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Welcome to the revolution, in this section we aim to provide useful information on many things machine control, both technical and otherwise.

The first and most obvious question is "What is machine control?"

We aim to update this section on a monthly basis with all previously published material archived so you can access and review it whenever you need to. We will make our best endeavours to ensure this section is "sales pitch" free and is a useful guide for anybody interested in machine control whatever their experience level,this section reflects our philosophy that Machine Control is for Everyone.

Need to know if machine control can help you call us free on: +44 (0)8081 201033

January

January 2010

Machine control has the potential to become one of the most significant milestones to happen to our industry since the excavator replaced the shovel. It has the potential to increase the profitability and efficiency of every jobsite on which it is used, any contractor who chooses to buy machine control will have a clear competitive advantage over his competitors when bidding for jobs. These may be bold statements for a technology that still has overall market penetration of less than 10%, but the evidence is becoming overwhelming that machine control is a significant part of the makeup of the future of the construction industry.

But what actually is it?

Machine Control or Machine Guidance is the application of technology such that it improves the operating accuracy and efficiency of construction equipment in highly measurable ways. It can be applied to a wide range of machines including excavators, dozer, graders, pavers etc. the list goes on.

Machine control gives precise guidance to the operator and in some cases has the additional functionality of actual hydraulic control of the machine. This hydraulic control functionality particularly applies to those machines with less complex tool movements such as dozers, graders and pavers where the machine control system ensures that the tool (blade) follows the desired level allowing the operator to focus on driving the machine and not having to control the blade equipment. Excavators have a more complexhydraulic control system and as such the machine control system does not have a hydraulic control function but instead the operation is concentrated on providing the operator with accurate guidance information.

 

Machine Control sounds great on paper (like many things in life aimed at making us work smarter), but where can it be applied and how effective is it.

The answer is not quick, any of the items in the following list is a justification for using machine control, and in most applications this will include multiple items:

Excavating foundations
Excavating trenches for pipe laying etc
Grading level areas
Grading slopes and batters
Excavating complex profiles e.g. road layers
Ballast levelling (rail networks)
Landfill and Waste management
Dredging
Drilling
Piling
Mining
Paving
Rock placement (e.g. harbour wall construction)
Ground improvement including soil stabilisation
Compaction
Agriculture
Anywhere a piece of construction machinery needs to work to a defined accuracy.

Our many years within this industry have seen systems installed on all of the above applications and each has the benefit of saving costs, and these are seen in the following areas:

Finishing the job quicker than estimated
Reducing the need for additional labour including: staking a site,
banksmen, continual checking of work done.
Reducing the need for additional surveying tools and personnel

However, it’s not just about the money, there is the benefit of improved site safety :

Less personnel on the ground to monitor proceedings – no more man in a trench (or in the case of dredging and underwater rock placement, no divers in the water)
Reduced site traffic due to improved operating efficiency

These are very beneficial to those working towards a zero harm policy.