If you could double the productivity of your striping crew, cut your labor costs, and increase job profits, would you do it?
Well, what are you waiting for?
Manufacturers say if you equip your walk-behind striper with a tractor that enables you to drive around the parking lot doing everything from layout to striping you will see productivity gains you have only dreamed about.
Possibly the biggest innovation in the striping industry since the airless machine, these "driver" add-ons (and a new self-contained machine) might take a little getting used to, but manufacturers say once you and your crew use them, you'll wonder how you survived so long without them. So whichever approach you select, select one of them because contractors and manufacturers alike say motorizing your walk-behind striping machine is the single biggest impact you can make on your striping productivity.
"They simply allow you to go a lot faster on the job," says Mark Malloy of Airlessco, which markets the Ride & Stripe option for its walk-behind line. "Contractors tell us they experience somewhere between 33% and 40% more productivity when using the Ride & Stripe, especially late in the day when workers are tired."
And that improvement estimate is on the low end of the spectrum.
Analyzing the job
Introduced to a skeptical industry by Fine Line Industries in 1996, the LazyLiner was the first driver introduced to propel a walk-behind striper. It was followed soon after by Graco's LineDriver. Fine Line Industries' Bill Neuling says they proved the need for a propelled striper to themselves when they analyzed videotapes of their crew at work on several large parking lot striping jobs.
"It became very clear very quickly that the crew is only putting down paint 20% of the time," Neuling says. The rest of the time they're going to get paint and supplies. There was a lot of walking, and not walking to put paint down, but you're only getting paid when paint hits the ground."
Steve Richey, who owns Accurate Striping, developed his Accurate Striper integrated ride-on machine after one day where he striped 17 miles of pavement pushing his striper in 100°F heat.
"That makes for one long day and we just figured there has to be a better way," Richey says.
So his company introduced the Accurate Striper to the market at the 2006 National Pavement Expo West show last November.
"This machine gets the operator off the hot asphalt, which is baking under the sun all day and will fatigue anybody, especially by two in the afternoon when they've been working all day. They're bound to slow down, so this machine helps them be more productive over all but also helps them be more productive at the end of the day because they're less tired."
Fred Hannah, owner/president of ZMI, manufacturer of Utility Driver, who also runs Hannah Asphalt Services, a Greensboro, NC, full-service pavement maintenance firm, developed the Utility Driver because he got tired of pushing a blower around parking lots before sealcoating.
"I needed something to help push, so this was initially built for blowers," he says. "But any striping machine that can be used with any other ride-on machine can be used with the Utility Driver."
Differences and similarities
There are two different approaches to this type of equipment. One approach, which includes the Ride & Stripe, the LineDriver, the LazyLiner2, and the Utility Driver, relies on equipment that is basically "drivers" or "tractors." These tractors, attached to stripers by a basic trailer hitch, convert walk-behind equipment to propelled units a contractor can ride on.
The LazyLiner2, for example, is an upgrade over the original machine and features electric start, a Honda 5 ½-hp engine, a 5-qt. hydraulic system, and an impact protection bar that protects the valve cover, muffler, carburetor, and other engine components. The LazyLiner2 features one or two-foot operation with fully adjustable pedals, and storage is available beneath the seat for smaller items such as chalk, tape, and extra spray tips.