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Features, New Zealand, Victoria

Excavator grade control proves a game changer for contractors

iDig 2D grade control system for excavators saves time, manpower and rework while increasing safety on site for all sizes of construction firms.

iDig 2D grade control system for excavators saves time, manpower and rework while increasing safety on site for all sizes of construction firms.

By giving operators real time information about depth, distance and slope, direct to the cab without the need for a grade checker, iDig is a simple but powerful tool that pays for itself.

It works with any make or model of construction or grade laser, using a number of small, portable sensors fitted to the machine that measure its position relative to the desired grade. These feed real time information back to the operator via a small touchscreen display in the cab and a handy lightbar to guide them to the right level.

Wairarapa contractor can complete more work with iDig

Driveways, landscaping and large lawn projects are bread-and-butter specialities for Marty Dench, owner of Dingo Nick, a contracting business servicing the Wairarapa region in New Zealand’s lower North Island.

With a three-man crew, Dench realised he needed to increase the team’s efficiency on projects to enable them to complete more work in less time and with less manpower.

“As a small contractor, we are limited by our manpower, so any system that enables us to do more with the employees we have will save us time and money,” Dench said.

“The iDig solution is too easy really – I just establish my level, dial it in and off I go.”

“It really has saved us so much time and easily paid for itself in a short period. Getting in and out of the cab to check grade may not sound like a big deal, but anyone in the business knows it gets old pretty quickly.”

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The company has the iDig solution fitted to a 3.5 tonne Hitachi ZX33U. “We have two excavators, but only one fitted with the iDig system, so now I can work on my own with the iDig machine while my two employees complete another job with the other smaller digger,” he said.

In addition to saving time on labour, Dench explains that this innovative 2D grade checking system has all but eliminated rework on his jobs.

“Before we got the system it was anyone’s guess how close you were to grade, the intermittent grade checks by either getting out of the machine or having a grade checker with you meant it was very easy to over dig or have to backfill aggregate, which all costs money,” he said.

iDig, in contrast, gives Dench a constant check of where his machine is to grade.

“It’s like having someone on the ground checking levels every second of the day,” he said.

Learning how to use the iDig system was pretty straightforward, Dench said. A Position Partners consultant came out to set up the system and provide product training.

“Troy from Position Partners went out of his way to make sure everything was working well and didn’t leave until we were comfortable using it,” Dench said.

“I think if any contractor knows how to establish a grade and set up the levels, they’ll have no trouble using this system at all.

“Although every job is different, the one thing they all have in common is to get the level right, and this system helps you to do exactly that.”

Dench said he would be quick to recommend the iDig system to other contractors: “It’s the most amazing thing to have on our machine, I couldn’t be happier with it.” 

Melbourne contractor eliminates challenges on site

Andrew Blake, owner of Houlmann Blake Excavations, specialises in general construction works in Melbourne. The company has installed systems on three excavators and is now running the iDig 2D machine control solution on a 12-, 20- and 27-tonne excavator.

“It’s quite amazing this technology, it just operates seamlessly with the machines,” he said. “The integration is seamless and we’re getting some great efficiencies out of our equipment, and the guys love it.”

Blake was looking to increase efficiency on site with the company’s machines and employees. “We were also looking to minimise the risk for the workers on site and the clientele that we’re working for have seen that and they love it too!” he added.

Portability was a key factor in the company’s decision-making process. “We went for the iDig system because if at any stage we change our equipment over, the system is portable, and we can just take that off and take it with us,” he said. “We also found that it was the most economical on the market.”

Before installing iDig, Blake explained that they would have needed more personnel on site and would have needed to have a laser system set up. Now that Houlmann Blake Excavations has implemented the iDig 2D machine control system, the operator is just touching off a fixed point, can keep excavating to his level and doesn’t need additional personnel on site to assist.

“We’re now using the iDig system to assist the operators with knowing the depth of excavation that they’re working to and this has taken away the need for unsafe practices where we have other site personnel getting in the way of the equipment,” Blake said.

Additional benefits Blake has noticed since implementing the iDig 2D machine control system from Position Partners includes: increased efficiencies with time on site; reduced instances of re-working areas; reduced ‘over-digging’ and ‘under-digging’; and reduced wastage.

“The system is easy to learn, there hasn’t been any hold ups with training, the guys have taken up the technology very quickly,” Blake said. “The back-up and support from Position Partners has been great, they’ve been there to take the call straight away and we’ve had the problem sorted out immediately and we’ve continued with our work.”

For more information about iDig, contact Position Partners on 0800 867 000 or visit www.positionpartners.co.nz

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