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OnGrade Training with Carlson Landfill Grade

I have recently returned home after having a week away near the city of Fort Worth, Texas spending the majority of my time on a landfill site learning as much as I could about the Carlson Landfill Grade© Management system. It is intended for the Carlson Landfill Grade to enable improved site management of the landfill cell compaction process improving operational efficiency and increasing the availability of the most valuable commodity – airspace.

The installation consisted of three parts – Machine installation, Repeater installation and Office Hardware and Software installation

Machine Installation

The machine undergoing installation was a CAT 836H compactor. I observed and assisted in the installation process of the Landfill Grade system which if compared with an excavator installation (of which I am most familiar) is a fairly straightforward process. The installation took place outdoors at a nominated safe area on the site as there were no workshops or sheds. However as the weather was ok, this was not an issue – I might have an entirely different opinion if it was raining !!

Major components consist of a computer / display located at the operator station, dual axis sensor, reversing sensor, RTK GPS and network radio. The installation, machine measurement and calibration are simple with no special tools required

Repeater Installation

Due to the size and topology of the site a repeater station for the radio mesh network was needed and this was installed on a trailer (so it can be moved around the site as necessary – a neat idea) and was powered by marine grade lead acid batteries which were charged via a 135W solar cell.

The repeater is placed in line of site of the office and the compactor. The only additional consideration for this assembly would be that of a lightning conductor. The radio manufacturer does not recommend any form of lightning suppressors as this affects the radio performance and anyway it is apparently protected against such strikes as well as being guaranteed to perform after a 10m drop onto concrete, so even if the trailer fell over in a storm the radio components would not be damaged.

Office Hardware and Software

Inside the site office a computer was installed for the running of the command and control software, as were the GPS base station and network radio interface. The computer needs to be assembled to Carlson’s specific requirements to gain optimum performance and security of the data. The GPS antenna, correction antenna and network radio antenna were mounted on the roof of the site office. Topcon GPS base and RTK were used for this application, however Carlson have the flexibility to use a wide range of different GPS manufacturers products allowing them to accommodate customer and end user requirements. The GPS base and RTK was set up by the Carlson landfill product dealer – Geoshack. Geoshack also provided the localisation data for the GPS allowing the machine to be accurately located on the 3D site design.

Carlson’s Command & Control© software was loaded and set-up in the site computer. Command and control consists of three main components :

Heartbeat – the interface and communications protocol for command and control

Fleet Manager – this is the monitor and control interface

In Operation

It is only when you see this in operation that you realise just how powerful this is by giving the site manager all the real-time (or historical) data he needs in an instant, and can even remotely control the Carlson computer in the compactor including updating software, projects, data management and messaging the operator. Having the ability to remotely monitor and message from the site office is of huge benefit when trying to verify the install and system operation, yes the system could be installed without this option, but it would require a lot of trips between site office and machine.

When the installation of machine and office was completed the compactor was set to work. An existing cell was being filled and the compactor was needed to fill and compact the cell to known depth and slopes. The slopes are easily designed and entered in to the system, it is these slopes that ensure that landfill water is correctly managed. Erosion and leachate control are two of many considerations when creating the landfill, it is definitely not just about filling a hole as I had originally thought ! The compactor is required to fill in 2 ft steps. That is, the landfill is created in layers 2ft deep as this is considered to be the optimum depth for gaining maximum compaction with minimum passes. This layering is monitored with Landfill Grade by setting the system to operate with 2 ft “lifts” (this is the layer). When a lift is completed then the next 2ft lift is selected and the landfill cell is correctly filled for optimum compaction. This lift operation works in parallel with the slope function ensuring the cell fill is to design. When the cell fill is approaching that of the 3D design then the operator just finishes the fill to the shown outline. This particular site had many wells in place and these need to be protected from damage during compaction. Landfill grade allows watch and avoidance zones to be programmed into the design and will warn the operator if he approaches or gets too near the zone.

All data is recorded and can be displayed to the operator in a variety of formats, the most useful being compaction or pass count. As the display is updated in real time he can see if he has met the number of pass counts / compaction level and if there are any soft spots. Soft spots can be very damaging to the landfill design as if they are not caught early then they can be a major source of subsidence later on in the life of the landfill.

Operator training was provided and it was apparent that the system was a relatively easy tool to learn and the operators soon got to grips with the slope design, compaction and pass count features. Back at the office all of this activity can be monitored and recorded, one of the benefits of this system is that the compactor movement can be played back (from any period during its use) and this could be a very powerful training tool for the site manager when reviewing an operators performance and guiding him in more efficient use of his machine.

The following summary of the system and its benefits is provided by Randy Noland from his February article in Machine Control Online :

Business Case and Payback Points

I. General landfill goals improved by system adoption

A. Improved airspace utilization
B. Optimal compaction
C. Achieve desired density

II. Slope & grade management

A. Proper grade and slope design from the cab – reduce or eliminate failed slopes
B. Water management – proper slopes and grade help shed water away from waste reducing contamination or leachate. Secondary processing of leachate is costly, approximately .10-.12 cents per gallon. One site I visited processes 25,000 gallons per week or $3000/week; $156,000/year.
C. Leachate management – engineered slopes help contain leachate and optimize circulation or leachate recycling. This optimizes microbial activity that consumes waste. Some sites need to add water for microbial optimization. Thus, lack of water and leachate management is costly
D. Monitoring of slopes in real time prevent over-fill or under-fill at the outer slopes. Both extremes cost money and this technology provides accurate guidance and status.
E. Road management – better road design for getting trucks in and out. This also means that road base material is accurately applied and optimized.

III. Monitor Lifts

A. Typically 2’ lifts are considered an optimized standard. The system monitors lift thickness keeping an operator on target.
B. If a lift is too thick, an operator can back-lay the area and avoid bridging

IV. Idle time for machines

A. If a compactor is not running, it certainly is not achieving density. Remote monitoring of machines and idle reports improve decision making for operator performance, service and maintenance, even reducing the number of machines or their operating hours in a day.

V. Historical playback

A. Provides operator analysis and training opportunity. Operators can watch machine playback back in the office. Helps break bad habits and optimize performance. “This can be an invaluable training tool,” says Scott Beathard, president of GeoShack North America. GeoShack is a leading landfill system provider.

VI. Safety & quality of work

A. The system reduces the need for laborers to be on the work face potentially in harm’s way. Technology reduces daily surveys, site stakes, vertical grade markers for active areas, etc.

VII. Avoidance Zones

A. Areas such as gas wells, gas lines, landfill liner, asbestos zones, chipped tires, etc can be marked and stored in the system. If a machine; dozer, compactor, drill, scraper or excavator enters the user designated zones, either horizontally or vertically, an alarm will sound. Positional data is also stored providing historical data for all machine positions.

VIII. Real time surface topography (daily grids)

A. Certification may require surveys and fly overs but the technology renders these procedures nearly obsolete. These costs can exceed $12,000 annually for a midsize landfill.
B. Real time surface deflection information, pass-by-pass offers fill density, volume consumed, compactor performance and remaining cell/landfill airspace

IX. EPA and other agency policy requirements

A. This technology produces data that is more readily available, more accurate and more comprehensive than ever before making it easier to comply with agency requirements.

X. Flexible System Entry Points and Scalable System Design

A. Entry points include a Landfill GPS System for the site manager (pickup truck, ATV or man-rover) or for a single machine (compactor or dozer.) This offers affordable options easing the cost of adoption and future migration
B. Scalable/Upgradable – a landfill can adopt at an affordable entry point then add additional machines, a site manager system, an office computer system for post analysis and report generation or a mesh wireless infrastructure enabling remote monitoring, remote training and troubleshooting and even remote data management and analysis.

XI. Additional benefits improved by system adoption

A. Fuel savings – Result of optimized pass counts, material hauling and placement and road grading
B. Reduced machine wear – Result of optimized machine performance and scheduled maintenance.
C. Equipment Selection – Proper analysis of waste stream, daily tonnage, water and leachate can inform your equipment selection; the right size compactor, right size dozer and how many pieces of equipment required to properly manage your site.
D. Job Satisfaction – Operators are a competitive lot and proud of their work. System adoption empowers operators to be better raising job satisfaction. This nurtures competition to perform. Operation managers are quick to incentivize properly raising the performance for the entire landfill.

A solid waste landfill is a complex and dynamic engineering challenge. One site manager told me that managing a landfill was like building a highway on a moving target. The tools provided by a landfill centric GPS system are just that, tools. They provide real time data and feedback that greatly improve decision making. This technology has positively impacted landfill construction and operation. It is evident that adoption will continue to grow.

To see the original article follow : http://machinecontrolonline.com/content/view/6464/

OnGrade and Carlson Reach Agreement

We are pleased to announce that we have reached agreement with Carlson Software for the distribution of their Landfill Grade product, the deal sees OnGrade have a minimum of three years Europe wide exclusivity for the product, Landfill Grade is an exciting landfill management tool and can increase the life of solid waste landfills dramatically. The agreement was finalised during Nigel Adams recent training visit to Dallas. A full press release will follow shortly

Carlson & OnGrade Reach Agreement

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