Thermoplastic line marking is a highly durable, weather resistant marking solution for roads and car parks. It is available in a wide variety of colours and reflective properties that provide extra visibility, especially at night and in wet conditions when road safety is paramount.
The term ‘thermoplastic’ refers to a plastic that becomes malleable above a certain temperature range, and therefore can be moulded into various lines, shapes, and symbols. This material differs from thermosets such as epoxy which cannot be shaped, and instead are cured by heat to a solid state. The ability to be moulded into a number of different shapes makes thermoplastic the ideal choice for the creation of road markings. Thermoplastics are also very long wearing and highly durable, with some manufacturers claiming they will outlast paint by several times.
Most of the popular road marking materials thermoplastic line marking are based on thermoplastics and can be applied in a number of ways including spraying, extruder/screed box application or preformed. Preformed thermoplastic is one of the most common and is generally available in yellow or white colour options. This is a highly durable material that meets RTA 3357 and AS 4049.2 standards and is manufactured to withstand heavy traffic areas. Thermoplastics are made up of a mixture of synthetic resin, fillers, pigments and glass beads. The pigments give the coating its desired colour whilst the fillers help to increase the plasticity of the paint and aid in its resistance to pollution, subsidence and color fading. The glass bead adds retroreflectivity to the coating and helps it stand out in wet and poor lighting conditions.
Using preformed thermoplastic is a simple process and all you require is a basic hand torch. Once the application area has been swept and prepared simply lay down your chosen lines and heat them up with the torch until they are melted and set. Then all that is required is for the thermoplastic to cool down and traffic can be used straight away. This is a much easier process than applying a line of hot melt and significantly reduces the chance of mistakes on site.
Thermoplastics can be used for a wide variety of applications across all types of surfaces, from motorways and country roads to cycle routes, footpaths and car parks. They are a very cost effective option for any situation where additional visual indicators are needed. For example, they can be used to clearly mark out disabled parking bays or direction arrows on car parks and commercial sites.
Another popular use for thermoplastics is to create a series of signs on a site for safety and guidance, particularly in industrial settings. This includes using them to mark out hazard zones, fire lanes, speed limit signs and pedestrian crossings. Thermoplastics are very durable and easy to maintain making them the preferred marking system for a lot of sites. This is because they are much easier to clean than conventional road marking paints and are often designed with anti-slip properties for the surface they are being used on.