Machines Controlled by Machine Controls
SunCo, a contractor in Byron, Ga., has found a way to save time and money while improving the accuracy of work. The earthmoving contractor fitted two bulldozers and one excavator with Leica Geosystems’, www.leica-geosystems.us, Norcross, Ga., PowerGrade 3D machine control systems last year from a local dealer.
The machine control system automatically controls a bulldozer blade to cut a grade to the correct elevation and that means no rework is necessary. “The fact that you don’t have to go back and redo any work is probably at least a 50% savings over the whole job,” says Josh Mathews, owner, SunCo.
Operators can see everything they need to dig and work the job from one end to the other without ever having to get off the machine. On the screen, the job can be rotated as needed for the best angle.
The GPS system for the excavator has a full computer touchscreen that enables the operator to see an entire project on the screen and compare the bucket position to design grade. On the dozers, the system lets the operator see the blade position relative to design grade. The only difference between the excavator system and the dozer system is that on the dozers, the controls are tied into the hydraulics so the blade will automatically level up to design grade; the operator just drives the machine.
Because the operator can see where the blade is relative to the design elevation at all times, training is quick and easy. Mathews says the controls served him well while grading the 14-acre Cameron Court site, one that required moving 150,000 cubic yards of earth, and had many grade changes.
“We had the bulk of the earth graded and the pads set up in about a month and a half,” he says. “We did the road work with both of the bulldozers and used the excavator to cut everything down to grade, pull slopes, and build ponds.”
To use the GPS systems to check grades on manholes it would set the bucket teeth down on a manhole or other benchmark and check grade on everything.