Learning Curve To Profit

Stuart Kirk, Plant Director for Sirius Group, is one of the UK’s leading advocates for embracing GPS technologies 
and making the most of the safety and performance benefits they deliver. 

To get his thoughts on 3D machine control, Finning News spoke to Stuart after visiting a Sirius project outside Huddersfield. Here the business was putting the UK’s first SITECH installed automatics version of the Trimble Earthworks for Excavators system to the test, on a Cat® 320E, with a new tilt bucket. 

Stuart: “Since we purchased our first Cat® D6N dozer fitted with Trimble machine control a number of years ago, I have spent a lot of time talking to other people in the industry, about the ‘what you need
 to know’ information and experiences we have had. 

“For me, one of the most important parts of our technology move to enhance our capabilities was finding the right technology partner in SITECH and Trimble, to deliver the levels of support and ongoing training we required. “This has been critical to our successful adoption of 3D machine control and surveying technology, as you need to really take everybody with you on the journey, especially our skilled operators, who took to machine control like ducks to water. 

“For example, in a number of cases, we were able to both demonstrate and deliver reductions in the time taken to complete earthworks projects. Delivering fast-tracked projects brings huge benefits to planning and the overall programme of work.” 

Enable roving site managers 

Stuart: “In addition to our investment in the new automatics version of Trimble Earthworks for Excavators, following site trails and training support from SITECH, we have also invested in a number of Trimble TCS 3 rovers. This allows the site managers to confirm levels onsite and also do important calculations of stockpiles, in a matter of minutes. 

Never stop learning 

Stuart: “With an industrywide shortage of operators, one of the key technology solutions that I think is going to help train the younger generation, are machine simulators, as they offer the safest and best way to maximise performance. So, if there’s one clear message I have for the industry, it’s to never stop learning and keep moving forward, running with technologies to make them work hard for everyone. 

Earthworks at a glance 

Earthworks gives operators of
 all skill levels the ability to work faster and more productively, particularly when the automatics functionality is used. Here, when the excavator is placed
 in ‘Autos’ mode, the operator controls the stick, and Earthworks controls the boom and bucket to stay on grade, reducing overcut and increasing production. 

With regular upgrades from Trimble, it now works with tilt buckets, with faster response coming from new higher accuracy GS520 sensors across the machine, helping to shape and achieve grade consistently.