In 2021, MCD Developments engaged SmartTech Australia to install XWatch XW4 height and slew limiting systems on two of its excavators. Inside Construction caught up with company Director Malcolm De Wildt to find out what his team has been able to achieve since adopting the technology.
Working in the construction industry for over a decade for the likes of CPB Contractors and Delta Group, Malcolm De Wildt launched his own specialist excavation company MCD Developments in 2017.
After engaging SmartTech Australia in 2021 to install XWatch XW4 height and slew limiting systems on its 14.5-tonne and 22.5-tonne excavators, MCD Developments saw swift improvements across its operations. Today, with the benefits of XWatch, the company delivers projects for Tier 1 construction companies and major road projects throughout Victoria.
De Wildt says the height and slew limitation features of XWatch are what led to his interest in the system, and after investigating further, what actually ‘sold’ him on the technology was how easy it was to use. “This system doesn’t have too many flashy bits, it’s fairly basic in the way of setting what you need and that makes it more user-friendly and reduces the risk of operator error causing service strikes,” De Wildt adds.
Sometimes overlooked by contractors and their operators, height and slew control is crucial to ensure the safe operation of excavators, loaders and the like. XWatch XW4 height and slew limiting systems allow the operator to define pre-set limits to machine arm height and how far it can slew (the rotation or side-to-side movement of an excavator or crane). These limits are particularly useful when working in confined spaces or around overhead utilities.
Traditionally, operating machinery came with a lot of guesswork. Operators had to judge the height or position of the machine by sight, posing significant risk of injury or incident. But with the right equipment, these hazards can be eliminated – the XWatch height and slew limiter ensures front end machinery is monitored and controlled for limit breach with the utmost ease.
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Having previously used similar systems, De Wildt says he’s had issues with how some other systems worked with the schematics of the machine. “I’m no expert in hydraulics but the XWatch system looked to be fitted a lot better than others I’ve used in the past,” he says. “I feel product reliability and efficiency are the biggest part of earthmoving – machines can’t make money parked up.”
Initially adopting XWatch to keep up with market requirements, protect company and client assets, and protect the public, MCD Developments is still reaping the rewards two years on. “We’re now maximising the use of our machinery with this technology and the safety benefits have been phenomenal,” says De Wildt. “Our clients are happier because we have protective measures to keep everything and everyone safe.”
“We no longer have to worry about running into or damaging assets or structures, we can get on with completing the job at hand.
“MCD Developments has now delivered works on the Melbourne F1 GP track at Albert Park, MACA Infrastructure’s Beaconsfield Project and the Golf Links Road Upgrade, as well as many other high-profile projects across the state.”
When asked if he would work with SmartTech again to incorporate a new technology into the business, De Wildt says “absolutely”.
“Working with the technicians and crew at SmartTech has certainly exceeded my expectations,” he says. “I had machines getting dropped off and picked up all hours of the evening and SmartTech even opened up the yard on Sundays for us – the quality of fitment and neat work in such a short turnaround was fantastic.”
“I think every excavator working around live services should run a system like this,” he says.