The development of potholes on Indian roads and streets after the monsoons is a common problem. Potholes are holes or patches commonly caused by water seeping into cracks in the roadway during wet and freezing conditions. Potholes are also formed due to poor workmanship, poor mix design or natural deterioration of the road pavement. If not treated properly, it can cause severe damage to vehicles and compromise people’s safety as well as life. The repairing of excavated areas and potholes in roads is known as patching. Patch repair is carried out to remove the holes and non-uniformity of the road to make it uniform.
The correct pothole patch repair is achieved through a combination of material selection and the right machine. The execution of full-depth patching rather than thin-surface patching ensures the roads are safe for commuting and saves on frequent repairs. Recently, at the CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) event, the Minister for Road Transport & Highways in the Government of India, Mr. Gadkari, emphasised the need for developing cost-effective technologies for road construction by using locally available materials to reduce the dependence on cement and steel. The utilisation of sustainable, affordable, and recyclable technologies in the road and highway sector is fast developing the arterial network of the nation. Discussed below are different types of pothole-repairing machines used across India.
Pothole repairing machines
Mobile cold mixer cum paver and patch-fill machine
A “first-of-its-kind” ‘mobile cold mixer cum paver and patch-fill machine’ has been developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) for pothole repairs. The machine can repair 12-15 medium-sized potholes within one hour and is a one-stop solution for roads and highway maintenance. The patch-fill machines are made as part of the ‘Make in India’ movement. This compact and low-cost pothole repair machine uses bitumen emulsion-based cold mix technology and is self-propelled and self-contained. It can be used for cleaning the pothole and compaction of the mix after placing it in the pothole. It is cheaper compared to imported machines, and the manpower cost is one-third that of the manual process. It comes with mechanized operations that require 2 people to fill 12-15 mid-size potholes in one hour.
Automatic Jetpatcher machine
The newer models of automatic Jetpatcher work on an auto-mode module and can also be used during rains but ideally in-between short gaps when rain pauses. A self-sufficient unit with combined resources of a truck, liquid, emulsion tanker, tar, sprayer, roller and compressor, the system is fully automatic, Right from cleaning and drying the pothole, the jetpatcher blows the cold mix onto the pothole at a very high velocity. After effectively filling and sealing it with the aggregate mix, a final layer is applied to fix and level the patch.
Spray-injection patching machine
This type of patching machine utilizes an air-driven system. The nozzle in the machine provides emulsion-coated aggregate with the right amount of emulsion regardless of aggregate size. It can be used to repair bigger as well as smaller potholes in roads, highways, bridges, or parking areas. It includes four basic steps. First, air pressure removes water, dirt and any debris from the pothole. Next, the pothole is sprayed with a coat of liquid asphalt to help ensure a strong bond between the aggregate mix and existing asphalt. Spray injection patching can level rutting, potholes, birdbaths or even chip seal smaller areas. The machine comes with attachments mounted on a track to enable shaping, chiselling removal of damaged asphalt, spray tack coat, spray inject mix, spray of dust and heavy-duty compaction. Modern models are also equipped with dual aggregate hoppers to carry and distribute two different gradations of aggregate.
Combination Crack Sealer and Patcher
The machine performs a dual job of crack sealing and the mastic patch. The machines are designed to heat and apply mastic patch materials for crack filling, bridge deck transitions, deteriorated asphalt and concrete roadways. The machines are to be equipped with diesel heating systems with automatic temperature controls and hydraulically powered heated placing augers. For mast patching, the model uses an innovative patent-pending design to provide contractors and government agencies the flexibility to perform both functions with minimal impact on traffic flow. The machines use locally source specified stone aggregate and polymer-modified asphalts to make a polymer-modified stone matrix patch. It is designed to heat 24,000 lb of mastic material in an 8-hour shift. This machine enables mastic production on-site and on-demand. The machine uses a correct fitted binder that produces aggregate at the correct temperature. It heats the aggregate and binder (sealant) and then it can be used for proportional mixed design as per the need of the project.
There is a need for modern pothole patch repairs machines that can complete the work in minimal time. There are a variety of pothole repair machines available in the Indian market that makes it possible for any interested contractor to match the equipment to the amount of pothole repair work he wants to execute.
Images- https://www.crridom.gov.in/, speedcrafts.com, Neha Infra Services
Analysis of Pothole repairing machines