Two types of heaters are available: A single-orifice burner on the side of the tank and a burner ring beneath the tank. M-B Companies uses two single jet burners beneath the tanks. The traditional approach has been the burner ring beneath the unit, which has worked well for years. The side port has one opening through which the flame is projected at the tank; the ring burner has multiple orifices that shoot the flame at the tank from below.
Cost of the entire operation
As with any piece of equipment, cost is a consideration. But manufacturers stress that contractors need to consider the entire cost of the operation, not just the cost of a handliner.
"If I'm an owner, cost is important; there's no doubt about it," Waxler says. "But at the same time I want to be able to give my man something to operate and something that will pay me back as an owner. You have to look at productivity and keeping the equipment in the field. You have to look at the cost of the entire operation."
"Safety, Safety, Safety"
Thermoplastic material is heated to roughly 400°F before it is placed on the pavement, and in addition to installation the process involves transferring gallons of molten material from melters to the handliner. So manufacturers stress that safety procedures must be established, followed, and closely monitored throughout the operation.
"Safety, safety, safety is paramount," says MRL's Steve Shinners.
Manufacturers provide a detailed set of safety guidelines, which include wearing a face shield when loading material, wearing heat-resistant gloves any time you're working around the material, and always wearing long sleeves. "You can't just brush it off if it gets on your skin," Shinners says. MRL recommends a cooler full of ice water on site so if a worker does get some material on him he can plunge his hand or arm into the cooler to immediately stop the heat before seeking medical attention.
One or Two Handliners?
Manufacturers agree contractors need to decide how deeply they're going to get involved in thermoplastic applications before buying their handliners. The type of work will determine the volume of material you'll be working with and also whether you'll be doing a significant amount of work in white and yellow markings.
Marvin Mayle says most material put down by handliners is white. But if you will be working regularly in both colors - if you will be working a lot for municipalities, for example - buy two kettles, and possibly two handliners.
MRL Equipment's Cody Irons says almost all contractors who buy kettles buy two - one for white material and one for yellow material. Markings are common in both colors so it makes sense to have both available on the job. "If you have to change machines out there it's pretty easy to put down yellow in a machine that had white, but putting down white from a machine that contained yellow is very difficult," says MRL's Steve Shinners.