Sometimes we kill two birds with one stone when working with new, innovative solutions. Who would have thought that a measure to save fuel and reduce emissions would turn out to be such a good tool in improving the working environment and safety? An initiative from Svevia to us at Trysil RMM gave us some surprises, a brand new solution and many useful experiences!
A future oriented request
Every day, work is being carried out on roads and traffic facilities all over the world. One of the very last steps in this process is painting the lines and markings. This is a demanding job where workers are exposed, operating on the road or other places where there is a lot of traffic. The workday is often long, one is exposed to many external stresses in addition to demands related to project completion, as well as unfavorable working hours. Additionally, employees work with large machines that are constantly running, and this is exactly what Svevia wanted to do something about.
Could a solution be found where road marking trucks did not need to be idling, and thus used less fossil fuel?
Initially, the cars that come to a full stop while painting were tackled. These are commonly used for car parks, pedestrian crossings or other markings that are made on a large field. These vehicles are often operated by two people, who typically work on large areas at the same time.
Allowing for solar panels to do the work
Kenth Gulbranson in Svevia says they use a lot of resources to ensure that they reduce their total greenhouse gas emissions, but also maintain a generally small carbon footprint, in terms of the total strain on the environment and surroundings. “When we paint by hand, the paint and equipment must be kept warm. This is done by keeping paint container constantly rotating and in motion, and up until now this has been done with the help of the car’s engine. This is not very sustainable, so our challenge to Trysil RMM was to look into the possibility of running this process with electricity from solar panels mounted on the roof!”
And so it went.
After some testing, five 360W solar panels were mounted on top of the car, along with four 220Ah batteries. Together, these produce enough electricity to keep the paint warm and the car working for 10 hours straight. But no one had thought of what would happen when they started using the car…
A better workday
The obvious fuel saving and emission reduction are of course good enough reasons alone to embark on this project, but no one had thought that it would also contribute to a significant improvement in the working environment for the employees. However, as a consequence of the car no longer needing to idle, it became quiet. Completely still!
“Our employees were completely shocked by the big difference!” Gulbranson is still quite surprised at what this actually means. “They have got a new workday entirely, with far less wear and tear now that they no longer have the sound of the engine constantly in the background, and it has also given them a much safer everyday life!”
Because, when one sound disappears, you get the opportunity to listen to other things; “Now they hear and register the traffic around them much better, which makes them much safer when they work.”
Furthermore, from a sustainability perspective, this adds a dimension that had not been thought of; it is socially sustainable to facilitate a better working environment, which in turn reduces stress and sick days, while increasing overall well-being. “I suspect this new innovation is here to stay!” concludes Gulbranson, while revealing that they have already ordered two more cars.
And to be fair, a better attestation than this is hard to find!