A first automatic machine capable of holding 250 cones per

A first automatic machine capable of holding 250 cones per hour

A Laval company has invented a machine to pick up and place the many orange bags we see almost everywhere on the streets of Quebec.

The owner of the company Unité Mobile MC, Michel Côté Jr., came up with this idea when he observed the signaling company's employees collecting cones on the side of the road.

“I looked at them and found it unusual that they were killed or injured while doing their work,” explained the trained machinist. It makes no sense.

“They hurt their backs because they wear cones. I told myself that it was possible to turn them into a machine that would make their lives easier.”

The TRV7 hangs behind the box of a truck. On a platform, the employee controls the machine, which is equipped with a large clamp to raise or lower the cones vertically. This can be postponed depending on operational requirements.

“We conducted several tests to find the right grab for the collection,” explains Côté Jr. “It is somewhat similar to what we see with our collection or emptying containers.”

Efficiency is there. The Lavallois machine, which sells for $300,000, can hold 250 cones per hour or dispense 300 over a 60-minute period.

“We can save two to three salaries,” estimates Côté Jr. “It will happen very quickly.” There is no one who can keep up with this pace. An employee can work eight hours a day without getting tired.”

Collaboration with the MTQ

Convinced he had a golden idea, Côté Jr. went to the Department of Transportation office to talk about his project.

The reception was excellent and an engineer gave him all the technical parameters, so the TRV7 was approved by the MTQ.

“Without this approval, the MTQ cannot buy it from me,” says the inventor. You are interested.

“Over the last few weeks, potential customers have come to me and they have been surprised at how effective the TRV7 is.”

In the coming months he wants to approach signaling companies and cities.

“The pool is global and I am ready to start production as soon as I have orders. I would like to sell between 6 and 10 pieces in 2024.

“It is important to have good suppliers in order to have a good machine. I employ people from Quebec. It is important to me.

Hard work

It took Côté Jr. and his hydraulic mechanic Patrick Gaston Constant two years of hard work to get to the final product. They were accompanied on the adventure by an engineer who drew up the plans for the machine.

The prototype required tens of thousands of dollars of personal investment.

“I am relentless,” he emphasizes. I was in my garage when I finished it on December 12th. I had a big smile on my face.

“I said to myself, 'Finally there is a machine for picking up and placing bags!' It's no longer a dream, it's reality!”

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