When you purchase your first piece of Infrared Equipment, you won't be going out and making the big bucks instantly, as some manufacturers may claim. Proper Infrared repairs take some practice and there are certain steps you have to follow to ensure the patch is going to last. Once you get good at the process however, it is possible for your Infrared Equipment to become your company's biggest asset!
***Please Read Thoroughly***
Below we will lay out the basics to performing a proper repair using an Infrared heater. As a note, you should know that these instructions are based on a Ray-Tech machine which you will find heats much hotter and faster than others out there.
Steps To A Permanent Infrared Asphalt Repair
First, there are several tools we strongly suggest having for proper operation of this equipment:
- Handheld torch (for lighting rows of converters)
- Iron rake (avoid garden rakes as they are often not rugged enough)
- Push broom
- Putty knife (To scrape your tools clean afterwards)
Next, we look at jobsite preperation and repair:
1. Thoroughly sweep the area you will be working on. Remember, Ray-Tech equipment produces true infrared rays (not just heat) and these rays will not penetrate the asphalt if any dirt, sand or puddle/running water is in the way.
2. To light the unit, raise chamber to 45º angle. Turn blower #1 switch to on. You will hear the first blower motor begin powering up. Turn blower #2 switch to on. When the blower motors reach their capacity, you will hear the 24 volt solenoid open with a slight click. This indicates the blower motor is up to proper speed and the gas-air mixture will begin being fed into the infrared converters. Using your torch, ignite the converters (touch the flame to each row of converters). This will allow each row to ignite properly. Allow 30 to 45 seconds for the grids to glow a bright orange color. You are now ready to operate.
3. Lower the chamber over the area where you will be working, leaving it approximately 4-6 inches above the surface you are heating. The age and color of the asphalt, type and size of the aggregates, outside temperature and height of the chamber will determine time and depth of penetration. Average complete heating times are between 6-8 minutes. (This means one (1) full layer will be heated. If you wish to heat the next layer down, you will need to rake the top layer off).
4. Allow the unit to heat the area for about 4-6 minutes. After this time, use the corner of the rake to test if the asphalt is soft enough to work. DO NOT rake and loosen a large area yet unless it is fully heated. Heating must be done on a solid surface. To reheat you would need to compact first. Care should be taken not to scorch the surface of the asphalt. (Scorching will turn the asphalt to a grayish color and you will not get penetration).
5. Leave the outermost 6” of the heated area untouched by the rake throughout the entire patching process. This will thermally bond the old material to the new. If disturbed, the edge will unravel over time. Just remember 6" heated but not worked.
6. Once the asphalt is completely heated, move the unit away from the area and onto the next work area if possible. Caution should be used when moving the unit as it reaches very high temperatures when in operation, and may not cool down quickly.
7. Without wasting time and letting the area cool, press the back of your rake into the asphalt all the way around the trouble spot. This is called “Picture framing” and it defines the area you need to work on. (Remember to leave the 6” on each side untouched for thermal bonding). Rake the entire patch inside the picture framed area.
8. Patching usually requires some new material to be added and this can be done after raking the existing material loose. Once material is added, lute the surface so that you have a smooth area for compaction. Thickness differs but on the usual pothole, you should make the top of the now luted area stand about ½” to 1” above the outside, untouched area.
9. It is now time to begin compacting or rolling. This is the most important step. Begin by rolling or compacting a 1” wide strip along each edge of the luted area. This is called “pinching” the edge and if you skip this, you might as well have not used infrared at all as the edges will ravel. Work your way into the patch along each edge an inch or so at a time and then as you get further into the patch, begin making broader passes. Once entirely compacted, go over it a few more times from different directions to ensure complete compaction.
You now have a permanent infrared repair!
As a helpful note, when transporting the unit after completion, make sure the valves on the propane cylinders are closed and the cylinders are securely in place.