New technical solutions are extremely rare. Traditionally, in order to reduce R&D costs manufacturers of road marking machines use analogues, relying on proven solutions from their pioneer competitors. However, these products are not always capable to solve customer problems to the full extent. In such cases, it happens that a request for custom development for a specific client grows into a full-rate product development, and a new interesting product appears on the market. So, a client’s request was received by our Design Department to develop a small manual machine for applying structural markings with cold plastic. At the same time, there were already products on the market that suited the client’s request, but not in full. These were twin products from different European manufacturers. For example, a product from Hofmann, a product from WINTER Markiertechnik GmbH, a product from CMC company. The list of companies producing such a product does not end there, and all of them did not meet the client’s request.
And what were the client’s requirements?
Firstly, the client needed to perform road marking during night-time only, and when working in the urban areas, he created inconvenience for residents due to noisy operation of the air-cooled engine. Residents simply started complaining about impossibility to have a rest during night-time, and conflict situations constantly arose.
Secondly, it was critical for the client to be able to apply a marking line perpendicularly close to the curb. As a rule, these are stop lines.
Thirdly, the client wanted very much to significantly decrease the weight of the machine, since workers loaded/unloaded the machine manually. And with the machine weight of 175 kg, this turned into a problem.
Having analyzed the client’s request, we realized that many clients would face similar problems and decided to launch a full-rate product development. And this is what we got.
Having calculated the actuators torques, it became clear that the machine can be easily pushed by the operator, and the coefficient of adhesion of the wheel to the road surface ensures transmission of rotation. This allowed us to get rid of the internal combustion engine. Accordingly, the problem with the noise from the engine operation has been completely resolved.
Deletion of the engine from the machine design allowed obtaining several more positive effects. Firstly, we have reduced the machine weight to 72 kg. Namely, it was reduced by more than 2 times relative to the analogue. And now this equipment is manually unloaded by two workers without any problems. The machine became much cheaper. Operating costs have been significantly reduced. It saves on fuel, engine maintenance and belt drives.
For example, Honda GX 120 engine consumes 1 liter/hour. With an 8-hour work shift and 150 shifts per year, in total 1,200 liters of fuel per season. Taking into account that in some European countries the price of a liter of gasoline reaches 1.5 euros/liter, then the savings for three seasons are comparable to the cost of the machine itself.
In terms of design, we managed to bring the tray for materials to the very front of the machine that allows for the operator applying marking lines, driving close to the curbs.
Development goals have been achieved. The machine allows painting 10-50 cm wide structural lines with cold plastic with the simultaneous application of reflective glass beads. And clients who use the results of our development are satisfied and give us their positive feedback.