Materials testing in the digital world

08/08/2019

Materials testing is a part of the highways industry that arguably still isn’t benefiting enough from technological advances. There are still technicians on site carrying out testing in hazardous situations, interacting with plant, hot material and road user site incursions.

Most records are collected on paper or, at best, by tablet computer and most results are referenced by chainage rather than GPS, limiting opportunities for inclusion of data into asset management systems.

Highway Data Systems (HDS), the company behind the award-winning automated quality assurance (AQA) system, are addressing these issues through eLoad+.

How does it work? Building on eLoad.

eLoad is the ticket delivery system at the core of eLoad+. It takes a feed directly from the asphalt plant so that, as soon as a paper consignment note (commonly referred to as a ticket) is issued, the HDS server is also sent a digital copy. eLoad then sends this information to a tablet that is fixed to the back of a paver so that site operatives can see that material is on its way.

To indicate that a load of material has been unloaded, operatives click the corresponding vehicle registration number plate. This drops a GPS marker which can be used with chainages to create an accurate record of where material has been laid.

eLoad+ has further built-in tools that help operatives keep track of the amount of material dispatched and laid.

Eurovia trialled the eLoad+ system on the A414 in Hertfordshire as part of a package of measures they are exploring to digitise activities across their businesses.

Justin Willis, machine foreman, said: 'For me, eLoad+ allowed us to keep the paving machine laying at a constant speed knowing that further loads of asphalt were on their way but not yet on site. We had clear visibility of the batching plant despatch times using eLoad+ so we could get a real time picture of the whole works process and could plan our works to suit – very user friendly, as well as minimising waste on site.'

Beyond ticket delivery – eLoad+

HDS developed the eLoad system with functions around the ticket delivery system. While eLoad is a great tool for the management of ticket deliveries, laying records requires a greater amount of information.

In order to meet the additional need, eLoad+ has pages where laying record information can be entered. Each gang using the eLoad+ system is given a calibrated temperature probe and appropriate usage training. When operatives have indicated that a load has been discharged, eLoad+ requests a material delivery temperature, material rolling temperature, as well as start and end chainages for each load of material

Lane and layer can be clearly indicated as well as other comments and the information is immediately uploaded into the HDS server and recorded on the tablet as well for site reference:

This is a full standard laying record, which ensures accuracy and speed of reporting through using digital technology.

It also can remove the need to have a materials technician on site, exposed to potential hazards.

Toby Pyper, southern area director for Tarmac said: 'Tarmac is leading the way in the adoption of a range of digital tools and technologies which are driving efficiency and productivity.

'We're pleased to be working with our partners, Highway Data Systems, and our clients to develop a system that improves site safety by eliminating the risk of having technicians on surfacing sites. eLoad+ is a really innovative way of managing the materials asphalt compliance testing process and we are looking forward to progressing with it further.' 

Measurements of surface macrotexture and surface regularity are improved through using HDS’ laser survey systems.

Surveys are conducted at traffic speed within 3-5 days of laying operations, removing the need to have technicians conducting potentially hazardous testing with glass beads or the rolling straight edge.

Commenting on the A414 trial for Eurovia, Paul Kidd, technical director for Eurovia Contracting, said: 'We are constantly striving to deliver innovative and sustainable ways of working. eLoad+ allowed our Foreman to plan and control resurfacing works in line with asphalt deliveries.

'The trial helped to minimise the number of stop/starts during the laying process, the number of unnecessary joints which improved the overall quality and rideability of the finished surface. This system provides real-time factual data and speeds up communication between asphalt plants and machine gangs. The real benefit was improved decision making on site, and more accurate and timely reporting for our clients.'

Highways jobs

Senior Structures Engineer

Kent County Council
£33,678 per annum
We are looking to recruit a Senior Structures Engineer to provide engineering support for maintenance of highway structures, liaising and... Kent
Recruiter: Kent County Council

Contracts and Strategy Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
The Directorate of Communities & Environment prides itself on the service it provides to the residents of Royal Greenwich. We are looking to recruit s England, London, Greenwich
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Regeneration Delivery Manager - Heritage Action Zone

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
(Fixed Term Opportunity until March 2024)Woolwich town is undergoing a period of intensive regeneration with huge investment in new housing, transport England, London, Woolwich
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Local Engineer

Birmingham City Council
£27,741 - £34,728
The Senior Local Engineer role is to provide technical service at senior level to Local Engineering teams Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Traffic & Transportation Engineer

Conwy County Borough Council
£41,881 - £44,863 per annum
You should have a degree or diploma in civil engineering or other relevant discipline, and extensive experience in... North Wales
Recruiter: Conwy County Borough Council

Principal Development Co-ordinator

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 + 12% MRS
Leading on the review of Major Development Proposals. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Highways Development Management (HDM) Manager

Gloucestershire County Council
£53,445.00 - £58,008.00 + MRS
To oversee all aspects of Highways Development Management from pre application discussions to road adoption. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Principal Development Engineer

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 + 12% MRS
You will be responsible for undertaking design audit of third party developer works under Section 38 and 278 of the Highways Act 1980. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Environment

Southwark London Borough Council
Up to £136,000
A fairer future for all A fairer future for all Southwark, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Southwark London Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Southwark London Borough Council
Up to £136,000
A fairer future for all Southwark, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Southwark London Borough Council

Parks Development Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636 per annum
You will work with community groups, organisations, ward members, residents and colleagues in order to... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Head of Infrastructure & Facilities

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
circa 100k
We are seeking a Head of Infrastructure & Facilities to lead the strategic management of the service in a unique and exciting opportunity for a... Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire
Recruiter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Senior Professional and Technical Officer – Project Manager

Bristol City Council
£32,910 - £34,728
We are seeking to appoint a Project Manager, to work in the Transport Service, to help support the delivery of the above plans. Bristol
Recruiter: Bristol City Council

Policy Advisor – The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN)

Department for Transport
£37,803
Look to the sky for a great career opportunity Woking, Surrey
Recruiter: Department for Transport

Skilled Road Worker (TRR)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,025 - £31,536 depending on knowledge, skills and experience
Do you want to be part of a supportive team and use an innovative method of working on the highway? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Executive Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,025 - £34,479 depending on skills
Are you looking for an opportunity within a friendly and supporting team? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Director of Transport & Sustainability

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£93,098 - £102,841
This dynamic role will see you provide strategic leadership to our transport strategy Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highways Customer Communications Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£27,741 to £30,451
We are looking for a strong communicator to join our Highways Team in Boroughbridge.   Boroughbridge, York
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Street Cleaning Operative / Driver

Barnet London Borough Council
Competitive Salary
We are looking for hard working, motivated, reliable people to join our team. Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Barnet London Borough Council

Senior Network Support Engineer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£36,600 - £49,600 per annum
We are looking for an experienced Senior Networks Support Engineer to provide up to date... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Shell celebrates 100 years of bitumen
  • Why we need to be more strategic about safety
  • Major reforms aim to close cycling gap
View the latest issue

Latest Video