Our office team get first-hand experience of road marking
Towards the end of last month, the office team were taken to the site of the Captain Digby in Broadstairs, Kent for a familiarisation day to learn about the road marking materials that are used by the company on a daily basis.
The office team are often asked about what products best suit different surfaces. Without previous experience many of the questions that arise can be challenging! The idea for a “Familiarisation Day” came from the belief that there is no better way to gain knowledge than through experiencing things first hand. The objective was to familiarise the whole team with what goes on beyond the office walls.
The Thorley Taverns kindly offered us multiple locations in which to host the day but there was location which was perfect for our intentions, and that was the Captain Digby. The Captain Digby was the right location due to a range of different surface types on site which was great as it meant that the team could get to understand a range of products and the method in which they are installed.
The team learnt each step of the process for road marking by doing it themselves. An area of the car park was sectioned off, for them to install parking bays, arrows and letters. As with every crew that visits a site, a “tool box” talk was required to highlight the potential hazards. This included any steep slopes, trip hazards as well as the safety precautions needed when using extremely hot objects and materials. Once this had been completed and all questions were answered it was time for the team to have a go at installing an arrow head. Due to thermoplastic being tricky to handle when first learning, so it was decided to perfect the teams technique first by using glass beads to simulate the pouring and manoeuvring of material.
Prior to being let loose the group were walked around the lorry to see the different components that make up a road marking vehicle. They were also shown how the thermoplastic is melted in the boiler to a certain temperature depending on the type of works. One thing that came up was that no one realised that the pouring jugs and moulds had to be constantly heated to prevent the thermoplastic hardening too quickly.
Everyone was eager to commence installing the arrow for real now and armed with a pouring jug, a hand mould and straight edge each pair took it in turns. Naturally, each group were committed to creating the perfect arrow and that was shown in the results with 4 fantastically tidy clean edged arrows. More importantly, they now had the knowledge of how and when thermoplastic is used from start to finish.
Next was the use of a paint machine to install parking bays on the concrete surface. Due to concrete being very smooth and the lack of bitumen, thermoplastic struggles to bond with the surface. The team all had a go at using the paint machine with everyone succeeding in creating a lovely straight-lined parking bay. One thing that everyone remarked on was the concentration and touch needed to keep the machine rolling straight. Preventing the machine from following the contours of the surface was a much greater struggle than they realised, only made harder by the weight of the machine.
We asked Karen, Office Manager, her thoughts on the day.
“The product familiarisation day has been really successful. All the staff were very enthusiastic to take part and we had the chance to see first-hand how road markings are installed as well as the removal process using a lance. It was interesting to see the everyday workings of a crew and vehicle. We have now experienced laying thermoplastic markings using both moulds and a paint machine of which were both fun to try and showed us how the crews make a difficult and skilled job look so easy! We came away not only with a new-found wealth of knowledge to help us within our own roles but also respect for just how tricky the crew’s job is. It has been suggested we have a follow up day to study road stud installation and the workings of the huge multi-mark machines which has fired up the Office Staff all over again!”
To end the day Thorley Taverns kindly invited the office staff to the Charles Dickens in Broadstairs where Karen, held a debrief of the day over a fantastic meal and drinks. A massive thank you must go out to Thorley Taverns for offering their locations to us for our familiarisation day, the admin team did a fantastic job in reinstating new arrows and making the Captain Digby car park looks its best once more.
You can see the finished product below. Keep your eyes peeled for what the future has in store for the Hi-Way office team as there is a possibility they’ll be set free in a multi mark machine on a motorway near you in the next stage of their learning experience!