Trimble 3D Machine control used on major road project

Thursday, June 23 rd, 2016

When you think 3D, you expect to don glasses and go to the movies, but for the two of the UK’s earthworks leaders, 3D, in the form of machine control, is taking much more of a leading role.

To find out more, Finning News asked the questions that matter to Mick O’Brien, director of O’Brien Contractors and David Collins, owner and director of Collins Earthworks, to understand why both industry leaders are championing the use of Trimble®3D machine control from SITECH® UK and Ireland.

What are the issues surrounding 3D machine control?

Mick:“I believe there is still a disconnect between the UK earthworks sector and the rest of the construction industry. This is especially the case when it comes to awareness of machine control in general and in particular the real safety and productivity benefits of using 3D solutions.

“We also have a perception in the sector that 3D is difficult for operators to get to grips with and not worth the hassle, which in our experience is just not the case. If anything, a good 3D operator can make a dramatic difference in terms of cost savings, productivity and quality on the job site.”

David: “From my perspective, I think one of the main hurdles we have to get over in the earthworks sector relates to early engagement at tender stage and how the industry, post recession, can adopt a much more collaborative approach to working.

We hear a lot of talk about the Government’s 2025 strategy for construction as a whole, but for me there
is little focus or publicity around understanding the major impact on cost and carbon reduction, that 2D/3D machine control can deliver right now.

What changes will drive the industry towards 3D adoption?

Mick: “Change tends to happen in this industry when you have informed clients and when contractors are exposed to the benefits of technology on a real jobsite. So following the recent announcement from Highways
England that future projects will not allow stakes to be used onsite, we can all of a sudden see that real change on a much larger scale is definitely coming.

David: “I believe the introduction of other technology into the industry also helps to change mind-sets and construction methods. For example, the wholesale adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) on all Government building projects and its adoption by the private sector has changed the way buildings and structures are constructed.

“As Building Information Modelling BIM continues to push beyond the building envelope into a ‘full site’ model, above and below ground, machine control will be the only way future earthworks projects can be delivered profitably and accurately.”

What is holding back the adoption of 3D solutions?

Mick: “2D and 3D machine control has probably been the best kept secret in the construction industry; early adopters like our business have invested a lot of time, resources and capital into building up a machine controlled fleet. But as machine control goes mainstream, the key to greater adoption lies in the training of operators and attracting new talent, like engineers into the industry.

David: “For me it has to be the availability of machine control ready equipment in the supply chain, so 3D ready specialist earthworks contractors can have the confidence to take on more work.

Put simply, I need to know I can hire a dozer or excavator and if required an operator, that can seamlessly plug into my 3D Trimble system, using hired equipment from SITECH® UK and Ireland.”