Andy Stubbs, WJ Group.

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