The Verdegro Light Truck Mounted Attenuator is giving Sydney-based firm Australian Utilities Management a cost-effective means of servicing small civil jobs quickly and safely.
As a multifaceted civil contractor across Sydney’s diverse CBD area, navigating the tight city streets and bustling roadways has its challenges for Australian Utilities Management.
The Sydney-based business works in road, civil and rail applications, providing expertise in everything from utilities identification and mapping, through to vacuum excavation and civil works.
Because of such a diverse service offering to the New South Wales capital and surrounding region, the company has evolved into a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ to ensure it delivers these varied projects on time, safely and efficiently.
Michael Kelly, who runs Australian Utilities Management with fellow Director Eamonn Maher, says the business began nearly seven years ago focusing on vacuum excavation and subsurface utilities work. It has continued to adapt to an evolving market and customer base since.
“Basically we now cover everything a client could ask of us in the civil space,” Mr. Kelly asserts. Dealing with a range of different project requirements in a variety of urban and suburban applications, for instance, has led the business to provide the traffic control on its own projects.
“We’re not a traffic management firm, so we’d typically hire things like a truck mounted attenuator (TMA) when necessary,” he says.
However, Mr. Kelly says issues of availability can arise quickly when it comes to hiring such in-demand kinds of equipment. “Often, we’d find we couldn’t book just a TMA ourselves without hiring a traffic management crew along with it, so we had to come up with another solution.”
Due to the nature of its service offering, particularly on the smaller scale of the civil sector, the business was seeking an efficient and high quality TMA solution for the long term without breaking the bank.
“We do a lot of investigation-type work for design companies such as Aurecon and Arup, which often requires boring test holes in the road. It’s a real turnkey solution – we close the road, get in and out – and we don’t need a massive TMA to do it,” Mr. Kelly says.
The business had not engaged with Innov8 Equipment previously, but it saw the safety equipment specialists’ Verdegro Light TMA (LTMA) as the right fit for them.
The LTMA is a crash absorber incorporating energy absorbing bars and a galvanised steel support structure, which has been fully tested to 70 kilometres per hour according to the NCHRP-350 TL-2 (2-50/2-51) standard. In the United States, it has been tested with a 2000-kilogram US pick-up truck.
Innov8 Equipment supplies additional customisable accessories on the LTMA to suit the needs of the customer, in addition to standard safety accessories and fittings.
The TMA is designed for use on low speed roads under 70 kilometres per hour, which makes it ideal for Australian Utilities Management as an extra level of protection for its crews. “The major benefit for us is the fact it’s light. You don’t need a heavy vehicle license to operate it. All you need is a regular car license,” Mr. Kelly says. “It doesn’t limit us to using an operator and it’s well suited to operations where we have so many different needs.
From a sustainability point of view, LTMAs have the potential to reduce the need for larger trucks working as TMAs on smaller local roads, reducing costs and environmental impacts.
The model includes 12-volt or 24-volt DC rear tail lights and side clearance lights mounted on the cushion impact plate, providing an additional level of safety for crews on site. Operation of the LTMA is undertaken via a control box inside the host vehicle and is designed with simplicity in mind. “It’s easy to operate – it’s just a couple of switches on the control so there’s nothing too complicated to worry about,” Mr. Kelly says. “There’s a very nice digital controller for the sign and boom on the back, which is easy enough to operate without any special training.”
For Australian Utilities Management, the LTMA has proved the ideal solution for the wide range of civil jobs it undertakes, particularly short-term projects within Sydney Metro, which can pose any number of safety challenges – even to the most experienced contractor. “It is just as effective as any other TMA, it’s just on a smaller scale. The main thing about it for me is we don’t have to be looking to hire one – we can keep everything in-house.”