Balfour Beatty rolls out automated cone laying machines

Balfour Beatty has become the first construction company in the UK to roll out Automated Cone Laying Machines, a new pioneering technology to reduce the risks associated with cone laying activities across its Highways operations.

Whilst cone laying remains essential to delineate traffic during maintenance works, it also poses one of the biggest risks facing roadworkers and there has been an industry-wide push to try and combat the number of accidents that happen each year.

The new FALCON ACLM® Automated Cone Laying Machines, built on Scania’s low entry L-series chassis will reduce incidents by minimising the time that traffic management operatives spend physically on the road network.

Instead, the vehicle can deploy or collect a cone in under ten seconds, removing the need for operatives to manually lift up to five tonnes of equipment per shift – creating a safer space to work.

After significant project investment from National Highways’ Innovation Designated Funds programme, the FALCON ACLM® Automated Cone Laying Machine, developed and supplied by Highway Care and Switzerland-based technology partner SENN Engineering, has received regulatory acceptance and is being distributed across Balfour Beatty’s Connect Plus Services’ consortium, which operates and manages the M25 and its key arterial routes on behalf of National Highways.

Phil Clifton, Balfour Beatty Managing Director Highways said: “We’re delighted to become the first construction company in the UK to successfully roll out these revolutionary new Automated Cone Laying Machines. This is yet another example of the investment Balfour Beatty has made to transform how we work on our roads, showing that we continue to lead the charge in setting a new standard for safety.

“We hope the machines will radically improve the lives of Highways workers by reducing their direct exposure to a live road environment – demonstrating our commitment to achieving Zero Harm and to sending our people home safe and well every day.”

Martin Bolt, National Highways Head of Lean and Continuous Improvement said: “We are continuously looking at ways to innovate and pioneer new products that improve safety on the road for both road workers and users.

“The Automated Cone Laying Machine takes out the human element in the laborious task of putting out cones as well as eliminating an element of potential risk. It also frees up workers who can be redeployed to other traffic management duties. Working closely with our partners we are proud to have been able to create an innovative vehicle that would make this happen and are delighted to see it now being rolled out by Balfour Beatty.”

Andy Whitmill, CPS Service Delivery Director said: “In limiting the exposure of our workforce to errant vehicles when setting out traffic management on the live carriageway, the Automated Cone Laying Machine is an important new tool in delivering our objective of Zero Harm.

“It also mitigates the possibility of musculoskeletal injuries by removing the manual handling necessary whilst placing and removing cones. The Automated Cone Laying Machine is a further commitment to our strategy to reduce on-site activities, especially in high-risk environments such as traffic management on a high speed road network.”

Ben Duncker, Highway Care Business Development Director said: “We are very excited after three years of development in collaboration with National Highways and stakeholders such as Balfour Beatty and Connect Plus Services, to see the first production vehicles arriving on the M25 network.

“We now look forward to the machines making the desired impact and improving the health, safety and wellbeing of traffic management operatives.”

(Picture – Balfour Beatty)

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