Just One Minute
How does spray injection patching lead to greater efficiency, production and profit? The key stems from the speed and efficiency of these machines.
Although it involves four steps, the spray injection process provides a faster option because the entire method is mechanized. Because repairs can be completed from inside the cab, the operator doesn’t waste precious minutes entering and exiting after each job. There is also no equipment with which to hassle, translating into time saved from unloading and loading at the site of each new pothole. Finally, cones, arrow boards and other safety precaution items need not be set up, as traffic can continue, uninterrupted while a pothole is being repaired.
Additionally, the entire repair job can take just one minute from start to finish – making it up to four times faster than traditional methods. Increased productivity means more potholes repaired with less interruptions to traffic all resulting in happier motorists. But speed reflects only one factor in overall efficiency. The other is labor savings.
One Man Show
Unlike other methods, spray patching truly is a successful one-man show. While other methods require six laborers subjected to a time-intensive and grueling job, one worker and one machine can easily handle a spray patching job from start to finish. Less manpower means fewer workers to pay and a lower-cost repair – all equaling a strong ROI on the equipment purchase.
But benefits exist beyond dollar savings. With the number of required laborers reduced to one, the remaining five crew members are free to be utilized on other projects. More projects completed with the same amount of laborers translates into a huge productivity benefit. And let’s face it, who isn’t being stretched to do more with less?
Another consideration that adds up, especially over time, is material savings. Between excess mix waste and required equipment, total material costs are often a downfall of traditional patching methods.
The mix used in spray injection patching is a combination of aggregate and emulsion. Traditional methods typically use either hot-mix asphalt or a pre-blended, pre-bagged mix. Several years ago, the price of spray injection mix was significantly lower than alternatives. However, oil prices have since pushed up the price of emulsion, and today the three mix types are closely priced. The greatest factor affecting costs really boils down to the most economical use of material.
Hot-mix asphalt, typically used in two common styles of patching, is the ideal choice over cold-mix in terms of patch quality and longevity. The heat allows a stronger, longer-lasting bond to be formed between the mix and existing asphalt. The drawback of hot-mix is that it must be kept at its optimum temperature, at all times, to remain usable. If hot-mix loses its ideal temperature, it becomes worthless and must be discarded.
Hot-mix has no shelf life and can’t be reused from one day to the next. At the end of a workday, any leftover material must be thrown out. Similarly, pre-mixed aggregate, used in more basic patching techniques, doesn’t store well and isn’t reusable. Any material left at the end of a workday ends up as waste. This can be a huge cost drain if workers improperly calculate material needs or an emergency interrupts the planned projects.
Because spray patch material is mixed just before it’s sprayed down, the process produces minimal waste. At the end of the day, there’s no concern of wasted mix. Therefore, though the initial material costs remain the same, eliminating any chance of wasted material significantly reduces operating costs.
But beyond mix, another material cost worth considering is equipment used during the repair process. Simple repair methods use simple equipment like shovels and rakes, while more complex techniques require complex machines like plate compactors and asphalt pavers. The spray injection method utilizes one machine – a spray patcher. No additional equipment means less time spent on cleaning and maintenance, not to mention eliminating the large initial equipment investment.