The road signs and markings used on airport runways must provide optimized visibility to ensure safety in an extremely challenging environment.

On our roadways, road signs and markings are acknowledged to play an essential role in traffic management and safety. The same can be said for airfields, where these signs and markings provide guidance for pilots when an aircraft is coming in to land or taxiing, as well as for all ground vehicles. Security on airfields is dependent on many factors and a good maintenance strategy is required.


ZDR 6020 Retroreflectometer RL

The ZDR 6020 Dynamic Retroreflectometer RL can be used for all types of road and airport markings at normal traffic speed without obstructing the traffic


The visibility of signs, especially at night, should meet the relevant national and international standards, and they should be checked regularly as part of the maintenance procedure. Markings in the maneuvering area have to fulfill the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Moreover, airport markings often have to fulfill different requirements that are more strict than those for other road markings.

The New Zealand Roadmarkers Federation Roadmarking Materials Guide, for example, specifies that special high-index airport beads must have a bigger diameter and a higher refractive index than those used on roads. In any case, many of these local standards are at least partially based on EN 1436, the European standard for road marking performance for road users.

As airport road markings are also subjected to wear and tear, a policy is required to guarantee that maintenance is carried out at the appropriate time. To ensure that the markings are visible and that they support safe ground traffic, measuring equipment is required. An intelligent maintenance strategy is based on measuring values and is supported by advanced evaluation software.


Zehntner’s „MappingTools“ showing ZDR 6020 RL measurements of road markings


Maintenance management
When Qatar-based infrastructure company Al Jaber & Makhlouf was contracted to supply road markings for the Hamad International Airport (formerly the New Doha International Airport), it had to observe the regulations set by the ICAO. As such, high-precision testing instruments from the Swiss manufacturer Zehntner were used for the initial acceptance inspection. This is just one practical example of maintenance management for ground signs and markings.

For such measurement jobs, Zehntner offers a variety of Swiss quality retroreflectometers that are fast, precise and easy to use. The user has a choice between three different handheld units, which are suitable for small- and medium-sized airports:

ZRM 6006 the ZRM 6006 with one-button operation
ZRM 6013+ the ZRM 6013+ with additional memory, PC and printer interface
ZRM 6014 and the ZRM 6014 with additional unique options and optimized user comfort


For large, busy airports, the sophisticated, vehicle-mounted ZDR 6020 Dynamic Retroreflectometer RL may be the best choice as it can cover a large area quickly at traffic speed – minimizing or even eliminating the need to close runways, taxiways and ground traffic roads. The measuring head can also be mounted on other testing vehicles such as friction testers. Traffic signs can be measured with the various models of the ZRS 6060 Retroreflectometer.

Zehntners-retroreflectometers for all needs and budgets

Zehntner designs retroreflectometers for a variety of needs and budgets


Software support
Assisted by Zehntner’s free mapping and data analysis software, „MappingTools“, the management of retroreflection measurements becomes fast and simple. They can be evaluated to individual specifications and the results can be displayed in charts, tables or on a map. For maximum compatibility with existing systems and procedures, measuring reports can be generated in several languages, as PDF or Microsoft Excel files.
Furthermore, the data can be exported to an external GIS (geographic information system).


Zehntner’s „MappingTools“


Author:            Sévérine Berger

Company:        Zehntner GmbH Testing Instruments, Switzerland

Telephone:       +41 61 953 05 50

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