Livonia’s Storch Magnetics has invented the SuperMag, a product that can expedite road repairs caused by potholes. The industrial-sized magnet removes debris in a pothole, including nails and screws.
SuperMag can be mounted to the front of a road maintenance vehicle and is the first of its kind that can be towed or front mounted on an existing snow plow mount. The permanent magnet is hydraulically actuated; hinging upward and away from the working surface.
It is designed to have less than 1 percent of magnet loss per 100 years. It can be raised and lowered like a snowplow and can be turned on and off from the inside of a vehicle. It costs less than $15,000.
“It’s amazing how much hazardous debris you encounter on the shoulder (and other parts) of our roads,” says Matt Carr, CEO of Storch Magnetics. “This is particularly true after snow plows and sweepers have pushed these items (to the shoulder) when clearing snow and ice this winter.”
Overall, motorists have more than 220 million flat tires each year in the U.S., according to AAA. This translates to seven flats every second.
“While it can cost up to $750 to repair and replace a tire on a maintenance vehicle, the more significant cost is the lost time of the idled crew,” says Carr.
“Before using SuperMag, Jackson County Department of Transportation was experiencing a flat tire about 90 percent of the time it had a crew heading out for pothole repair,” says Bob Griffis, director of operations and deputy managing director for the department. “By using SuperMag for approximately one year, Jackson has already paid for the cost of the magnet just on tire repair savings alone.”
An October 2015 report released by the National Transportation Safety Bureau found that each year, about 33,000 passenger vehicle tire-related crashes occur in the U.S., resulting in about 19,000 injuries.