National Road Planing (NRP), Tarmac’s industry-leading road planing contractor, is driving improved productivity on a major highways project with the introduction of a new high performance planer as part of a drive to boost output and lean efficiency.
One of only eight machines in Europe, a 3.8m drum fitted to a Wirtgen cold milling machine W 250i has been used for the first time on the UK strategic road network by the NRP team as part of works in partnership with Kier and Highways England between M6 junction 10 westbound to Junction 2, M54.
The unique machine, which has the capability to remove around 600 tonnes of asphalt per hour – the equivalent of 30 trucks – and plane one full lane width up to 3.8m wide in a single pass, improves the surfacing process and ultimately the rideability of the newly laid asphalt surface for the road user.
Jamie Town, general manager, NRP, said: “The high performance of this machine means that we have the capacity to plane the existing surface quicker, which ensures that our Contracting teams can start laying new asphalt sooner to ultimately reduce disruption for road users and drive efficiency for customers.
“With a need to operate in very tight working windows, we worked in close collaboration with Kier and Highways England to drive efficiency on the project. This required all disciplines to work together, identify where they can save time and embrace lean best practice.”
Mike Holmes, asset delivery manager for Kier Highways, said: “The benefits of the increased productivity of this machine extend beyond efficiency and output. It facilitates a reduction in time taken to resurface the carriageway, which reduces the number of closures benefitting the travelling public as well as improving road worker safety.”
In addition to its efficiency benefits the new planer supports NRP and Tarmac’s commitment to safety with fifty per cent of reversing eliminated and fewer passes reducing potential interactions between people and plant. It’s also fitted with NRP’s innovative high-intensity lights which help teams visualise the ‘5+2 protection zone’ - a five-metre exclusion area in the direction of travel and a two-metre exclusion zone to the side of all plant.
NRP and Tarmac are actively working with partners and the supply chain to consider how people, plant and resources can be safely and efficiently deployed on projects to drive innovation and boost productivity within working windows.