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Tue November 24 2020

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Safety fears drive paving contractor to automate data gathering

23 Apr 18 Aggregate Industries’ Contracting Division has automated the process of inspecting and testing materials on its road paving jobs.

Aggregate Industries is automating inspection and testing
Aggregate Industries is automating inspection and testing

The company says that automating the data gathering system eliminates substantial risks to human safety from the road surfacing process.

Aggregate Industries plans to roll out its Automated Inspection & Testing (AIT) system by fitting all of its pavers, rollers and survey vehicles with GPS technology, infra-red sensors and a data recording unit. By capturing data in this way – before, during and after the surfacing process – it removes the need for human technicians to put themselves at risk. The initiative follows several serious incidents across the industry in recent years, including fatalities.

Neil Leake, national technical manager at Aggregate Industries, said: “Traditionally, the road surfacing process requires at least one or two technicians with each surfacing gang, working manually to gather and record data on everything from material temperatures to ride profile. During this task, technicians are not only exposed to the dangers of working in close proximity to live traffic and construction vehicles but also face a myriad of other risks including lone working and hot material interface.

“By removing the need for technicians in data capture altogether, our AIT system is a new state-of-the-art approach that could potentially save lives - with extensive trials proving it has made the road surfacing process infinitely safer. At the same time, it will also go a long way in plugging the industry-wide skills shortage, as it means data capture operatives can now be redeployed to other contracting areas in urgent need of skilled staff.”

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After consulting with materials and testing firm Mattest Southern, Aggregate Industries formulated the AIT system so that pavers and rollers can be linked together to manage the compaction process, recording the rolling temperature and the number of passes.

The final element of the AIT procedure is surface texture and rolling straight edge testing of the finished pavement, which using laser scanners and video recording can now be completed with improved accuracy and without the need for a human technician. The result is a complete record of the laying process with no risk to employees.

Neil Leake added: “The AIT system has proved to be an incredible success. Following extensive trials to determine the accuracy of the data gathered, we are now using it on a number of contracts and have seen marked improvements in safety across the board whilst at the same time providing enhancing asset management data for our customers that also meets building information management (BIM) compliance.”

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