Brown and Palmer combine on chute innovation
There are a handful of tasks every ITD maintenance shop gets intimately familiar with each year -- sealing roadway cracks is on that short list. Dave Palmer and Gerry Brown in District 1 have made the task easier and more efficient.
Starting with the stationary chute made at the factory, the duo had the idea to adapt it to have a tilting function, to move side-to-side in a 180-degree arc, and created a longer and narrower directional arm for more precise placement of the patching material. It can be installed or removed easily, with just two pins attaching the new chute to the factory one.
Gerry Brown, a welder in D1, fabricated the new contraption from scratch in the main Coeur d’Alene shop. Brown (pictured right) has been honored before for his cost-saving ideas and innovations — he won $500 and was recognized at the Idaho Statehouse for inventing a spring protector for the district’s snowplows.
“It is much more efficient than the old version,” explained Palmer (pictured right, below), the foreman of D1’s Cedars Maintenance shop. “It allows crews to work faster, cover more area, and get off the roads quicker, which directly benefits the taxpaying and traveling public.”
The innovation is estimated to save about $48,000 by reducing the amount of patching material required, and also saving valuable time.
The new chute is tapered and extends closer to the ground so the hot mix material doesn't cool as much when it is being applied. A swing handle was also installed to give the operator better control while applying the mix to roadway cracks.
District 1 has been able to nearly double their patching output because of the innovation.