Purchasing the robot is phase one of our plan to automate considerable amounts of the risky work we currently undertake, which is mostly repetitive work with a lot of traffic exposure, such as road intersection painting. Currently we are just getting used to the technology and testing it on various parts of the business, including reseals, new work (including complex designs) and minor remarking. We intend to use the robot with the Downer Mobile Mapper technology, which is building a comprehensive database of New Zealand's roading network.
Marking is traditionally a very basic business, with much of our equipment predominantly unchanged for the last 20 years, so when we introduce new technology, we need to find a champion for it. In the case of the robot, it means having to learn new technology and to be trained up in areas such as surveying and other compatible technical equipment. The champion then trains and supervises the use throughout the country. So the biggest challenge for the team is finding that champion and ensuring we allow enough time and support to make the ongoing implementation successful.
Solution / outcomes
We found someone in Auckland who was keen to take it on. I spoke to our managers and said do we have anyone? They put the word out, and Cecile Fleming, our Roadmarking Coordinator came back and said she was really keen to take on the role as champion.
One of the things that we've introduced recently is the new technology to all our staff, and they were very impressed, and excited to see how the robot would help them in their jobs. At the moment we're just testing our limitations for the technology. We are testing it out on reseals, car parks and on traditional remarks to see if it's accurate and economic enough for us to be able to use, without requiring boots on the ground. Our Temporary Traffic Management (TTM )is onerous, especially where it involves pedestrian machines, so the more we can automate these processes, the better, safer and more productive we will be.
The addition of robots is not to reduce our workforce, but to add opportunity for growth, which is scalable and increases safety for all of our people.
With Downer's mobile mapper we can combine our two internal technologies, and instead of having to survey everything manually, or get external help, we can actually download the specific line marking files and then automatically reinstate markings.
If you want to know more, please contact Mike Moore - National Road Marking Manager on 021431227